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Rise of the Eldrazi Set Review and Analysis: Black

Power 9 Pro is excited to bring you another set review for Magic the Gathering’s expansion set Rise of the Eldrazi. With Pre-release and Release tournaments coming up over the next two weeks and a full spoiler available, the Power 9 Pro Team is putting in a collaborative effort to review and analyze the entire set. We’ll be looking at the cards from the vantage point of limited, affects on standard, extended or legacy-formats and whether Rise will have any new must-haves for Elder Dragon Highlander. This post is for the black portion of Rise of the Eldrazi.

Joe
He’s fast, but he dies to walls… which makes him seem pretty bad here. Then again, he can brawl with some mid-level fatties.

Mike
This guy is really interesting. Normally vanilla creatures don’t hack it in constructed formats but it’s clear that he’s much stronger in a world where 1 power creatures are far more rare. There are good creatures that would take this guy out (stoneforge mystic comes to mind) but you have to at least consider using a 4/4 for 3cc.

Justin
I think this is a solid early to mid pick in Limited. Black has the removal in Vendetta, Consume the Meek, Corpsehatch and others to make the drawback almost painless.


Joe
I love it! This is like Wall Bane.

Mike
An interesting mini theme is forming here. This looks like a fine limited sideboard card that could potentially deal with the rare cycle of Level-Up creatures, but his mana cost is probably just a bit too high to make him more than a niche, fringe creature.

Justin
Nice in Limited to wipe out those silly Level Up creatures. 4cc 2/3 with an ability seems like a decent mid-round pick.


Joe
Yikes. I’m not planning to run this kind of thing unless I have >5 cards with CMC > 9, and I don’t know how I could ever justify running that many cards that are so expensive.

Mike
This is one expensive enchantment. Did they reprint dark ritual? Free recurring damage is clearly strong but I don’t know how many formats allow for a 7 cost enchantment to do work.

Justin
Maybe as an alternate win-con in Eldrazi centered decks? Still seems pretty expensive with BBB in the casting cost.


Joe
Man, once you’re on 8 mana, this is pretty sweet. Until then, this is a pretty wimpy guy. I’m willing to give him a try.

Mike
Seems like a fine blocker in limited, but are you really going to want to go out of your way to try and use 8 mana for this guy?

Justin
This one and the green Invoker are probably the best of the cycle. However that is not saying much. I would have liked this better as a 1/3 or a 2/2. You want him to be able to stick around long enough for his ability to matter.


Joe
Hmm… a smaller, faster nantuko husk. should be good, esp. with all the spawn.

Mike
This guy will replace vampire aristocrat in decks that found it necessary to play him, but at 1/1 he’s really behind on the power of 2 drops that vampires already have.


Joe
Faster, smaller, but flying gravedigger makes me happy. I’ll run this in any Bx deck.

Mike
I think this guy is pretty good, people love recursion and cards like this in limited are usually really handy similarly to Worldwake’s Pilgrim’s Eye.


Joe
Man, this will sure help anyone running late_game.dec. And instant speed too! Yow!

Dillon
A very interesting Instant speed sweeper. What it kills is unfortunately outweighed by what it doesn’t kill right now. I do like it though. It has it’s place in sideboards.

Mike
Considering most black decks are a bit aggro I don’t see this having a ton of application but plenty of decks operate under the 3cc threshold, I could see this having implications in extended vs. zoo though it is a little expensive.


Joe
This is some excellent card advantage. Definitely worth a slot, though you’ll want to try and time this right so they don’t just lose two spawn tokens.

Mike
This looks great. Double creature kill for 4 mana and lifegain? Rebound looks like it’s really good on a good card and this is likely the best example in the entire set.


Joe
Blech. No thanks.

Mike
These auras are usually not used very often but 2 life for a tap is pretty strong. This card as your turn 2 on the play will go a long way.


Joe
Uncommon removal is the stuff of limited. This one gives you blockers to boot, and even help repay the principle cost. Seems good to me, even at 5.

Rob
Only removal not on a creature so far. Seems ok. Makes Spawn which are going to be the center of all sorts of attempted tricks. Goodness, I’m having Thrull Flashbacks.

Mike
This is a fine removal card, it’s pricey but ramping you to something bomby from the mythic rare selection of this set gives it just enough intrigue to make it better than fine.


Joe
Hmmm… I don’t think so. Maybe I side this in if I notice my opponent is monocolor…. but probably not even then.

Mike
This is a fun color hate card. I don’t know how widely it’ll get used but it could definitely do some serious damage in mono-colored limited and possibly even constructed.


Joe
Hmm… I’m not seeing it. This is definitely worse than mogg fanatic by a wide margin.

Mike
I can’t see this guy doing much, but he could get in there for a damage or two in the right kind of game. The fact that he’s just a human wizard makes him about as bland as bland can be.


Joe
Not without tons of fliers to target.

Mike
At first I thought that this card was pretty janky, but given the 1cc mana cost (awesome) and eldrazi tokens running rampant, this card could do some serious work on a flyer. I absolutely love the cost of this card. I’m excited.


Joe
This is a re-usable removal factory. Bomb for sure at a very aggressive cost.

Dillon
She is a machine gun and she swings over to destroy your life total after she is finished with your creatures. I think she will absolutely see play.

Mike
This guy is just a limited bomb. But here we are with another 5 cost vampire. Everything in vampires costs 3 or 5 and to be honest I don’t know if this guy hangs with what we already have. Yes, he has built in removal but the Legendary status really holds Drana back from the potential to staple himself to constructed decklists.


Joe
Two spawn seems like too few to me.

Mike
This is the kind of creature that tables twice but the Eldrazi player in the draft doesn’t really hate having. He blocks well and he has Spawn: 2.


Joe
This is interesting since they probably just take 1 a turn, even if they have walls that live through a 6 power attack. I might try him, but he’s low on the list… he might be creature 12-14 or something.

Mike
This guy is pretty cool, except at one toughness does it really matter if you ever block him? He seems like a perfect target for demonic appetite though.


Joe
This seems might fine. Fits in the stall & ramp approach nicely.

Mike
Pretty pricey for a life drain of 3 but it might serve a purpose somewhere, sometime… though I doubt it.


Joe
Again, I think the only hope for aggressive decks is to have a critical mass of evasion, and to selectively use removal only on flying walls and such. So, I think this normally-mediocre flier might have a home here.

Mike
Vanilla!


Joe
So for 5 total mana you get a reusable disfigure, and that seems mighty good to me. Later on you can even get a not-so-sudden death. Very nice indeed.

Dillon
He is reusable and a Vampire. He is pretty solid even without a huge mana dump. Once he gets to that last stage, which goes pretty quickly actually, he is a Jedi at killing creatures.

Rob
Leveler. Disappointing. I so hope I’m missing something with these guys.

Mike
I think these one drop levelers are giong to be the best. If you want to waste your first couple turns feeding this guy, he will rule combat until someone smothers him.


Joe
Talk about an all-in creature! However, this might be the back-breaker if your deck has a fair number of Eldrazi to boot. Such a deck would be mighty fun to play, I think.

Mike
All-Your-Eggs-In-One-Basket Demon? Too much of a gamble for me unless my opponent is at 6.


Joe
Strong removal. Run it.

Mike
This is a great removal card in limited. It makes your bigger drops at least a little useful and I think it could see play in some standard vampire decks with their plethora of 5 drops; a great way to kill the baneslayer.


Joe
Seems like a potentially strong card in some constructed formats, but it won’t do a whole lot in limited, I think.

Dillon
I love this card just as much as I am disappointed by it. I love it on turn one, maybe even turn two, but nowhere else. I feel like running 3 of them maindeck is all you can afford, but when is it better than Duress? I feel like it is a sideboard card at first glance but then I realize you only bring it in against things you either just want to Duress or you can kill it with Deathmark.

Mike
Pretty decent. I could see this going into a Dark Depths deck over thoughtseize when all you really want to do is eliminate a removal card for your marit lage, which this will take out every time.


Joe
Another decent removal spell that can potentially finish the deal.

Mike
This is fine I suppose, but at 2 damage I don’t know how many things it’s going to kill in a constructed format.


Joe
Interesting. I’d be afraid to run it unless I had some spawn generation myself. I wouldn’t want to rely on my opponent to pump this guy.

Mike
This guy has some potential in the right deck but eldrazi spawn make this guy scary. You could definitely build a limited deck around him if you were able to pick up 1 or 2.


Joe
Another situational sideboard card.

Mike
People love playing black in limited, and this will probably end up as a 22nd or 23rd spell in one of those drafts where 5 people are black so things are pretty thin, and then you have a way to finish off 4 of the opponents at your table.


Joe
A strong leveler. Good at level 0, good thereafter.

Mike
This guy is pretty good, decent stats off the bat and his level up makes him something your opponent has to deal with on the very next turn.


Joe
Seems fairly strong to me, but obviously better the more swamps you run.

Mike
This guy is downright scary, and isn’t too overly priced for 6cc, especially when he’s doubling what you can do with your mana. Obviously the mythic rare status is what holds him back from excelling in what would be his best format: limited.


Joe
A good example of a leveler that’s probably not good enough. He’s no good on level 0, and only barely okay at 1-3. I’m not excited by him.

Mike
This guy will be a filler in a limited curve but I don’t see this cycle of 2 cost Levelers who level for 3 colorless being gamebreakers.


Joe
This seems like a superb way to generate spawn tokens.

Rob
This guy seems really good. Maybe the heart of some silly combo, as these are the sorts of cards that enable such things. It brings to view that so far the Uncommons seem better than the Rares in this set.

Mike
I’m sure that this guy will have his uses in certain decks, he seems a little expensive for something like dredge but he’s a type of creature that could be excellent years from now in extended if something similar to dread return gets printed.


Joe
I don’t relish it, but it’s a mediocre way to forestall an impending Eldrazi I suppose.

Mike
I perish the thought of ever casting this card.


Joe
Super strong, but expensive. Should be hard to match once he’s online.

Mike
He’s really pricey, but he’s a walking, talking Damnation if you stick him.


Joe
A fun card for multi-player, but not ideal for limited. It’s more like a “lose less” than anything. Kind of the opposite of a “win more” card.


Joe
A decent sweeper that would be much better as an instant.

Mike
A cute combat trick, but seismic strike didn’t do anything in Worldwake so I don’t see this doing anything either.


Joe
Not a lot of bang for your buck here. He’s very easy to chump block.

Mike
I just can’t see running these guys unless you had the potential to stick dozens (and I mean doezens) of eldrazi spawn per game.


Joe
This could potentially be a good finisher. As an instant, you can just pop this off at your opponent’s EOT when you don’t have anything else better to do.

Dillon
I love this card. It being instant speed is amazing. It feels kind of like Corrupt in a way. I think it will see play if x/B control rears it’s head. Where it shines is when you can just dump mana into it and just tear away hellspark elementals and some burn spells and get some life out of it. Even against Knight of the Reliquary decks and all of their fetch lands, you just gain so much life and neuter their life total as well as their Knights. I think it is solid, especially side by side with discard spells.

Mike
I dig this card, it’s got some real potential across a number of formats and has great synergy with mill decks.


Joe
This isn’t a terrible way to cycle through the dead weight in your hand, but it’s significantly worse when you actually like the cards you’re holding.

Mike
This guy is pretty interesting if you’re really flooded, I could see him doing decent things in limited. But he’s rare, so…


Joe
This is very strong removal, destined to see constructed play (again).

Dillon
I want to see a return of Rock decks. Probably more than most people, and this card being reprinted makes me excited to maybe see something in that direction. I’m not sure if it is better than Deathmark right now, but I think it will have it’s place soon.

Mike
Very interesting. We already know how strong a 1cc removal card can be in standard over the past year and a half and this one looks like it could pick up with Path to Exile left off.


Joe
Awesome removal that will nuke walls well, but it’s less than stellar against annihilating Eldrazi.

Rob
Rebound is going to wreck people. Combat trick Deathtouch is wicked. Then if you put it on your biggest guy on the rebound, or on a pinger, you clean up their board or apply a sound beating. Rebound combat tricks are a win-win choice for any deck not running Cascade. Jund need not apply.

