Tag Archives: Set Review

Scars of Mirrodin – Impact on Standard (Type 2)

Scars of Mirrodin.  Looming large over the horizon, Wizards’ newest expansion is set to hit the stores on October 1st.  With the release of Scars of Mirrodin new strategies will emerge and once powerful decks will disappear to the realm of Extended.  With all of the available spoilers it is time to speculate on what changes will occur to the Standard (type 2) meta-game.  This shift will be important with the 2010′s State and Provincial Championships on October 9th.  We will see if we can figure out which cards will make the biggest impact in the post Shards of Alara/M10 tournament world.  It is a time of new beginnings and a time to revisit places in our past.  Thinking about our past, I would like to take one moment to say goodbye to all of our Shards of Alara friends:

So long, Jund!

Time to hang up our Putrid Leechs and Sprouting Thrinaxs.  No deck was more dominant in the Shards meta-game than this B/G/R build.  High powered threats and spectacular removal made Jund the most feared and prepared against deck since the Faeries of Lorwyn.  The biggest loss?

Bloodbraid Elf

Forget Maelstrom Pulse and Broodmate Dragon, this Elf provided amazing card advantage to steal games all by herself. Without Bloodbraid, Jund would not have been remotely viable. This Elf Berserker found a home in every deck that could support her colors. Easily the best uncommon in the set. Now for a few more farewells:

It’s been fun, but now we need to move on. See you in Extended!

Out of the dozens of cards that have been spoiled already, I have picked up on a few that seem like they will make an impact on the Standard Meta currently dominated by U/W Control, FauNaya, Valakut-Ramp and Mythic Conscription.

U/W Control
Come rotation on October first U/W Control will loose a few pieces, most notably Elspeth Knight-Errant. It will be interesting to see if Elspeth Tirel will be able to replace her old incarnation. The new Planeswalker costs one more and cannot generate counters and token together. I think that the five mana casting cost will not prevent the switch initially but might come to really matter since the meta game is so fast right now. On the flip side, Elspeth’s new ultimate is very powerful. The next option in Planeswalkers is the powerful Venser the Sojourner. Also comining at a casting cost of five, the U/W walker has some interesting abilities. Being able to exile your Baneslayer Angel and following that up with Day of Judgment is a strong play in control. The other loss is the token generating Martial Coup. This loss should not impact the archetype to significantly since most build will only include it as a one-of. Path to Exile is another big loss to U/W, the role will need to be filled by the more situational Condemn.

FauNaya
This archetype is on the way out in my opinion. Scars of Mirrodin does not offer anything to this deck that is on par with Knight of the Reliquary or Noble Hierarch. The deck also looses Oblivion Ring, Qasali Pridemage, Realm Razer and the superstar Bloodbraid Elf. I am sure that the Vengevine/ Fauna Shaman engine will still be around but I think the deck will look vastly different.

Valakut-Ramp (Titan-Ramp)
The plan is simple; ramp into Primeval Titan and use him to set up a kill with Valakut the Molten Pinnacle. This is the big dog in the yard, Valakut-Ramp only looses Rampant Growth in the rotation. However, nothing in the new Standard will fits the curve of this card. Cultivate might work. I like Strata Scythe as an alternate win condition if you need to play around Spreading Seas. I also think that Genesis Wave fits nicely in the deck. Valakut-Ramp will be the archetype to beat early in the season until new strategies are discovered.

Mythic Conscription (Eldrazi Conscription, Mythic)
The biggest loss for this deck is Sovereigns of Lost Alara. The Exalted Spirit let you search up your Eldrazi Conscription in order to put the game away. Without the ability to tutor for the key enchantment, Mythic should no longer be a threat in Standard.

What’s Next?
Scars of Mirrodin offers us a vast selection of powerful spells that are sure to have an immediate impact on the new Standard. Take a look at some of the things you should be hoping to pick up at your Pre-release event this weekend:

Scars of Mirrodin will offer us plenty of new options and old favorites will soon go by the wayside. I am really looking forward to playing Phylactery Lich with Darksteel Axe. I recommend going to a Pre-release this weekend since there will not be much time to prepare for States coming up in October. The 2010′s State and Provincial Championships will be the first big events to play with the new Standard. Study your spoilers and see what you can do to deal with U/W control and Valakut-Ramp. Goodbye Bloodbraid Elf, and thanks for all the fish.

Rise of the Eldrazi Set Review and Analysis: Red

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 red portion of Rise of the Eldrazi.

James
I don’t find this guy particularly interesting for any format.
Joe
This guy is behind the curve in terms of power / toughness compared to his cost, but the mini flametongue kavu effect will often steal an opposing creature post-combat, etc. In limited, these kinds of slower guys often have a place, but I’d be trying to fill my deck with more exciting guys first and use this as a filler after the first string is chosen.
Rob
Kills an x/1 in limited but even there, it costs a lot for little reward.


James
This is pretty attractive looking. Plop down one of your big Eldrazi with Annhilate (they all do I think) and your turn 3 blocker gives it haste. Sweet!
Joe
This is an interesting wall, presenting you with the choice of leaving a blocker, or hasting a guy. There are obviously a fair number of creatures in this format to whom extending Haste is an incredible benefit.
Rob
If you are running Red Eldrazi somehow, this guy can buy you time to hit your mana, and then fling your fresh freaks from the Blind Eternities at game winning speed. Of course, just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be.
Mike
This guy is slightly wallish in a limited game, and could make combat interesting but I think this is the kind of guy to get double-tabled since 1 power isn’t what you want out of a red deck generally.


James
This is a great card for limited. Forces the pre-combat casting but the extra damage is probably worth it since it’s likely whatever you’re attacking with is now a 4/x. Pretty tough to deal with and at a much more reasonable casting cost than the Eldrazi. Essentially a role-player.
Joe
While the creature itself is fairly piddly for a 4-drop, in some cases, you can boost some evasive attacker, so sometimes this will make the cut.
Rob
What a quirky ability on a Common. Might find his way into Block Goblin decks and be a powerhouse.
Mike
This guy I like, he can really break up a stalled board.


James
Wow, this is crappy.
Joe
At first this struck me as a terrible prodigal sorcerer variant, but I think in the slower kinds of games I’m anticipating in this format, this guy will be strong. Even though it costs a whopping 11RRRR to fully level this guy, I suspect you’ll get there in some games, and then you’ve got lightning bolt on a stick, which is very strong indeed. The nice thing about these levelers is you can prompt removal, or get an opponent to over-commit without committing much to the board yourself. So paired with sweepers, these are quite strong.
Rob
I’ll stick with Cunning Sparkmage in general, thanks.
Mike
This guy is not better than Cunning Sparkmage or even Prodigal Pyromancer which are both in standard right now.


James
This is hilarious. I imagine people will try to use this in constructed. Getting 3 mana for 2 is alright but assuming no Day of Judgetment, you’ll get that big fattie out pretty fast. I’m just not convinced that the Eldrazi are really that doable in the current meta. For limited, you’d need a lot of spawn creators to make this viable…Hmm, I guess this is a “watch” card. Fiddle with and see if you can make something of it.
Joe
This looks like a key card for the ramp-to-eldrazi decks, as it’s common and produces 3 spawn for the low cost of 2 mana.
Rob
Spawn are going to be clogging up tables everywhere. I’m surprised we didn’t get even more Spawn enablers really, as seeing this requires a Spawn to start off. We could of had a cool land that Tapped for 2 colorless and put a Spawn into play under your opponents control, or something of the like. I don’t see this ever being played on turn two, but can ramp neatly later on.
Mike
An interesting ramp concept. It’s pretty weird that all the colors have these spawn cards, but Spawn: 3 is truly intruiging.


James
This card is going to win people games at the draft tables. The casting cost is so doable, it’s affect is explosive and it’s a 5/5 flier to boot. Hot sauce.
Joe
A strong enough creature on its own as a 4/4 flying for 6, the [car d]threaten[/card] effect really pushes this rare into bomb country, especially if you have any kind of sacrifice outlet on board to nuke their creature before you have to give it back.
Rob
More casual rares for Bazaar Trader decks. If he had Haste himself he’d be completely insane. But without Haste or some sort of blinking tricks, why bother?
Mike
Another in a long line of expensive, flying limited bombs for red. I would love to steal a baneslayer angel with this guy in constructed though.


James
Hmmm, I guess this would be more than broken if they had haste. I’m thinking it can’t be more than border-line.
Joe
Risky business here. This seems like more of a constructed card to me. Lands are fairly important, and to make the tokens worthwhile, you’d want to sacrifice most of your own lands. But if you float 3W, then cast this followed by, say, armageddon, that should work out okay.
This is all about Haste. If you can power this down around counters and give the tokens Haste, you should win the game.
Rob
This is all about Haste. If you can power this down around counters and give the tokens Haste, you should win the game.
Mike
This card is kind of good. I think it’s much better in limited, which makes its rarity annoying, but it’s a really fun looking card.


James
Whoa. This is narly. Constructed worthy? Maybe…pretty costly…
Joe
One-sided mass removal? This is a nasty bomb.
Rob
I love the flavor, but I’d rather use Day of Judgment, Pyroclasm, Consume the Meek, or any other number of just plan better sweepers.
Mike
So pricey but it’s got a badass text. If you can figure out how to use it in a real deck, there’s nothing better than mass-creature kill that only hits your opponent’s guys, but good luck doing so.


James
I really like this card. It’s so awesome for limited. It’s one reason I think Birthing the Brood will be pretty sweet. This is at common too.
Joe
Another common that will be central to many Eldrazi ramp stratagems.
Rob
3/3 guy maker makes guys, guys then make bigger spells. What’s not to like? Well, it’s no Siege-gang, but chumps and mana. Might not make it to Constructed without a combo or Spawn synergy concept.
Mike
This guy only costing 5 and being a 3/3 makes him playable if you’re trying to do something with high cost. These red cards getting Spawn: 3 is a lot better than what the other colors are offering right now.


James
Be-geez. This is looking awesome. Not really for constructed because red-decks are going to want lower curves (or traditionally do). Great for limited.
Joe
Wow, this is like a cantrip version of erratic explosion. If you have any kind of way to manipulate your library, this turns into a solid card, but otherwise it’s very luck-dependent. Still, this format seems to lend itself to very high mana curves, so you should usually do 5 or more damage for the card, which seems like a good deal.
Rob
This made me giggle a little. Jace, Selective Memory, Halimar Depths, or even some tutors in Eternal formats can make this 15 damage with an Emraluk, 16 with a Draco. That’s like casting 5 bolts at the same time. So fun. I like this for a run at an extended deck using Riddle of Lightning as it does very similar things.
Mike
I think this is a fine limited card. We’ve seen things like vengeful rebirth be good in limited and this reminds me of that in a lot of ways. It’s a cool take on the treasure hunt mechanic we got in the last set.


James
I guess…It’s aight. This would be pretty sweet at 4cc. 5cc just makes me not like this.
Joe
Versatile, but likely a sideboard card.
Rob
One mana and one restriction beyond real playability for now. Once Scars comes down and we have more must-kill artifacts, this will surface occasionally.
Mike
Pretty gosh-darn expensive of a card in a limited format where there really aren’t any blow out lands.


James
Sweet. Doesn’t hit players so probably not good enough to justify in constructed but certainly powerful enough for an early pick in limited.
Joe
Excellent removal that will change the typical math for creature toughness. 4 is no longer safe.
Rob
I like it. I think the Sorcery speed and the player exclusion makes up for the extra damage nicely. Becomes a strategy play as to whether to kill now, or wait till it comes back to you.
Mike
Inferno trap for it’s trap cost? Power creep? Magic is so weird sometimes.


James
Cool. Sorcery speed to knock out two x/1′s? Sure. So cheap.
Joe
I love the flexibility of this spell, even though it’s not an instant.
Dillon
The Fire side of Fire//Ice. I think it is really good, I was wondering when they would print it on it’s on card. I’m not sure if it is better than Staggershock, but perhaps in time.
Rob
Nice. I wish it was instant, but I’m a Red player a lot. Neutering Elves and WW are going to be the real order of the day when you have this card in hand. Of course it can also be a shock if you need to seal the deal.
Mike
This is something everyone is going to have to play around now. A nice little piece of removal/burn for very cheap.


James
There aren’t many early drops in Rise so I suppose this is okay if you want to try for an aggressive start. Just doesn’t seem right for the rest of the cards in the set. Probably great filler for a top-heavy curve. Constructed? Maybe, it’s similar enough to Mogg Fanatic that it’s probably worth throwing in a deck to see how it goes.
Joe
I’m not really into this. A 1-drop 1/1 seems out of place in ROE, even with the potential to help you profit in combat.
Rob
Mog Fanatic! So good to see you again!


James
Hmmm…are there enough creatures for this to be justifiable? I just don’t see it. Sometimes strategies change once you get to play more with the cards. I don’t see it though.
Joe
I think this will be another lynchpin of rush decks, should that approach prove viable. You will definitely need ways to squeak by the ubiquitous defenders and fatties.
Rob
Maybe in Block Goblins, but mostly it just feels like Filler.
Mike
Another thing for red to use to break a stalled board. That’s two sest in a row we’ve seen stuff like this, an interesting path for the red mage.


James
There ar emore than enough walls in this set to justify this. I’m pretty sure it’s an amazing SB option for limited and it’s going to be a great mid-pack pick. I’m even thinking this is a dream for constructed play SB options…
Joe
This is another bear that will go well in a rush approach. You need ways to kill big walls, plain and simple.
Rob
A good sideboard card if Wall decks become as prominent as WotC wants them to be. The Lunge effect is nice too.
Mike
The wall-killer! This guy is cool, there are a ton of walls in this block and I could see this guy being a neat sideboard card and a really good limited card.


James
Nice. I am definitly going to look forwad to playing with this card. Guess I can’t get my hopes up too high; it is a rare after all. Still, pretty cool. Maybe I’m just way too into the spawn meme.
Joe
Wow, this should be a bomb, assuming you have even mediocre eldrazi spawn generation.
Rob
Upgrade all of your Spawn into threats. Sounds good. I like that the Sacrifice is on resolution, so if it gets countered you aren’t left out in the wind.
Mike
This card is bad ass, man. Especially in those stalled out games when you have a bunch of eldrazi spawn on the board.


James
Great reprint that’s going to be so awesome for limited. X in the casting cost? Automatic amazing first pick. :)
Joe
Solid common removal. A high pick for any deck, and easily splashable.
Rob
Banefire is obviously strictly better, but in Limited, this will do a lot of heavy lifting in cleaning up the opponent’s board.
Mike
Another great piece of removal for red. Though these cards aren’t very versatile, they’re quite handy.


James
I’m pretty sure this is the best (or second best) level up dude. Level up is hotly debated and frequently bemoaned for being a sorcery ability but this is just great at any point in the game for a red deck. One of the simple lessons Ben Lundquist gave during our workshops was that it’s crucial to evaluate cards on a “early game, mid-game and late-game” basis. That is, good early? Yep. Good mid-game? yep. Good late-game? Yep. Not as good as Tarmagoyf which is the card Ben was using to illustrate the point but this is still very solid. Mythic so don’t expect to see him during the pods (very often).
Joe
This is one of the more powerful levelers, but you need to be fairly committed to red.
Dillon
I love this guy. He is nowhere close to “Mythic” but I think he will see loads of play. He flies over Kor Firewalker, he is something for red to dump mana into. I can see him in October, tearing it up side by side Obsidian Fireheart, and Staggershock. If he has protection from white or first strike he would be loads better, but I won’t be picky.
Rob
I don’t like how much mana it takes to get this guy to his first change. RRRRRR for a 4/4 Flyer seems odd to me, I really don’t like the thought of it dying with the critical level on the stack.
Mike
I dont like Levelers who can’t completely upgrade on the very next turn, but this guy has some potential to be a 4/4.


James
Pretty cool to be sure. This is the kind of card that makes me think a fast deck might be possible. Just maybe…pretty cool.
Joe
I don’t like this guy, but you will sometimes be able to do neat combat tricks with him. He seems easy to kill, even if you pump him. This is a creature that will usually be blocked, though, and if he isn’t, you might sneak in 4 or 7 damage.
Rob
This guy can just get wholly out of hand. Drop him Turn 2, Turn 3 I Bolt you, Bolt you, and swing with a 7/2 for 13 Damage total. And that’s not all that unlikely of a scenario with some variation.
Mike
This guy seems like filler, though he could do some serious damage with the amount of cheap spells that we normally see from red.


James
I mean, everything costs 8 mana so this is probably doable. lol. Everything in this set is super-sized so I guess this “pip-squeek” is minatureized. sigh.
Joe
Hill giant is usually playable. It remains to be seen whether this holds true in the realm of the Eldrazi.
Rob
Uh, yeah, filler. Nothing to really say here.
Mike
Another functional reprint.


Joe
An Overrun-esque effect on a gray ogre seems good to me, even if it’s much slower and lacks the trample clause. This is an ogre they need to deal with before you hit the magic 8.
Rob
I don’t like how small he is, but this might be the best of the Invokers, not that the bar was set too high. A goblin, he beefs up you whole team, and he’s a red mana dump for when you are in top deck mode.
Justin
How underpowered can you be? I imagine R&D had a pretty broken 1st draft of this guy to end up with such a watered down creature. Yuck.


Joe
Another strong leveler, and the kind of hill giant I can get behind in RoE. If he goes ultimate, you should win the game with this guy, which puts him near, or across, the boundary of the “bomb” category.
Dillon
Aggressively costed and a serious beater. Red will take him happily. I can see him in Big Red as the main skull shatterer for the deck.
Rob
Leveler tries to level, takes a bolt to the face, controller loses more mana and a card. Film at 11. And if you really can’t race its controller or kill it before level 6, you deserve to get a beat down.
Mike
Here you have another hill giant with some potential. I don’t see this guy making it past level 1 but I don’t think you really need it to. It’s just not really what you’re looking for when you open a rare, though there isn’t a lot of removal that will deal with it easily at 3/3.


Joe
This might not be that terrible if your opponent drops some smaller guy, or if you have an 0/X wall that can block him every turn without killing him.
Rob
This will be the difference in some Limited games, but I doubt it will see the light of day anywhere else.
Mike
This is a pretty interesting take on an aura. It could really blow out your opponent if he has a 1 power creature on the board that you can just trade 1 for 3 damage with all game.


Joe
Reusable removal is very strong, even if you have to sacrifice dorks to get it. Remember that you can block and then use this ability before damage is dealt.
Rob
This just seems bad. Did they really need filler in the Rare slots?
Mike
This guy has potential to be decent with some spawn but otherwise he’s just a 4/4 unless they allow you to stack damage again someday.
Justin
I feel like this guy has a rightful place in Goblin decks. Look for Magmaw’s value to jump as Extended season comes back.


Joe
A neat wall. Pretty unremarkable, as it does what it does and that’s it.
Rob
Red Wall. At least it will eat anything that plays interference while swarming you.


Joe
This is a strong wall, able to clear out armies of tiny creatures, controlling opposing eldrazi spawn, etc.
Rob
A Good Red Wall. It Flies, It Provokes, and it have huge power. If you can give it First Strike it’d be silly.
Mike
I like that this guy can force a trade with someone your opponent might be trying to protect but I’m not a huge fan of walls that look like they should be beating the crap out of my opponent.


Joe
This might not be a bad thing to play in an early-rush deck. Just remember that it does nothing on its own, so it isn’t as good as your central strategy.
Zak
Rob
This seems like it could be really good. Boros and Goblins can set this off like nobody’s business.
Mike
This could be really decent in a quick little goblin deck with a low curve. the fact that it’s common makes it scary in a swarm style 40-carder.


Joe
Yow! If this gets in there unopposed even once, you should have no problem going to Eldrazi town. I like the looks of this trampling uncommon. His main drawback is his high cost, as your opponent will likely have some sizeable defenses built up by the time this hits play.
Rob
Pretty slow and clunky. I throw it in the “Why Bother?” pile.
Mike
If this guy was just a little chaper I’d really like him, but 6 cost is a lot for someone who isn’t going to potentially win the game for you, and that 4 toughness isn’t very impressive at 6cc. He has a lot of great synnergy with a bunch of other red cards though.


Joe
First strike really saves this guy from being unplayable. As it is, he’s still only marginally playable. But with enough eldrazi spawn, he might be your best wall as you stall into your fat. Or he can just swing into wall after wall.
Rob
Meh. Too often this will be a really expensive 1/1 or 2/1 and that just won’t get there that well.
Mike
This guy could be off the wall with the amount of eldrazi spawn red looks like they can produce.


Joe
I like this spell. It lets you finish off a creature that your opponent assumed would live, and it gives you a spawn token. It’s not the most powerful burn, but I’ll run it either in a pinch, or in a deck that wants to spawn race. Remember that you can simply use this to nuke an opposing spawn token if you’re afraid they might win the spawn-into-eldrazi race.
Dillon
This is another spell for Big Red that will help buy it time and save it time in the same moment.
Rob
I kinda like this. You get 1 mana back in the form of a Spawn and you can pop off one of their Spawns, or better.
Mike
pretty bad.


Joe
Turn any creature into Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker‘s cousin! This is a very cool card with multiple uses. Try to find a creature with a great “enters the battlefield” effect to slap this on.
Rob
A semi-decent Rare? It’s like it came from a whole different set! Auras are weak, true, but this has combo tricks written all over it. Make infinite tapped Glamer Spinners in Extended+, but do what with them? Hmm…
Mike
We’ve seen cards like this before. It has a certain appeal to it, but really it’s an expensive card that makes the creature it enchants a total lightning rod for removal. If you get it on an even halfway decent guy though, it could do some damage.


Joe
Basic removal / burn card. Definitely worth playing in limited. I missed the rebound at first and still thought this was decent. With rebound, it’s very good indeed.
Dillon
The most important burn spell next to Lightning Bolt. It is nearly card advantage for red, which doesn’t happen very often. I like it a lot, and I am nowhere near being a red mage.
Rob
Imagine Shock with Flashback for 2. Seems good right? Well, this is just one step below that. Good enough for me.
Mike
This is a card with a lot of hype already, it seems like the perfect application for Rebound.


Joe
This is a neat spell. If you only have one instant in the yard, you can use this to play said instant two more times!
Rob
Random is not a word I want to play with in Magic outside the Randomization of my Deck.
Mike
Sorcery speed makes this card pretty bad, but Rebound gives it potential. I don’t know what likely targets for this card would be, but I’m sure it has some application somewhere.


Joe
This is the aforementioned threaten on steroids. A very strong, game-swinging card, here.
Rob
Awesome in Limited, Casual Bazaar Trader deck is the permanent home though.
Mike
We’ve seen mark of mutiny and co. do work, and this card is just silghtly better. It can get you there maybe a turn earlier than it’s predecessors.


Joe
Dare your opponent to block this legend! He seems cute, but there are so many 0/X walls that send old Tuk-tuk to frown town that I’d be hesitant to rely on him without some other way to sacrifice him (and ideally then return him from the graveyard to sacrifice him again).
Rob
I really like Tuktuk. I love the flavor and story behind him, and his ability is neat and possibly abusable.
Mike
I don’t know mucha bout goblins as a constructed deck but this guy is a great blocker in limited.


Joe
Valakut Wall Killer is about the extent of this guy. He makes a great blocker and a great, if vulnerable, attacker too. I like him okay, but he’s got that vulnerability which shouldn’t be overlooked.
Rob
Attack only when it’s the killing blow. No constructed playability. And by that I mean it would really surprise me.
Justin
A red wall that does not play well with the defender focus in RoE. Can be a decent finisher in Limited.


Joe
Wow, this is probably going to be an archetype of its own. If you get 2-4 of these guys and a bunch of walls, you can just turtle up and win the game during EOT steps. This is pretty dang strong in my opinion.
Rob
When Defenders Strike Back. Seems ok. I wonder how many playable Defenders there are? That will tell us how good this guy will be.
Mike
There are a lot of defender cards in this block, if there’s a deck based around them I imagine this guy would have to be a staple.


Joe
Two turns of double-alpha strikes is definitely worth the 3RR here. This is another spell that might incentivize you to play a rush strategy against the grain of the defender-themed set. Imagining having an annihilator creature on board when you cast this seems mighty dirty.
Rob
You can’t create much more pressure than this, assuming you have any threats at all on the board.
Mike
I think this card has a lot of potential in a deck with evasion, 5cc is simply not too much for what this card has the potential to do, which is control 4 combat phases in 2 turns.


Joe
This common will be another weapon in the arsenal of the rush player, since you can kill the wimps and/or spawn, and neutralize the walls for a clear attack.
Rob
More removal for Spawn and Mana Elves. Seems fine in some decks.
Mike
Just one more way to swing in for the win. Of course there’s some 3 for 1 potential in there… as much potential as Ancestral Visions being reprinted.


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

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
TEXT
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
TEXT
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: Colorless

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 colorless portion of Rise of the Eldrazi.

James

Board sweepers are inherently strong so I imagine this is no different. I was a bit disappointed that Planar Cleansing never went anywhere (that I’m aware of); however, this could be a one-sided Day of judgment. Artifacts use to be safe until wotc started printing colored artifacts so saying this will see play in artifcat decks isn’t even the case anymore. Neat but is there enough colorless cards to build around this as the sweeper? Maybe this would be a good SB option against Open the Vaults style decks? That would be pretty narrow…

Joe

This looks like an amazing Wrath of God variant. Akromas Vengeance saw play at 6, and with even one of the new eldrazi support lands, this will cost the same. Seems a bit niche, but probably still powerful since it can be one-sided outside of the mirror.

Zak

I really like this card, because it’s a sweeper that doesn’t require a specific colour. I don’t think we’ve had one like this since Oblivion Stone. The ability to take out noncreature permanents is a big plus, and I believe that this could possibly see play in non-Eldrazi themed decks. Think of all the control archetypes that don’t use white. This could be extremely valuable to something like Grixis control, which doesn’t quite have a full sweeper at its disposal, but has all the other elements of a solid control deck.

Bryan

This card is very interesting and will see some play in the future. Akroma’s Vengance but easier to cast? I like it, but dont know how good it will be in the coming standard season. Obvious note should be taken that it is a tribal spell so it gains bonuses for the reduced pricing from Eye and Temple.

Dillon

This card deals with Planeswalkers, Colored Artifacts, Enchantments, Creatures, including indestructible ones, and ones with Totem armor, and fits in any color. It is truly incredible. Black finally gets a way to destroy Enchantments and Blue gets to kill creatures. Very powerful.

Rob

I suspect there will be a colorless deck after Rotation with Colored ramp spells and removal and Colorless Permanents so it can break Symmetry. Awesome with Artifact control, but playable by any deck, which brings me to a concern. If we have truly powerful Rare or higher Colorless spells, expect back breaking prices. A card playable by any deck, with any set of colors, and be a decent finisher is going to demand a price. Might also be playable in a Standard 43land-esque deck? This card will see price increases once the Scars of Mirrodin block starts dropping. Get them before then.

Mike

This takes board destruction to an entirely new level. Making it Sacrifice Colored Permanents instead of destroy them gives the card great interplay with some of the other Eldrazi cards and gets around normal tricks like Regeneration and Indestructability.

Justin

OK, this big sweeper is the first card I have seen that makes an Eldarzi deck plausible. This card goes into artifact themed EDH decks (I’m looking at you Karn). Are Urza’s Lands still in Extended? What about Cloudpost? Seems like some brown style fun to me.

  • James

    Wow. That’s pretty sick. Seems like an amazing way to get back a Broodmate Dragon or even one of these crazy Eldrazi cards. This a pretty efficient way to spend 9 man.

    Joe

    The eldrazi that can exist in your graveyard should prove to be good reanimator targets. Also, at a “mere” nine mana, and at uncommon, this seems like a likely candidate to see at least SOME limited play.

    Zak

    I think that this card shows just how swingy the Eldrazi can be. Assuming you have a worthwhile animation target when you hit 9 mana (which you should), this card is almost impossible to deal with without an opponent also casting an Eldrazi. It’s hard enough to have a removal spell in limited that can take down something of this size, but with another free creature along with it, Artisan promises to wreck limited (in a good way).

    Bryan

    Rise from the grave effect is cool, but this guy costs so much that I dont see him seeing competitive constructed play. Bomb in limited.

    Rob

    One thing I like about this guy is that if your opponent has sent one of your great guys to the bin, you get to return it regardless of any possible counterspells and if he resolves, you’ve doubled up the threats and pressure, likely enough to crack through. If expensive mana costs become par for the course, this guy seems pretty good.

    Mike

    This seems like it has a minimal effect on other Eldrazi cards, which only trigger when you cast them. Though returning a double digit P/T creature with Annihilator is nothing to slouch at.

    Justin

    This guy is a must in Eldrazi themed decks. Probably best as a 2 of. Recursion is always powerful and with the mana commitment inherent with Eldrazi, it is important to keep tempo.

    [card]

  • James

    I’m a bit sad to see this doesn’t have the new Totem ability. I’d really hate to invest 8 mana more into a creature and then have it removed from the battlefield immediately there after…or before it resolves.

    Joe

    Wow. I’m glad I have a set of nomad mythmakers! This is an excellent aura, costing very little from an Eldrazi perspective, and enchanting a creature already on the board, essentially giving you pseudo haste with your 10/10 +, trample, annihilaor beats. Should often be GG the turn you play it.

    Zak

    I love this card. Finally Arcanum Wings has a home, and a darn good one. just switch off a measly flying aura for this, and you’re golden. Too bad Extended season is winding down…

    Bryan

    When you read this card the first impression i have is “Win”. this card is pretty crazy in the sense that it can make any creature on the battlefield a complete threat. Of course the fact that it is an Aura will reduce this card from seeing any sort of competitive play. Especially when we have so many good pieces of spot removal currently in standard.

    Rob

    Nomad Mythmaker, Auratouched Mage, Zur the Enchanter all put this thing to use in older formats to voltron together some suddenly scary creatures of doom, but in standard we have Sovereigns of Lost Alara which can make any random dork into a true monster late game. EDH will make the most use of this, seeing as Auras usually mean too great a risk for too little a reward in competitive, but I wouldn’t rule this out completely. Unlikely, but not impossible to see play.

    Mike

    If the new locations that make Eldrazi Spells cheaper actually work, this could be crazy in limited, but as card types usually go, it doesn’t get much worse than Aura-Rare.

    Justin

    Auras have to be pretty great in order to see play. An 8cc aura should be amazing. This one is not.

    James

    pretty insane. I like how this continues the Lorthos (or Vorthos theme as Joe discussed on Power 9 Pro) and Darksteel Colossus theme of making really huge, mythic creatures. This one is a bit off the hook. Any way of cheating this out is great. Hypergensis loves this; as do Polymorph and Summoning Trap. Insane.

    Joe

    I am very excited about this mythic, mostly because it’s the pre-release foil, so I’m sure to get my hands on a couple. It’s also looking like one of the better Eldrazi to use in a Sneak Attack type deck. Outside of this kind of cheat-onto-the-battlefield kind of strategy, this seems like a very high CMC. I’m dusting off my copies of warp world and summoning trap.

    Zak

    My inner Johnny wants to use this with Maelstrom Archangel, because it would be that awesome. I find it extremely hard to believe that this will ever be cast normally, even with the aid of Eye of Ugin. It seems like Progenitus just got replaced in extended Hypergenesis, because this does all it does and more.

    Bryan

    Of course all the abilities on this card are crazy, but the chances of me casting this 15 mana dude are very slim. Fast decks such as Boros and allies are still viable and the likely-hood that you live to cast this is slim. Having this guy in your opening hand is a mulligan.

    Rob

    This guy is cute. So expensive, but most likely it will be cheated into play or abused for its casting cost. I’m looking at you, Djinn of Wishes, Polymorph, Lurking Predators, Riddle of Lightning and Explosive Revelation. If you are hard casting and your opponent can’t counter, the card might as well just say “You Win”. Though, a lone Vampire Nighthawk can bring the giant down… @Zak: Protection from colored spells is nowhere near as strong as Protection from Everything, but on all other accounts, yes this is scary in that role, unless it is just chumped blocked with random flying dorks.

    Mike

    This guy is obviously a Baller amongst ballers. Emeria wins the Eldrazi god-war. If you can slap this guy down it’s good game. I mean you take an extra turn just by casting him and he can’t be countered. 15 mana is so hefty though.

    Justin

    This is Kozileks’ angry drunken uncle. No one wants to see this guy resolve. Again it seems like Eldrazi are all about mana acceleration. If my Eldrazi deck curves out at 15 then this is my finisher. Concordant Crossroads, Cloudstone Curio and Emrakul’s nephew Kozilek seems like fun.

    Joe

    With all the Eldrazi Spawn generators, this seems among the most likely of the Eldrazi to see the light of the battlefield in limited. Alas, it’s only annihilator 1, and has no evasion. I’m not planning to run this guy without tons of the spawn generators.

    Zak

    This is the weakest of the Eldrazi, but albeit one of the easier ones to power out. In limited, I can see these guys getting picked much higher if you can amass many spawn generators. The best part is that all these are common, and if you can land this guy early, you can steadily decrease the probability of an opponent dropping an eldrazi by making them sacrifice their lands. If they opt to sacrifice other permanents, congratulations, you just gained card advantage!

    Bryan

    not that bad of a dude. Annihilator is going to be intersting to play with. I always like having options with how to cast my spells.

    Rob

    This could be the fastest little colorless guy you can get out. Shame that doesn’t mean much.

    Mike

    This guy is interesting, he might be the easiest guy to cast in limited b/c of all the cards that produce Eldrazi Spawn, but after looking at some other creatures here, 7/7 with A1 sauce isn’t anything to write home about.

    Justin

    This guy screams tempo in the Eldrazi deck. I think he is a great fit. I like how Shapeshifters from Lorwyn also count as Eldrazi Spawn.

    James

    This is pretty well priced. I’m not sure how all these mega-costing creatures are going to shape up. Are we stuck playing 18, 19 lands in limited? Seems like it would be really slow. Anyway, if this sticks around, it’s hot sauce. The draw ability is pretty tits.

    Joe

    I think Kozilek will prove to be a bit of a dud. He can’t sit in the graveyard, and his best benefit, the draw 4, doesn’t trigger when he’s cheated into play. He has a high annihilator count though. You have to commit to casting this guy. Now, that said, in limited you might find yourself awash in Eldrazi Spawn, in which case, kozilek is quite castable as early as turn 5 or 6 in some cases. In that situation he’ll surely shine.

    Zak

    Looking at all the eldrazi, Koxilek seems like one of the best. He’s a reasonable (I use this term lightly, and only in the context of Rise) 10 mana, and just wrecks face when you cast him. If you open him in limited, you should have no trouble winning games. Constructed might be a different story, because the sheer amount of removal that exists will make it hard for the annihilator to trigger. However, at least you get a free Tidings!

    Bryan

    In my opinion, one of the better Eldrazi. his casting cost isnt that far off from playable and the rewards are pretty good. Refulling late game hand and getting a large creature is always nice.

    Dillon

    This will probably be the one hitting the most battlefields out of the Eldrazi cycle. He completely reloads your hand and then wrecks your opponent. 10 mana actually seems doable rather than 15 mana for Emrakul.

    Rob

    When first spoiled this guy seemed pretty silly, then Emrakul was spoiled and put him in perspective. If you are going to cheat, go all the way. If you are going to hardcast, go lower and get more done with less risk.

    Mike

    10 Mana actually seems reasonable for this guy. You draw four cards, he’s pretty big, he might end up being played in blue based control decks because of his relative cheapness and his card drawing.

    Justin

    I am assuming that drawing 4 cards is good. I thought of something when I saw Annihilator… sacred ground? Also in extended (for now).

    Joe

    This guy can live in the graveyard and therefore be reanimated. Seems like a natural for black decks that run one of the ubiquitous sacrificial edicts, such as cruel edict. Just animate dead and you’re on your way.

    Zak

    I’m loving having some Eldrazi that will make decent reanimation targets. And if they weren’t powerful enough, this card has intense synergy with itself and other Eldrazi, netting you a reward for attacking with cards with Annihilator. However, the odds of getting 2 Eldrazi out at the same time seem so low that this appears to be a “win-more” card. Time will tell, though.

    Bryan

    the obvious point on this guy is the lack of a graveyard clause. This gives him the ability to be reanimated. Pretty cool if you ask me. Could this card be good with Maelstrom Pulse?

    Rob

    High Casting cost, niche ability. Yes, Annihlator will be running about, but once you have 12 mana to drop guys, you probably have better and more reasonable advantages to expect out of your cards than stealing a few of you opponents permanents. Wish this ability was on a cheap Enchantment or Artifact instead.

    Mike

    This guy is pricey, but his ability is crazy with all the annihilator running around. I just don’t know if it will matter since if you’re annihilating your opponent’s entire board aren’t you already on the path to victory?

    Justin

    It That Betrays has the coolest name in the set. Its ability seems a little too win-more for my taste. You should already have the game in control by the time this ability is relevant.

    Joe

    I dig the flavor of a free [card]hindering light]/card] kind of effect for eldrazi themselves, but a normally Eldrazi-costed spell for lesser beings and spawn. Unlikely to make the cut in any limited deck I run though.

    Zak

    If an Eldrazi-specific deck emerges, you can bet that this will play a key part. However, on it’s own it’s just a terrible counterspell. I eagerly await a deck that can drop an Eldrazi, bait the opponent’s removal spell, and then cast this. Unfortunately, it does nothing to stop Day of Judgment, which is something the Eldrazi must all fear.

    Bryan

    Not good. situational cards like this are never good. You could play hindering light and atleast not be completely out of the game the whole time.

    Rob

    Playablity would be this not being a Hindering Light, being 3 or 4 mana cheaper, or working on power 5. As it is, it is very niche and people will shoehorn it into more than just Eldrazi control decks (if such a thing can really exist). On the plus, if you are tapping out to drop a big guy, you have a free counter to keep him from getting a Path to Exile before you untap.

    Mike

    If you’re only playing Eldrazi then I could see this being decent? Depends on how badly you want to swing in with these guys, but the good ones do crazy stuff just by casting them so who knows? I could see being really frustrated if you just sac’d a bunch of Eldrazi Spawn only to get blown out by doom blade though.

    Justin

    Counter magic in a color other than blue is pretty sharp. I would like to see this in an Extended Eldrazi build. Probably wont. Situational at best.

    James

    Hmmm. Uncommon. Probably a first pick uncommon. Players will be hard pressed to deal with this. Problem is that it’s not “crazy” to think of there being two of these in a draft pod. Colorless means that anyone casts it too. Man, I just don’t see this not being the shit in limited. For constructed, there are better Eldrazi at about the same cost.

    Joe

    Yikes, that’s nifty evasion, especially since they must sacrifice 3 to the annihilator. 11 is pushing it, requiring a bunch of spawn to get him out there, but it’ll probably happen. Not bad for an uncommon. This will probably turn out to be a common curve-topper for people with spawn but no rare or mythic top dog in their pool.

    Zak

    I really don’t know how relevant the blockers clause is. If all my opponent wants to do is to sit and chump-block my Eldrazi, I’m happy to just sit there and whittle away their board presence. however, it could be relevant if one wants to come out victorious when both players have Eldrazi out; whoever’s Eldrzai goes unblocked the longest will win out.

    Bryan

    This guy has a pretty cool ability that we’ve seen before. The requirements for blocking should make this guy almost completely unblockable after a few turns.

    Rob

    Uncommon Eldrazi like this guy are going to warp the way we understand Limited. He is every bit the bomb. Guys like these should really only lose to someone sitting on removal or who plays a bigger badder Eldrazi when the turn comes back. Which brings me to the thought, “Where is all the Removal?” Oh well, more cards yet to be spoiled.

    Mike

    Annihilator 3 combined with his blocking limitations makes this guy a real beater, better at attacking than anyone other than Emeria.

    Justin

    This fatty is a nice high end creature. Especially when you look at his rarity slot. In limited this guy is nuts. Not as good as other Eldrazi we have seen, but he’s not a mythic. I could see taking this guy really early in draft but I doubt the Pathrazer can find the road to constructed.

    James

    Seems like filler. I mean, why pay 7 mana to get 5 back? For the blockers I guess…There are a lot of these spawn-mana dudes in this set so maybe it’s a way of cheating the mana requirements? Hmm, after thinking through that, I guess I can see this having a use. It’d be a role player at most though. One or two of these spawn guys and a mega eldrazi could work out pretty well. I like the concept of not having to run 20 lands in limited.

    Joe

    This makes your turn 8 consist of a 12-drop. So I think this it likely to be a key part of many BigEldrazi approaches. Without a healthy supply of spawn, I just don’t see how the Go Big plan will work.

    Zak

    This is the sort of card that the Eldrazi needed, and while a 7-mana ramp spell may not seem like much. I love the idea of bringing out a Hand of Emrakul on turn 7 or earlier, and this seems like it will help make larger Eldrazi frequent the battlefield a little more in limited. I suspect that these will get passed a fair bit in Pack 1, but will get snapped up more frequently in pack 3, because people will have their big Eldrazi and will be more concxerned with bringing them out.

    Bryan

    one of the better ramp spells to play your eldrazi.

    Rob

    At cost, this is inefficient. With Discounts from Crazy Markov’s Eldrazi outlet Temple and Ugin Optical, it gives a decent chunk of chump blocks, or annihilator chumps, and replaces itself or ramps for the next big spell. Could this type of thing find it’s way into Storm decks in older formats if you get the cost reliably under 5? I think its possible.

    Mike

    If this were an instant I think it’d be incredible, as is it’s probably just awful.

    Justin

    I first I found this card a bit underwhelming. Then I remembered Eldrazi Monument and got a little excited. Then I thought about it a bit more and realized I wanted Coat of Arms instead…. There are better ways to generate mana. I find myself asking “What do I want to be doing when I have seven mana?” The answer is not drop a small horde of chump blockers that can possibly generate some mana. Twincast? Mirari? Not a fan.

    Joe

    Wow. I never thought I’d see an activated ability that just straight up costs 20. This guy’s not bad at spewing spawn, but it begs the question of where you got the 10 for Spawnsire in the first place. Still, he’s a huge wall, capable of fending off the uncommon Eldrazi while he ramps to even Bigger guys. I’m guessing that his “ultimate” will not be activated in any tournaments unless an arbitrarily-large-mana-combo exists in the format. Even then, surely there’s better ways to win.

    Zak

    This guy’s last ability makes me want to make an Extended deck with Cloudpost, Vesuva and the Urzatron to see what could happen. If you don’t automatically win if you resolve this ability, remember that you “cast” the eldrazi, so feel free to cast Tidings, Vindicate, and Time Walk via Kozilek, Ulamog and Emrakul respectively if you manage to get this off, and have devoted sideboard slots to them.

    Bryan

    Crazy abilities that will never be relevant.

    Rob

    Best thing about this guy is the token making. But again, you should be doing something better with your mana at this point.

    Mike

    This guy isn’t impressive at all but he might be a necessary evil when, in playtesting, you realize how hard it is to consistently cast large Eldrazi creatures.

    Justin

    TIMMY! I like this guy as a way to litter the battlefield with tokens. If you are playing Eldrazi then you have the mana to make this guy sing. I think this card has the the raw power that Timmy loves as well as the potential for Johnny goodness.

    James

    I like the idea of knocking out another Eldrazi with this; problem is that if you’re casting this guy to kill an Eldrazi that means you’re already behind in the game. All these cards with Annihilator are just nutso though.

    Joe

    This, and Emrakul, are the eldrazi to hope for. Indestructible will be huge, as all these guys have huge targets on their heads. He’s got a high annihilator count, he goes all angel of despair on the opposing Eldrazi, and he’s got a middle-of-the-road cost for his kind.

    Zak

    Frankly, I’m dissapointed in the last of the three titan Eldrazi. Both Emrakul and Kozilek net you insane amounts of advantage when they hit the field, and destroying a single permanent appears lackluster when compared to the other two. The indestructibility effect is nice against the likes of Jund, but in a format where Path to Exile and Oblivion Ring see plenty of play, I’m not sure how releavnt this guy will be compared to the other Eldrazi goodness.