Mike
Double removal for 1 mana is just good. It’s pretty limited, but if they’re not blocking your creature you’re getting some damage through. I think it’s best played on your opponent’s turn but it’s pretty versatile.


Joe
Too weak.

Mike
It’s too pricey to be really good but it could potentially block some serious threats you might not otherwise be able tod eal with.


Joe
This is a terrible leveler.

Mike
I think this is simply too expensive to level up, and without levelling it up it’s really just not that good.


We’d love to hear your thoughts. Did we miss anything? You can also check out the rest of the set review and analysis. :) Colorless White Blue Black

Rise of the Eldrazi Set Review and Analysis: Blue

Power 9 Pro is excited to bring you another set review for Magic the Gathering’s expansion set Rise of the Eldrazi. With Pre-release and Release tournaments coming up over the next two weeks and a full spoiler available, the Power 9 Pro Team is putting in a collaborative effort to review and analyze the entire set. We’ll be looking at the cards from the vantage point of limited, affects on standard, extended or legacy-formats and whether Rise will have any new must-haves for Elder Dragon Highlander. This post is for the blue portion of Rise of the Eldrazi.

Joe
Cantrip on enchantment alteration seems like a neat card. This is essentially a very soft, situational removal spell. Unlike the original, this must target one of your own creatures.

Zak
I like this in limited if you have enough auras, but unless a really strong enchantment decks comes up, I don’t think this will see much standard play. I can see this being a dead card whenever you don’t have an aura out that can enchant one of your creatures so that makes it all the less likely that this will see play.

Rob
You can save a non-totem armor aura from being wiped away with the guy getting killed, Ninjutsu an aura from the guy you are holding back onto your attacker as a combat trick or or move an aura from your tapped guy onto a blocker likewise. These all have one problem though: they involve auras and increasing risk of getting x-for-1′d. At least the cantrip helps a little.

Mike
You have to work a little too hard for this card to be a 2 for 1 in limited. Unless you have lots of spicy targets and little men, it will be tough to even cycle this one. Random blowouts, but beyond that, this should probably be on your bench.

Justin
This is a fun little cantrip that can be pretty sweet in the right deck. This seems like casual play material only. This will have no competitive impact at all.


Joe
Seems pricey enough that even a time walk sort of deck will have trouble setting it up. It just seems too gimmicky to me.

Zak
There’s no way this is seeing standard play. I would much rather play Maelstrom Nexus, because that affects all spells and costs 2 less, and that doesn’t see play (although costing a full WUBRG might have something to do with it). In EDH, this is the nuts. Double Time Stretch anyone?

Rob
This set’s version of Maelstrom Nexus. Sure, you could try to build around it to do cute things, but shouldn’t your mana be doing more by this point? Though, looking at it now, it does bring to mind that rebound spells can help make Pyromancer Ascension better, for whatever that is worth.

Mike
An extremely powerful effect, but probably too expensive to ever actually use. Very reminiscent of Reflection Mirror, Archmage’s Ascension or Maelstrom Nexus, where you get to do something absurd but at a cost that isn’t quite approachable.

Justin
I like this for EDH decks like Erayo. Great to have in play with your card drawing spells. Seems a bit too slow for constructed and is a dud in Limited.


Joe
Hmm. Unless I had ~5 or more levelers, I’d shy away from this common.

Zak
This seems bad, but it is highly dependant on your levelers. What I want to say is that if you have sufficiently advanced levelers out, why aren’t you spending this mana on leveling them up some more?

Rob
I like the flavor of this card, and it could be powerful in the right decks, but you’d probably rather have a leveling flyer in the same role.

Mike
Fairly narrow, but if you happen to open enough levelers than this card can be an absurd win condition. I could see drafting a weenie deck based around this and the quickest levelers possible, as a 4/4 flier is a force to be reckoned with.

Justin
Maybe good in draft? I am not a fan of Level Up so I can’t be pleased with this common.


Joe
This has promise. I could see trying it in some older format merfolk decks, even though better options exist on the face of it. Legacy merfolk decks are already very tight, and they have lots of lords already, but this is a decent substitute for, say, sejiri merfolk, if you lack the tundras to make the Uw version. In limited, he’s awesome as a 2UU flying hill giant, or a 4UU air elemental largely because of the installment plan that is level up.

Zak
We don’t usually see merfolk with flying, so this is a nice change. However, merfolk’s strength has always been in how cheap and efficient its lords are, and this is neither. Having a Lord of Atlantis die to a Doom Blade is expected, and you can easily replace him. This guy? Not so much.

Rob
Speaking of the leveling flyer you’d rather have over Champion’s Drake, this guy has potential and if level was a better mechanic, I’d ponder applications in Legacy Fish decks for him. I think all levelers want to reward you for the first level, but so many don’t and this is a prime example. 2UU for a 3/3 Flyer doesn’t seem horrible, but it doesn’t seem good either. Just missed the all-star mark, but might see some play if standard Fish take-off. I wonder if there are any merfolk on Mirrodin?

Mike
Speaking of the 2 drop flier, too bad this isn’t a common with some irrelevant 2nd level. As a rare Air Elemental for 6 spread out over a few turns, this card is probably just OK in the perceived limited environment. Likely not good enough for the mana intensive Legacy fish decks.

Justin
OK, as far as Level Up goes, this isn’t very bad at all. Blue is the color that can benefit the most from long drawn-out games. I am still not a fan.


Joe
I like the crab flavor, but the ability isn’t very tricky. Just keep any tapping creatures you might have in mind when you’re considering this card.

Zak
This seems like you’d play it more as a proactive regeneration shield than anything else. Your opponent will most likely not fall for you untapping a blocker with this, but it does change their playstyle. However, if you desire this effect, you have to leave 3 mana fallow every turn, which is not something you really want to do.

Rob
Meh. I’m sure it will fall in with all the other untap mana maker combo-enablers. Just another in a long line.

Mike
Filigree Sages was just OK in a limited Esper deck, and that was a 2/3. Certainly not worth a card investment.

Justin
Not the best Umbra by a fair margin. Will see some use in Limited but that is about all.


James
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Joe
If you’re in base-blue, run this card. It will stop Eldrazi shennanigans before they even hit play. Very good. Probably playable in standard and perhaps beyond due to EtB lands.

Zak
I dislike this card for limited primarily because of how it slows you down a turn when you’re aiming to land an Eldrazi. However, I’m glad wizards didn’t make it rare as it was originally spoiled, because this could be relevant in standard. Replaying a Halimar Depths can be excellent, but then you’ve really set yourself back on tempo. The versitility of this card is the only thing that’s making this card better than Negate or Essence Scatter.

Rob
I know permission is insanely good because I hate sitting across from it. This gives Counter Control decks all sorts of building options. Run it with spell Lands, non-land mana, late game nearly tapping out, or just when you need to stop a bad thing before it starts. It will certainly make the rounds in the hands of Good Blue players. The Bad Blue players will just whine that it’s not Counterspell.

Mike
We asked for a balanced counter, and R&D is certainly getting creative. Familiar’s Muse failed because blue decks typically didn’t want guys on the table early to activate it. This falls to a similar problem, as it forces you to take another action that your deck likely does not want to put up (Time Walking yourself). Factor in that the other 2 drop counters are pretty solid in this current format (especially Flashfreeze) and this simply isn’t worth the cost.


Joe
This might be what you need to force through the last bits of damage in your aggro deck. Still seems a bit on the weak side to me.

Zak
This seems okay in the late game as a way to ensure that your Eldrazi don’t get chump-blocked to death. However, it doesn’t cantrip which makes it a pretty dead card for most of the game. Not seeing myself playing it.

Rob
This is good for letting a monster into you opponent’s house in limited through their wall of defenders, but I don’t think it’ll do much else.

Mike
Blue decks are usually full of fliers, and rarely will you need to force your annihilator into action as he should be winning anyhow. A reach spell in the wrong colors it feels like.


James
kind of a cool way to use Abyssal Persecutor to win the game…on curve too…neat…but the sac outlet is a bit weird. glad i was able to think of at least one way to use it…

Joe
Neat flavor. Should be a decent control magic.

Zak
It’s a Threads of Disloyalty variant for standard. Unfortunately, for 5 mana more, we can get straight up Mind Control or Vapor Snare. I don’t see this seeing much play.

Rob
In a set with so much fat, why bother printing this? It’s a bad Mind Control. Maybe in a U/R Baazar Trader deck it will be extra stealing effects, but I doubt it’ll see any real play.

Mike
Honestly, this card is extremely tough to evaluate without any actual experience in the limited format. Confiscate effects are typically insane as they are automatic 2 for 1′s (removing their guy and getting yourself one), but it is often because you are taking their best man. With the limitations of this card and the context of the format, however, and may be rather subpar.


Joe
Seems like a tough one to ever untap. Maybe this is a good reason to pick up a crab umbra?

Zak
It’s Deep-Slumber Titan‘s little sister, and it will probably see just as much play, or lack thereof.

Rob
I kinda stopped caring about the time I saw that it enters Tapped and doesn’t untap. 5/5 for 3 is good. 5/5 that is useless for 3 and needs even more cards and mana spent at it is bad.

Mike
Remember when you first started playing Magic and worked and worked to make a card like Leviathan work? Remember how much that sucked? Pass.


Joe
A very strong umbra. Not many of the walls fly, so evasion will be key to aggressive strategies, and this will let you take to the skies at about the time the ground gets clogged up.

Zak
There we go, one of the best auras in the set, easily first-pickable. It turns your crappy early game creatures like Glory Seeker into something that puts your opponent on a huge clock. First pickable.

Rob
Too Expensive. Play a 3/3 Flying guy for 4U and you’d be better off.

Mike
Largely depends on the colors you’re paired with in your limited deck. Giving some evasion to a big beasty to avoid those Walls and Spawn tokens is quite helpful, but keeping it with your other blue fliers is pretty subpar.


James
Hmm…Probably too expensive. the Pyromancer Ascension is way better…

Joe
This seems entirely too slow. Mirari makes him completely obsolete in older formats… though I guess Vedalken Aethermage can tutor for this guy! Really his problem is speed. Once he’s online, his effect is nice, but it takes 3UUUU + UU and tap to copy the first spell. That’s way too much to be very relevant, even in such a slow format.

Zak
This seems really unstable. If you ever level him up to max and untap with him….You’re going to copy 2 Terminates and then he’ll die. That’s if you’re living in magical Xmas land. Or you could get 2 more copies of Day of Judgment. This guy just doesn’t cut it.

Rob
Spell copying amuses me in Casual. I like to ponder what it would be worth in doing broken things in competitive, but the conclusion is usually that it takes too much to set up. I think this supports that conclusion.

Mike
Another insane effect that just requires too much investment. The fact that this guy can simply be Terminated for insane value across an open board is a little embarrassing, and how many instants and sorceries really need copying anyhow?


James
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Joe
This is among my favorite totem armor auras. Flash makes it a nice combat trick, and it can even trade with a slightly bigger creature and live to tell the tale.

Zak
This is solid, as it makes for a combat trick which will play similar to Kindled Fury in M10 limited. However, it’s effect seems like it won’t be very good late game, unless you want to keep an extra 2 mana open when you’re casting Eldrazi, which you really can’t afford to do.

Rob
Giving Aura’s flash make them a lot more playable as you get a lot more flexibility in playing around opponent’s abilities to react and you can use them as combat tricks. Also, with Totem Armor you can save one of your guys from an incoming Terminate or the like.

Mike
I happen to like this card a lot, as it has both the flexibility of an Unsummon targeting your own man to protect him from a removal spell, while also giving him a small boost to prevent an otherwise trade. However, both effects may be too small, as +1/+1 is almost negligible when fighting 0/4 walls and monstrous Eldrazi, and having the poor side of Unsummon is less than exciting.


James
Aren’t there cheaper ways to do this in standard? Anyway, i’ts not the worst card for limited. At least there are Eldrazi that will recur back to the llibrary regardless of where they’re “going into the graveyard from.” I can see this being really good in limited actually. But not in constructed.

Joe
An expensive merfolk looter, but a looter nonetheless, and with slight benefit for longer games.

Zak
This is fine for limited. Remember that [card]Reckless Scholar[/card saw play, and he didn’t attack very much. This also gives you a more relevant effect in the late game. Solid, solid pick.