    Rob

    If only this was when it enters, instead of when cast. The thought of more Hypergenesis fodder is sexy, and I haven’t even gotten the deck built yet, but sadly this fails. It does win the trump war with Kozilek, killing him when cast. but still likely never sees the board against Emrakul. Meh.

    Mike

    The last of the three gods here is pretty good, but I don’t think it’s as good as many of the other Eldrazi creatures who at least have a niche, this guy is a shriekmaw.

    Justin

    This is the annoying cousin to Kozilek. It seems like this Eldrazi Legend is easily the weakest of the bunch. Indestructible is nice but I feel that Kozilek’s ability to draw cards has a much bigger impact on the game.

    James

    And of course, we get to the common Eldrazi that only has Annihilator 2 and is a piddly 8/8. This will be the guy who wins games. This is the card you pick up first and never look back. Man…so crazy. 8 mana for Annihilator 2 on a 2/2 would have been the shizz and they made it an 8/8!! In-Sane!!! And at “only” 8 mana, I bet this could be played in constructed too…without any fancy shennanigans to cheat it out.

    Joe

    Common Eldrazi, annihilator 2, 8 CMC. This guy will be played for sure. He can come out fairly quickly on the back of a few spawn. Holding back on some removal seems likely to be a key play in this limited format.

    Zak

    This seems to be the benchmark for Eldrazi in limited, and an effective deck could easily pack 2-3 copies of this guy. This could see some constructed play as a finisher for decks that relally need one, but I thiink there are probably better options for not a whole lot more mana. Excellent card in limited. He will win games; I guaruntee it.

    Rob

    Common limited bomb? It is going to be so hard to adjust to this limited format because of all the fat. ‘Attacks each turn if able’ as a drawback? Doesn’t Annihilator 2 almost make that a given anyhow?

    Mike

    This is exactly how i’d dream up a common Eldrazi creature. At 8 mana it’s actually castable in a limited game and it’s going to be a pain in the butt to block with annihilator 2 every turn

    Justin

    This guy is a common so he will have a BIG impact on limited. I have yet to see any spot removal spoiled so this guy is a house. Not versatile enough for constructed.

  • James

    I’m not moved or overly excited about this. Kinda tough after the awesomeness I Just went through.

    Joe

    Hmm… pretty un-amazing card drawer. I hope I don’t end up having nothing better to run than this.

    Zak

    Uhh… If this costed 2 it would be much better, but as is it doesn’t seem to do a lot. Compared to Jayemdae Tome, this costs one more to get in the first place, and requires you to lose life to activate it. As much as I love drawing cards, by the time you take enough for this to be relevant, I’m sure some other card would have been better for you, and this will be too little too late. Awesome art though; go Chippy!

    Rob

    The 5 mana cost hurts, but then to only gain back half of the life AND pay 2 mana and four counters to activate it, the card I draw I don’t think really makes up for this super slow late game card. Maybe a Fog/Control Variant with Mirrodin tricks in the future, but for now, I disapprove. Still using the Art as a Wallpaper though.

    Mike

    This card just seems very slow, and on what turn is a control player going to cast it? If you have to take 4 damage to even activate it, how long is it going to be useful for? I don’t like this card much.

    Justin

    The mana cost makes this card unappealing. This card reeks of something that R&D was excited about and then they watered it down when annoying decks popped up in the Future Future League. I’m sure it can find a home in some wacky Johnny build but all in all it seems a bit sub par with all the gigantic creatures running around. I would sac this to Annihilator instead of a plains in a heartbeat.

  • James

    Master Transmuter comes to mind as an abuse outlet. Maybe I’m just a sucker though; I always felt she was just waiting to be super good… The abilities are pretty weird. I don’t like that you have to pay three and then sac to get the 3 cards. Type to draw 3 cards seems sufficient. For limited I’m starting to think cards like this are going to be pretty necessary if we players are ever going to get to 11 mana…

    Joe

    This looks strong, ramping you to Eldrazi, or drawing you into answers. I like it, even if it’s a bit slow and unorthodox for a mana artifact.

    Zak

    Thi card seems fantastic. It’s excellent in limited if you want to power out Eldrazi behemoths more reliably than with temporary sacrifices of Spawn tokens, and in constructed it can go well in a control deck. And do I really need to talk about how awesome this could be in EDH?

    Rob

    Um, ok. Mana ramp for Eldrazi guys, but for those of us trying to win, this accel comes about 4 land drops too late. I’ll enjoy playing with it in Limited and EDH but I’m not likely to play it in any constructed tourneys. Of course all that could change when Scars comes out with a good Artifact Control deck.

    Mike

    This is an interesting ramp card. It’s weird a ramp card costs six, but with everflowing chalice this card is reasonable. The fact that you can draw 3 cards when you’ve caught up to your mana is definitely a cool ability.

    Justin

    I like this card for EDH, especially in colors where card drawing is scarce like Red. It seems too slow for Construted at this point, but that could all change when Shards rotates out.

  • Joe

    Big, slow, not my style.

    Zak

    Sigh… It’s Anodet Lurker‘s big brother. If you’re spending six mana on this in limited, you’re doing something wrong and wil probably get overrun by levelers and/or Eldrazi.

    Rob

    I’d rather have a Lodestone Golem.Otherwise see the same comments for Dreamstone Hedron.

    Mike

    I like this guy, 6 mana isn’t too much for a limited game, he will definitely get you to the late turns when you can start casting your big eldrazi stuff if you go that route.

    Justin

    In a set full of high casting cost, powerful threats, this guy is underpowered. Lame for an uncommon.

  • James

    Sweetness. Rare so not the craziest of them all but it has high utility; especially on an overcosted flier as I’m sure Rise of the Eldrazi has.

    Joe

    Should be hot. Even if you just run out a flier and equip, you can often race before your opponent hits Eldrazi town.

    Zak

    It’s so expensive, but it might just make it as a singleton target for Stoneforge Mystic to tutor up and play cheaply. I have this vision of a Baneslayer Angel attacking with this, but I just don’t know how relevant it could possibly be when another card would probably be more effective

    Rob

    This amuses me. So many guys could be awesome with this on them, but we need to use guys like Stoneforge Mystic, and Kor Outfitter, who have fairly low CMC, thus defeating the purpose largely.

    Mike

    This is equally as pricey as grappling hook and has a lot more potential. The fact that it’s rare is kind of annoying, because if this had trample it’d be outstanding.

    Justin

    Not really impressed with this piece of equipment. The gains are marginal on early drops and the impact is small late game. Do I want to spend 4 mana for this on turn 4? Nope.

  • James

    Kinda neat. I’ve not really played the “mill deck” so I can’t speak to its viability. Maybe this would be a good sideboard option against Dredge? Those decks fill the graveyard up quickly. “5 mana” (after the 6 to play) to mill 20 cards would be pretty off the hook. I’m sure someone will throw this into a control deck to see how it goes.

    Joe

    Auto-mill for 6 + one turn? I like this as a win condition more than any of the Eldrazi. This will be a commonly played card in EDH too, though maybe not as much in multi-player matches as in 1v1.

    Zak

    So we have a Millstone steroids. People might be tempted to play this in limited, but I would caution against it, because in the 4 or so turns you spend casting this and milling them, you’ll probably be crushed underfoot by an Eldrazi or two. I do echo Joe’s sentiments about EDH, this could be pretty awesome.

    Rob

    Strictly EDH and Casual. With three Gaea’s Blessings running around the format, and Milling usually being a subpar strategy (and I love to mill people) this is really kinda worthless.

    Mike

    This card could get out of hand quickly, especially in a limited game, but as for constructed applications, things like archive trap just seem more consistent to base a mill deck around once Font of Mythos rotates out

    Justin

    Holy crap! This goes right into my Szadek, Lord of Secrets EDH deck. YAY! I like it a bunch…. yeah only for that reason. I think it would be funny to play late on a dredge player too.

  • Joe

    Should be awesome in limited, then become a bookmark forevermore.

    Zak

    It lets your more mediocre guys trade with the big Eldrazi, but it shouldn’t be a permanent solution due to it’s intense equip cost.

    Rob

    5 to equip? I’ll pass.

    Mike

    This card would’ve been Kor Outfitter’s best friend if it wasn’t triple ROE draft, otherwise it isn’t awesome

    Justin

    Equip cost is way too high. I would rather play Feast of the Unicorn.

  • Joe

    This feels like a “win more” to me, but sometimes it’ll go on a flier and count all your walls for the boost, so I might play it in such a deck.

    Zak

    The cost for this is way to high for something that resembles Scion of the Wild. If you’re going for the Eldrazi style win-condition, is this gong to be relevant at all? Methinks not.

    Rob

    Cantrips, filters mana, and is a good basic Utility Card. Going to be great fixer in limited.

    Mike

    Well, open the vaults just got a new friend. That deck could definitely come back before Shards of Alara rotates out this fall.

    Justin

    House. This card is powerful in a subtle way. I like it for multi-colored EDH decks. Strong in Limited and I could see it making a splash in Standard. I would not feel bad cascading into this.

  • Joe

    It cantrips, so if you need this fixer, it’s relatively painless.

    Zak

    YES!!! Remember how Time Seive was used in an awesome combo/stall deck before Zendiakr came out? The only thing which stopped the deck’s growth was the rotation of Elsewhere Flask. Well now this deck is back and should be able to make a serious gash in the metagame now that we have another 2 mana cantripping artifact in addition to Kaliedostone.

    Rob

    Cantrips, filters mana, and is a good basic Utility Card. Going to be great fixer in limited.

    Mike

    Well, open the vaults just got a new friend. That deck could definitely come back before Shards of Alara rotates out this fall.

    Justin

    House. This card is powerful in a subtle way. I like it for multi-colored EDH decks. Strong in Limited and I could see it making a splash in Standard. I would not feel bad cascading into this.

  • Joe

    Wow, even artifacts get walls in ROE. This is going to be interesting to see how slow the format really ends up being.

    Zak

    Umm…I guess? This seems like it could be okay in limited, but what good does preventing one damage to you (not a creature) do when there are Eldrazi wrecking your board.

    Rob

    Quick and dirty cleric wall. What’s not to like.

    Mike

    This is a great limited concept. I love the stats and the tap-ability. I love everything about this card getting you to your bombs in a draft or sealed.

    Justin

    Meh. Its a wall.

  • Joe

    Interesting bear here. I’m not usually keen on drawing cards for my opponents, but this guy at least helps any deck with aggressive intentions to be on-curve.

    Zak

    This also could help out the Time Sieve deck in standard, because you’re already using Howling Mine effects. Outside of a deck where you really don’t care what the opponent plays, I can’t see this seeing too much play. The opportunity for your opponent to capitalize by you playing a 2/2 in this environment are just too great.

    Rob

    Another cheerleader for Scars of Mirrodin. I’m soo looking forward to cobbling together a great colorless control deck. 2/2 for 2 colorless plus a card seems about right for letting your opponent get a card, and if you can punish your opponent for that card, or take it back away from him, it is awesome.

    Mike

    Pretty crazy ability. I’m not sure how big the drawback is of letting your opponent draw a card in a limited game. I wan’t to say I don’t want to let my opponent do that, and this guy is just a grizzly bear, so I guess it depends on how badly you need to fill your curve with no mana issues.

    Justin

    I like this guy. Perfect at uncommon. I can see this one hitting the $3-$5 dollar mark pretty quick. Great tempo and card advantage that can fit in any color.

  • Joe

    Way too slow. If it cost 3 or less, this would be fine, but then it might be pretty insane in constructed I guess.

    Zak

    There’s no way this will ever see a great deal of play. It’s a pity that it doesn’t count the instants you cast in order to ramp up to it, and seems like a junk rare.

    Rob

    This is such strange card. Seems like another Casual or EDH player only. It’ll be a buck rare unless someone finds a way to put it where it doesn’t belong, like in a burn deck or some sort of permission deck.

    Mike

    This card might as well just read Bulk Rare. There might be a casual deck out there based off this, or maybe something with everflowing chalice in a blue control deck going on, but 7 is expensive. It is an interesting way to kill your opponent while just sitting on counters though.

    Justin

    This card is looking for the guy who is going to go “OMG! this would be hilarious! I have to build a deck around this card right away!” Not sure if that guy is out there but there is a chance.

  • Joe

    I like this, whether it goes on your flying wall or just a random dork.

    Zak

    I knew that this set would have an Animate Wall variant, and this doesn’t disappoint. At very worse, it’s a slightly more expensive [cxard]Vulshok Morningstar[/card], which was just fine in limited.

    Rob

    Turns walls on. I’m always skeptical of any equip cost higher than 2, but to make a hard to kill and cheaper than normal guy into a swinger can turn a passive game into a race to the end.

    Mike

    It’s a little pricey, but man are there a lot of walls in this block, so this could be interesting on a Gomazoa

    Justin

    Trying to make walls exciting is like trying to make watching paint dry exciting. How does a wall get into a chariot anyway? Poor flavor here.

    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

    Worldwake Set Review – Multicolored, Colorless, Lands

    Welcome, dear reader, to the final installment of our Worldwake Set Review. We broke the set up into batches. Here’s links to the white, blue, black, red, and green reviews. As usual, I will add my comments, evaluating each card with an eye toward primarily limited play, but with the occasional anecdote on Eternal formats and the beloved EDH format. James will then add his comments evaluating each card for standard, block, and extended play.

    Novablast Wurm
    3GGWW
    Creature – Wurm
    7/7
    Whenever Novablast Wurm attacks, destroy all other creatures.
    Rarity: Mythic Rare
    Set Number: #119/145

    Well, I love this card in my old Sneak Attack deck! If you think about this card as a Day of Judgement, then you’re getting a 7/7 creature for 1GG, and in exchange for the “now” of the sorcery, you get the effect over and over again. When you drop this Wurm in limited, the game becomes “do you have a removal spell capable of killing this guy, or can you find one in the next ~1-2 turns?” This, my friends, is about as bomby as it can get. Anything that must be killed, the alternative being game loss, is a bomb, especially something costing a very castable 7. Thumbs up from me.

    JAMES

    This is crazy. If you can cast it and still have a Vines of the Vastwood ready…that’s crazy. I’ll let someone else figure that one out.

    Wrexial, the Risen Deep
    3UUB
    Legendary Creature – Kraken
    5/8
    Islandwalk, swampwalk
    Whenever Wrexial, the Risen Deep deals
    combat damage to a player, you may
    cast target instant or sorcery card from
    that player’s graveyard without paying
    its mana cost. If that card would be
    put into a graveyard this turn, exile it
    instead.
    Rarity: Mythic Rare
    Set Number: #120/145

    This is a lame EDH general, IMO. There’s just not enough consistent effect on the board… I dunno… this just seems weak. Now, in limited, this could indeed be pretty fierce, but it’s not on the level of, say, Novablast Wurm. This will occasionally kill a few chump blockers, and then re-use your opponent’s removal or burn on them as you crush them. Also, you’re bound to run into a few players sporting islands and/or swamps, and luckily those two colors are also the most likely to have instants and sorceries to hijack. So it’s not like this isn’t incredibly good, it’s just not really an “I win” kind of bomb the way some of this other stuff is. Against blue or black mages, it may very well be “I win”.

    JAMES

    Crazy. I don’t think this will be a meta shaping card. It’s crazy though. I want 1-2x in my G/W deck now! lol.

    Amulet of Vigor
    1
    Artifact
    Whenever a permanent enters the battlefield tapped and under your control, untap it.
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #121/145

    Wow, this is a hell of a trinket. Even doing something as mundane as turning Ravnica dual lands like Hallowed Fountain into their Alpha counterparts, like Tundra, makes this thing pretty hawt. In EDH, I can see running these, since Nevinyrrals Disk is ubiquitous, and can function more like a sorcery then. I think I’d be pretty hard pressed to run this in a limited deck of any sort, however. It’s just not going to do a lot. So yeah, cool in constructed where you can abuse it, and a bummer of a rare in limited, where it’s all but worthless.

    JAMES

    I’m thinking about this as something affinity would play with…maybe a control deck in type 2 that wants lands to enter untapped? It’s a pretty interesting play on that premise. Turn one you’re not likely to see something you want to counter but T2 you need/want the extra mana open…? Does a Thopter-Foundry, Sword of the Meek deck want something like this?

    Basilisk Collar
    1
    Artifact – Equipment
    Equipped creature has deathtouch and lifelink.
    Equip {2}
    Rarity: Rare

    Yikes! Another sick trinket. (For those who wonder, this is a reference to Trinket Mage, a mainstay of many decks with tutor-packages of 1-drop artifact toolboxes) Anyway, this will just rock some fools in limited, making every single blocker a removal spell in disguise. Not only that, but the lifelink will quickly get out of hand as well, and functions a lot like double-strike in terms of increasing the life total changes generated by any given attack. The nice thing about lifelink is you get half of the life total change even when they block! So yeah, I consider this a stone cold bomb in limited, and am tempted to run it in various EDH decks, though it’s probably sub-par to the other options there (umezawas jitte).

    JAMES

    lol. I don’t see this be played a lot. Maybe I’m missing something great about it but for constructed I don’t see it being a must-have.

    Everflowing Chalice
    0
    Artifact
    Multikicker {2}
    Everflowing Chalice enters the battlefield with a charge counter on it for each time it was kicked.
    {T}: Add {1} to your mana pool for each charge counter on Everflowing Chalice.
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #123/145

    Mike Flores did a good job evaluating this. A lot of times it’s like Mind Stone without the cantrip. Occasionally it’s somewhere between Worn Powerstone and Thran Dynamo. sometimes it’s a storm count, and sometimes it’s some weird 6-drop or beyond. In any case, it’s flexible and likely to see play. In limited, I can get behind this in basically any deck. Why not have a chance to ramp up? Quite strong.

    JAMES

    I don’t like paying 4 mana for 2 of any color because it means T4/5 is “dead.” Maybe as a 2 for one mana but Explore seems a lot better.

    Hammer of Ruin
    2
    Artifact – Equipment
    Equipped creature gets +2/+0.
    Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you may destroy target equipment that player controls.
    Equip {2}
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #124/145

    Interesting Manriki Gusari variant here. This is a hollow shell of the original though. Still probably gets played in some limited decks, mostly those with fliers, but you’ll always be hoping instead for the trusty machete, etc. Having to connect to kill an equipment makes this mostly an expensive Bonesplitter.

    JAMES

    Not for constructed imo.

    Hedron Rover
    4
    Artifact Creature – Construct
    2/2
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Hedron Rover gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
    Rarity: Common

    Well, this isn’t TOO terrible, but it’s still sub-par in my estimation. It’s a wimpy Territorial Baloth. But then, any deck can run him. He’s too vulnerable for my liking, setting you up to be down 3 mana to a Disfigure or Burst Lightning.

    JAMES

    Constructs suck. They should all be allies.(thinking limited). Otherwise, they totally suck.

    Kitesail
    1
    Artifact – Equipment
    Equipped creature gets +1/+0 and flying.
    Equip {2}
    Rarity: ?

    Excellent. Flying is key here, the +1 is like icing, or a nice wrapper. This should do some strong work, especially if the rarity turns out to be less than rare.

    JAMES

    I don’t like the question mark in this one, but whatever. It’s not going to make it. Equip cost is too high. Probably fine/great for limited though.

    Lodestone Golem
    4
    Artifact Creature – Golem
    5/3
    Nonartifact spells cost {1} more to cast.
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #127/145

    This guy’s wicked cool, and probably has a place in several EDH decks. In limited, he’s pretty sweet, especially if you’ve got either good mana ramping, or many artifact creatures (thanks, Doctor Obvious!). I like the Juggernaut stats. Pretty solid all the way around. Even if this just comes down and beats until it dies, you’ve slowed down their advancement as well as their ability to kill him. Solid, but not killer. I wouldn’t call it a bomb.

    JAMES

    I love these cards that only provide minor advantage. It could be enough for control decks to like this a ground/offensive card. Probably worth trying due to the tempo play. Downside is lack of evasion.

    Pilgrim’s Eye
    3
    Artifact Creature – Thopter
    1/1
    Flying
    When Pilgrim’s Eye enters the battlefield, search your library for a basic land, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
    Rarity: Common

    Weird and wild. I like it, especially in the UW skies kind of archetype. This ensures a land drop and “replaces” itself in a pseudo cantrip. It provides a somewhat weak body, but it’s evasive, and again, you got a basic land. Just think of it as Borderland Ranger, but you trade a point of P/T for flying, and you can play it in any deck. Sounds good to me! Slow controlling decks might even just think of this as primarily chump block fodder, since they just want to stall and make land drops until the late game. This fits the bill.

    JAMES

    I like this for limited. Lots. For constructed it’s a little too slow. I don’t think the evasion is enough @ 1 attack…

    Razor Boomerang
    3
    Artifact – Equipment
    Equipped creature has “{T}, Unattach Razor Boomerang: Razor Boomerang deals 1 damage to target creature or player. Return Razor Boomerang to its owner’s hand”.
    Equip {2}
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Yow, that’s a lot of mana for a single point of damage. I’d have to be quite desperate to go to these lengths. No thanks.

    JAMES

    Too expensive.

    Seer’s Sundial
    4
    Artifact
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may pay {2}. If you do, draw a card.
    Illus. Franz Vohwinkle
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #130/145

    Nice. This should pay off at about the second activation. I’d probably play this, but alas, I’d probably not pick it high unless I was already a slow, methodical kind of control deck, worried about long-term card advantage and such. Not my typical deck. But yeah, this will probably prompt removal, and if you get two or more activations out of it before then, you’re well ahead in the card department.

    JAMES

    Too expensive.

    Walking Atlas
    2
    Creature – Construct
    1/1
    {T}: You may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.
    Rarity: Common

    Yeah, I can’t see playing this. It’s only relevant really really early, which is never a good thing. Even then, it’s doing very little. This is poor.

    JAMES

    It’s aight…maybe the 23rd card.