Rob
UU1 for a 0/1 Looter, UUUU3 for a 0/1 Card drawer. I see so many ways that this seems a waste of mana and card. Just run Reckless Scholar. Really.

Mike
Looter effects are always fabulous in limited (yes, even Reckless Scholar was fine despite the format), and I see this as no exception. If it’s in your opener, it is almost as good as Merfolk Looter as you would probably pass on turn 1, and the investment is fairly small to actually start punching out card advantage.

Justin
I don’t see why you would dump 7 mana into this guy. I don’t understand how the series of play is supposed to pay off. Turn 1: Plau Cryptologist. Turn 2: Level up Cryptologist with no mana open. Use ability to cycle a card. Turn 3: Level up Cryptologist again w/ one man up, use ability to cycle card. Stare across table at Wild Nacatl x2 and Knight of the Reliquary…. Bad, just bad.


Joe
Sort of a weak, situational combat trick, but cantrip saves it and makes it passable in my book.

Zak
It seems like this set is full of cheap blue instants that just don’t do enough. Wouldn’t pick in limited, has no home in constructed.

Rob
Filler common.

Mike
Reminiscent of Aura Finesse – too small of an effect that even cantripping cannot save.


Joe
Not bad for a flying 3/3. Only one colorless more than hill giant and decidedly more sexy.

Zak
This seems absolutely fine in limited, and the ability to send your army to the air for a turn can be extremely relevant as the game progresses. At worst it’s 5 mana for a 3/3 flying, which is totally reasonable.

Rob
It’s that 3/3 Flyer for U4 I was talking about back on Drake Umbra! You would be better off playing this than that. But of course you’d probably be better off running a lot of things rather than this. I wish the invoker cycle this time around would have been better than the old ones, but oh well.

Mike
3/3 Fliers for 5 are respectable, but not exciting. The 2nd ability isn’t irrelevant, but its too slow and expensive to ever truly surprise your opponent. Happy to play with in limited, just above filler level.

Justin
Way overpriced. This one is only slightly better than the white Invoker.


Joe
Situationally awesome.

Zak
Umm… it seems like a turn-5 answer to boros. You should probably be dead by then. I really don’t see any place for it.

Rob
Cool for those Flyer decks, except a Flyer or removal spell would be better here. Oops.

Mike
Probably quite good in your limited deck where anything without flying is probably on defense anyhow. Way too expensive for constructed.


Joe
This is the wall you want more than just about any other.

Zak
This is the ideal wall, a Fog Bank. It stalls for as long as you need, and it’s a wall your opponents can’t just attack through.

Rob
This has potential to be really dangerous and jarring. He’d be a great target for some Auras and doing his job just eating any guy your opponent throws your way.

Mike
Beloved Chaplain was a good man, and even though I can’t stick a Boar Umbra on this man to much effect, he holds the fort down well. Solid role player for limited.


Joe
Well, initially I thought this would be too slow, but maybe this is the extemity of the lengths to which you must go if you want to race the walls. On turn 3, you’ll still be starting your 10 round clock with this guy. I dunno… he seems to be on the margin between playable and unplayable. Definitely not seeming stellar to me.

Zak
I can’t help but compare this to Aether Figment. However, with the abundance ofwalls in this set, the unblockable might be more relevant the originally thought.

Rob
Leveling cost too much, but at least it is a low climb to get use out of his levels. Rewards you for the first time you level him, which is cool, but the cost and risk of throwing away mana with a Level on the stack puts him out of my typical consideration.

Mike
If leveling was 1 cheaper, he’d certainly pair well with the 1/1 flying 2 drop. As is, the investment is probably just too much.


Joe
Another situationally awesome card. I might leave it in the side unless I was short on walls.

Zak
A wall that becomes an attacker in the late game seems like a good pick, but a 6.6 doesn’t seem as relevant against an Eldrazi. Although you could board this in against a blue player, I’m not sure how often the last level will be relevant.

Rob
Massive wall action without defender. The pay off for leveling this guy just once edges him just barely into consideration. I love how epic he becomes at level 5, but getting there will be a trial.

Mike
Again, I can’t help but think about what is missing – if only it had Defender on levels 1-4, I think this card would be much better. However, I probably want to be a bit more productive than inching towards a 6/6 with a decent wall left behind. Likely a 22-23 sort of card.


Joe
Slight improvement on gray ogre in blue makes me willing to give this crab a try.

Zak
I don’t really have anything to say on this, I probably wouldn’t play him in limited because of all the walls.

Rob
I’m sorry Jwari Courser, but Hedron Crab is the only Crab in my life. All hail the Mill Crab’s superiority over all other crabs.

Mike
Vanilla is a good flavor of ice cream.


James
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Joe
Another card that can deal with Eldrazi. Not bad.

Zak
Man have we comme a long way from Cryptic Command. I love the art, but it’s just not nearly could enough for the cost it demands. In limited it’s fine though, because Countering an Eldrazi can be game-breaking.

Rob
Underwhelming for a 4 CMC counter. Knowledge is power, but knowledge can be bought cheaper.

Mike
Discombobulate never saw any serious play, and while that card is no longer in the format, the bar still is not that low.


James
This guy should just be a wall. Make it a 0/3 for level 0. 0/4 for levels 1-6 and then a 0/6 for 7+ with the ultimate ability. I mean, it’s all pretty useless other than that.

Joe
It’s kind of silly to evaluate mythics for limited, but a 1/3 can slow the game down so that his “ultimate” kicks in, and it should rapidly prove decisive from there.

Zak
I love this in EDH, especially group games. However, he seems like he’ll die really easily. Don’t expect this to live for long if you go ultimate.

Rob
A powerful control deck could use this guy as the U Level-up cost could be spared mid-late game while maintaining Control mana. EDH will love to hate this guy. Best Leveler so far, but many more to be spoiled. Later: This guy got bumped for best leveler by Student of Warfare, but he’s still ok all the same.

Mike
More insane effects for equally absurd costs. If I found myself in Mono-Blue I would take this guy without much thought, but outside of that he becomes pretty subpar. Think Timbermaw Larva.

Justin
OK this guy could fit into an Eryo EDH deck. 1/3 for 2cc in Limited is actually pretty good. I still think level up is horrible.


Joe
Meh. Only in bears.dec

Zak
Umm… This just seems bad.

Rob
Filler common. Not a bad one though, but not really good either. Just kinda ok.

Mike
More small effects to give value to cards you shouldn’t be playing anyhow. If any information I’ve read and perceived from spoilers is true, you don’t want to be playing less-than-bears.


Joe
Evasion, I’m guessing, will be the only way to roll with any sort of “fast” deck, and you’ll probably need guys like this in such a deck.

Zak
A 2/3 flying with vigilance is pretty solid for 4, and he can jump your mana producing capacity by 1, provided you play multiple spells. In short, awesome in limited.

Rob
2/3 Flying with a pseudo Vigilance. Might be good with mana ramp guys too, but cost seems clunky. I don’t rule him out of having good synergies with his triggered untap ability though.

Mike
Reminds me of a weak Kinsbaile Baloonist. Could be good if walls are extremely prevalent, but again suffers from being in blue where your men are likely flying through. The fact that it’s not very good at attack does not help either.


James
Looks great for enabling Pyromancer Ascension…heck this is just sweet.

Joe
Love it. This guy is part of the “slow things down” movement, designed to make Eldrazi feasible in limited. This guy should help the cause tremendously, regrowth-ing a removal spell, upping your defender count, and providing an 0/4 wall.

Rob
Tricksy. I’d like to cast Skitter Invasion on the cheap, then tap U and sac for Spawn to cast this and get Skitter back. Not saying that’s best or even good, but these are the types of tom-foolery we should be thinking about with this.

Mike
Izzet Chronarch was a good man in limited, and while a bear is probably better than an 0/4 defender (and Compulsive Research made for a sexier target), this guy should still be alright.

Justin
I like him in x/U EDH. I think the Standard meta is way too fast for this guy. Maybe after Shards rotate out the format will be slow enough to make this wall playable in some sort of control variant.


Joe
Good soft removal. Able to keep an Eldrazi at bay.

Rob
Limited Common Fodder.

Mike
Curse of Chains, but just for blue – and blue removal is some good. May even find a niche in blue mage sideboards to solve the problem that is Putrid Leech, though your probably paired with a color that offers better options (Journey to Nowhere comes to mind).


Joe
Against opponents lacking pingers, this is a find staller, but often they will have trivial, free ways to eliminate this wall. Still, lots of times, you suck up some kind of trick or removal spell with this wall, and until then, you stop the bleeding.

Rob
Another Limited mainstay. The glass wall. Seems ok for it’s intended role.

Mike
A big wall thats effectiveness largely depends on the number of targeting effects printed on played limited cards and cheap flexible spells (such as those cantripping ones).


Joe
Another card that can help you alpha strike / alpha block.

Rob
This card’s possible applications have yet to be fully grok’d. I’ve really got to get my hands on some and start to think about how to abuse it in more depth. I’d make sure I have a set tucked away and meditate on them.

Mike
An apparent limited blowout. While not quite as effective as Sleep, the fact that it is an instant and has additional flexibility in its second mode should prove it to be almost as good.


James
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Joe
Risky. How many cards will your opponent have on turn 6? In any other set, I’d avoid this, but in ROE, there’s a good chance they’ll still have a few left. If they have 2+, I guess it’s not shabby. This is about the worst top deck imaginable though.

Rob
Possibly good card draw and pressure to make your opponent over extend by playing out before the Rebound, but at the cost and the Sorcery speed, I don’t know if it gets there as far as playability.

Mike
Remember when Tidings was in Standard, or Compulsive Research? Does anyone else die a little inside when they cast Divination outside of M10 limited? It’s almost mocking that they printed Rebound on this, as the opponent will obviously make all efforts to make this as bad as possible on the come-around.


Joe
Wait until the end of your opponent’s first main phase before you return their Eldrazi to their hand with this card. This is a solid spell all around. It even hits lands, like the original boomerang. A strong tempo-oriented option.

Zak
I wish they just reprinted Boomerang, but this is still good at bouncing the all-in Eldrzai play off of spawn tokens. Also can dispatch a fully-leveled creature, which could be nice. If you’re desperate, you can always just bounce an opposing land.

Rob
Boing! Oops, was that your Savage Lands I just bounced Jund? Huh, sucks to be you. I like this with Resounding Wave, Spreading Seas, the black swamp maker and maybe a bit of red for Grixis charm and old fashioned Land Destruction.

Mike
A nice filler for my limited deck, as a simple bounce spell is always appreciated and useful. Not close to constructed play.


James
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Joe
So this guy will let you have pseudo-haste when you drop your Big Eldrazi scumbag. Not bad at all. There are other pleasant uses here too, but that’s probably going to be the most common.

Zak
This seems fine in EDH, and will be amazing with any Eldrazi by giving it pseudo-haste. You can also copy a card with a cheap level-up cost, and then copy something with a splashy ultimate and higher level up cost.

Rob
This is an odd on-board clone. It doesn’t enter as a guy, turns normal at end of turn and lands vulnerable. Stays a sad little chump when it drops. But, if you are using the most powerful allies (those that count allies when they trigger) then this guy could be ok. Maybe.

Mike
If only this guy kept his state until YOUR next turn (so that he did something on defense), or could copy your opponent’s guys, etc. Vesuvan Shapeshifter this is not.


Joe
card selection and a decent body makes a good staller.

Zak
It’s Sleight of Hand on a stick! This is awesome for improving your mid-game turns and ensuring your land drops. Awesome in limited to make sure you wreck face with your Eldrazi on time.

Rob
I really like this guy’s ability. It’s like Cantrip v. 1.5. Will be great in limited.

Mike
Not quite Court Hussar, but this effect is much stronger than the other marginal effects showing up on undersized bodies in this format. Good limited filler.


Joe
A good card drawer that puts the big card you don’t need yet back and gives you the cards most relevant for now.

Zak
I really like this cards as a Compulsive Research variant, because it can send away cards you don’t need. I think that combo decks will have a great deal of fun with this, because you can just reshuffle excess pieces.

Rob
Great with Treasure Hunt. Draw a land and something good. Play this, draw whatever and shuffle the excess land away. Better than just binning a card.