    Bojuka Bog
    Land
    Bojuka Bog enters the battlefield tapped.
    {T}: Add {B} to your mana pool.
    When Bojuka Bog enters the battlefield, exile all cards from target player’s graveyard.
    Rarity: Common

    Definitely got a place in many other formats. EDH runs this, as the graveyard is an oft-used resource. In limited, this will seldom matter, but keep it in mind for your sideboard if you happen to get one as your 14th pick or whatever.

    JAMES

    This is hella against Dredge. Can’t imagine it’s great against much more than that. Knight of the Reliquary I guess. Pretty narrow though.

    Celestial Colonnade
    Land
    Celestial Colonnade enters the battlefield tapped.
    {T}: Add {W} or {U} to your mana pool.
    {3}{W}{U}: Until end of turn, Celestial Colonnade becomes a 4/4 white and blue Elemental creature with flying and vigilance. It’s still a land.
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #133/145

    No. Joke. The new man lands are all solid, and this one is no exception. Wow. Man lands on a dual land. I don’t want to go into all the nuanced ways in which lands with abilities are inherently more powerful than spells with the same or similar abilities, but they are! I’m willing to assert it. After all, this is an opinion piece. As such, these are all strong when they’re in your colors, and many will be rare-drafted anyway because they’re likely to be among the pricier cards in the set. When you get one in your colors, you’ll have a slight advantage over the chumps running mere basic lands.

    JAMES

    Awesomeness. When I saw this first revealed I cursed WotC for printing something that makes the M10 lands valueless. lol. It’s sweet. Great include for U/W/x

    Creeping Tar Pits
    Land
    Creeping Tar Pits enters the battlefield tapped.
    {T}: Add {U} or {B} to your mana pool.
    {1}{U}{B}: Until end of turn, Creeping Tar Pits becomes a 3/2 blue and black Elemental creature and is unblockable. It’s still a land.
    Illus. Jason Felix
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #134/145

    Again, see celestial collonade. If it’s in one of your colors, consider splash the missing color. These are HAWT.

    JAMES

    It’s aight. Can really only be activated when the opponent is essentially tapped out (path + bolt variations = too broad a threat base).

    Dread Statuary
    Land
    {T}: Add {1} to your mana pool
    {4}: Dread Statuary becomes a 4/2 Golem artifact creature until end of turn. It’s still a land.
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #135/145

    This uncommon is both more likely to be in your pack, and more likely to fit in your deck. It’s very strong as well. Play this whenever you get it. Pick it decently high, cause it won’t last more than 3 or 4 picks I’m guessing, as anyone can play this.

    JAMES

    Nahhh.

    Eye of Ugin
    Legendary Land
    Colorless Eldrazi spells cost {2} less to cast.
    {7}, {T}: Search your library for a colorless creature card, reveal it and put it in your hand. Then shuffle your library.
    Illus. James Paick
    Rarity: Mythic Rare
    Set Number: #136/145

    Arcum Dagsson‘s summer retreat, I think, eh? Well, this is pretty sweet. No telling what “Eldrazi spells” refers to, as Eldrazi Monument doesn’t seem to qualify. But the Planar Portal aspect is neat. I also like lands that don’t product mana… and we don’t see them much anymore. Back in the day there were myriad such lands, from the crappy ( Seafarers Quay ) to the weird and very good ( Maze of Ith ), to the outright insanely awesome ( The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale ). Anyway, this looks like fun, but it’s very narrow in limited, indeed.

    JAMES

    WTF?…are there any Eldrazi spells? Is WotC pulling a fast one on us? Is it just for the next set Wtf?

    Halimar Depths
    Land
    Halimar Depths enters the battlefield tapped.
    {T}: Add {U} to your mana pool.
    When Halimar Depths enters the battlefield, look at top three cards of your library and put them back in any order.
    Rarity: Common

    In any U deck that’s not hard-core aggro, I like this. Why not Sage Owl yourself? That’s worth 1 mana, right? It’s like this land always taps for one Senseis Divining Top activation every time it comes down.

    JAMES

    Hmmm, so borderline. I’m not quick to think of a time I’d like to include this in a constructed control deck.

    Khalni Garden
    Land
    Khalni Garden enters the battlefield tapped.
    When Khalni Garden enters the battlefield, put a 0/1 green Plant creature token onto the battlefield.
    {T}: Add {G} to your mana pool.
    Rarity: Common
    Set Number: #138/145

    I like this less than Halimar Depths. Not too stoked here. Maybe if I had a convenient way to bounce this every turn… Living Tsunami or something.

    JAMES

    WAAAAAY tooooo narrow. lol.

    Lavaclaw Reaches
    Land
    Lavaclaw Reaches enters the battlefield tapped.
    {T}: Add {B} or {R} to your mana pool.
    {1}{B}{R}: Until end of turn, Lavaclaw Reaches becomes a 2/2 black and red Elemental creature with “{X}: This creature gets +X/+0 until end of turn.” It’s still a land.
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #139/145

    Another manland dual. Not bad, but so far the Collonade takes the cake.

    JAMES

    Lol. Not good enough.

    Quicksand
    Land
    {T}: Add {1} to your mana pool.
    {T}, Sacrifice Quicksand: Target attacking creature without flying gets -1/-2 until end of turn.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Nice reprint. This is solid. Play it. Pick it mid-to-high. It’s removal on a land! This is the kind of land that’s going to help pad those 19-land manabases we’ve come to enjoy in ZZZ.

    JAMES

    I’ll play this in limited. Even if I have to 2 4 1 a huge creature…Worth it.

    Raging Ravine
    Land
    Raging Ravine enters the battlefield tapped.
    {T}: Add {R} or {G} to your mana pool.
    {2}{R}{G}: Until end of turn, Raging Ravine becomes a 3/3 red and green Elemental creature with “Whenever this creature attacks, put a +1/+1 counter on it.” It’s still a land.
    Rarity: Rare

    This one and the Collonade are roughly on par in my mind. Both avoid the easiest removal, though in constructed, the Ravine has to contend with Lightning Bolt.

    JAMES

    Interesting dual land, and may be will see play on that alone–for standard/type2 at least. Jund likes the tri-land savage land though.

    Sejiri Steppe
    Land
    Sejiri Steppe enters the battlefield tapped.
    When Sejiri Steppe enters the battlefield, you may have target creature gain protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.
    {T}: Add {W} to your mana pool.
    Rarity: Common

    Yep, this one’s solid. An even better target for Living Tsunami and friends for recursion.

    JAMES

    I don’t think one creature is enough…

    Smoldering Spires
    Land
    Smoldering Spires enters the battlefield tapped.
    When Smoldering Spires enters the battlefield, target creature can’t block until end of turn.
    {T}: Add {R} to your mana pool.
    Rarity: Common

    I like this one too. Protection is even better, but many red decks want to push damage through. Ironically, the tension here is that red decks that want to push damage through also want their early mana, so the EtB tapped plays against the deck that wants this most. Don’t fear splashing these EtB lands into off-color decks. Soaring Seacliffs proved the viability of doing just that as it launched baloths into the sky in ZZZ.

    JAMES

    Same

    Stirring Brush
    Land
    Stirring Brush enters the battlefield tapped.
    {T}: Add {G} or {W} to your mana pool.
    {1}{G}{W}: Until end of turn, Stirring Brush becomes a 3/4 green and white Elemental creature with reach. It’s still a land.
    Rarity: Rare

    Hmm. Well, I think Ravine and Collonade are my faves.

    JAMES

    This color combination doesn’t want reach on a land.

    Tectonic Edge
    Land
    {T}: Add {1} to your mana pool.
    {1}, {T}: Sacrifice Tectonic Edge: Destroy target nonbasic land. Activate this ability only if an opponent controls four or more lands.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Pseudo Ghost Quarter. This will be played in constructed, methinks. You should probably sideboard it in limited, and I dont’ know how high I’d pick it… likely not until the middle of the pack at the earliest.

    JAMES

    lol. Maybe a 1x in a Knight of the Reliquary deck? Hit the off color? Too narrow, so no.

    And that does it! We hope you have fun at the pre-releases. Thanks for reading along. As always, tell us where we goofed up in the comments section below.

    Worldwake Set Review – Green

    Welcome to the Green section of our Worldwake Set Review series. We began with white here, for those just tuning in who’d like to see all the reviews. As usual, I will add my comments, evaluating each card with an eye toward primarily limited play, but with the occasional anecdote on Eternal formats and the beloved EDH format. James will then add his comments evaluating each card for standard, block, and extended play.

    Here we go!

    Arbor Elf
    G
    Creature – Elf Druid
    1/1
    {T}: Untap target Forest.
    Rarity: Common

    Hmm. Well, I guess he’s essentially a Llanowar elves, which makes him very playable. He’s got a slight edge on the original, though, since you might have a forest that’s a creature, or is enchanted with something like wild growth, or more likely some modern equivalent. Anyway, he’s a great mana ramper, and will let you drop a 3-drop on turn 2, etc. A solid common, especially for monogreen or base-green.

    JAMES

    Playable. I like this in extended for untapping Murmuring Bosk. This is defintily a good construction worthy card. I say, take out the Llanowar Elf and put in Garruk, Wildspeaker‘s little cousin.

    Avenger of Zendikar
    5GG
    Creature – Elemental
    5/5
    When Avenger of Zendikar enters the battlefield, put a 0/1 green Plant creature token onto the battlefield for each land you control.
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on each Plant creature you control.
    Illus. Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
    Rarity: Mythic Rare

    This will be huge for the random monogreen drafter who opens it. Even better is someone who is in Gw or Gr, because they can splash Bold Defense or another global pumper… even something as seemingly innocuous as Goblin Bushwhacker could become quite deadly… the tension in non-mono-green builds, however, will be that the fewer forests you run, the fewer plants you get at the outset. Anyway, this is very solid, giving you a big beater, a ton of tiny guys, and a way to grow them. Alas, as a mythic, you can never really plan for this guy, you just have to get really lucky. Then again, this might be passed by anyone not heavy in green, so maybe you’ll see it more often than the typical mythic… so slightly-less-than-never rather than just “never”. :-)

    JAMES

    Wow. What a great ability. If you can stick this one turn and then next turn follow up with an Overrun it’s probably good game. It does setup up for boardsweepers like Day of Judgement and the new red sweeper Chain Reaction. But we can look at cards like Cloudthresher which was the same 7cc and know that it’s not completely out of the question for a Green player to plop something like this on the table. If you don’t have an answer it is seriously GG.

    Bestial Menace
    3GG
    Sorcery
    Put a 1/1 green Snake creature token, a 2/2 green Wolf creature token, and a 3/3 green Elephant creature token onto the battlefield.
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #97/145

    I love the wackiness of this card. How random! Wtf are a snake, a wolf, and an elephant doing together? It almost sounds like some kind of joke… “a snake, a wolf, and an elephant walk into a battlefield…” Anyway, this is a stone cold bomb in limited, and I’m already pumped for monogreen between this crazy uncommon and the Llanowar variant in common. this is not “just” 6 power and 6 toughness for the bargain basement price of 5 mana. It’s THREE bodies! This is very nice. It exponentially increases the relevance of spells like the aforementioned Bold Defense, albeit by an exponent of 3. Still, as Broodmate Dragon should have proved to us all beyond a shadow of a doubt, making several creatures is very very strong, often quite a bit stronger than a comparable creature that rolls solo. This is going to wreck shop, I’m convinced. Just be aware of the sweepers like Marsh Casualties!

    JAMES

    5 cc for three creatures totaling 6 power/toughness. Interesting. If it was something like “choose one: 6 1/1′s, 3 2/2′s or 2 3/3′s” I might be more inclined to say, “yeah, this is gonna make it” but the lack of options make me think it’s too underwhelming. Compare to the Avenger of Zendikar above and you get a LOT more for your mana.

    Canopy Cover
    1G
    Enchantment – Aura
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature can’t be blocked except by creatures with flying and/or reach.
    Enchanted creature can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #98/145

    This is an aura I can get behind. The main reason is that it shields the creature it’s on, protecting you from the ubiquitous 241 associated with auras. It also provides evasion, which is nice… Green has trample and that’s it, typically, but this is a neat combination of the abilities from Troll Ascetic and Elven Riders, all at an affordable cost. If you have something that needs to connect, this is the ticket.

    JAMES

    Nice. Evasion and shroud. What would you stick this on though? It better be damn worth not playing a more utility card. It’s also fairly narrow. Tough call. Auras just don’t get much loving and with good reason: they suck. lol.

    Explore
    1G
    Sorcery
    You may play an additional land this turn.
    Draw a card.
    Rarity: Common

    Okay, this one was contentious on my discussion email thread, but we all ended up with a consensus: this is somewhere between solid and “da bomb.” Okay, break down the scenarios: Ideally you have this in your opener along with 3 or more lands. In that case, it’s a fine turn 2 play, especially if you also happen to have two 1-drops, or say, Arbor Elf and a 2-drop. This card propels you forward in a mana ramp fashion AND replaces itself! Okay, so the mediocre situation: you draw it early, but lack the land drop… you still get to cantrip. If you’re going to miss your 3rd land drop, you might as well play this to cantrip (draw 1). This is still a fine turn 3 play when you’re lacking that crucial early drop. Okay, so least impressive scenario: you draw this on turn 18, in top deck mode. You still get to just “cycle” this for 1G. That’s juuuust fine, folks. Hakuna matatta. No worries. This is solid. I’d probably run as many as 3 in a super fast mana ramp kind of deck, but 2 seems fine, and if you just have the 1, well, just hope to see it extremely early under good circumstances.

    JAMES

    Playable. Manaramp loves this kinda stuff. It costs the same as Rampant Growth and essentially does a better job at the task: get an extra land in play while also replacing itself. Very nice. Definitely a standard worthy card for Manaramp, Lightsaber and Jund–at least for testing to see how it goes.

    Feral Contest
    3G
    Sorcery
    Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control. Another target creature must block it this turn if able.
    Rarity: Common

    Hmm. Not really my style… it’s a pretty telegraphed “trick” and it’s the softest kind of removal, unable to hit tappers, etc. I dislike this.

    JAMES

    Sort of lame really. why is it so expensive? It’s not a guaranteed removal spell and it only marginally puts the attack phase in your favor…

    Gnarlid Pack
    1G
    Creature – Beast
    2/2
    Multikicker {1}{G}
    Gnarlid Pack enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
    Rarity: Common

    Again with an incrementally better update on a staple limited guy employing multikick. This one’s among the best of the cycle. He’s a grizzly bear! No wait, he’s a hill giant! No wait, now he’s… okay, he’s a 6-drop 4/4… not great but not terrible. Anyway, this is solid all the way around, and will be on par whenever you drop him, or above par really late, where despite being over-costed, you’re getting the flexibility part out of him… remember, this takes up the grizzly bear slot in your deck… you will still, hopefully, have high end guys too, it’s just that this grizzly bear doesn’t envoke the sigh of the original when you draw him late. Good stuff.

    JAMES

    I really don’t like this cycle. I guess big mana decks like green might see a use…but it’s stupid.

    Grappler Spider
    1G
    Creature – Spider
    2/1
    Reach
    Rarity: Common

    Meh. Reach bear. Not bad, not thrilling either. Has its place, which will often be on the bench due to having better options.

    JAMES

    Wow. Very weak-sauce. I’d almost rather it be a 0/2…but still super lame. 0/2 Deathtouch. lol.

    Graypelt Hunter
    3G
    Creature – Human Warrior Ally?
    2/2
    Trample
    Whenever Graypelt Hunter or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Graypelt Hunter.
    Rarity: Common

    Trample hill giant on common? This is strictly better than hill giant. This is very playable, even as your only ally. With any other allies, he increases marginally. In a full on allies build, this is going to be one of your premiere beaters thanks to the trample. This is a sick common ally.

    JAMES

    weak.

    Groundswell
    G
    Instant
    Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
    Landfall – If you had a land enter the battlefield under your control this turn, that creature gets +4/+4 until end of turn instead.
    Rarity: Common

    No joke! This is the kind of trick you should look for in green. It’s cheap, and usually doesn’t need the land drop to do its job as a simple combat trick type removal spell. For the times when you want to alpha, you should have no problem sandbagging a land for the right turn. This makes me happy. Monogreen was already flush with these kinds of effects, with Vines of Vastwood and Primal Bellow. Now you should be able to draft the exact number of such spells that you want. When I’m in monogreen, I obviously pick Primal Bellow very high, but I might start skimping on the vines, even though they have particular effectiveness against spot removal… but now you can expect to make up for one passed vines in pack 3, at least in terms of tricks / pump.

    JAMES

    Cool. Green never misses a land drop. “never” lol. Anyway, It’s a decent ability. Not strong enough for constructed necessarily but a neat little pump spell.

    Harabaz Druid
    1G
    Creature – Human Druid Ally
    0/1
    {T}: Add X mana of any one color to your mana pool, where X is the number of Allies you control.
    Rarity: Rare

    Well, again we see a theme with the better allies: they’re good enough on their own, and superb in allies. This is no exception. I can definitely see running this without lots of allies, or picking it as my first ally in pack 3. If a constructed allies deck is viable, I’m guessing this is part of it, but it’s too board-committed for constructed I think. We’ll see what James says. All in all, this rare is cool in any green deck, and obviously, even cooler in any strongly allies deck that includes green, as many such decks will.

    JAMES

    Not bad. It’s no Noble Hierarch but few things in life are. Allies really needed a fixer and this is a cheap, potentially powerful one.

    Joraga Warcaller
    G
    Creature – Elf Warrior
    1/1
    Multikicker {1}{G}
    Joraga Warcaller enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
    Other Elf creatures you control get +1/+1 for each +1/+1 counter on Joraga Warcaller.
    Rarity: Rare

    Whoa… a neat rare… also introduces a small elves tribal theme. Anyway, this is a bit slow unless you have several other elves. It’s just that he’s not really big enough to live long unless you pay 6 or more… I dunno. I’m skeptical for limited. I think the times this guy’s killer in limited are few and far between.

    JAMES

    Nice. Very freaking nice. Elves ala Eldrazi Monument will probably like this one. 3cc for a Glorious Anthem on all your elves? Not bad. Try it out in your Elves! builds. :)

    Leatherback Baloth
    GGG
    Creature – Beast
    4/5
    Flavor Text: GEE GEE GEE, BABY BABY BABY
    Illus. Chris Rahn
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Yikes! This is huge for monogreen, obviously. I don’t think any other archetype can even play this, unless you’re maybe base green with a small splash. But holy cow! What a 3-drop! It can stop everything you’ll see on the ground before turn 5 or 6 at the earliest. And it can throw down too! Beats for 4 will have to be contained, and good luck killing this guy with blockers… especially against monogreen! “You have G up? Crap, now what?” I love this… it’s the kind of card that will often be passed to the delight of the monogreen drafter, because others can’t really do with him what’s best. Anyway, monogreen was already a pet favorite archetype of mine in ZZZ. Now I’m even more excited for those packs that I open Gigantiform or something, and go into monogreen.

    JAMES

    Am I missing something with that flavor text? I’m hoping it’s random, mtg-salvation text that isn’t real. Prety cheap. I like this as Doran #2 but the trip-G may be hard for the builds. Very solid beater in mono-green/Elf builds.

    Nature’s Claim
    G
    Instant
    Destroy target artifact or enchantment. Its controller gains 4 life.
    Rarity: Common

    You know, I liked this a lot early. It’s reminiscent of the speed of Oxidize or Crumble before it. It’s definitely cheap and solid, so I think it will see play. But a pal pointed out to me that this kind of spell ( disenchant variants in general) have fallen out of favor, replaced by creatures with EtB effects doing the same. Krosan Grip will still likely be the de-facto spell for older formats too. But this is an awesome option to have in your sideboard, killing pesky quests or equipment for a low cost, usually putting you ahead on mana. The life gain is negligible compared to the effect of anything you’d spend a removal spell to kill. Anyway, I still like the spell, but I have tempered my impression of it for constructed formats, and I look forward to seeing James’ opinion here.

    JAMES

    This is a really cheap way of dealing with a Umezawas Jitte. Also great against Edrazi Monument. This is a great looking common. I dunno. I guess as a green mage (whether jund or whatever), I’m not particuarly worried about someone gaining 4 life. Lifegain doesn’t typically worry me when it’s not attached to a creature like Baneslayer Angel or Rhox War Monk.

    Omnath, Locus of Mana
    2G
    Legendary Creature – Elemental
    1/1
    Green mana doesn’t empty from your mana pool as phases and steps end.
    Omnath, Locus of Mana gets +1/+1 for each green mana in your mana pool.
    Rarity: Mythic Rare

    EDH General? Perhaps… he’s cheap and big, and lends himself to all the various green infinite mana engines. Also, even absent those combos coming together, he’s a fine general for giving him a sword (or jitte) or even a cloak, and letting him win the general damage race. He’s definitely unshielded though, and EDH has lots of answers to creatures… so I’m guessing he ends up marginal as a general. In limited… well, I think he’s still awesome in monogreen and playable in green with splash. He’s going to get bigger and bigger. He’s a must answer threat. These are attributes that translate into “playable” or even “strong.”

    JAMES

    weird. Very weird. It’s pretty cool if you think about it. Add three green to your pool, attack for 4, have mana ready for Vines of Vastwood or just ready for 2nd main phase. Very cool. Worth experimenting with at least!

    Quest for Renewal
    1G
    Enchantment
    Whenever a creature under your control taps, you may put a quest counter on Quest for Renewal.
    As long as Quest for Renewal has four or more quest counters on it, untap all creatures you control during each other player’s untap step.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    An interesting take on Seedborn Muse. I like this spell in a deck with mana elves, and it’s even okay in a straight-forward aggro deck. It lets all your guys essentially have vigilance, except it’s even better for your tappers. Looks fine to me.

    JAMES

    Kinda neat. Pretty easy to get going too. I like this as a varriant to test for Elves (in standard). Quest cards are sooo hard to guage. They always seem borderline hot-sauce but end up being mild and borning.