Mike
I’m not sure if this is better than Lat-Nam’s Legacy, a card occasionally appearing in Vintage Oath lists, as it cannot be fetched with Merchant Scroll. Otherwise, this card will probably show up in Summoning Trap lists to be essentially a draw 2 for 2 when your holding a brick. Solid.

Justin
Oh Man how I wish this was an instant. Still this is a very solid bit of card draw.


Joe
A “fixed” ancestral recall that still seems mighty strong to me. Tapping spawn is no biggie, especially the turn you spawned them. Seems good. I’ll run it if I have even middling numbers of spawn generators.

Zak
I’m hesitant to play this without a large amount of spawn generators, because it could be a dead card most of the time. In constructed, I might play this in an UW aggro deck, but it’s still so risky to play this.

Rob
Really cool on one hand, on the other hand, I wonder how Blue will reliably have out four guys. Of course, this isn’t meant for Blue. This is meant for Green or White who are splashing into Blue for the Card Advantage not to fall behind the Jund and Control decks.

Mike
Gaze of Justice was not the easiest one to pull off, but if your deck was full of Icatian Criers or fetchable Rebels, things were rocking. In a similar vein, if you can get some Spawn makers, this should be rocking.

Justin
Good solid card drawing. I like this in U/W or U/G builds. Great way to shrug off a Blightning.


Joe
3U is a traditional cost for a 2/2 flier. This should be okay.

Zak
I would expect to get a 4/2 flier for 3U (which is what this gives you if you have Training Grounds out), but not for such a long term investment when it dies to almost any burn. Pass.

Rob
Too small and too much cost per level. Gimicky Common Filler.

Mike
The level up effect is a little expensive, but you essentially get to play Wind Drake with a potential upside. Not exactly exciting, but not the end of the world if I’m running it.


James
Wow. Really great for a control deck (constructed) and just big enough to play with the Eldrazi (thinking limited…I’d race with this). Seems more than decent to me.

Joe
6-drop flying 6/6 is a winner in limited. Drawing cards and adding counters makes this just plain nutty. Bombs away!

Zak
This is a fantastic card for limited, and a potential finisher in standard. However, Sphinx of Jwar Isle really doesn’t want to lose his place to this. It’s too bad this dies to Terminate, or he’d see more play.

Rob
Seems playable in some decks, great in others and insane with a Training Grounds in play. Watch it to be alongside it’s Jwar Jwar and Lost Truths brethren as the face of the Blue endgame.

Mike
Limited bomb, but not cutting it for constructed.

Justin
This guy is a solid Rare. Good in Constructed or Limited. Extra good with training grounds in play. I want him in my Kami of the Crescent Moon EDH deck. Four please.


Joe
If you have some kind of consistent way to make him evasive, this ophidian variant will rock. Otherwise, this is a weak, overcosted bear that won’t ever attack into opposing walls.

Zak
This card could be really good with Distortion Strike in limited, but don’t count on opening too many of these. In constructed, he could be good, but you’d have to pair him with a bunch of instant/sorcery removal. Maybe a UR deck could abuse this interaction.

Rob
A strange Magpie, and a bit on the fragile side for not having any evasion. The use of charge counters reminds me of the possibility that Scars might bring us ways of charging up guys with more counters.

Mike
Another Shadowmage Infiltrator without his necessary invasion. Too cute to be good without giving him more help than occasionally drawing cards is worth. Think Dimir Cutpurse, Cephalid Constable, etc.

Justin
Really needs some sort of evasion. A bigger butt would help too.


Joe
WOW! This is likely lame in limited absent some good levelers, but there are crazy uses in constructed, I’m guessing. Ambassador Laquatus is all that comes to mind initially, but there’s sure to be some gimmicky decks to come with this card.

Zak
This is a pretty awesome card because it makes so many cards once called “unplayable” much more so. I love the Ravnica Guildmages or Filigree Sages with this, and the latter can combine with Gilded Lotus for infinite mana. A fun and potentially powerful card all around.

Rob
This can be crazy. Already this has been pointed to as a linchpin in a turn four infinite mana combo that will be legal in RoE Standard.

Mike
A card asking to be broken. Very high ceiling that could lead to broken things or time in the 50 cent bin.

Justin
Crazy Johnny potential here. I can see EDH decks abusing this for infinite combos. I definitely want a play-set.


Joe
Another decent way to combat most Eldrazi, assuming you’re going to be up on spawn tokens when your opponent goes for the big guy. Seems like a decent assumption. The danger is that this will sometimes go dead in your hand right when you need it most.

Zak
This is one of the most solid counters in the set, and even in standard I could see this getting played. Maybe some sort of UW midrange deck could use this along efficient beaters like Sejiri Merfolk and Calcite Snapper.

Rob
Seems good for splashing control to protect your army of guys. Also reminds me of Lullmage Mentor. Maybe WotC thought he would be the card to break in Zendikar and had Unified Will and Shared Discovery and other merfolk guys as support for him. Hmm…

Mike
Similar issues to Familiar Ruse in that your blue deck should never really be ahead on the table.

Justin
I like this in Momir Vig EDH decks. It seems like a counter made for x/U decks. Pretty solid in a set where creatures really matter.


Joe
Very strong when paired with the right levelers. I see him drafted high when you’ve opened a leveler for pick 1.

Zak
This guy will get picked much higher if you have a set of good but expensive levelers. However, you need a good reason to play him, because Scathe Zombies is just terrible. It would be interesting to try him out in a constructed deck, but I’m not sure how well this archetype will turn out in constructed.

Rob
I am kinda surprised he isn’t a leveler himself, but either way he’ll be fine in limited Level decks. As for Constructed, I’ll keep an eye on it, but Levelers seem to be a bit shy of the mark.

Mike
Reminiscent of Join the Ranks for limited, a card that’s value swings heavily depending on the rest of your deck – from all star to bench fodder.

Justin
Blue seems like the best color for Level Up centered decks. Yawn.


We’d love to hear your thoughts. Did we miss anything? You can also check out the rest of the set review and analysis. :) Colorless White Blue Black

Rise of the Eldrazi Set Review and Analysis: White

Power 9 Pro is excited to bring you another set review for Magic the Gathering’s expansion set Rise of the Eldrazi. With Pre-release and Release tournaments coming up over the next two weeks and a full spoiler available, the Power 9 Pro Team is putting in a collaborative effort to review and analyze the entire set. We’ll be looking at the cards from the vantage point of limited, affects on standard, extended or legacy-formats and whether Rise will have any new must-haves for Elder Dragon Highlander. This post is for the white portion of Rise of the Eldrazi.

James
Once upon a time I thought this could be used for trick removal but I can’t think of a creature in this set w/ a butt of 2 or less. lol. I guess one of the level up guys. Pretty narrow. Meh

Joe
A gray ogre that acts as a removal spell like shock most times. The +0/+3 part here is flexible, so you might even pick off a 1/1 and use the toughness boost to win a battle between two other creatures. This is a pretty good combat trick for limited.

Zak
I think that Wizards has been very careful as to what cards they give flash to after the menace that was faeries. As James rightfully points out, this will only remove a Glory Seeker, which really shouldn’t be a worry for you, and it will only do that once in a blue moon.

Rob
Combat trick on a creature is good. A nice surprise to set an attacking opponent back on his ear and put you back into the game.

Mike
This is an interesting card, you don’t see too many defensive pumps being used but based on what we’ve seen from creature power in this set, I think this guy will be extremely handy and not too quickly outclassed as a standard 2/2

Justin
Solid combat trick for Limited. a 2/2 for 3 that has flash is nice and economical. Solid.


Joe
gray ogre for white would be playable in most limited formats, but here we have a defender / wall theme to contend with. I don’t think this guy will be relevant until level 5, at which point he’s, roughly speaking, a 5/5 first strike for 10W. Not exactly stellar, even when you can pay in installments. Aggro strategies only.

Zak
This seems like a basic way of explaining the new level up mechanic, and this ends up being pretty underwhelming. I guess if you get other ways to put level counters on your guys this could be okay, but it still seems weak compared to the rest of the cards in the set.

Rob
Fetchable with Ranger of Eos, but not good enough to really matter. If the early levels could give it a bigger toughness or an ability, it might have been manageable.

Mike
This guy is sure to be a fine limited drop if you really need to fill out your curve. If you’re stuck on low drops he will certainly fill the role, but there’s very little chance he’ll be the 5/5 first striker he so longs to be.

Justin
I am not a fan of level up no matter what anyone says. Seems like poor resource management. D.


Joe
Wow… this should help you win the race you started with your bears deck… once you reach 8, that is.

Zak
I actually love this card. If you untap with it, your opponent’s Eldrazi become neutered and you can hopefully use the extra turns to bring your own behemoths to the table. Also seems solid in EDH with cards like Land Tax to help you get the land you need.

Rob
Invokers! Thank goodness they are common. Would have been a waste of any other slot. Limited fodder.

Mike
These 8: creatures do nothing for me, though a 2 power flyer for 3 is probably fine for limited.

Justin
Alpha strike in Limited? If I am going to pay 3 for a 2/1 creature it better have Flying (I’m looking at you Kelnore Bat).


James
Nice flier but indestructible won’t save this Biatch from Annhilate

Joe
Cute effect, and a nice scantily clad picture. Angels seem to want for tailors up in the heavenly host of Magic. Is this deathless angel or robe-less angel? Anyway, I suspect that merely being a 5/7 flying would make it pretty effective in limited, it’s also got the indestructible thing going, making it resilient as well.

Zak
As angels go, this is prettey meh. Remember, for the 2 mana you want to keep open after you cast her, you could cast Iona, Shield of Emeria. Could be fine in EDH I suppose.

Rob
This will be great standing up to those Eldrazi as they swing into me. Wait, they make me sac perms when they swing. #$!@#$! I may eat my words but those words are: No Constructed, Subpar Limited.

Mike
A fine limited bomb but outclassed my most other rares in any constructed format.

Justin
Indestructible is not as good as it once was with so many reusable sac effects running around in this set. Still a 5/7 is pretty good in Limited but I think it gets easily out-shined by big fat Eldrazi.


Joe
Excellent reprint here. Good for nuking Umbras, I’m guessing.

Zak
I disagree with Joe’s opinion, and I think it’s a crappy reprint. IOn a set where man is really not an issue, wouldn’t Disenchant have been better? Although I guess Naturalize already has that spot. This just seems so narrow, even for limited.

Rob
Reprinted cheap enchantment removal. If I’m mono white, it might be good to have in the sideboard if an enchantment like Eldrazi Conscription or Training Grounds becomes prevalent, but overall I’d rather have Nature’s Claim and the option of shooting artifacts.

Mike
Well, if you want to destroy an enchantment and you’re a white mage I can’t think of anything cheaper or more narrow.

Justin
Why not just give us Disenchant? Oh yeah, Naturalize. Pretty basic.


Joe
This is the kind of umbra which will make a piddly wall into the great wall of China.

Zak
Joe, we don’t need any more Great Walls in Magic. All joking aside, this card is fine for a Leveler that you’d like to keep around in time to get to its later stages, because it disrupts both destroy- and damage-based removal.

Rob
Not as good as the Hyena Umbra, but almost playable. Almost.

Mike
If you have a real hard-on for totem armor I’m sure the cheap cost will appease you but otherwise: WHY?

Justin
Not diggin this aura


Joe
I like this trick… save a dude, hopefully negating one of your opponent’s spot removal cards, and then sneak past their walls the following turn.

Zak
This reminds me of Brave the Elements except that it doens’t require as heavy a colour commitment. I think that it’s an excellent tool when paired with an Eldrazi to save it from a removal spell and allow it to attack unblocked the next turn.

Rob
Right at home in WW and great for splashing in any number of decks. A great compliment to Brave the Elements and Kabria Evangel in their respective decks. Negate some removal and give a retributive strike the next turn.

Mike
Not quite the brave the elements white is accustomed to, but in a multicolor deck it could protect a guy you absolutely want to protect. But if that’s all you want to do why not just rock some totem armor?

Justin
I like this in Limited. Goes great in a white build to push those last bits of damage through. Rebound makes it better.