    Slingbow Trap
    3G
    Instant – Trap
    If a black creature with flying is attacking, you may pay {G} rather than pay Slingbow Trap’s mana cost.
    Destroy target attacking creature with flying.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Yeah, this will be good. I’m not sure whether it’s maindeck or side though… green is traditionally weak against fliers, despite all the reach creatures… I think it goes in the side, but in about half of the game 2s you play, it will save your neck from some brutal flier or other.

    JAMES

    I like this for dealing with Vampire Nighthawk. What a big B of a card. I hate that card. lol. Certainly an interesitng SB option but probably a bit too narrow. Worth the Jund/Elves/Lightsaber Zoo players experimenting with though.

    Snapping Creeper
    2G
    Creature – Plant
    2/3
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Snapping Creeper gains vigilance until end of turn.
    Its vastly spread roots alert it of distant dangers.
    Rarity: Common

    Lame ability, but this is still a decent ground clogger if you don’t already have enough. He stops bears, that’s his best attribute. He’s like the bear killa.

    JAMES

    Lol. I think of Little Shop of Horrors.

    Strength of the Tajuru
    XGG
    Instant
    Multikicker {1}(You may pay an additional {1} any number of times as you cast this spell.)
    Choose target creature, then choose another target creature for each time Strength of the Tajuru was kicked. Put X +1/+1 counters on each of them.
    Illus. Christopher Moeller
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #113/145

    Pretty dang good… this will end some games in a hurry because it’s an instant. EOT? Strength for 6 on my trampler! Have any removal? No? GG. Very strong.

    JAMES

    Sicko instant. Probably worth 5cc to put 2 plus Counters on two creatures. It’s a colorless multikick too making me think that this isn’t really restricted to mono color builds. What would this go in though? I’m not sure. It’s pretty steep on the curve but is the ability worth it?

    Summit Apes
    3G
    Creature – Ape
    5/2
    As long as you control a Mountain Summit Apes can’t be blocked except by two or more creatures.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Yeah, this is solid on color, and still takes either a removal spell or a big blocker / attacker with it. I’d play him.

    JAMES
    4cc for a somewhat evasive 5/2. Does lend itself well to taking out multiple creatures but it’s weaksauce butt makes it damn vulnerable. I guess it’s not strong enough for constructed…

    Terastodon
    6GG
    Creature – Elephant
    9/9
    When Terastodon enters the battlefield, destroy up to three target noncreature permanents. For each permanent put into a graveyard this way, it’s controller puts a 3/3 green Elephant creature token onto the battlefield.
    Illus. Lars Grant-West
    Rarity: Rare

    Very cool rare. Again, thinking about monogreen… often you’ll kill your own lands with this guy, believe it or not. In fact, I might wager that this is the usual way to play Terastodon. In that case, for 8 mana (and three lands which are mostly superfluous at that point anyway), you get 18 points of power and toughness on 4 creatures! Every once in a while, you’ll nuke an opponent’s ___________ (whatever) and take a mere 15 points of power instead. Either way, this is a mega-bomb, in my opinion, and should win you the game as often as not. This also happens to be a neat LD type spell for EDH decks, as well as a great reanimator target for some such decks. Recurring this thing seems naughty indeed, maybe with Moat in play?

    JAMES

    Might be okay but not as good as Avenger (above).

    Vastwood Animist
    2G
    Creature – Elf Shaman Ally
    1/1
    {T}: Target land becomes a X/X Elemental creature until end of turn, where X is the number of Allies you control. It’s still a land.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Well, this is an ally I’d only play in solid allies, and even then, I think there are better options. Still, in allies, critical mass is important, so the Type Line of this card may end up being its best feature.

    JAMES

    Too weak. the mass of Allies required to make this work is too high to justify playing.

    Vastwood Zendikon
    4G
    Enchantment – Aura
    Enchant land
    Enchanted land is a 6/4 green Elemental creature. It’s still a land.
    When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.
    Illus. Rob Alexander
    Rarity: Common
    Set Number: #117/145

    My least favorite Zendikon in some regards, but still decent. I think as a later drop, this has the advantage of being less of a tempo speed bump, since you’ll still probably have plays you can make, and being set back from 5 to 4 is a lot easier than from 2 to 1 mana, for example. So playing this “on curve” is easier on your tempo. I dunno… these are hard to evaluate. I’m usually going to hope for better actual creatures, but these are in the middle of my pick orders at present, especially the flying zendikon. Playable, I’d say, but uniquely weird.

    JAMES

    I’m not too hot on this. It’s definitly beefy enough on the attack and butt side that the stats don’t completely stink but it’s really not impressive.

    Wolfbriar Elemental
    2GG
    Creature – Elemental
    4/4
    Multikicker {G}
    When Wolfbriar Elemental enters the battlefield, put a 2/2 green Wolf creature token onto the battlefield for each time it was kicked.
    Rarity: Rare

    Bomb. Absolute bomb. Nearly a bomb without being kicked, but not quite. Kick it twice and it’s out of control. Even once is great. When you top deck this on turn 14 or whatever with 8+ mana in play, you’re going to win, absent a counterspell. Very strong

    JAMES

    Balanced on the cost side but it’s not as good as Master of the Wild Hunt because you can’t use the wolves for spot removal. Hmmm, it’s tough to say. It’s certainly big enough but I worry that if I pay 5cc for this and get a 2/2 I’m going to be a little behind on board position. It’s also not an “on curve” play like the Master of the Wild Hunt because I have to drop this on turn 5 or 6 to really get my mana’s worth… Maybe I’m being too conservative?

    That does it for Green. Stay tuned: our multicolor, colorless, and lands batch will finish our review series up, and should be published in the next 24 hours or so. Thanks for reading, and as always, let us know where we screwed the pooch in the comments!

    Worldwake Set Review – Red

    Time to look at some red cards. If you’re just tuning in, we’ve broken the new Worldwake cards into colors and given you our initial reactions to them. I will evaluate each card with an eye toward limited play with an occasional word about EDH or eternal formats. My colleague James will gear his comments more toward constructed formats like standard and extended. To read the series from the beginning, start with our white review, here.

    Tally ho!

    Akoum Battlesinger
    1R
    Creature – Human Berserker Ally
    1/1
    Haste
    Whenever Akoum Battlesinger or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may have Ally creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.
    Rarity: Common

    I like this global pump ally. It’s a more fleeting kind of ability than the counter based allies, but this should help fill out an aggressive ally build for sure. A nifty common.

    JAMES

    As I’ve mentioned a few times through out the set reviews (white, Blue and black), I don’t see Allies being much of a powerhouse. They’re generally “meh” so for the time being I’m going to forgo looking at Allies cards from a constructive perspective–at least unless something really catches my eye. The time frame for constructing a kick-ass Standard/Type 2 build using Allies is just not within the scope of these reviews. One avenue worth examining is whether Boros Bushwacker could be converted over to an Allies deck (at least partially)…

    Bazaar Trader
    1R
    Creature – Goblin
    1/1
    {T}: Target player gains control of target artifact, creature or land that you control.
    Illus. Matt Cavotta
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #72/145

    Well, I’m immediately reminded of Trix, a notorious deck that used Donate on Illusions of Grandeur as its kill. I’m not sure what the best thing would be to use this ability on in recent times. Abyssal Persecutor, also from Worldwake seems cute, but not very good, really. Immortal Coil? Donate your Platinum Angel…. no wait! Maybe you donate your Platinum Angel to the guy who controls Abyssal Persecutor! Then what? I’m getting sidetracked here. In limited, I can’t think of a reason you’d activate this either. Maybe I’m missing something huge, but I think this is the Steamflogger Boss rare of Worldwake, only for limited you don’t even get a hill giant, but rather an anemic bear I’d probably not play in my monored deck.

    JAMES

    why would I want to do something like this? I am writing this review through a fog of [what I hope is] a 24 hour flu but I’m not seeing this. Maybe I’m just a selfish player but I can’t think of a card that if I gave it to my opponent, he/she would lose…so wtf would I want to do this for?

    Bull Rush
    R
    Instant
    Target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
    Rarity: Common

    Well, it’s an okay trick I guess, but it’s definitely nothing flashy. Seems old fashioned. I like its simplicity, which is has in spades, and doesn’t have much else.

    JAMES

    At least it only costs R is all I can think of. There are so many better cards for constructed that deal two points of damage and have more flexiblity than this.

    Chain Reaction
    2RR
    Sorcery
    Chain Reaction deals X damage to each creature, where X is the number of creatures on the battlefield.
    Illus. Trevor Claxton
    Rarity: Rare

    Holy smokes! Say hello to one of the chase rares, folks. Feels a lot like a red Wrath of God, doesn’t it? Can’t praise this more than that. This is a global sweeper, and is an extremely strong card in limited. But sometimes it will be a lame pyroclasm, so it’s not quite the same as WoG. But for most intents and purposes, it’s a red wrath. Very cool.

    JAMES

    This is pretty sicko. A new varition on a Day of Judgement for red. Mass removal at 4cc is typically played extensively across a number of formats. I’ll wager this makes SB for Type 2 decks like mono-red burns (to bring in against Vamps and Jund). This is the kind of card that completely reverses the card advantage-nature brought about by Bloodbraid Elf, Sprouting Thrinax, Broodmate Dragon, and Gatekeeper of Malakir. I can also see this in the U/W/r control decks as another way of punishing players for over extending. That is [card]Wall of Denial[card] will likely sitck around (x/6 butt is huge) while the opposing players entire force will be reset. Hawt card.

    Claws of Valakut
    1RR
    Enchantment – Aura
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature gets +1/+0 for each Mountain you control and has first strike.
    Rarity: Common

    A strong aura. I have an aversion to auras because I love snagging someone in a 241 by killing their dude in response to their aura, or just killing it whenever with an aura like this that doesn’t shield the creature. Also, I don’t like having to carefully play around this pitfall when I’m the one wielding the aura… I often fail and fall in the 241 pit. So I have this aversion. But… this is the kind of aura that CAN be an exception in some narrow circumstances. In a very quick monored or similar deck, especially with evasive creatures, this can be the nail in the coffin. As your opponent struggles to keep up with your early pressure, you’ll have an opening sooner or later to confidently lay this on an evasive guy, and get in for serious damage. Anyway, this is usually not my bag, but I’ve seen it done to great effect, and if I’m in fast monored, I’ll definitely try one of these.

    JAMES

    Pretty interesitng. If you can plop this on a creature with at least an x/4 butt this could be nasty. I can’t think of many auruas that see play–and the reason is obvious: auraus go to the graveyard if hte creature dies–contrasted with equipments that stick around. (ahem, Mr Obvious). So while probably a good play for a mono-Red play in limited it’s not that great for constructed. Too bad it’s not +x to toughness where x equals the nuber of non basics you control. that would be slick.

    Comet Storm
    XRR
    Instant
    Multikicker {1} (You may pay an additional {1} any number of times as you cast this spell.)
    Choose target creature or player, then choose another target creature or player for each time Comet Storm was kicked. Comet Storm then deals X damage to each of them.
    Illus. Jung Park
    Rarity: Mythic Rare

    I like comet storm, but I am of the opinion that banefire is superior. This is not germane to the discussion of limited, in which this card is hands down bonkers nuts, and I’m glad it’s a mythic. Fireball type effects that can dome or is creatures are already sick in limited, and ones that can do both are fantastic. Ones that can potentially hit several creatures AND dome for a significant amount later on? Well, that’s just nutty. Comet storm does have speed issues, but this is Zendikar, home of landfall and 19 land limited decks that curve out at 3. I mean, you’ll have a chance to do stupid things with this. Or, hopefully, you’ll just need the one target, amirite?! Love comet storm.

    JAMES

    Well, let’s see. 8cc to deal 5 damage to a Baneslayer Angel and 5 to an opponent. On the low-end it’s pretty cheap to knock out a bunch of creatures–it’s cheaper than Fireball at least that is massively epxensive to hit multiple creatures with any real affect. Anyway, this is a good card. I’d not be surpised to this going into a Mono-Red Burn deck as a 1-2x or a x/R-control style deck that needs more kill outlets late game, such as Crypt of Agadeem powered deck. (not really controlling, I know, but it came to mind as a “big mana” deck).

    Cosi’s Ravager
    3R
    Creature – Elemental
    2/2
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may have Cosi’s Ravager Servant deal 1 damage to target player.
    Rarity: Common

    I’m not that pumped about this. This is too expensive for a piddly 2/2 that has a cute ability that won’t hit creatures. Nope, I don’t dig it.

    JAMES

    It’s aight. Not going to be very good in constructed.

    Crusher Zendikon
    2R
    Enchantment – Aura
    Enchant land
    Enchanted land is a 4/2 red Beast creature with trample. It’s still a land.
    When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.
    Rarity: Common

    Teetering Peaks, your time has come my friend.” TP: “I’m a real boy!” Sorry, Pinocchio reference. Yeah, I’m not into the red one as much as the blue and black ones so far. Still interested to see how this gets put to use.

    JAMES

    Lol @ Joe. Anyway, these aura series are okay. I mentioned liking the blue variation and I’ll stand by that being the most likely to see play.

    Cunning Sparkmage
    2R
    Creature – Human Shaman
    0/1
    Haste
    {T}: Cunning Sparkmage deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Yeah, this guy’s got the goods. Very nice. He’s even better than Vulshok Sorcerer, IMO, since the one power isn’t relevant on a pinger / timmy, and the extra R made the sorcerer less spashable. But a haste pinger is always superb.

    JAMES

    I don’t THINK this is good enough. I like pingers and a hasty pinger is definitly better. I just don’t think it’s good enough. I guess I have to ask myself, “If this guy/gal cost 5cc and did 2 damage, I would say, Yeah!” but as it is now, only 1 damage isn’t enough. I guess I just can’t think of a deck where I’d rather play the pinger over a straight up burn spell…

    Deathforge Shaman
    4R
    Creature – Ogre Shaman
    4/3
    Multikicker {R}
    When Deathforge Shaman enters the battlefield, it deals damage to target player equal to twice the number of times it was kicked.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Pop Quiz: how many times do you have to multi-kick Deathforge Shaman before it is more efficient than a Comet Storm to the dome? You might be surprised to hear that a Deathforge Shaman multikicked four times (total mana cost 4R + RRRR or CMC 9 is more efficient than comet storm for X = 7, also costing 9, and the efficiency then grows in favor of the shaman. Kicked only three times, the two spells are equally efficient, costing 8 and doing 6 damage. This is all providing you have tons of red mana, as this multikicker requires. Plus Comet Storm is removal too, I’m just pointing out that this guy can be every bit as much of a late game neutron bomb laser beam as any X spell of old, and a 4/3 ain’t shabby either. I dig this guy.

    JAMES

    Cool. I like Joe’s breakdown actually. Need a LOT of mana to get it going but you do have the creature too. Neat. I’ll bet it’s too expensive as a 5 drop but the concept of a 1x is interesting. But building decks with a bunch of 1x’s is for the EDH crowd. ;-) What I mean is, this is too expensive for constructed play.

    Dragonmaster Outcast
    R
    Creature – Human Shaman
    1/1
    At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control six or more lands, put a 5/5 red Dragon creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
    Rarity: Mythic Rare
    Set Number: #81/145

    Yowza yowza. Okay, so this seems totally crazed. Than goodness this is a vulnerable 1/1! I think if you even get one dragon out of him, you’re looking just swell. Man. I’d definitely run him and I think I’d splash him as my only red card if I see him but aren’t playing red. “Used all your removal yet? Let’s find out.” It’s a must kill removal bait if nothing else. And if they don’t have such, you just won the game for sitting there and then tapping a mountain. This is the kind of thug that makes removal king of limited.

    JAMES

    Ultimately the issue I have the 1-drops that do amazing things (like Scut Mob) is that they are seriously vulnerable and you don’t have much incentive or playing them early game. And Red decks don’t like have 6 mana on the table. That means they missed a copule of burn spells or the opponent was able to stablize and the game state is swinging toward the red burn deck ‘never’ winning. There is the off-hand chance that this makes an excellent SB option for Red that (as I just said) has serious issues digging out of late game states…Testing will tell.

    Goblin Roughrider
    2R
    Creature – Goblin Knight
    3/2
    Rarity: Common

    Well you can’t be strictly better than gray ogre and be less interesting than this, I think. Still, not bad stats for a vanilla guy.

    JAMES

    Nothing here.

    Grotag Goblin Thrasher
    4R
    Creature – Lizard
    3/3
    Whenever Grotag Goblin Thrasher attacks, target creature can’t block this turn.
    Rarity: Common

    Yeah, I like this. I’ll wait a turn and pay more for my hill giant for this. Very cool.

    JAMES

    WAAAY to expensive for contsructed.

    Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
    3RR
    Legendary Creature – Ogre Warrior
    5/4
    Whenever a creature under an opponent’s control attacks you, put a 3/3 red Ogre creature token onto the battlefield unless that creature’s controller pays {3}.
    Rarity: Rare

    Hey, not bad! Swell body for the cost, and maybe an ogre here and there. More likely you staunch much of their attacks until they can kill this. Also, this is a dud EDH general.

    JAMES

    Very freaking interesting. Very. The general stats are good enough to warrant a look. My biggest hestiation is that it costs 5cc and doens’t “mana-sap” your opponent enough. There are plenty of deadly two drops like Putrid Leech that will take this bad boy out. I guess that means I don’t see this being a constructed staple.

    Mordant Dragon
    3RRR
    Creature – Dragon
    5/5
    Flying
    {1}{R}: Mordant Dragon gets +1+0 until end of turn.
    Whenever Mordant Dragon deals combat damage to a player, you may have it deal that much damage to a creature that player controls.
    Rarity: Rare

    5/5 flier for 6 is damn good in limited, and this one pumps and represents long term reusable removal. This is a house in limited, in short.

    JAMES

    Cool dragon. It’s no Broodmate Dragon but it acts as a piece of flying removal too. That’s pretty cool. Red Deck Wins style decks should toy around with this. I know it seems expensive but being able to knock out creatures is nothing to scoff at. It’s an “investment” play. That is, you’re investing in next turn removal. Maybe too risky in the end but DAMN worth experimenting with.

    Quest for the Goblin Lord
    R
    Enchantment
    Whenever a Goblin enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a quest counter on Quest for the Goblin Lord.
    As long as Quest for the Goblin Lord has five or more counters on it, creatures you control get +2/+0.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Well, I dunno about this one. How many goblins are there? Torch slinger. Goblin shortcutters. I’m not sure you can get enough of them to make this even go active. Even if you did… well, I guess if you did it’s still a constant trumpet blast, which is good, I’m just highly skeptical about how consistently this will go active.

    JAMES

    Luckily there are enough very good goblins that this might be doable. Goblin Guide, Warren Instigator, Siege Gang Commander. Hmmm…Probably a playble goblin I’m forgetting. I don’t like this card as a main strategy but the only way to use it reliably is to play it as a 4x. Hmm, what does everyone else think? Too dependent on other goblins to make it worth it?

    Ricochet Trap
    3R
    Instant – Trap
    If an opponent cast a blue spell this turn, you may pay {R} rather than pay Ricochet Trap’s mana cost.
    Change the target of target spell with a single target.
    Illus. Jaime Jones
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #87/145

    I’ve always been a sucker for Deflection type spells, so I’m already in love with this spell, even at full price. The discount against blue is a tradition dating back to Red Elemental Blast. This is an awesome spell, in my opinion, and it’s a particularly insulting subtype of 241 interaction when you send your opponent’s removal spell back at their own hapless minion. I love this. Don’t forget that this spell is effectively “counter target counterspell-like spell with a single target” or something along those lines, because you can use this spell to change the target of a counterspell, cancel, flashfreeze, etc. that’s on the stack to target Ricochet Trap instead. This is a largely unknown use of these spells… I’ve seen people punt on this in the past, so know the trick!

    JAMES

    I’m trying to remember the rules around Cruel Ultimatum and whether you can swing this at the opponent’s dome. For some reason I remember it doesn’t work that way because it’s “target opponent” and (baring not a multiplayer game), you’re the only opponent so it resolves on you anyway. If I’m completely about that ruling then this is great. But I’m 99% sure I’m right. [Sad Face].

    Roiling Terrain
    2RR
    Sorcery
    Destroy target land, then Roiling Terrain deals damage to that land’s controller equal to the number of land cards in that player’s graveyard.
    Rarity: Common

    This looks like fun. In a lot of games, this will actually Lightning Bolt your opponent or better after nuking their land. Between fetchlands and extra lands being discarded and the land you kill with the spell itself, 3 seems like about the upper limit for limited. In constructed formats, this could be a nice 4-slot land destruction spell, since it doubles as burn and will do much more in those formats. I like it in limited simply because LD spells, even as late as turn 4, will punish most mis-step draws an opponent might have. If they miss one of the first four land drops and you don’t and you cast this spell… well, that should be game over right there in a majority of such games. Therefore, this definitely has a place at the table.

    JAMES
    This could be sort of interesting. There are a lot of fetch-based mana builds. The question is, Is removing one of your opponents lands (knocking them back a turn, granted) AND doing maybe…3 damage worth 4cc? I don’t think it’s enough. Wouldn’t a Red mage rather cast something like Hells Thunder AND have mana left for an EOT Lightning Bolt? That’s 7 damange for the same 4cc. Plus, what type of player are we doing this to? Vamps is going to scoff at your play because of the low mana curve–same for Boros and mirror Red burn. I think Jund and U/W/x are the most vulnerable to this card. It may be worth taking Jund off color–that is destroying their only green source for example. But then it’s likely you’re only doing 1 damage (they don’t run a lot of fetches…only 4x Verdant Catacombs). Yeah, I guess this is a “no” conculsion.

    Rumbling Aftershocks
    4R
    Enchantment
    Whenever you cast a kicked spell, you may have Rumbling Aftershocks deal damage to target creature or player equal to the number of times that spell was kicked.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Nice. This could potentially sneak into a weird mini-archetype of its own creation. There’s enough multikicker spells, it seems, to have a deck that can consistently mutlikick a spell or two in the late game. But this doesn’t do anything “on its own” which is usually the hallmark of bad spells for limited. Still, I think if the critical mass is there, you might get away with this. Enchantment removal is seldom maindecked, and you can always play mind games in game 2, siding this out if it’s your main or only enchantment. This is a very narrow, unlikely deck to succeed with, but I still think it might be fun to try. For 90%+ of situations in limited, I would advise you avoid this card.