James
Seems pretty cool to me. I like this for the G/W builds I’ve been gravitating toward since the release of Shards. The abilities are really the kind of stuff that aggro decks don’t like to deal with. Also, what happens to the counter count if you use the last ability (turn into a 6/6 until EOT)? Does it change back to whatever count total was prior to the change or does it effectively reset to 6? It’d be SICKO if i goes back to 6…

Joe
I wonder what can be done with guys like perimeter captain and ol’ giddy J here. To the extent that you can make good on his initial ability through defense, then you’ll have reusable removal and a quick built in win condition for the turn you finish mopping up the opposing army.

Zak
As I said when thiis guy first was spoiled, I’m not sold on a card that cost 3WW and isn’t named “Baneslayer Angel”. However, I think that this can be a great way to forcibly trigger Perimeter Captain or Wall of Frost, and that it gives white some nice reusable spot removal. Can also help Elspeth, Knight-Errant rack up loyalty if she’s played before Gideon.

Sean
I’m really uncertain about this guy. He seems powerful in certain situations, I just don’t know if he will see play in the highly competetive 5 mana white slot in constructed.

Dillon
Probably one of the more powerful spells in the set right now. His versatility on the battlefield is really what makes him great. A controlling Planeswalker and an aggressive Planeswalker. The beautiful mending of the two. He breaks stalemates forcing the opponent to attack into you, and he can just kill pesky creatures, then deals an enormous about of damage. The whole time he is a planeswalker therefore it is very cheap to do.

Rob
Tap all your guys for 3WW. Oh, I guess I can Assassinate a guy in White, that’s kinda nifty, but Path, Journey, O-ring are all better. And why the hell would I turn my planeswalker into Terminate/Path bait? Maybe it’ll be good against Removal-less Green decks.

Mike
This guy is interesting; he clearly has many applications, maybe the best of which being he can tap your opponent’s entire team, something normally only blue has access to. Furthermore, he can still go and do some damage on his own my becoming a 6/6. Seems to combo nicely with safe passage.

Justin
I like it when they introduce new Plansewalkers but this one made me scratch my head. His +2 ability is situational at best. -2 is pretty good. the 0 ability is what I find the most interesting. Seems like a cool way to pop off some damage post Wrath (or DOJ). You can’t block with him so he doesn’t fit in with the defensive flavor of white. Could be good against some sort of defender home brew. I see Gideon gathering dust in trade binders for quite some time.


Joe
I don’t see bears working unless your curve stops at about 3, and you’re flush with removal for the ubiquitous walls in this format. Glory seeker has a tough time as a reprint in RoE.

Zak
Another reprint I dislike. With another 2/2 for 1W that’s strictly better thank this (Knight of Cliffhaven) at common, I really wonder why WotC thought he deserved a slot.

Rob
White bear is a bear. Rawr.

Mike
Zzzz

Justin
What? Why do we need a white bear? At least my Pegasus has flying for 2cc. In Limited just a late pick.


James
Lame. I don’t like this. Somone prove me wrong on the lameness of this card. (disclaimer: this is partial spot removal for a fliers based deck in limited).

Joe
I love the big hulking guy in this artwork. It seems like a really cool take on removal and the concept of defender from a flavor standpoint. I love the fantasy-realm feel of this one. This is about as soft as removal can get.

Zak
This stops Eldrzai From pulling their Annhilator shenanignas in limited. Few cards in this set do that so cheaply, so this will be an important card to have ion your limited deck if you’re playing white.

Rob
Uh, ok. I guess it is something to neutralize a guy with in limited.

Mike
This is no pacifism, in fact it’s probably pretty annoying. If there’s any creature you don’t want attacking you I can’t imagine you want him blocking you instead.

Justin
Good way to stop an opposing Kozilek in limited. Pacifism light.


Joe
A steep cost for a fog effect, and it won’t stop annihilator effects from triggering. You’ll have to use this to put the final nail in the coffin in an aggro deck, and even there, it’s a stretch. More likely, you’ll want removal, not a stall tactic. This might help slower defensive decks more.

Zak
I really don’t know what to say other than this seems to be worse than Safe Passage. I don’t think that a one-sided Fog was worth 4 mana. Maybe I was just spoiled by Pollen Lullaby.

Rob
I’d say this is Jacerator/Turbofog fodder, but we have those three Gaea’s Blessing bouncing around. Perhaps it’ll find play with other stalling tactics.

Mike
Not bad, a little pricey for a fog effect but it’s got absolute blowout potential when you’re on defense obviously. The fact that this is common in Triple ROE makes white a real powerhouse in the redszone.

Justin
This is the worst Fog I have ever seen. Really I am not kidding. 2WW? Why? Bad Wizards of the Coast. Bad!


Joe
4WW gets you a 1/4 guardian seraph. Not exactly above par, but still somewhat decent as walls go. This will definitely slow the game down a bit. Probably playable.

Zak
I’m still a big fan of Guardian Seraph, and I think there are better things to do with your mana than play this guy. Binder fodder.

Rob
For a leveler this doesn’t seem too bad. I liked Guardian Seraph, so I think I’ll like this guy. He does something the first time you level him. He gets out of bolt range the first time too. I like him even better with a Training Grounds on the field.

Mike
This is probably fine in limited but it might not even make your 22 if you’re mono white. It’s just a lot of mana for an 0/3 if you want it to do anything but sit there and look pretty.

Justin
Not digging this guy as a rare in a big set. I know I will end up with 10 of these guys. Grrrr. Level up is…. boooooo.


James
Cheap and extremely efficient. The totem ability makes the crap-level of enchantments go down a little. A smidgen. I’ll probably use this in my limited decks, figuring the amount of damage I’ll get in (and past an opponent’s creatures who are too pussy footed to block) will justify the cost. Plus this is cheap.

Joe
The umbra cycle also seems flavorful to me. The bar is pretty high for auras to be worth exposing yourself to two-for-one (241) situations though. One white mana for a boost and first strike is on the borderline. Yay defense theme!

Zak
I love totem armor, but that’s mainly because I love Auras to begin with, and I’m happy any time they make them better. This should help a mid-range creature out in limited, especially a leveler whose stats are not yet maxed out. Also good for when you happen to attack with Valakut Fireboar.

Dillon
This will be the go-to Totem Armor for a GW Spiritdancer deck. It is effectively costed and grants an ability that is just amazing. I like this one a lot.

Rob
This is playable. Turn two before removal really gets online for most decks, I can turn my, let’s say Loam Lion, into a Knight with a Regenerate Shield. Not an all star, but definitely playable. Might be best enchantment in the set.

Mike
I think if anyone is going to play a totem armor in any format other than limited, this is going to be the one (except maybe ones that have flash).

Justin
I like this card. I would take it pretty high in Limited if I was in white. I also like it for my Uriel, the Miststalker EDH deck as a way to avoid Wrath effects.


Joe
5W gets you a 2/6 vigilance, eh? Well, it might be worth it, given how slow this format looks on its face, but endorsing this kind of card goes against all previous precedent.

Zak
The best levelers are thos who you look forward to fully upgrading. This guy is not one of those. Yay, I just spent 18 mana so I can…stall the ground some more???

Rob
So expensive to level. Might as well read as a 5W 2/6 Vigilance. Which is no good. Big on defense. If it had been fetchable with Ranger of Eos, it’d have been ok.

Mike
Once again the guys who cost colorless mana to level up seem pretty terrible.

Justin
OK, I can deal with this level up guy at common.


Joe
This guy is good because even on level 0, he’s playable enough. Eventually he boosts the team.

Zak
This guy is strictly better than Pillarfield Ox, and will see play in limited. Anthem effects have always been valuable, and if it lets your Eldrazi become just stronger that those of your opponent, you should be able to tip the game’s balance in your favour.

Rob
Programmable lord is kinda cool. Cost out of playability is really bad. Too much work to protect him.

Mike
This guy is pretty crazy for uncommon. He could definitely do some damage in a constructed format with a bunch of weenies. I think he’s probably the only uncommon limited bomb I’ve seen so far from this set.

Justin
I am running out of things to say about Level Up. I only want to level up my D&D characters.


James
It’s aight for an early drop for a set that is leaning toward the high costing. That may end up being a strategy in itself: can I race my opponent with huge, annihilating creatures? only one way to find out…tell your friend to try it out and report back. ;-)

Joe
I dug this cycle from the moment I saw it. I’ve seen lots of people bemoaning that leveling up is a sorcery. It seems to be acknowledged that sorcery speed does make the actual decisions involved more important and varied and therefore more skill testing than would be the case with instant speed leveling. At any rate, I just like the overlap of this ability with dungeons and dragons. It seems like the natural evolution of cards like the flip cards in Kamigawa, and Figure of Destiny. I like it as a concept.

This particular creature, however, is uninspiring. I’d hope to have better flying creatures than this bear. If I was short on bears I might run this goldilocks.

Zak
Alright, this is what aggro needs if it is to work in Rise limited. Not saying it will, but this is a step in the right direction. that fact that it gains flyin is extremely relevant, and means that this guy won’t spend an eternity just crashing into walls all game long.

Rob
I can’t get over this being 13W for a Serra Angel, and on top of it, I’m just going to bolt it in response to your fourth Level-up Activation, so it isn’t even as robust as Serra. Most levels seem to suffer these same drawbacks thanks to Sorcery speed.

Mike
This guy is a decent Leveler. He’s a kor which is always a good thing in this block, and you can make him a flyer the turn after he comes into play if you have nothing better to do with the mana, I’ll take it.

Justin
Level up makes me laugh. It involves a huge mana commitment. However, I think that with all of the big spells running around you might be able to pull off some leveling. This guy seems pretty bad regardless. Playing Magic, especially competitively, involves making tight plays. Level up seems to contradict this philosophy by making you waste precious resources.


Joe
This guy could be huge in this format of walls. He should never lack a target, and will help you race, if that’s your plan.

Zak
Umm…a Blinding Mage variant? I don’t know, but tapping down a weak creature seems bad in this format. Although, it could allow for some early beat by getting through some low-power walls.

Rob
Nothing impressive.

Mike
It’s been a while since we’ve had a tapper in a set, this guy has some pretty big limitations so I don’t like him much.

Justin
This is ok in Limited I suppose. Nothing special.


Joe
I’m very excited about this card for Legacy, where I think it will give enchantress decks new legs. This guy loves auratog and rancor, for example. In limited, it’s a bit more of a gamble, but the low cost will make it worthwhile assuming you have 4+ auras that are desirable on their own.

Zak
I’m loving this guy. He’s like Auramancers Guise on a stick, and helps to mitigate nay lost card advantage that comes with playing auras. Could be constructed playable, time will tell.

Dillon
I don’t know why but this Aura Wizard has me intrigued. I just imagine GW Spiritdancer being effective. Canopy Cover maybe seeing a little play, but we shall see what other Aura’s come out. It isn’t going to be super effective while Path to Exile is still legal, but I can see it in the fall as an aggro plan after Jund rotates out.

Rob
Pocket card for some Enchantress builds to be played with in Standard. Like most cards that rotate around auras, this will be fun to toy with in a more laidback format, but competitive would need to be a very special place for it matter there. Not before Jund leaves use at the very least. Likely never.

Mike
This guy has a lot of potential in limited, could even be decent in constructed if you can get an aura that gives him shroud quick.

Justin
I like this for Enchantress builds. I think it might find a Home in Zur EDH decks as a way to benefit of enchantments stuck in your hand. Not too likely though. All in all I think this little Kor can be pretty good with the totem armor running around.


Joe
Well, I can’t see anyone attacking into this poorly enough to lose men. It’s a skill tester that’s just too obvious… I can’t see running this unless I REALLY want to stall… i.e., I got the nuts Eldrazi pool.

Zak
It’s more a stall card than anything, but with all the walls in this set, I don’t think we really need this card. As well, does it really matter if you deal 1 damage to a lone Eldrazi? It’s like a mosquito bite: annoying, but nothing that can’t be ignored until it’s no longer relevant.

Rob
I’d suggest this for Control, but I’m not sure it is worth it. Stops the random x/1 from attacking. Causes problems for Ball Lightnings, but doesn’t do a thing for a lone x/2. Why bother with this?

Mike
This is going to have some applications as a ghost prison, ensnaring bridge kind of card. It’s not hard to play around but it will find it’s way into some sideboards over the next few years.