    JAMES

    Barfy, do-nothing spell.

    Searing Blaze
    RR
    Instant
    Searing Blaze deals 1 damage to target player and 1 damage to target creature that player controls.
    Landfall – If you had a land enter the battlefield under your control this turn, Searing Blaze deals 3 damage to that player and 3 damage to that creature instead.
    Rarity: Common

    I like this spell, reminiscent of Lash Out. Ironically, the place I want this most outside of limited is a dedicated burn deck, the mirror match of which happens to make this the worst card in your deck, as you have to have an opposing creature to target in order to cast this thing. Anyway, that’s irrelevant to limited, where this will almost always be two lightning bolts on one card with the requirement that you hit one creature with the first bolt and dome them with the other. Sounds good to me.

    JAMES

    Proably good enough for limited…but even there I think “one damage isn’t shit.” I’d say “yes” if it was 2 damage divided as you choose between any number of creatures or players. Alas, it is not and you’re stuck doing an amazing 1 damage each for 2 red. It is good against Mirror Red burns where the player is running x/1 tramplers like Ball Lightning…I guess I really don’t like this. Seems too underwhelming to me.

    Skitter of Lizards
    R
    Creature – Lizard
    1/1
    Multikicker {1}{R} (You may pay an additional {1}{R} any number of times as you cast this spell.)
    Haste
    Skitter of Lizards enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
    Illus. Warren Mahy
    Rarity: Common

    Yet again we have a 1/1 that can be a gray ogre or a bad hill giant or an even worse… uh… 7-drop 4/4? Anyway, this is all helped by the haste in this case, making the 1/1 version a Raging Goblin, and the 2/2 version a Goblin Chariot, and the others…. well, the other versions are hasty, put it that way. I’m not sure there are historical antecedents. This is among the best representatives of this cycle so far, I’d say. I’m happy to play this guy in fast red decks.

    JAMES

    Weak sauce just like the whole cycle.

    Slavering Nulls
    1R
    Creature – Goblin Zombie
    2/1
    Whenever Slavering Nulls deals combat damage to a player, if you control a Swamp, you may have that player discard a card.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Not bad. It’s the right bear body for the money, and will sometimes nuke a slow opponent in the style of Ravenous Rats or some such. I think this has a lot going for it. What’s with the (mono)red zombie? That’s a Magic first, from what I can tell (not counting Changelings). Am I missing something? This one gets the nod, but barely. I’d rather have Goblin Shortcutter, for example.

    JAMES
    Turn three could be pretty brutal if you get hit with a Blightning AND this guy. In the black review, there was also a discard outlet I liked. (Bloodhusk Ritualist) Maybe R/B running this guy, blightning, bloodhusk ritualist, quest for the nihil stone, and good ol’ Hypnoic Specter could be good. Backed up with the standard suite of Lighning Bolts and Burst Lightnings and a Bloodcheif Assension???

    Stone Idol Trap
    5R
    Instant – Trap
    Stone Idol Trap costs {1} less to cast for each attacking creature.
    Put a 6/12 colorless Construct artifact creature token with trample onto the battlefield. Exile it at the beginning of your next end step.
    Rarity: Rare

    Holy crud! 6/12? Twelve? Really? I can see this costing 2R a lot of times. It’s going to kill something, so it’s a decent removal spell, but then it also is going to either kill something else, soak a removal spell, or smash your opponent for upwards of 6 damage. So yeah, I think this is knocking on the door of Bomb country for limited.

    JAMES

    I’ve seen extended Doran, the siege tower decks running blue for counter magic but I wonder if against the Zoo decks this is better than blue. Probably not but it is a good stabalizer…Just don’t want to pull this off a Dark Confidant. I REALLY don’t like only getting the one chance to swing with it but it needed to be balanced I guess. Hmm, that was really the only immediate application I saw but in standard this is also viable. The trample makes it huge. I’m on the fence.

    Tuktuk Scrapper
    3R
    Creature – Goblin Artificer Ally
    2/2
    Whenever Tuktuk Scrapper or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may destroy target artifact. If that artifact is put into a graveyard this way, Tuktuk Scrapper deals damage equal to the number of Allies you control to that artifact’s controller.
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #94/145

    Interesting. Definitely gets played in allies, where critical mass is uber important. This will usually not hit a lot of artifacts though… I’m thinking 1-2 on the high side. Still, there are a couple of really annoying artifacts, and this uncommon helps allies combat them with little lost opportunity cost. I like it okay, even though it’s a very vulnerable 2/2.

    JAMES

    I like the idea of destroying a Trusty Machete but that’s limited. I don’t think this will see much play in any format outside limited.

    As always we want to hear what you think. Did we miss anything? Are we completely off base on any of our comments? Let us know in the comments! :)

    Worldwake Set Review – Black

    Welcome to the black section of our Worldwake set review series. The series started here with white, for those just joining us. I will initially evaluate each card for Limited and eternal formats / EDH. James will then add his comments for the realm of standard, block, and occasionally extended. Let’s get down to business.

    Abyssal Persecutor
    2BB
    Creature – Demon
    6/6
    Flying, trample
    You can’t win the game and your opponents can’t lose the game.
    Rarity: Mythic Rare

    Oh man, Black starts with a bang. This guy made some waves in my dork email threads. Now obviously this twist on Platinum Angel is going to require that you have some kind of sacrifice outlet in your deck: big deal! Constructed has a plethora of options, most notable, perhaps, being Gatekeeper of Malakir, a card black decks love running anyway. All of this is germane to constructed, however, whereas in limited, you may not be able to play this guy simply because you have no way to kill him. And as a mythic rare in pack 3, you’re not going to be able to prepare specifically for this card, so your sacrifice outlet may have to come from your Worldwake booster. Just keep this stuff in mind when contemplating this otherwise rather deadly 4-drop flying trampler.

    JAMES

    I don’t see this as much of a drawback. I can just see people ussing Assasinate on their own guy so they can win. lol.

    Agadeem Occultist
    2B
    Creature – Human Shaman Ally
    0/2
    {T}: Put target creature card from an opponent’s graveyard onto the battlefield under your control if its converted mana cost is less than or equal to the number of Allies you control.
    Rarity: Rare

    Another ally that will be gruesome indeed when the times are good, and pitiful to negligible when the going gets tough. Allies is very much an “all in” kind of strategy in this regard. This will he hawt for the heavy allies drafter who is passed this by other players with no interest in hating.

    JAMES

    Not bad for 3 cc but there really aren’t enough low-costing allies to justfiy this. I just don’t think Allies have much of a future outside limited and MAYBE block…Think we’ll see allies in later sets? Rise of the Elderazi? And afterwards?

    Anowon, the Ruin Sage
    3BB
    Legendary Creature – Vampire Shaman
    4/3
    At the beginning of your upkeep, each player sacrifices a non-Vampire creature.
    Illus. Dan Scott
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #49/145

    Now THIS might make an interesting EDH general! Sheldon Menery, prepare to hate this guy’s Timmy hostility. He’s cheap and disruptive. This is another guy who’s significantly better if you happen to have a few vampires already, but he’s also good enough that few people will pass him, unlike the ally above. I think he’s going to create some serious problems for opposing mages in limited.

    JAMES

    Kinda cool. Tons of vamps in these last two sets (Zendikar & Worldwake) but this is getting pretty pricy. I just don’t think it’s a game winner and for 5cc I want a game winner. I’m comparing this to Malakir Bloodwitch

    Bloodhusk Ritualist
    2B
    Creature – Vampire Shaman
    2/2
    Multikicker {B}
    When Bloodhusk Ritualist enters the battlefield, target opponent discards a card for each time it was kicked.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    This guy’s going to be great for monoblack EDH decks. My pal and I have slightly different Maga, Traitor to Mortals builds, and we’re both happy about this card. It’s another big mana discard spell that comes with a gray ogre attached to it. Not bad. He’s also solid in limited, because as I’ve said many times, gray ogre is often good enough to run on its own, and this just gives it some extra oomph. On turn 5 you’ll sometimes be emptying your opponent’s hand of those high-curve bombs he was about to drop. Not too shabby, I’d say.

    JAMES

    First reaction? “Holy Shit”. Seriously. Sitting on the bus (38L w00t) writing this and I said, “Holy Shit.” It’s so damn cheap!!!–Playable.

    Bojuka Brigand
    1B
    Creature – Human Warrior Ally
    1/1
    Bojuka Brigand can’t block.
    Whenever Bojuka Brigand or another Ally creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Bojuka Brigand.
    Rarity: Common

    Pretty mediocre guy, strictly worse than Oran-rief Survivalist but still essentially the same creature. Good enough as a “grizzly bear +”.

    JAMES

    Not strictly worse, joe. The same. Meh…I guess there could be a hybrid colored Ally deck in these cards…but for standard? extended? GTFOH.

    Brink of Disaster
    2BB
    Enchantment – Aura
    Enchant creature or land
    When enchanted permanent becomes tapped, destroy it.
    Rarity: Common

    Well, it’s a bit expensive, and your opponent gets to decide when the permanent dies, typically. They can also buy themselves time to find removal if that’s what they want to do. I want harder removal than this. This is quite soft.

    JAMES

    Hits the battlefield too late to be viable. Meaning, it can be played around.

    Butcher of Malakir
    5BB
    Creature – Vampire Warrior
    5/4
    Flying
    Whenever Butcher of Malakir or another creature you control is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, each opponent sacrifices a creature.
    Rarity: Rare

    Another bomby rare here, but with far fewer strings attached. If your deck can live to drop a 7 consistently, then this will help considerably with the late game attrition war, if the 5 points of flying power doesn’t do the trick on its own. I’m thinking you can suicide attack with some confidence once this guy’s on the battlefield. Top marks from me.

    JAMES

    It’s aight. Pretty damn expensive for 7cc. So, yeah…too slow for constructed.

    Caustic Crawler
    3BB
    Creature – Insect
    4/3
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may have target creature get -1/-1 until end of turn.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    This uncommon will be another element that can theoretically slow this format down a bit, taking out the various 1-toughness speed beaters of the ZZZ era. This guy isn’t bad at 4/3 for the cost, and the ability should help you out significantly. Save some land drops for that second main phase, folks!

    JAMES

    Very cool uncommon. So HAWT with Marsh Casualties. It’s a LITTLE slow at 5cc becuse a kicked burst lightning takes thsi guy out before you [concievably] start using his soft spot removal but it’s very appealing. I guess I’m talking limited. For constructed it’s just too hefty a cost for this meta.

    Corrupted Zendikon
    1B
    Enchantment – Aura
    Enchant land
    Enchanted land is a 3/3 black Ooze creature. It’s still a land.
    When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.
    Rarity: Common

    You know, I like the flying blue zendikon best, but this is a close second. It’s a watchwolf with a weird kind of built-in tempo loss and additional potential tempo loss, but it’s probably worth it. The more I think about these zendikons, the more I’m getting on board with them. I’m definitely interested to see how they play out. I’m on the fence, leaning toward embracing these.

    JAMES

    Pretty cheap actually. Not sure B wants to do this on turn two though. I’m thinking in Blightning packing decks. Turn two is (typically) reseved for Putrid Leeches and having to replay a recently lightning bolted creature isn’t very appealing.

    Dead Reckoning
    1BB
    Sorcery
    You may put target creature card from your graveyard on top of your library.
    If you do, Dead Reckoning deals damage equal to that card’s power to target creature.
    Rarity: Common

    Wowzers. This is quite a removal spell. Common, too! I think black has a lot of recursion potential these days, enabling the already fast color to play a more deliberate long game strategy as well. I like this card as a mid game removal spell. You do exchange your next draw for the recurred creature, but you’ve nuked an opponent’s spell as well. If your returned creature was something like the aforementioned Gatekeeper of Malakir, then you’ve got a mini engine online. Should be a mainstay, I’m thinking.

    JAMES

    Sexy. I like how it potentially works off ETBF abilities like Bloodbraid Elf…Man, cascade on a 4cc creature is broken. lol. This is a cool card that has some power to it…I wonder if “to creature or player” was just too broken…question for R&D i guess.

    Death’s Shadow
    B
    Creature – Avatar
    13/13
    Death’s Shadow gets -X/-X, where X is your life total.
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #57/145

    This is one of the most exciting and hyped cards of my email thread discussions. People are pumped about this guy. I love the silly combo with Lich myself, but that’s just me. I think the most prescient thing to note about this guy came from a guy on my thread who said something along the lines of: “drop this with 10 life, and it’s still a 3/3 for 1, only now the more life you lose, the bigger he gets.” Nice way to think about him, I think. I know this will play well with early Vampire Lacerators and such. Seems fine to me. As a rather obvious side note, this is likely unplayable in EDH. Lol.
    JAMES

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see this as a 1-2x SB option for bringing in against either Red Burn or Boros Bushwacker builds. It’s SO freaking cheap. It makes Scute Mob feel stupid.

    Jagwasp Swarm
    3B
    Creature – Insect
    3/2
    Flying
    Rarity: Common

    You know, I think this card would otherwise be fine in limited. 3 power and flying for hill giant’s mana cost… usually this is fine. But this format can kill 2 toughness creatures with relative ease. I’d be a little hesitant about this guy, therefore. There’s a lot of creatures nowadays whose envelope has been pushed farther than this. Anyway, he can fill a needed gap, but otherwise, I’m looking for something a little better. This will still do some beating though. He’s on the solid side of marginal, if that makes any sense.

    JAMES

    Meh. Moving on.

    Kalastria Highborn
    BB
    Creature – Vampire Shaman
    2/2
    Whenever Kalastria Highborn or another Vampire you control is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay {B}. If you do, target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
    Rarity: Rare

    Not bad for a bear, albeit a rare bear. In heavy vampires, the ability could net you 8, 12, or 16 point swings… usually you’ll get at least a 4 point life swing if you play conservatively… and even if he dies when you’re tapped out, you still had a bear, so big deal. I think vampires might be a new archetype to force along the lines of allies in ZZZ and presumably ZZW. There’s quite a good pool of vampire synergy now. The mass appears to be approaching critical. We shall see.

    JAMES

    WOW. This card LOVES Bloodghast. Certainly worth playing with.

    Mire’s Toll
    B
    Sorcery
    Target player reveals a card from his or her hand for each Swamp you control. Choose one of those cards. That player discards that card.
    Rarity: Common

    Hmm. Well, it’s a weak kind of weak blackmail, since later on, they won’t have as many cards left as you have swamps anyway. I’m not crazy about this one. Sometimes, though, in limited, you can time discard right to nuke their high-curve bomb… so if your deck is wicked fast but lacks late game, this might be an option for you when your swamps equals their cards in hand, and you can ensure you ditch their best threat. Meh… I’m waffling here. This card has a place, but it’s not a real universal killer.

    JAMES

    Nice. This will definitly see some play. It’s no Mind Sludge or Duress but there are some distinct advantages to it; it’s SORT of like a cross between sludge and Thoughtsieze making me think it’s playable. Hmmm, worth tinkering with for Mono-B (or R/B) builds in Standard and for extended decks that run swamps. I’m hesitant to say the same for Jund-style decks because of the high dual/tri-color lands…Test it out! is all I can advocate.

    Nemesis Trap
    4BB
    Instant – Trap
    If a white creature is attacking you, you may pay {B}{B} rather than pay Nemesis Trap’s mana cost.
    Exile target creature, then put a token that is a copy of that creature onto the battlefield. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step.
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #61/145

    This thing is nuts, IMO. Against white it’s through the roof, but even at 6 it’s going to usually be a 241, guaranteed… the only trick then is getting them to attack forcefully into your six untapped lands! I think it’s good enough though. Cards that will consistently 241 your opponent are good. This one will, and this one is. Imagine that they attack you with a Kor Hookmaster? Or a sphinx of lost truths, or a turntimber ranger, or a Bala Ged Thief, or, or, or… you get the picture.

    JAMES

    Craziness. I REALLY like this as an anti-Baneslayer Angel play. Certainly worth experimenting.

    Pulse Tracker
    B
    Creature – Vampire Rogue
    1/1
    Whenever Pulse Tracker attacks, each opponent loses 1 life.
    Rarity: Common

    Not terrible, but wimpy. In dedicated vampires, with things to do with a 1/1 that becomes roughly irrelevant mid to late, then sure. I’m not playing this outside of a very dedicated vampire theme though.

    JAMES

    Not really good enough. I like that on T2, unblocked you’re doing 2 damage and if you keep presenting threats on-curve then really the 1/1 won’t be blocked making it essentially a 2/1 for 1cc. That puts it on par with Elite Vanguard which saw (and may still see) some play. It’s certainly no Vampire Lacerator though.

    Quag Vampires
    B
    Creature – Vampire Rogue
    1/1
    Multikicker {1}{B}
    Swampwalk
    Quag Vampires enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
    Rarity: Common

    He’s a gray ogre usually. Late game he’s a 5-drop 3/3. Not exciting. Then he’s a 7-drop 4/4. He does make a great sideboard against black, and he IS slightly more versatile than a plain old ogre. But he’s not terribly exciting. Again, though, dedicated vampires might drop him as a 1/1, so he has uses.

    JAMES

    No thanks. No, really. No thanks.

    Quest for the Nihil Stone
    B
    Enchantment
    Whenever an opponent discards a card, you may put a quest counter on Quest for the Nihil Stone.
    At the beginning of each opponent’s upkeep, if that player has no cards in hand and Quest for the Nihil Stone has two or more quest counters on it, you may have that player lose 5 life.
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #64/145

    Initially I thought you sacrificed to deal the 5, but knowing that it’s a recurring 5 any time they’re hellbent… well, that makes it significantly better. This is very easy to play around in limited absent discard though. I’m not seeing how this will wreck a careful player’s day.

    JAMES

    Wow. There are some very interesting quests coming out in this set. I’m very intrigued by the interaction between this one (Q. for the Nihil) and Bloodcheif Asscension. Esspecially on the back of some of the insane discard like Bloodhusk Ritualist (see above)…and a long time favorite of mine Blightning.

    Ruthless Cullblade
    1B
    Creature – Vampire Warrior
    2/1
    Ruthless Cullblade gets +2/+1 as long as an opponent has 10 or less life.
    Illus. rk Post
    Rarity: Common
    Set Number: #65/145

    A weak bear and then later on, a 4/2 for 2. Solid all the way around. Should be a staple filler vampire warrior. Keep this kind of guy in mind for pack 3 when you’re deciding whether to fill a bear slot in your vampire deck with something like surrakar marauder or the like… it might be better to wait for a real vamp. Definitely a situational consideration, but know that there are common, decent, early vampires in worldwake.

    JAMES

    I’ve always liked Guul Draz Vampire and I still do–at least over this one. I like the evasion of Guul…it’s sickaliciousness. and this one isn’t.

    Scrib Nibblers
    2B
    Creature – Rat
    1/1
    {T}: Exile the top card of target player’s library. If it’s a land card, you gain 1 life.
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may untap Scrib Nibblers.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Ah, book eaters. So you can potentially make someone miss a land drop… but it’s pretty random, and I can’t see what kind of game plan this would further. I’m not down with this rat.

    JAMES

    Puke.

    Shoreline Salvager
    3B
    Creature – Surrakar
    3/3
    When Shoreline Salvager deals combat damage to a player, if you control an Island, draw a card.
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #67/145

    Nice hill giant! He’s Johnny Magic (shadowmage infiltrator, for the n00bs) if you’re in blue, a natural pairing for black, though this color combination wasn’t super popular in ZZZ to my limited knowledge. I think this uncommon will help make that color combination better for sure. But you can’t count on seeing any given uncommon in pack 3 really… I dunno. He’ll randomly be great for some people. I wonder where my own decision point will be when it comes time to potentially hate draft one of these. I mean, a plain old hill giant isn’t THAT terrible, really. I dunno. If you’re solid black or black with another non-blue splash, and you crack this in your pack 3, do you try to add blue? Hard question. But I think he’s around that powerful. I’d sure be tempted to get greedy.

    JAMES

    I sorta like this. I don’t see this being all that hot in constructed because the cost is so high. BUT it’s looking good for limited.

    Smother
    1B
    Instant
    Destroy target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less. It can’t be regenerated.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Awesome reprint. Solid removal. Very strong. Moving on.

    JAMES

    I expect this to see play. I’m happy to see this solid reprint.

    Tomb Hex
    2B
    Instant
    Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
    Landfall – If a land entered the battlefield under your control this turn, that creature gets -4/-4 until end of turn instead.
    Rarity: Common

    More excellent removal for black, the removal-iest color of them all. This is just plain solid. Trick some fools with a fetch land and sudden death one of their guys!

    JAMES

    HOLY SMOKES, BATMAN. this is redonk!! Well, not as good as Sudden Death (by a LONG shot) but it’s super solid. Next to Smother it’s not that hot either…man, i guess i’m resinding this. I just think it looks so cheap. But I was getting ahead of myself. Great for limited without a doubt though! (and I know weaker players will walk their Baneslayer right into this one……but we’re not tuning our decks for weaker players, or we shouldn’t be at least.)

    Urge to Feed
    BB
    Instant
    Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn. You may tap any number of untapped Vampire creatures you control. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on each of those Vampires.
    Illus. Johann Bodin
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #70/145

    Whoa mamma. A common with Tomb hex, plus uncommon smother, and this beautiful uncommon, reminiscent of Last Gasp. The removal looks good. This thing will be a cool play for the turn after your opponent drops a 3-toughness wall or whatever, thinking they’ve stopped the flow of vampire attacks. Then on their EOT, you smile and tap your team, growing them beyond that previous barrier, all while killing one of their peeps. Love it.

    JAMES

    OKAY, now this is getting a little insane. Declare blockers step has never looked more fun. ;-) Vamps will have to include this. To not include it would be silly.

    Undiscovered Treasure: A Complete Worldwake Review

    So what happened is that I wrote up my review yesterday for my local playgroup and thought, “Hey, James might like this”  But my style is a little different and I’m not as deep into the analysis as his excellent white review is.   We talked and instead of integrating my thoughts into his review, I’d just publish mine.

    In short, my opinion on the set as a whole is a little lukewarm.  I’m the guy who likes to buy x4 of everything, and this time I think I’ll sit it out as I see a lot of “jump through the flaming hoop” cards that Johnny’s like, and some EDH goodness.  Most of the cards I want I either picked up (Jace) or I don’t see them going up in price too much.  In the long run, when the set rotates out, the cards will depress.  I’m of the feeling that it will be easy to trade extra fetches (just an example) for almost anything I want out of this set.

    I also evaluate for draft by default.  In that respect I think draft is about to become a bit more organic, as all the speedster cards get replaced by fatter guys, defensive guys, and better flyers.

    Anyways, I haven’t done a set evaluation in a while, so sorry if it’s a little scattered.  I  do evaluation on a couple different levels so I’ll break it down by category.

    Chase – A chase card is usually a premier, high value rare. Chase doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a must own, sometimes the card is just too expensive or it’s very specific to the environment that’s its being played in.  But you should know what they are, and why they demand that value.

    Ex. Jace, The Mind Sculptor, Thoughtsieze, Baneslayer Angel, Tarmogoyf

    Staple – A staple card are generally “must own” x4 copy.  These can be any rarity, and you’ll see these over and over again in the course of the format.  The difference from these and “evergreen” cards is that you’ll see them drop in value as they rotate out, or they’re roleplayers for a certain type of deck or format.  Sometimes, because of mana cost or ability they might be good, they won’t be relevant to every deck.

    Ex.  Rampant Growth, Duress, Bloodbraid Elf, Honor of the Pure, Blightning, Tri-lands, Duals, Fetch Lands.

    Staple – Evergreen – I think I’m the only person I know who uses this term – – The best example I can give  off the top of my head of a “staple” vs. an “evergreen” is Elvish Archdruid vs. Great Sable Stag.  Archdruid is a great card, but he fits a role in a particular deck type.  GSS is almost always a good deal – he’ll be a staple, a roleplayer, sure, but he’ll definitely go into any almost any  green deck, as opposed to having you have to build around him.

    Evergreens provide resources to multiple deck types in casual play, multiplayer, EDH and competitive.

    Ex. , Lightning Bolt, Path to Exile, Acidic Slime, Tri-lands, Duals, Fetch Lands.

    Role player – These cards are decent, but only in certain archtypes.  I generally advise newer players to stay away from these cards unless you’re a Johnny and get the sense that you want to break it in half.

    Ex.  Megrim, Traumatize

    Bomb (Draft only) In a Draft, bombs are usually first picks out a pack, they’ll have a huge effect on the game if they resolve, and will almost always win you the game unless your opponent has an answer.

    Ex. Fireball, Hellkite Charger, Marsh Casualities

    To keep the review as easy to read as possible I’ve just linked the spoiler here.  I’m not going to clutter up the review with all the stats unless it’s appropriate.  http://mtgsalvation.com/worldwake-spoiler.html

    ***White***

    Admonition Angel – Draft Bomb, Role Player

    The four big flying fatties seeing play in standard are Sphinx of Jhar Isle, Baneslayer, Malakir Bloodwitch, to some extent Broodmate Dragon.  Sphinx and Broodmate are decent because their mostly immune to removal, and Baneslayer is too good not to play.  Malakir is immune to most removal, gains you life, and can block Baneslayer.  Any new entry into the “flying finishers” gets compared to them.  While Angel is bigger, it’s slower and very vulnerable.  In draft though, very little can deal with it.

    Apex Hawk

    You expect a 2/2 flyer for 3 casting cost.  And a 3/3 flyer for 5 is par as well.   Decent draft pick

    Archon of Redemption – Role player

    Same issue as Angel above but he’s got under average stats for his cost.  He’s begging you to build a deck around him.  I’d actually play Serra Angel over this.  Gaining life is overrated, AND you have to jump through some hoops to really get value.

    Battle Hurda

    Pretty boring., kind of lower pick draft card.  There’s enough x/4′s  that he won’t matter as much.

    Fledging Griffin

    Solid draft pick, very fair.

    Guardian Zendikon

    Well now we have some defense in draft. Too bad he doesn’t fly.

    Hada Freeblade – Role player

    If Allies becomes a standard deck, this guy will be in it.

    Iona’s Judgement.

    It’s removal.

    Join The Ranks – Role player

    See Hada Freeblade

    Kitesail Apprentice

    Pretty bad.  Duelist is better and didn’t get played all that much- Compare this to Skyfisher!

    Kor Firewalker – Staple – Evergreen

    Huge card that really really hurts mono-red.  And it’s a soldier. The gain life ability just puts it over the top.

    Lightkeeper of Emeria

    I actually prefer this card in draft to the archon above. It doesn’t really ask you to play other cards to make it better,  It’s got decent stats even as a 2/4 with no kick, since it comes out early to play defense, and if you draw it late, the life gain will help out.

    Loam Lion – Staple

    This is weird, because it might see play in extended zoo but white green isn’t the best deck in standard right now.  Amazing statistics for its cost, just like Kird Ape.

    Marsh Threader

    Cliff Threader’s good, so I would guess this is.

    Marshal’s Anthem  – Role Player

    I like this card.  Resurrection was never bad, and neither was Glorious Anthem. I think it’s a little under the radar but it’s good in control, and it’s pretty huge in EDH.  It’s probably too expensive for tournament constructed in multiples which is why it’s so low in cost.   I’d probably pick it for draft though.

    Perimeter Captain

    Third in the list of “red black aggro just doesn’t want to see this card in draft”

    Refraction Trap – Role player

    This is a huge card in draft, and may see play in standard.  Note that it protects planeswalkers, which harm’s way doesn’t do.

    Rest for the Weary

    Like Sunspring expedition, it’s a Decent Sideboard card for the aggro matchup in draft.

    Ruin Ghost – Role Player

    There’s an infinite combo with this and some other cards on the forums,  He’s got bad stats, but yeah, sometimes you want lands to come in multiple times.

    Stone Forge Mystic – Role Player

    Yep, someone’s gonna make a kor deck with him.  Bad stats otherwise.

    Talus Paladin – Role player

    This is a big swing in Allies and may push that deck over the top.

    Terra Eternal

    Makes your man lands INDESTRUCTIBLE!  And that’s it.  Now you youngsters will have that special feeling you only get when you open an animate wall as your rare.

    Veteran’s reflexes Bleh.

    ***Blue***

    Aether Tradewinds

    Solid Utility Common.  Like Narrow Escape, it wants you to play permanents with comes into play abilities (Halimar depths! ), and it slows down your opponent.  Worst case scenario, in the early game you can put an opponent’s land back in their hand.  Boomerang has been a tournament staple, maybe this card has a place.

    Calcite Snapper

    Another common that owns the speed deck in draft, and it can bash for four if you like.  And shroud.  Tournament level, possibly, because of that last ability.

    Dispel

    Wizards just hates hard counters, this is another bad counterspell I’m just going to ignore.

    Enclave Elite

    Slightly worse than Apex Hawk in draft, but no slouch.  Blue usually doesn’t get fatties with no drawback.

    Goliath Sphinx

    <Hork>

    Halimar Excavator

    Woo Ally mill deck.  We continue the theme of decent defensive stats again, that 1/3 ass for 2 is no joke.

    Horizon Drake

    Sure!  3 power flying for 3 is great.  The ability might even be relevant.

    Jace the Mind Sculptor – Chase Rare.

    It’s good. The pros have already been sleeving and playing it.  Brainstorm is no joke.  And that ultimate is a 40 cal straight to the noggin.  You don’t walk away from that.

    Jwari Shapeshifter – Role player

    Basically, you’re either playing allies and want this card, or you don’t care.  It’s really good for that deck of course.

    Mysteries of the Deep

    Instant Speed Card draw is pretty clutch.  It’s expensive, but Blue Mages hate to tap out.  Not sure if this will see play over Mind Spring in standard but it seems okay.

    Permafrost trap

    I’m sure this is decent, but I’m not first picking it in draft.

    Quest for Ula’s Temple

    I actually have a deck for this.  The other 8 million magic players out there?  Out of luck.

    Sejiri Merfolk – Staple?

    Seems pretty strong for the cost.  Great draft pick for those colors

    Selective Memory  – Role player

    We’ve seen cards like this before, someone always figures out a way to break them.  I still don’t feel good opening this in a pack.

    Spell Contortion.

    Fairly costed, if it was costed any other way it would be a must play staple.  This is sort of fair.  I think people are still locked in on Flashfreeze as THE counterspell, will take a white or blue deck actually winning more for them to start considering other stuff.  I like it though.

    Surrakar Banisher

    This is no veldakin dismisser, but its got a decent body.

    Thada Adel, Acquistor

    Definitely in EDH.  If it were 2/2 for two it might see play in legacy.  It’s playable, but how many artifacts are in play in standard?  May be really good in Rise?

    Tideforce Elemental

    I think this is part of the combo with Ruin Ghost.   First pick in draft too.

    Treasure Hunt – Staple – Evergreen

    This is a huge card for blue.  The math has been done and the long and short of it is that you get 1.75 cards for 2 mana.  If you can manipulate the library (halimar depths and jace) then you always get more bang than divination.   Also, you always, always draw a spell.

    Twitch

    This is a reprint.  Can’t really complain too much.

    Vapor Snare

    Pretty bomby.  Mind Control is always good.

    Voyager Drake

    Great stats, great ability, great first pick.

    Wind Zendikon

    Another huge card for blue.  2/2 flyer for 1 with a minor draw back (you slow yourself down a bit to get aggro).   It’s a great card without a deck right now.

    ***Black***

    Abyssal Persecutor  – Chase

    I’m on the fence on this guy.  I like him, but not enough to shell out a twenty for him, then build a possibly weaker deck around him.  His price is leveraged around the fact that he is a solid mythic in a mostly bad set.  The black deck in standard is Vampires, and this is based on it’s synergy, and he doesn’t contribute to that at all.

    Agadeem Occultist

    Another weird rare. He’s pretty good in Allies, but not in constructed, since you have no idea what’s going to be in a graveyard.  Bad stats for his cost too.

    Anowon, the Ruin Sage.

    He just HAD to be 4/3.  Malakir Bloodwitch is so much better than this, and that’s a low cost rare.  He could have been 4/4 and relevant.  I don’t see what’s wrong with abyss in standard, I really don’t.  He’s legendary, too.  People might try and play him, and he’s just going to feel clunky.

    Bloodhusk Ritualist.

    The question posed earlier was “Is this better than Mind Sludge?”  Short answer: No.

    Mind Sludge just ends games.  Ritualist is probably best in an edh or casual deck, but ultimately you’re paying for a 2/2 for 3, which isn’t that great.  Decent in Draft though, another solid 2 or 3 for 1.

    Bojuka Brigand (why I do I feel like we’re back in Betrayers of Kamigawa land?)

    The ability to block is fairly irrelevant anyway – I think black allies will rally around growers like him and the sellsword to get past all the fat blockers.  And coming out a couple turns faster is worth it.  Sick card.

    Brink of Disaster

    It’s removal, and it kills land, which is pretty relevant.  Not a Befoul though.

    Butcher of Malakir – Bomb

    A little highly costed for standard, but it does wreck some of those shroud strategies.

    For draft, I suspect ZZW will be a bit slower, so this can make an impact.

    Caustic Crawler

    Meh.  I’d rather play shatterskull giant (which just got a lot better by the way) 4 is a much more relevant power now though.

    Corrupted Zendikon.

    3/3 for 2 casting cost in black is aggressive.  I can dig it.

    Dead Reckoning

    Huge draft masher two for one.  Might be good in standard where you want to get value back when you get hit by blightnings  – Grim Discovery saw play for that same reason.

    Death’s Shadow – Role player.

    Meh. Though you can search for it with Ranger of Eos

    Jagwasp Swarm

    Playable draft pick.  Like I said I think flyers and evasion is better now.

    Kalastria Highborn.

    Some people will love this card.  The question is whether it’s better to play than Hexmage in the vampires slot.   For the moment, I don’t think so.   If you have a deck for this guy, that’s great.  He’s slightly better in casual though, which I think is why his price is up.  He’ll go down over the long run I bet.   He’s no Rotlung Reanimator.

    Mire’s Toll

    There was a card in standard called blackmail which was 3 cards for B, and it was pretty bad. You want to play discard early, not late.

    Nemesis Trap – Staple

    This is Broken Visage as an uncommon. This a great card, fun to wreck people with, and will could see play in standard to 187 those baneslayers.

    Pulse Tracker

    I sort of like this card as 1 drop vampire, and a rogue, and he does an extra damage.  He quickly becomes irrelevant when someone drops a blocker, but he can still do duty as a vampire for you.

    Quag Vampires

    Same deal as Apex Hawk and the Merfolk.  Not as good as either but swampwalk is relevant.  If you’re playing swamps you can at least hate it so you don’t get killed by it.

    Quest for the Nihil Stone  – Role Player

    Except this one is actually really good!  Five life is pretty huge, and there’s some great discard out there.  This is totally under the radar right now (1 dollar on SCG), and I suspect it will jump up once someone breaks it.

    Ruthess Cullblade

    Ok draft pick.  He’s a vampire, decent stats, and an okay ability.  But in Standard he’s competing with Hexmage again.

    Scrib Nibblers

    What’s to say?  He’s got a mill ability, and can maybe gain you life.  Sucks in combat for his cost though.

    Shoreline Salvager.

    Good Stats for his cost in draft, and the ability is no slouch.

    Smother – Staple

    Another proven reprint that just rotated out of extended.  Now it’s back and extended players will be happy.  No slouch in standard either.

    Tomb Hex

    I like. Solid removal in draft.

    Urge to kill

    WOW does black get a lot of stuff that kills stuff. And yeah, it’s good for vampires.  Vampire players do a little dance.  Again.  Yawn.

    ***Red***

    Akoum Battlesinger

    I can imagine this scene, where wizards is sending a memo around to all the colors that they should slow down a bit, and of course Red got the memo, didn’t bother reading past the first sentence, and decided to wing it.   Red’s just gonna keep aggroing it out, like that loud drunk guy at the party that’s making everyone uncomfortable.

    Ummm. yeah, not the best card unless you’re committed to mashing with allies.

    Bazaar Trader

    Wut?  It can’t even give away an Illusions of Grandeur.

    Wizards fell down, least they could do is give us the other half the combo piece…

    Donating the demon is the best I can come up with.

    Bull Rush

    RAAARRRRREEDDGHKAGHTG!!!

    Chain Reaction

    This is pretty good for red.  Not Earthquake good, though. Much more of a Multiplayer Wrath.  Phone this rare right into your EDH deck.

    Claws of Valkut

    RAAAAAAA…..It’s lightning Talons, basically.  But not always as good.

    Comet Storm – Bomb, Staple – Evergreen

    Solid red Bomb.  Instant is huge.   For standard it’s weighed against cascade, but it’s  fantastic card for casual and draft.

    Cosi’s Ravager

    Not particularly great.   It’s not as good as hellhound, though I guess with land tricks it can do a few extra points. Maybe there’s a combo deck in him.

    Crusher Zendikon

    Unlike the Black and Blue Zendikon, this guy doesn’t have good stats for his cost. Draft playable, since that 4 power is more important.

    Cunning Sparkmage

    Solid draft pick

    Death Forge Shaman

    I thought he was good, then I realized the damage is only to target PLAYER.  Well he’s a body.  If you have 8 mana he’s pretty nasty.

    Dragonmaster Outcast – Chase

    He makes dragons.  He’s fetchable with Ranger of Eos.  He takes a turn longer to smash face than with  scute mob, but he makes flyers.  Multiples of flyers.  He makes DRAGONS.

    Goblin Roughrider

    Sure.

    Grotag Goblin Thrasher

    Good stats for the cost, and this is about as close as you’re going to get to evasion in red for that casting cost in draft.

    Kazul, Tyrant of the Cliffs – Bomb

    Everything that Anawon the ruin sage isn’t, except he’s not a vampire.

    Mordant Dragon – Bomb

    Same issue as Admonition Angel for his cost in standard.  In draft he’s a slightly worse flameblast dragon.

    Quest for the Goblin Lord –Role player

    Now that’s cute, cheap, and easy to pull off.  Siege Gang Commander anyone?

    Ricochet Trap

    Wizards keeps making deflect/swerve variants and they keep sucking in draft and ride the margins in standard.

    Roiling Terrain

    This is interesting but expensive.  The card this compares to is molten rain, but it’s not as good.  Against some decks it’ll just whiff on the damage.  But then lands are better now…

    Rumbling Aftershocks

    Meh.  Kind of hard to build around it in your last pack.

    Searing Blaze – Staple

    It’s kinda like lash out, but worse.  But red loves two for ones, and red has lots of ways to make land fall happen.

    Skitter of Lizards!

    ARARARRARARAGAGGHHH!   Solid beats. Early game it’s a goblin chariot, late game it’s a tuktuk, whatever you like.

    Slavering Nulls

    Decent stats, it’s a zombie goblin, and it has a discard effect.  I miss that red/black deck… could it be back now?

    Stone Idol Trap

    Kills an attacker, swings in for 6 (probably)  But is it a staple, really?  I really can’t say.  Seems good, but what do you take out?

    Tuktuk Scrapper

    Crappy body (like most of the allies) but the artifact ability is pretty nasty.

    ***Green***

    Arbor Elf  - Staple

    It’s llanowar elf, with the possibility that you might whiff if you don’t have an actual forest in play (you have savage lands/oran rief etc out) But it’s still probably good.

    Avenger of Zendikar – Bomb

    Pretty cute, and fun in casual to.   Someone’s going enjoy killing with plants, I’m sure.

    Bestial Menace – Staple

    Flores already called it in Eldrazi green. Any deck that makes tokens.  Think Cloudgoat ranger.  Except you hit for nine.  It’s fairly bomby in draft.  If you were to get that by p/t paying “fair” it would cost you 7.

    Canopy Cover

    Funny,  I was just talking about how elves needed a silhana ledgewalker…  dunno if it will see play, but seems like a good draft pick. Think Whispersilk cloak

    Explore – Staple

    Better than rampant growth.  Great flip over in cascade decks especially.

    Feral Contest

    Another awkward green attempt at stall-breaking.

    Gnarlid Pack

    Bear, or Hill Giant, or better, it’s all good.  Solid draft beater.

    “Back in my day, we played Kickered Grizzly Bears, and we called it Kavu Titan, and we lit in on fire so it had  haste.  I remember those days… ”

    Grappler Spider.

    Eh.

    Graypelt Hunter

    So it’s Nimana Sellsword with Trample?   Sold!

    Groundswell – Staple

    Might of Old Krosa, I missed you.

    Harabaz Druid

    Could be interesting.  Again, I’m not all that interested in Allies.dec

    Joraga warcaller – Staple

    It’s a great finisher in Elves, and you’ve got the mana and ways to put on counters.  If you’re playing elves, you should pick this up.

    Leatherback Baloth – Role Player

    Same issue as always – Straight green always runs into problems. It has no tricks, no card advantage, and no reach (the ability to finish the game with a random top deck or through a stall).  And elves is usually better  because of it’s synergy. But people are gonna pick it up and play it, and Wizards will promote it, and will rotate out, and no one will care.

    Nature’s Claim

    Nothing wrong with this, it’s a solid card, but not even naturalize is seeing play right now.

    Omnath, Locus of Mana – Chase

    Debatable on its power level, I think it’s a great general and someone’s likely to break it.  It’s a tempo choice – you invest in the attack at the cost of progression on the board – but Omnath is an insane late game top deck.

    Quest for Renewal

    Seems strong, especially in casual Multiplayer

    Slingbow Trap – Role Player

    It’s targeted green removal, and will have targets in draft.  I think windstorm is the sideboard card for this in standard.

    Snapping Creeper

    Good stats, will probably have vigilance.  Just another guy that slows down the board.

    Strength of the Tajuru – Bomb

    Nice finisher there – see the comet storm chart for stats.  Oh yeah, and combos with Warcaller.

    Summit Apes

    Huge beater in draft.  Might be too fragile for constructed… Someone’s gonna try it though.  Might be really good.

    Terastadon

    Blow up your own lands and get 18 power for 8 mana.  Or just play crush of wurms.
    Blow up their lands and they get stuff.  I dunno.  EDH, but kinda dull.

    Vastwood Animist

    Another good ally card with bad stats

    Vastwood Zendikon

    Craw Wurm was usually good, except this attacks a turn early. Pretty saucy.

    Wolfbriar Elemental –Staple – Evergreen

    Pretty solid beater.  Decent stats on his own and late game drops some extra threats. Might not be standard worthy but he’s still really good overall.

    ***Multicolor***

    Novablast Wurm – Bomb

    It’s almost like Wizards designed EDH just so we could have a place to play big fatties like this.  I dunno, we’ve got acceleration, and this blows up stuff.  While it’s still pretty slow for standard, this is a great effect to have.

    Wrexial, the Risen Deep – Bomb

    Made for EDH again.  He’s got a great toughness, is immune to terror, and has evasion.  His ability isn’t that relevant to standard, but casual, OMG he’s got targets.

    ***Artifacts***

    Amulet of Vigor

    I really can’t comment on Amulet of Vigor without bias.  At this point I’m a bit sick of yet another “jump through the deck design hoop”  rare.   I don’t have the mental fortitude to start looking for all the CIPT permanents in standard and extended and casual that this might go with.  It’s just exhausting.  Let the Johnny’s have their cake, I’ll just do what I usually do – wait til someone figures out how to break it then lamely shell out for an overpriced rare.  …or I could just play nature’s claim on it and let you play with a slow deck.

    Basilisk Collar – Bomb

    There’s a Kor deck. This card isn’t good enough for it, since you never want to attack with Armament Master.  But re-usable deathtouch is sick in draft.