Justin
Can be good with multiple copies in play. Not sure about the rarity. I guess if you are hiding behind all of RoEs walls it could be relevant. Not a fan.


Joe
Hello EDH General! Wow. Not even mana abilities skirt this angel, so Rofellos has a new enemy, as do many other generals out there. This should also be a house in limited, where it’s an evasive and aggressively costed 3/4 who shuts off all opposing Eldrazi Spawn, leaving your own unscathed. Alas, as a mythic, you’ll seldom get to run her, but when you do, pray your white is deep enough to support a capital W in your deck’s color description.

Zak
I love this card. Awesome artr with an awesome effect at an awesome cost is awesome. Too bad it’s a mythic, because this could be a key player in some sort of prison-style deck. This card’s success in type 2 will largely depend on how many levelers get played. Although turning Putrid Leech into a Grizzly Bears is also okay.

Dillon
This angel is seriously powerful. Shutting down your opponents creatures to just triggered abilities is amazing. Mana abilities fall into activated abilites, therefore she is worth playing.

Rob
Levelers just stop. Knight of the Reliquary can’t find solutions. Lots of otherwise playable guys get turned off.

Mike
I feel like I could be doing a lot more at 2WW than this, though in limited I’m sure it’s a real bomb because it shuts off tons of guys in this format. It also shuts off eldrazi spawn which might be it’s greatest boon.

Justin
This is the Angel to get in RoE. Abilities are what make creatures shine and this lady says “All for me and none for you.” I can’t wait to see her as a General in EDH.


Joe
A bear will have enough of a hard time in this format. The life is okay, but I’d recommend playing this only in the most aggressively curved decks.

Zak
Venerable Monk is rolling over in his grave. I don’t think that life or the puny body will matter in this limited format, but it could prove to be nice in some turbo-fog decks which want the blocker and the life.

Rob
A tweaked Venerable Monk. So, WotC says that one toughness on a guy is worth him giving you 2 life. Interesting to know.

Mike
I dig this guy. He will find his way into kor decks and sideboards as well as be a good two drop in limited in a number of archtypes.

Justin
This is a solid common for Limited. 4 life can be a big deal in games that are finisher light and 2/1 for 2 is not that bad.


Joe
This can nullify opposing creatures with power 4 or less, and severely curtail bigger ones. It can enchant a wall to prompt a nice board stall. All around great card for limited, especially in a slow controlling deck.

Zak
Hmm… a white variant of Contaminated Bond I wonder how many creatures’ attacks this will actually be able to offset? It seems like a lot of this set’s removal is designed for weak creatures, which aren’t exactly the most daunting of foes in a limited environment.

Rob
I’m going to be amused to drop this on my opponent’s guy in limited. Otherwise, worthless.

Mike
I think this is a fine card. I’ve drafted mostly-walls decks and this is only going to get you to your bombs faster.


Joe
Good size for a 4-drop flier. Able to attack or block well. Solid, evasive dude.

Zak
Again strictly better than Pillarfield Ox, and could make an excellent midrange card in limited. Simply slap some totem arm,ors on this guy and he’ll wreck face in the sky.

Rob
Limited Fodder.

Mike
Sure, probably fine in limited. Nice ass, shorty.

Justin
I like Griffins. Probably will only see play in Limited.


James
Over costed…

Joe
Again, this is a sizeable boost, but you’re setting yourself up for a 241 against instant speed removal, and at best 1-for-1 against the aura’s benefits. Might be worth it on a first striker or something. It is splashable.

Zak
I think this card’s best targets are the midrange creatures which will get outclassed by Eldrazi in the later game. If you can get a creature to have 7 or 8 power, and have some choice permanents to sac to an anhiliator trigger, this can keep you in the game for the long haul.

Rob
If there weren’t eldrazi, this might be good in limited to turn an early guy into a finisher. But we have Common and Uncommon eldrazi and very little removal thus far, so this is not that great.

Mike
If this gave trample or flying I’d be very into it, but as is, for this cost? I don’t know. Celestial mantle wasn’t even a widely played card when drafted and that thing was grosse.

Justin
I like the Umbras I have seen so far for Limited and not much more. I might throw this into a teaching deck but odds are this is just 5cc hamster cage lining.


James
LMAO. Ad Nauseam until you get to one life?
I bet the most interesting part of this card will be the different suggestions people give for how you can use this to win…

Joe
Hatred comes to mind as a way to reach this goal quickly. Maybe channel? It’s kind of slow and awkward. Angels grace?

Zak
I’m pretty sure you need something like Worship or Fortune Thief to make this work. Either that, or be the luckiest player ever. Whichever you like.

Rob
Many people will crack this, try to win with it, and then throw it into their junk pile. If you could flash this out somehow, maybe it’s be ok.

Mike
Worship just got its win condition.

Justin
Somewhere, somehow, someone will make this work I just know it! I want to see it happen.


Joe
Wow. On turn 6 you can really go berserk with this. Turn 7 can set up the alpha strike, since you’ll get double the tokens on the rebound. Seems very strong, assuming your deck can maintain a board position. This might be just the sort of finisher Walls.dec wants to see in its 40.

Zak
This seems like it wants to be played with Conquerors Pledge, but the fact that this play leaves you wide open to a timely Maelstrom Pulse makes it unattractive. I think Pedge is just a better card than this, because why would you want to over-commit to the board when you have so many creatures out? Remember, if they wipe your board after the first cast, the rebound will have no effect.

Rob
Turn after Martial Coup for 5, this will break backs. Of course, Martial Coup for 5 already breaks backs. When else would this be better than a MC5? EDH. I’ll drop it in that box.

Mike
This could be really good in the right deck. Anything with rebound has serious power potential but you really have to design your deck around spitting out tokens and there just aren’t that many en masse token makers in this block.

Justin
Chancy, especially with bad things like DoJ and Pulse running around. Seems like it was meant to hold back Annihilator.


Joe
This is amazing removal, and will make Eldrazi players cry, especially if they were stoked about running theirs out on the back of 4 or more spawn tokens. This probably has legs in other formats, except for two issues: sorcery speed, and the prevalence of cards like ranger of eos and bloodbraid elf and the like, which you never want to see hit play even once, let along hand your opponent the second activation with a 3-life dessert.

Zak
This is just fantastic, and will take a skilled player to use correctly. It’s excellent against “all-in” styles of deck in both limited or constructed. You simply have to be careful what you target with this and you can put yourself in a much better position. Nothing like scaring away a crucial blocker for a few turns so that you can punch through for a bit more damage and tap some of your opponent’s lands when the recast it. Great card.

Rob
This is going to own some people. It’ll be the new Path when Path rotates, assuming Path doesn’t get reprinted in M11. Used WITH Path, people are going to cry when they have to chose whether to wait two turns to get one of their guys back, or get a land and shuffle up, trying their luck.

Mike
This is pretty random. Sorcery speed is kind of janky but it takes out anything and buys you some time. I don’t really think it’s very good though.

Justin
Great spot removal. I like that Eldrazi players will start crying after sac-ing spawn tokens for nothing. Perfect.


Joe
This is good removal, except it’s in a block where removal of very big creatures, preferable BEFORE they attack, is a must. Still, this can remove pesky walls, and so it’s going to be huge for the early rush approach.

Zak
This is fine, and it’s best limited application will be shooting down unpowered levelers to prevent them from reaching maturity. And I guess it kills walls, if that ever comes up.

Rob
Doesn’t seem special, or particularly playable.

Mike
It’s much more versatile out of the sideboard than deathmark is in an extended zoo mirror depending on how that deck evolves this year. Other than that we could’ve used this as a way to take out vampire nighthawk all year.

Justin
Not bad. Not as good as Oust but when is white blessed with tons of good spot removal?


Joe
Amazing. This will help you push damage through in the rush approach.

Zak
It’s either a card which lets you dig for an answer or a card that lets you punch through. I love cards like this that are in essence modal spells depending on what you want to use this for. in the late game, and end of turn Repel can wreck your opponent’s predictions for the next combat phase.

Rob
Tapping a pair of guys and cantripping. Seems good for White Control decks.

Mike
This is an excellent, excellent limited card if things stay attack-based in that formate. But tapping two guys in white and tripping is very good.

Justin
Good card. Cantrips can be hit or miss but this one does its job well. Good in Limited and Constructed as well.


Joe
I love this reprint. Alas, it’s less than stellar against the eldrazi, but with Wall of Omens now in standard, blocking is in. I think this will be played.

Zak
Fantastic card, as it can remove an eldrazi for little to no upfront payment. It only requires a blocker to cast, and with the plethora of walls in this set, there should be no troubles there. Could see some play in constructed, but Path to Exile is just so good.

Rob
The look on someone’s face when a flashed in Affa Guard Hound Smites their Emrakul swinging for lethal will be priceless.

Mike
I like all this removal white is getting in limited, but it’s not going to work anywhere else.

Justin
Hey a Stronghold throwback! I see this being useful in Limited but Path and Oust are way better.


Joe
soul warden has seen play before, and I see no reason it wouldn’t continue to do so with all the Spawn generators.

Zak
So strictly worse than Soul Warden (The trigger is not mandatory). This might signify Soul Warden getting the boot in Magic 2011, but it seems like it doesn’t improve the game that much in limited when the creature will take such huge chunks out of a players life total.

Rob
A Soul Warden without the gamestate maintenance issues. I might make a Casual deck running 4 of both this and its predecessor.

Mike
Another functional reprint but with a “may” effect this time? I mean it’s good but do we really need standard and extended decks that can run 8 soul wardens?


Joe
This is a huge wall on 5. Definitely the kid of thing you need if your plan is to stall until you can visit Eldrazi-ville.

Zak
One of the few walls that can both strike back at opposing attackers and block creatures with flying. Expect this to be a crucial card if you intend on surviving against some sort of skies deck in limied. Pretty meh in Constructed.

Rob
Fat. Just a flying blob of fat.


Joe
Man, they’re pushing this theme hard. I think that anyone who wants to stall to the mid-to-late game will not have problems doing so, and only the most shrewd aggro decks will be able to penetrate such defenses.

Zak
I’m not a big fan of this, as most walls are already big enough to weather most blows. I don’t think that playing a souped-up Valiant Guard is really all that worth it.

Rob
A lord for defenders of sorts. I like the idea, and he fits nicely in a curve with Perimeter Capitan and Wall of Denial to either side, sharing slots with Wall of Omens.

Mike
I guess if you’re playing a bunch of walls this guy is doing everything you want him to be doing, but what are you doing?!


James
This is pretty interesting. It costs 3cc for a 3/3 first strike which isn’t so horrible. I’m not so sure about the 8cc for a 4/4 double strike but it’s certainly not horrible by any means. The nice part is that it’s spread out over multiple turns (obviously) so you can concievably squeeze out the one extra cc each turn. One nice thing about a cheap level up is that late game it’s better than drawing a 2/2 that does nothing. I mean, at least with these you can channel all the extra mana to something useful. and a 4/4 double strike is pretty gnarly.

Joe
The picture made me hope he could learn horsemanship, but alas, no such luck.

For WWW, he’s a very cheap 3/3 first strike. On turn 1, if your W one-drop can survive a turn, he’s a very cheap 3/3 first strike attacking on turn 2. I think, therefore, he’s a shoe-in for consideration in white weenie decks. You’d hate to splash this guy as your sole white card though.

Zak
Okay so here’s a really nicely costed level whose first level would be acceptable on it’s own. As it is, this card has much more potential in the late game, and his an amazing pick in draft if you find yourself in heavy white. Also makes for an excellent Ranger of Eos target in standard.

Dillon
Student of Warfare will be bashing on turn two like Kithkin of old. White Weenie embraces her with open arms. Nothing wrong with this card.

Rob
Possibly the best card in the set, and funnily enough it has the worst mechanic in the set. Leveler doesn’t make me giddy as a general rule. It really needs to work hard to earn my respect, but this guy, with the low casting and leveling cost, Ranger of Eos Fetchability and landing just above par as a 3/3 first striker swinging on Turn 2, is pure laughing gas. I love it. If you kill it as I power it up, I don’t feel so bad, as it is on curve. If you don’t, it gets out of hand quickly as the cheap cost is easily spamable and I can leave mana up to protect him.

Mike
I think this is my favorite leveler. a lot of times in WW you want to be just swarming, but if this guy hits on one and becomes a 3/3 first striker on 2, I’ll take it over a white knight or a blademaster. This guy is excellent.

Justin
Volkan Baga did the art. “Nuff said.


Joe
This isn’t my kind of card, but it CAN net you 4 life and two cards, so it’s card advantage in white… I feel compelled to endorse this sorcery, despite it being decidedly “not my style.”

Zak
It’s an interesting card that’s potent in the early-mid game. With that said, it makes for a terrible topdeck when you’re getting beat down, so it’s probably a 23rd card at best. I don’t really see a constructed application for this.

Rob
This is a good playable card that gets a lot better in the right deck. Lifegain Defender decks with maybe Felidar Sovereign as the win-con can use this to keep edging towards the goal and keep answers in hand.

Mike
I think this is a fine card, could even make it’s way into some block decks. Gaining 4 life and drawing 2 cards for 3 mana is really very decent considering Divination has been a popular standard card over the last year.

Justin
Situational at best. It seems a bit overpriced when the cantrip is conditional. Mediocre.


Joe
Hmmm… I dunno. I would want a minimum of 6 levelers to run this.

Zak
In constructed, it could be okay, especially with some of the white levelers we’ve seen. Not certain about limited applications, but it’s a card that could wheel a bit. That is until some guy goes and drafts 12 leveler.dec and wrecks everyone.

Rob
This makes good levelers ridiculous. It’s a shame that means only two or three cards. I like the idea of this in the same deck as Student of Warfare.

Mike
They’re really pushing levelers here, but how many levelers are you realistically going to be sinking mana into?

Justin
Nothing will make me like Level Up.


Joe
Antelope! A 2/5 that tutors for an aura is pretty dang good, especially on common. This ties up the board and sticks around with the umbra you find. All around solid, even though it comes on board in the mid-game.

Zak
It’s a pseudo-Idyllic Tutor on a stick, which is okay. It gives you a body to play that aura on, and provides a nice body which can clock a fair few creatures in the format. I like all the support that enchantments are getting in this set.

Rob
Too expensive and does too little to be truly good. He is sadly a shadow of an awesome guy. If he was say a 1/3 for 2W and did this, he’d be balanced and useable. If he put the aura into play, he’d be marginally playable. As he is now, he’s just a janky filler common.

Mike
The best thing about this guy is Creature type: antelope.

Justin
Maybe in EDH? Seems too slow for constructed and downright bad in Limited.


Joe
This card got a fair amount of discussion online when it was spoiled. It’s a 3/3 for 3, which makes it very aggressive even if you never level it up. That said, a couple turns later, with 7WW invested, you’ve suddenly got a 6/6 lifelink, which is a very good installment plan, as leveling only costs you 1. When you reach level 12, you should be hard pressed to lose that game.

Zak
This card could potentially be played in some sort of mono-white control deck which uses Emeria, the Sky Ruin and other long-term plans to control the game while keeping you at a steady life total. Add to that the fact that it’s a 3/3 for 3, and you’ve got a very playable mythic.

Rob
This guy will be great in EDH and I love the flavor of him. With Time of Heroes he might be constructed playable alongside Student of Warfare, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. It’ll hurt pretty bad the first time he gets bolted or pathed with his 6th level on the stack.

Mike
Man, six level ups before this guy gets good? I mean, a 3/3 for 3cc is fine in limited but he’s a mythic rare. This set annoys me.


Joe
Again, 6 is a good number… if I had 6 auras I’d consider this, but then I’d have to ask myself whether I’d really like to be running 6 auras. At least you get gray ogre, but the ogre has never had it as bad as he seems to in ROE limited.

Zak
I think that this could be an excellent candidate for some sort of enchantment deck, and well help enchantress protect her namesake creature in legacy. All in all, a solid support card.

Rob
Zur EDH deck. Another attempt to make auras really good, and it makes me think, but even with the possibility of turning a guy into a 2-for-1 threat, the risk of getting 2-for-1′d yourself is usually enough of a deterrent in most competitive situations.

Mike
Auras are already pretty bad, nobody runs them. Is this guy going to make them better? Maybe in some formats, but not any competitive ones.

Justin
There is some potential here. I like the Idea of Rancor enchanting an x/1 creature.


Joe
Much has been written about this card. Many pros pegged it for the best card in the set at the time it was spoiled. It’s sure to see tons of play as a white wall of blossoms, and will be very annoying in walls.dec. Don’t trade these away if you plan to play standard. This will be another 3-5 dollar uncommon.

Zak
This card is going to have a role in standard liek no other wall in recent memory has. If effectively blocks Bloodbraid Elf and Hellspark Elemental while remaining impervious to Lightning Bolt. And to top it all off, it replaces itself setting up a better third turn. I’m calling it now: This card will be one of the WPN promo foils for Rise of the Eldrazi.

Dillon
What it does is create time for the control decks without spending a card essentially. It cycles but it also grants you a 0/4! It is incredibly staple as it is essentially not even taking up a slot in the deck. It will be the most important card of the set, but it also works so well Perimeter Captain that Aggro decks will need to get creative.

Rob
0/4 wall for 2 mana cantrips. Nothing to complain about. Seems good. Doesn’t seem broken. I’m just going to smile, collect them and move on.

Mike
I love efficient cards. If ever you wanted a wall in a constructed format, this guy would make the cut. I don’t think you will want a wall in that format, but this one is pertty solid if you do, especially once putrid leech rotates.

Justin
WOW a WALL! SWEET! But seriously this wall is not bad. Another Stronghold throwback only in a new color. Great for control style decks.


We’d love to hear your thoughts. Did we miss anything? You can also check out the rest of the set review and analysis. :) Colorless White Blue Black Red Green Multicolor and Lands

Let us know what you think in the comments below.
You can also check out the rest of the set review and analysis. :)
Colorless White Blue Black

Deckbuilding at the Worldwake Pre Release

Everyone is writing about Worldwake right now and we probably have at least another week or two of reading about the impact of the set in Standard, Extended, Sealed, Draft, Legacy, EDH, Type 4, Mental Magic… the list goes on.

This article is more focused on deckbuilding in the new sealed format. Any type of Magic player has the opportunity to run in this format over the next couple weeks whether it be release events this weekend, release events online two weeks from now, or maybe most importantly (at least for me) the Last Chance Qualifier for Pro Tour San Diego on February 18th in sunny Southern California.

I ran in two flights on Saturday and went 3-0-1, 3-1 with a sole loss to a pretty oustanding black deck featuring Sorin Markov and Butcher of Malakir among other fun things. My decks had some pretty slick cards as well; but I’m not 100% sure if I built my decks correctly, and that’s what this piece is going to try and figure out. I welcome and encourage any type of suggestion or criticism in the comments section. Like I said I’m looking to grind into the Pro Tour in two weeks so any help is appreciated.

Here’s a look at my first pool (a * denotes Foil):

BLACK – 14

Bloodhusk Ritualist
Dead Reckoning x2
Giant Scoprion
Guul Draz Vampire
Nemesis Trap
Mindless Null
Pulse Tracker
Ruthless Cullblade
Ruthless Cullblade *
Scrib Nibblers
Surrakar Marauder
Tomb Hex
Vampire Lacerator

BLUE – 13

Calcite Snapper
Dispel
Living Tsunami
Mysteries of the Deep
Paralyzing Grasp
Rite of Replication
Spell Pierce
Tideforce Elemental
Treasure Hunt
Umara Raptor
vapor Snare
Whiplash Trap
Welkin Tern

GREEN – 11

Arbor Elf
Cobra Trap
Explore
Feral Contest
Greenweaver Druid
Nissa’s Chosen
Nature’s Claim
River Boa
Relic Crush
Vastwood Zendikon
Vines of Vastwood

RED – 15

Bladetusk Boar
Deathforge Shaman
Goblin Roughrider
Goblin Shortcutter x2
Grotag Thrasher
Hellfire Mongrel
Plated Geopede
Quest for the Pure Flame
Ricochet Trap
Rotting Terrain x2
Searing Blaze
Stone Idol Trap
Torch Slinger

WHITE -17

Apex Hawks x2
Arrow Volley Trap
Battle Hurda
Caravan Hurda
Devout Lightcaster
Guardian Zendikon
Kabira Evangel
Lightkeeper of Emeria
Loam Lion
Join the Ranks
Kor Skyfisher
Journey to Nowhere
Narrow Escape
Nimbus Wings
Noble Vestige
Rest for the Weary

ARTIFACT – 8

Explorer’s Scope *
Hedron Rover
Khalni Gem
Lodestone Golem
Spidersilk Net
Stonework Puma
Trailblazer’s Boots
Walking Atlas

LAND – 6

Halimar Depths
Jwar Isle Refuge
Lavaclaw Reaches
Sejiri Steppe
Teetering Peaks
Turntimber Grove

I got to build across from my good friend Andy Roman in Flight 1 which is a great advantage in a Pre Release since you can talk about building and card choices and what not; since you really haven’t had any time to truly evaluate the cards before this point. Right away I knew that Black and Green were out (there were no black cards in my first pack at all), and that I would definitely be playing Blue or Red. The only decision I had to make was whether or not to run one of those with White. White was really lacking creatures even though it had some good ones with Evasion. All Five creatures I would run with White had either first strike or flying. There wasn’t a good chance of me playing Kabira Evangel or Devout Lightcaster since I had such little allies nor enough White to warrant a WWW casting cost. The only thing white gave me that I loved was Journey to Nowhere.

After a second glance at everything I decided that I was definitely playing Blue as my best cards were clearly Living Tsunami and Rite of Replication. 11 of my 13 Blue cards were striaght up good, and I ended up playing that many. I then do what I normally do when building a sealed deck, which is put my Blue cards in the middle by curve and the Red and White cards above and below to see how the decks would look. It became pretty clear when I had nine solid Red creatures as well as Searing Blaze and Stone Idol Trap which I felt was a pretty strong bomb even though Andy sorta disagreed. Turns out it was, especially when I got to say “I’ll Rite of Replication my Stone Idol token.” Leaving me with a permanent 6/12 trampler on the board (since the instant says “exile it at the beginning of your next end step” instead of the instant indicating the token has that text.

I went 3-0-1 with the following deck, choosing to Intentionally Draw in the final round so my opponent and I would each get six packs instead of eight and four.

Normally I run 18 land but I only curve to 5 (considering I’ll never cast Stone Idol Trap for 6), I had nearly no landfall and I have Living Tsunami, so I went with 17.

Some limited analysis of the new cards.

Treasure Hunt – I am pretty underwhelmed by this card, especially on turn 2. If you cast it on turn 2 on the draw you’re automatically discarding if you had no one drop. A couple of times I hit 3-4 cards off of it and most of the time I ended up discarding a land or two. One time it was huge though when I had 5 lands in hand and 2 spells I ran it just to discard and I drew 3 more lands and could dump 5 lands to my graveyard. That seems pretty rare.

Mysteries of the Deep – this card was great, even if I was wasting a turn playing it to draw 3.

Searing Blaze – Might as well just say sorcery in this format, but it’s a pretty good sorcery.

Stone Idol Trap – a total bomb. won me several games including a gunsling vs. Darwin Castle.

Hedron Rover – Was really good, a 4/4 attacker for 4 was really solid all day.

Halimar Depths – was always really, really good for me. Bouncing it every turn with tsunami was even better.

Grotag Thrasher – not great stats but he can really open up a clogged board for him and some friends.

Deathforge Shaman – Another game winner. This cycle of guys who multikick for their color are all really strong, this guy is good; the black version is great.

Vapor Snare – Unfortunately I never cast this card but it seems quite outstanding with a limited drawback, especially in a deck with a lower curve like the one I ran. Does not combo well with Tsunami.