    Everflowing Chalice – Staple – Evergreen

    Turn 2 chalice for 1, turn turn 3 chalice for 2, turn 4 do fun things with 6-7 mana.  Like Play novablast wurm :D   Solid card for most formats.

    Hammer of Ruin

    Not exactly a bonesplitter, nor is the ability that relevant.

    Hedron Rover

    Better than Hedron Scrabbler, I suppose.

    Kitesail

    Better than Hammer of Ruin, in cost and utility. Flying matters.

    Lodestone Golem

    I really like this guy.  Might be a role player in an esper deck, or something likes to eat lands.  Anyone notice he’s got Juggy stats?

    Pilgrims Eye – Staple – Evergreen

    Stats and flying are kind of fair, but irrevelant.  We play the Borderland ranger and we’re fine. For EDH as well, anything that thins you out early is generally good.

    Razor Boomerang

    Wait, it is Betrayers of Kamigawa.  I should have called it at the evil red griefing Legendary Ogre for 5.  Well, Hankyu very much.

    Seer’s Sundial.

    I dislike that the default casting cost for artifacts that draw you cards seem to be four.  Still, I could see this (possibly) playing support in a red or green casual deck with no other way to draw cards.

    Walking Atlas – role player

    There was an elf a while back that had this ability, and it saw play. You could do some silly things with this and Geopede, maybe.

    ***Lands***

    Bojuka Bog – Staple – Evergreen.

    I don’t necessarily like what this card means for the reanimator deck archetype, especially in casual.  Of course it’s a land, so you have a choice of holding back vs. playing it, but in my case I would do the thing I usually do with functional lands like Maze, I just play one less business spell and treat this as a spell. It’s uncounterable.  It’s like, reanimation in standard isn’t that great, we’ve got crypt, leyline, and relic in extended, was this really necessary?   Seems like an odd call.

    Celestial Colonnade – staple

    It’s a dual land, it becomes a flyer.  Is it any good?  Well, as good as any manland would be.  They’re all great for casual, and they dodge  removal in standard.. could be good.  And if they were, it just makes land destruction and sea’s claim decks that much better.

    Creeping Tar Pits – staple

    I can get behind this card as well. Unblockable is pretty key.

    Dread statuary

    Sure in draft.  Seems slow and vulnerable in standard. 3/3 would have been better.

    Eye of Ugin

    Of Ghostflame fame.   We get a hint of the next set (Steamflogger Boss?)   The funny thing to me is, that if Eldrazi spells are actually playable/competitive, then a land that gives a discount of two to all of them is pretty crazy, like workshop crazy. But it’s legendary!

    The ability is pretty silly, but I guess some casual deck might like it.  Another random Johnny rare.

    Halimar Depths – Staple – Evergreen.

    Great card, especially with Treasure Hunt.

    Khalni Garden

    Some people don’t like this card.  It does give you a guy, which is relevant.  Polymorph decks will find some fun with this.

    Lavaclaw Reaches – Staple

    Sure.

    Quicksand – Staple.

    Sure to be popular in control to stem the aggro rush, and always good in draft.

    Raging Ravine – Staple – Evergreen

    I REALLY like this guy.  He starts off as a 4/4 and continues to get bigger.  What’s not to like?

    Sejiri Steppe

    Here’s the question – if you’re playing this as a spell slot in order to ignore the question of whether you should play this as a spell or ramp, , it’s not necessarily as good as Brave the elements (The latter is a reactive instant, after all)

    And if you’re playing it as a land, it’s kind of like Soaring Seacliff.  So yeah maybe I answered the question.

    Smoldering Spires

    Well, red actually likes it when you can’t block.

    Stirring Brush – Staple

    Good stats, but my Raging Ravine is better. You could be playing w/g though.

    Tectonic Edge  – Staple – Evergreen

    I’ll take Wasteland where I get can get it, I guess.

    Worldwake Set Review – Blue

    Welcome to the Blue section of our Worldwake Set Review. Thanks for coming! Let’s get to business.

    AEther Tradewinds
    2U
    Instant
    Return target permanent you control and target permanent you don’t control to their owner’s hand.
    Rarity: Common

    This is a VERY useful spell in limited, even post-M10 combat damage rules changes (before the change, this would have been absurd). This should let you avoid a bad combat step while simultaneously setting up either a guaranteed landfall by returning a land, or another Enters the Battlefield (EtB) effect from one of your creatures. All while messing up the opponent’s tempo. Strong one here.

    JAMES

    For limited it looks great. I always like playing a one-off Teetering Peaks–especially if I’m in white and have a Kor Skyfisher or get Living Tsunami–and I can see this fitting in well with that. Prevents a turn of attacking from your opponent…you see what I’m saying. So far as constructed…well, I don’t see the use.

    Calcite Snapper
    1UU
    Creature – Turtle
    1/4
    Shroud
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you
    may switch Calcite Snapper’s power and toughness until end of turn.
    Rarity: Common
    Set Number: #25/145

    This looks entirely unappealing to me. There are better options for holding down the ground, and this just doesn’t do much. I’m hoping not to play with this card until I make some kind of Turtle theme deck for my kids. Until then, this is a bookmark.

    JAMES

    No thanks.

    Dispel
    U
    Instant
    Counter target instant spell.
    Rarity: Common
    Set Number: #26/145

    This should see play in some constructed formats, I’m thinking. It’s a good way to fight through counters. In limited, it’s very narrow, and is thus only likely to be in your sideboard. I can’t see ever maindecking this, but picking one up isn’t too terrible for your sideboard. I’d pick it low though, even then.

    JAMES

    Wow. What a great counter spell! It’s a narrow card making it more of a SB option than MD–at least for any U based decks I’m thinking of. That being said, all the major decks are running Lightening Bolts AND Burst Lightening (and of course Path) so there’s certainly an argument in favor of testing out the right number for your decks. I think U-light decks in extended may also run this to counter the Cryptic Command or [card]Mana Leak[card].

    Enclave Elite
    2U
    Creature – Merfolk Soldier
    2/2
    Multikicker {1}{U}
    Islandwalk
    Enclave Elite enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
    Rarity:Common

    I really like these “Gray Ogre ++” variants. They’re passable on their own when dropped turn 3, albeit a little behind the modern curves, but they stay relevant (or more relevant than usual) when you top deck them late. I’m less pumped about this one than I am for the white flying version (flying instead of Islandwalk), but against some opponents, this will be even more of a trump. It’s evasive and relevant whenever you draw him. I like the looks of this cycle.

    JAMES

    I don’t see this being played outside of limited and even there it’s only marginal. The kick cost is too ridiculous after even one kick.

    Goliath Sphinx
    5UU
    Creature – Sphinx
    8/7
    Flying
    Flavor Text: Go ahead, TACCOM.
    Rarity: Rare

    Big. Flying. Any questions? This always makes the cut if you’re on-color, unless you have some kind of crazy aggro curve. Usually, he’ll be in. Lots of times, he’ll win you the game when you top deck him. Big dumb fliers are great in limited.

    JAMES

    Neat but damn expensive. Just too damn expensive for constructed play.

    Halimar Excavator
    1U
    Creature – Human Wizard Ally
    1/3
    Whenever Halimar Excavator or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, target player puts the top X cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard, where X is the number of Allies you control.
    Illus. Kev Walker
    Rarity: Common
    Set Number: #29/145

    An interesting addition to Hedron Crab based archetypes. Now, when you see a crab, you might be well advised to take all the allies you can as well. This should make the archetype interesting indeed… I think it may be viable. The key is getting an early crab to set you in the deck… you can’t really “force” this otherwise. In “regular” (crabless) allies, I don’t see this decking mechanism going all the way, but I could be wrong. You’d need at minimum 2, preferably 3 of this guy, I would think.

    JAMES

    Interesting. Getting milled always stinks…but I’m pretty sure block builds of Allies won’t include the mill strategy. This route is inherently too slow.

    Horizon Drake
    1UU
    Creature – Drake
    3/1
    Flying, protection from lands
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Interesting protection clause. Take that Valakut! This guy’s nice mainly because he’s aggressive and evasive. Wasp Lancer was comparable, and did great things in its day. This will sometimes die, but will usually get some good damage in before taking down some kind of spider or opposing flier. I like it, but it’s not really my first string of fliers. I’ll take him though.

    JAMES

    Watch out! it’s a land!!!…oh…right. barf. Too narrow. There just aren’t enough lands worth worry about to justify this card.

    Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    2UU
    Planeswalker – Jace
    3
    [+2]: Look at the top card of target player’s library. You may put that card on the bottom of that player’s library.
    [0]: Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.
    [-1]: Return target creature to its owner’s hand.
    [-12]: Exile all cards from target player’s library, then that player shuffles his or her hand into his or her library.
    Illus. Jason Chan
    Rarity: Mythic Rare
    Set Number: #31/145

    This looks incredible to me. A bomb in limited, probably more so in constructed, but I’ll try to let James handle that. Limited is pretty straight-forward as well… this guy does so many useful things, it’s hard not to see why he’s great. I want to talk about EDH for a moment though. I think most EDH decks that can access this guy will play him. He adds another Hinder effect (in this case, I mean the “put a card on the bottom of your opponent’s deck” part of Hinder) for decks that run the Tunnel Vision combo, which is most blue decks. It also helps you with the brainstorm effects and the bouncing. Subtly, in EDH you might have more of a chance than you think to use the ultimate ability here. EDH tends to go long, and lots of decks can fend off creatures indefinitely in the late game. So Jace, tMS, should occasionally deck the sad EDH player. All in all, a very exciting mythic planeswalker.’

    JAMES

    This version of Jace is very interesting. Weird sort of telling time-like abilities. The draw backs are that this guy costs a LOT for his initial abilities. A control player has to REALLY be dictating the turns to justify this card. Certainly don’t want that player to activate the ultimate ability but I don’t see there being enough time to pull that off. …6 turns to “go off”? If you taret your opponent with ability one and you hit a land, dud. target yourself and hit a land, good. Use ability two, very nice. Ability three is also pretty sexy. I’m thinking the card’s use will be restricted to the first three abilities. Bouncing creatures is pretty hawt if you can then counter them. Hmmm, very interesting.

    Jwari Shapeshifter
    1U
    Creature – Shapeshifter Ally
    0/0
    You may have Jwari Shapeshifter enter the battlefield as a copy of any Ally creature on the battlefield.
    Illus. Kev Walker
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #32/145

    Hmmm… narrow indeed. If you happen to open it in an already-allies-dedicated pool / deck, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, this will seldom see play, as it won’t be consistent enough. In allies, it’s probably only “strong” not even “bomb” levels of good… you have to have another strong ally in hand before this does much of anything aside from keeping the ally flow going.

    JAMES

    Pretty cheap. Pretty freaking good for limited but marginal outside that–but mostly because Allies seem weak in Block. I like the concept though. Maybe there’s a U/W/R Ally deck in block…

    Mysteries of the Deep
    4U
    Instant
    Draw two cards.
    Landfall – If you had a land enter the battlefield under your control this turn, draw three cards instead.
    Illus. Veronique Meignaud
    Rarity: Common
    Set Number: #33/145

    I like this one. It’s a bit of a conundrum though… instant card draw is great because you can play it on your opponent’s end step. But this will usually get you one fewer card then… of course, you might have harrow or a fetch land, so who knows. I still like this even if you just main phase it out there for the three, or decide to live with the mere two cards to maintain a control posture.

    JAMES

    It’s costed somewhere along the lines of Mind Spring and Sift, both of which I’ve always felt were pretty expensive. I don’t think this does enough for constructed play.

    Permafrost Trap
    2UU
    Instant – Trap
    If an opponent had a green creature enter the battlefield under his or her control this turn, you may pay {U} rather than pay Permafrost Trap’s mana cost.
    Tap up to two target creatures. Those creatures don’t untap during their controller’s next untap step.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Whether for the trap cost or full price, this is a beating, and will win games. In the skies archetype, you will push through the last points of damage with this guy. It’s a tempo nightmare for an opponent that’s unprepared, or who over-committed. Very strong spell here, IMO.

    JAMES

    I like this for standard. It’s an interesting tempo play. Bloodbraid Elf played by opposing player. Boom, trap that down! Hehe. Thats’ really what I would play this for. It’s sweet for one mana because it buys two turns (one from the hasty bloodbraid and one for the next turn). Looks good to me in this currnet meta game.

    Quest for Ula’s Temple
    U
    Enchantment
    At the beginning of your upkeep, you may look at the top card of your library. If it’s a creature card, you may reveal it and put a quest counter on Quest for Ula’s Temple.
    At the beginning of each end step, if there are three or more quest counters on Quest for Ula’s Temple, you may put a Kraken, Leviathan, Octopus, or Serpent creature card from your hand onto the battlefield.
    Illus. Rob Alexander
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #35/145

    Gimmicky. If you have a ton of the right creatures in your deck, then maybe, but I guess I missed all the Krakens, Leviathans, Octopi, and Serpents… sure there are some, but… I dunno. I’m not touching this with a ten foot tentacle. Looks like crap to me.

    JAMES

    Lorthos is what comes to mind first. lol. Looks good for casual, fun, theme based decks but otherwise it’s just too damn narrow.

    Sejiri Merfolk
    1U
    Creature – Merfolk Soldier
    2/1
    As long as you control a Plains, Sejiri Merfolk has first strike and lifelink.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Another Kird Ape wannabe. This guy’s a house. Two very relevant abilities in the color combination that’s the best natural fit for blue aggro. This will be a fine super-grizzly bear, even if he just swings once, then scares off smaller ground attackers.

    JAMES

    Pretty neat. The abilities aren’t something to scoff at because a W/U control deck has something that is cheap and can take out Bloodbraids, gain life and stick around. It’s really a question of what to pull out of the U/W deck over this…Because the lifegain and first-strike ablity is so relevant and helpful for the U/W control build, this guy will eat removal. It’s certainly worth toying with.

    Selective Memory
    3U
    Sorcery
    Search your library for any number of nonland cards and exile them.
    Then shuffle your library.
    Illus. Chippy
    Rarity: Rare
    Set Number: #37/145

    Very interesting rare here. Not playable in limited, but see Treasure Hunt below for some thoughts on what this thing can potentially do…

    JAMES

    [[[scrolls down to Treasure Hunt below…]]] Blah. Whatever. Maybe in 1.5/1 formats but I don’t see the point in exiling my own library. why not just NOT play this card AND whatever it is you don’t want in your deck. the concept of exiling my own library of cards I don’t want doesn’t make any sense to me. I look forward to reading the comment of someone who breaks this card and proves me wrong. I will happily say, “wow, I didn’t think of that. You rock.”

    Spell Contortion
    2U
    Instant
    Multikicker {1}{U}
    Counter target spell unless its
    controller pays {2}. Draw a card for
    each time Spell Contortion was
    kicked.
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #38/145

    Seems utterly insane in constructed, and not terrible in limited. Usually in limited, you’ll counter something early and be happy. Occasionally you’ll go all constructed on us, and you’ll nab this late. Then you counter their play, whatever it is, and kick it into infinity and beyond! The fact that they can easily pay the 2 is not really germane here, as what you’re really after is drawing (N-3)/2 cards (round down) where N is your available mana. :-) That is going to be great in constructed, and not terrible in limited.

    JAMES

    Pretty neat. It’s a little more expensive than Cryptic Command and a bit more narrow but very late game you could draw two cards off this. Most of the time it will be an expensive Mana Leak though. Worth testing out but I don’t see control players running more than a couple to round out a counter suite.

    Surrakar Banisher
    4U
    Creature – Surrakar
    3/3
    When Surrakar Banisher enters the battlefield, you may return target tapped creature to its owner’s hand.
    Illus. Matt Cavotta
    Rarity: Common
    Set Number: #39/145

    This kind of guy has traditionally been way better than it might seem at first. The tempo is really nice here, clearing one of their attackers and leaving behind a hill giant. Every once in a while you’ll want to return your own creature. Not a terribly high pick, but no slouch either… this is a fine addition to most decks with access to him.

    JAMES

    Interesting tempo card. He’s big enough that with the bounce he’s not HORRIBLE. I just would have loved to see this guy cost UUU or UU2 because then there’s at least the hope of having counter mana open. Otherwise you’re bouncing a big creature that’s just going to be there again when it’s time to attack, gaining you a whole lotta nuthin’.

    Thada Adel, Acquisitor
    1UU
    Legendary Creature – Merfolk Rogue
    2/2
    Islandwalk
    Whenever Thada Adel, Acquisitor deals combat damage to a player, search that player’s library for an artifact card and exile it. Then that player shuffles his or her library. Until end of turn, you may play that card.
    Rarity: Rare

    Every time you see a new Legendary creature, you should be thinking “would this be any good as an EDH general?” I know that’s the first though I always have. In this case, old Thada looks a bit weak. He’s very killable, has a questionable effect, though against 99% of all EDH players, you can at least play their Senseis Divining Top! I just don’t think he has enough of an effect to be worth the coveted general slot. ANYWAY, in limited, this is also usually a dud, but occasionally great. You have to just think of him as a gray ogre with islandwalk when deciding whether to play him. Sometimes that’s good enough. Rarely is it anything to get pumped about.

    JAMES

    I can see this getting some play in extended mirror matches for Fairies/Wizards that almost rely entirely on their ability to get Jitte down for their win. There are a TON of U-splashed decks also running Jitte that makes this card pretty interesting. It’s all about the islandwalk and that will ultimately determine how playable this is. Not the worst card on this U list.

    Tideforce Elemental
    2U
    Creature – Elemental
    2/1
    {U}, {T}: You may tap or untap another target creature.
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may untap Tideforce Elemental.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    Very strong here. This can do a lot of tricky things, and because of the landfall effect, it does marginally more. This card is strong in limited. A wacky (read: cute and worthless) combo occurred to me, involving this card and two others from Worldwake, along with azorius chancery… the two cards are Amulet of Vigor (untaps permanents that EtB tapped under your control) and Ruin Ghost (creature with {W}, {T}: exile target land you control then return it to the battlefield under your control. All this does is let you loop picking up and dropping the chancery, with each iteration adding another “return a land you control to your hand” effect to the stack. Lame? Yes. Worthless? Yes. Funny? If you have a sense of humor like mine, then… kinda.
    JAMES

    Kinda cool. Super cheap. I like this for constructed because it will help with the turn-purchasing until the contorl player can setup a real win like Sphinx of Jwar Isle.

    Treasure Hunt
    1U
    Sorcery
    Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a nonland card, then put all cards revealed this way into your hand.
    Illus. Daren Bader
    Rarity: Common
    Set Number: #42/145

    Okay, this is a card I’m excited about for Legacy, and I don’t know exactly how it will pan out. There’s a popular deck known as 43Land.dec in Legacy which runs… 43 lands! The question, then, is how many non-lands in that deck can be replaced by this card, and if you do that, how many cards are you drawing on average? Another question I have relates to EDH. If you run this spell in EDH, where Muddle the Mixture and the like can find it for you, and you also run Selective Memory above, can this combo you out? I know that Lands End / Seismic Assault both come to mind here… can you combo? I think these have some potential. In limited, this is probably worth running 1-3 copies, since it will sometimes just cantrip, and sometimes run you through a land pocket into business, guaranteeing the next couple drops. I know I’ve been running 18 lands and up in ZZZ typically, because of landfall… this will be another synergy to play with high land counts. I love this card.

    JAMES

    This is a good draw spell. There will be times when this hits a pocket of lands and then your opponent is going to be a sad panda but mostly just hitting 1.5 cards on average is nice. I can also see this playing well with Ponder. Certainly a ‘see what you can do with this’ kinda card.

    Twitch
    2U
    Instant
    You may tap or untap target artifact, creature, or land.
    Draw a card.
    Rarity: Common

    MEh… it cantrips and saves you from one attacker… not high on my list, really.

    JAMES

    Bummer. There’s just not much to this.

    Vapor Snare
    4U
    Enchantment – Aura
    Enchant creature
    You control enchanted creature.
    At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Vapor Snare unless you return a land you control to its owner’s hand.
    Rarity: Uncommon

    I like this. Steals a creature and turns it into a pseudo Living Tsunami. Sounds good to me! Landfall makes this “downside” an upside.

    JAMES

    the mana cost makes this mid-to-late game and stealing a creature at that point is awesome-sauce. Especially if it’s something like that Baneslayer. There won’t be a lot of landfall that the U-based plaer is playing (that I can think of) so I dn’t see the potential for landfall being a bonus but it’s not that bad of a card. A blue player should be in control and be leveraging this card as a win condition. good for Block and Standard

    Voyager Drake
    3U
    Creature – Drake
    3/3
    Multikicker {U}
    Flying
    When Voyager Drake enters the battlefield, up to X target creatures gain flying until end of turn, where X is the number of times Voyager Drake was kicked.
    Rarity: Uncommon
    Set Number: #45/145

    Man, oh man. They’re really pushing creatures these days, am I right? All by itself, this is a flying hill giant. Very strong. But then you get this gravy additional multikicker which might be relevant, but it doesn’t matter because you’re already playing a flying hill giant! I think it might be passe to compare everything to grizzly bears, gray ogres, and hill giants anymore… we’ll see. This IS uncommon, so it’s not necessarily the new hill giant. Man, this looks sweet.

    Not so bad. I don’t think this will see constructed play but it certainly looks interesting for limited.

    Wind Zendikon
    U
    Enchantment – Aura
    Enchant land
    Enchanted land is a 2/2 blue Elemental creature with flying. It’s still a land.
    When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.
    Rarity: Common
    Set Number: #46/145

    I’m still unsure about these zendikons, but I like this flying one a lot. It only costs U, which is very cool. Time will tell. There just aren’t a lot of ways to get caught in a 241 with these guys because there aren’t a lot of instant speed land destruction spells, so you’ll almost always at least get your land back when your creature is killed. This should make these good enough. I’m willing to try them, and I want to try this flier version most.

    JAMES

    I really like this version of the cycle. It’s a cheap flier for a color that’s only going to be attacking some times anyway. The risk is someone trying to bolt the creature down. But that’s using removal on land that a person can just replay. We’re also looking at the blue version so you should have a counter available. (like Dispel, above). Neat.