Here’s my second card pool (again, foils have a *):

BLACK – 17

Agadeem Occultist *
Bojuka Brigand x2
Dead Reckoning
Death’s Shadow
Grim Discovery
Guul Draz Spectre
Guul Draz Vampire
Heartstabber Mosquito
Kalitas, Blood Chief of Ghet
Mire’s Toll
Nimana Sell Sword
Scrib Nibblers x2
Soul Stair Expedition
Vampire Hexmage
Vampire’s Bite

BLUE – 13

Aether Tradewinds
Enclave Elite x2
Halimar Excavator
Hedron Crab
Merfolk Seastalkers
Shoal Serpent
Sky Ruin Drake x2
Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Tideforce Elemental
Trapfinder’s Trick
Treasure Hunt
Twitch

GREEN – 17

Arbor Elf
Beast Hunt
Beastial Menace
Cobra Trap
Explore
Grazing Gladehart
Grappler Spider
Graypelt Hunter
Nissa’s Chosen
Oren-Rief Survivalist
Relic Crush
Scythe Tiger
Savage Sliouette
Slingbow Trap
Snapping Creeper
Turntimber Basilisk
Vines of Vastwood

RED – 12

Akoum Battleslinger
Bazaar Trader =(
Burst Lightning
Deathforge Shaman
Magma Rift
Quest for the Goblin Lore
Searing Blaze
Skitter of Lizards
Slavering Nulls
Tuktuk Grunts

WHITE – 13

Apex Hawks
Battle Hurda
Brave the Elements
Iona’s Judgment x2
Kor Hookmaster
Kor Outfitter
Kor Sanctifiers
Marshal’s Anthem
Shieldmate’s Blessing
Veteran Reflexes x2
Windborne Charge

ARTIFACT – 5

Adventuring Gear
Hedron Rover
Spidersilk Net
Trusty Machete
Walking Atlas

LAND – 6

Bojuka Bog
Dread Statuary
Graypelt Refuge
Halimar Depths
Khalni Garden
Piranha Marsh

I’m definitely interested in analyzing this pool because I most hastily built it. I kid you not, that the kid I was stuck sitting next to spelled so bad that I thought I was going to vomit all over my packs while waiting to open them. That and, interestingly enough, I opened both Sphinx of Jwar Isle and The Bloodchief of Ghet in my FNM draft the night before, played U/B and split in the finals of my pod. Now I have them both again not 24 hours later. Weird.

I had enough playables in Blue that because of the Sphinx I should run that color. Depending on how much you devalue the Bloodchief, you could consider going green here, but there just aren’t enough playables. I just put a list together and I struggled to get to 20 and I don’t want to run two Enclave Elite. Black just had way too much power with Heartstabber Mosquito, Guul Draz Spectre, plus it gave me a really strong ally subtheme due to the synergy with Agadeem Occultist, Halimar Excavator and Hedron Crab.

A quick aside about milling in limited: normally I think milling with just a crab that’s going to maybe hit for a few isn’t that great, but with the excavators you’re not milling 3-6 cards anymore. With six allies and the crab I had the potential to mill 20 or so cards per game, meaning that I’m no longer just changing my opponent’s next draw, I’m actively stripping their deck. That coupled with the Occultist’s ability to steal creatures and Guul Draz Specter stripping their hand, I was actively attacking their deck; so I went for it.

I end up with a pretty decent curve but very light on creature removal. My goal was to hopefully mill enough good cards to let my bombs do the talking. That went pretty well as I went 3-1 losing only to an absolutely ridiculous deck aforementioned.

Some takes on the cards here:

Agadeem Occultist: Sadly I never got to use his ability because he was a lightning rod for removal due to all my milling/allies, but if I ever tapped him it was going to be GG.

Tideforce Elemental: I love tappers, even bad ones (sup Vectis Dominator). This is going to be one of my favorite cards in limited in the near future. He was always oustanding be it on offense or defense.

Dead Reckoning: This card was extremely impressive. At one point an opponent of mine Heartstabbered my Kalitas and his friend said “that’s how they do it on the pro tour!” It was pretty embarassing when I Dead Reckoning’d his Machete equipped Flyer next turn and my board was soon Kalitas, Sphinx and vampire tokens.

Aether Tradewinds: Not very exciting but it gets things done.

Halimar Excavator: I’ll take a 1/3 for 2 in Blue, especially if I can swing more allies. I liked him all day.

Bojuka Brigand: These guys were great when I kept hitting allies but when a 3/3 comes down and they can’t even chump it kind of sucks.

Dread Statuary: I loved this guy, especially with grim discovery. He got into the red zone, he defended intimidators, and he killed guys the rest of my team couldnt. I’d run him anytime I have him.

Enclave Elite: Pretty dumpy, I sided the second one in against Blue for the Hedron Crab a bit. My friend Andy really liked multikicker but I didn’t use it much and found it pretty underwhelming when used to add +1/+1 tokens against me, and only really good with the guys who multikick for one color to make you discard or burn or gain life.

My initial thoughts on Worldwake was that it was going to be mainly inconsequential, and I think mainly that was right. I hadn’t considered the fact that it would be super fun, and I walk away from these events with the realization that it is. I’m sure winning certainly helped that feeling, but I enjoyed playing almost every card I laid on the table on Saturday.

I really feel like I want to be blue at the LCQ in San Diego. It is really easy to clog up the ground with white and blue but I think blue has a little bit more trickery with cards like Into the Roil and Whiplash Trap to get you through it. It’s already tough getting through Kraken Hatching, and Calcite Snapper one-ups it. I’m also in love with Tideforce Elemental. But really, I would follow your bombs because there are so many of them in this new set.

I will say this about draft: I think the draft format is going to be defined by allies. There are so many allies now it frightens me to the point that I don’t know if I want to draft much if I’m going to be fighting over allies for three packs; but we shall see.

I’ll leave you with my recommendation of the top three Worldwake cards I’m picking up right now, aside from the obvious mythic rares: Chain Reaction, Lavaclaw Reaches and Celestial Colonnade.

Later,

Mike Gemme
BobbySapphire on MTGO
mike@power9pro.com

M10 Pre-Release Report From Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington is located on the Northern Island of New Zealand and is the country’s capital.  It’s nestled in a bay and actually reminds me of a very young San Francisco – a cute but manageable little metro area with hills like Los Gatos and little period houses all scattered through them.  I’m assigned to work here for the month, but last night I got word that I had the next two days off and I had no plans. First thing I did was check and see if there were pre-releases – and there were TWO in the city.

I managed to find the card shop quickly – everything I need seems to be within a ten-minute walk of my hotel – but I was way early – they didn’t really have any singles though – they seemed to focus more on Pokemon and action figures.  I said I’d be back, asked them for references to any other card stores and they said there was one down the street – after about half an hour I found it but they were mostly comics and only had some core set boosters – bleh.

After doing a little shopping I rolled back around to the store and after a little wait I got around to opening my six boosters.  I don’t want to go into my whole card selection – it was pretty crazy but without fixing you pretty much have to do two colors – lightning bolt, shivan dragon, and serra angel were calling to me but I had to play the overall most consistent removal and beats.

Black Green Sealed deck.


relevant sideboard

Weakness
Deathmark
looming shade
zombie goliath
enormous baloth
Emerald Oryx

Game 1 vs. Bernie with Mono-black

Bernie had a ridiculously strong black pool but he probably could have splashed a little – he was playing some weaker card but if any deck benefits from all the swamps it’s black – he opened THREE tendrils of corruption, TWO Liliana Vess (one foil) and a demon’s horn – so there went my removal and fear guys.  These games were hilarious.

Match 1.

Turn 3 with nothing on either side, I tap out to play an aggressive Awakener druid, and wake up my only forest to start the smashing next turn. His turn he assassinates the forest.  Ouch.

He gets a warpath ghoul and I rampant growth and sign in blood really fast out of the land screw, and get down a turn 5 stampeding rhino. But he’s bashed me with that ghoul.

His turn he tendrils Rhino.  dammit.

I rise from the grave.  RARRR 4/4 trample black Zombie Rhino!

His turn he tendrils it.  !@#$%.

I disentomb the rhino and recast it. he casts Soul Bleed (!?!?!) on it.  I would never play that card, it’s among my sealed pool and I’m not even including it on my sideboard – but I’m losing one life an upkeep on this rhino.  But rhino is gonna bash.

He drops Liliana Vess and makes me discard a land*   (*Pro tip: – now that I know he had a third tendrils, he should have tutored for that and killed the rhino for good.

In meantime he’s gotten a whispersilk cloak out on the ghoul and has me down pretty low – my turn I mow liliana down.  I can kill him next turn, but I’m at six.

His turn, he would have killed me – he had an unholy strength that he tried to cast on the ghoul, which would have taken me to 1, and I die to soul bleed (sad face here) – EXCEPT he had whispersilk cloak on the ghoul!   Stupid shroud tricks win!

Match 2

I keep a 1 land hand (terramorphic expanse) with a rampant growth on the draw.   This was a bad idea, but I was feeling good about the match up.

Turn 1 he plays swamp, Duress.

/Facepalm….

Turn 2 he plays Demon’s horn.

X2 /Facepalm….

I somehow get 3 lands in a row and drop Howling Banshee.

This eventually dies to something, but I drop Great Sable Stag which lifts it’s leg on his whole deck.

X is 1-0!

Game 2 vs. Gareth playing W/U

Gareth has some great cards but doesn’t seem like a great player – he’s not sure how protection works, and puts his first strike guy in the graveyard when he doesn’t need to.. He’s got a pal who is backseat driving over his shoulder but I don’t mind too much…

Match 1

Gareth drops an early White Knight, I get a Dread Warlock (pacifism)  – but I get a turn 5 Nightmare with the help of rampant growth.

He casts Sleep, and continues beating me with the Knight.  I have no blocker for it that will survive.  I get him low with a 7/7 nightmare but he drops platinum angel and I draw no doom blade for the angel nor a sizable blocker for the Knight.

Match 2

I get Bashing Troll, Bashing Rhino, and Banshee him for the win, while he drops nothing.  His buddy saves him a turn by reminding him to cast the new white Fog, but he isn’t in the game at all.

Match 3

He has an early White Knight again, but he blocks my Great Sable Stag pretty early.  Another pro tip from experience – he should have just held on to the knight and took the damage and keep trying to “race” me by dealing damage back – I couldn’t block it except with Stag, and if he dropped anything Stag couldn’t deal with we would be on equal terms.  By the time he stabilized, I had a Rod of Ruin out and it pinged him to death.

Game 3 vs. Mark with R/G

There’s a group of guys who show up early and have their own table – they’ve got big binders, they’re talking the talk and they definitely seem to know what they’re doing.  Aside from me, Mark and his two friends from that table are undefeated – he mines me for info asking since I’m 2-0 I’ve got a crazy deck – and really I don’t, I’ve got a half decent deck and two good match-ups.

Match 1.

Mark kicks the crap out of me – Bear, 3/3 for 3, lightning bolt my blocker – I drop a Wall of Bone but he drops a deathtouch equipment on the bear and kills me quick.

Match 2 – see above, except he lava axed me to death.

Turns out Mark top 8′d at new zealand nationals – which I guess isn’t saying much since they’ve got 90 people in the whole country who play ;)  do I sound bitter? -_-  (he also wins the pre-release)

Game 4 vs.  Marius playing U/W/r (splash for fireball)

Match 1

Turn 1 soul Warden

Turn 2 plains, soul Warden, Elite vanguard.

- Basically he smashes me with little men and I try to stablize – I mess up slightly as I had awakener druid but he cast Ice Cage on the Forest – basically disabling the land ability.  However I messed up as I had a regenerate in my hand that would have gotten rid of the icecage but I didn’t catch the play until it was already over.  He ends the game with flyers and at 28 life.

- I go to the sideboard and get deathmark and weakness. :D

Match 2

Him: Turn 1 soul warden

Me: Turn 1 weakness!

I get Banshee out which rips him up – he lightning bolts it but I rise from the grave on the Banshee which removes his last 3 life.   Banshee wins: 2

Match 3

Him Turn 1 soul warden

Me: Turn 1 Weakness!

Him: Turn 2 Blinding Mage

me: turn 2 Deathmark!

I get down Dread Warlock, Looming shade, and a nightmare and he has no answers.

results:

3-1,  4th place out of 16 players.  My  Sealed had Great Sable Stag, Lightwielder Paladin, and Haunting Echoes, while the two packs I opened had a Siege-Gang Commander and a Sunpetal Grove, so I can’t complain.