Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 10:52 PM
I've been neglecting posting on here for a long time due to real life getting in the way, so I want to power through the entire M13 set ratings since i'm so far behind. I apologize in advance for the long post, but it will still be sorted by color, so worst case, you can just scroll down until you see the color that you are looking for in bold. Lets begin with the ratings for those of you not familiar with them yet:1 - This card shouldn't see much, if any play in EDH. Either very limited uses to one or two specific generals, or just bad.1.52 - This card might see a little play, and it's not totally unplayable, but by no means should it see tons of play.2.53 - This card is solid. Will see a respectable amount of play from decks in it's colors, and isn't too limited in it's strategy. 3.54 - This card will see a large amount of play. Bordering on becoming a staple for that color, the power level of this card is obvious, and it's something decks want.4.55 - Something that will become a staple of that color. These cards are cards that are simply good enough to be played in every deck of that color regardless of strategy.White: Ajani, Caller of the Pride
: I can't see this doing very well Commander. The -3 is the best part about it by far in terms of commander, as a few +1/+1 counters won't mean too much, and the ultimate is subpar in a format full of wrath effects. Even if you live the dream, and get to plus it twice so you can give something double strike twice, it just seems not worth the card slot.
2/5 Captain of the Watch
: I can see this seeing some play in token strategies, but otherwise, it shouldn't be in any other deck's 100.
1/5 Faith's Reward
: One of the upsides of doing this review so late, is that I've had a few months of playing the format with this card being around, and I've yet to see anyone cast it. That doesn't mean people aren't playing it necessarily, but I've never seen it in a game. It's more or less a one-time use Gleancrawler
for white, unless you recur it of course. Could be a cute trick after a wrath effect, but if you're playing around them like you should anyways, you should never be too blown out by them.
1.5/5 Intrepid Hero
: In theory, this old friend can target almost anything in the format most likely, and with Royal Assassin
seeing some play in decks (whether or not that's good is arguable), you exchange the need for the card to be tapped, for only being able to target big creatures. In my opinion, it's probably meta-dependent for those of you who play in paper, and unplayable in an unknown meta, like on MTGO.
1.5/5 Oblivion Ring
: I don't like to play removal that can be "answered", but hitting anything is good, and when given the choice between answering this or a Mirari's Wake
, I don't mind offering them the chance to get their card back. That said, I don't like the fact that it can randomly be killed from someone's Akroma's Vengeance
, but the upside is that it hits anything. You can probably play this if you're not quite in the market of affording Vindicate
or something, and I think the rating of this card would be significantly higher in 1v1 games than in multiplayer, but I'm writing this from a multiplayer perspective.
2/5 Odric, Master Tactician
: Legendary creatures always draw my attention for the format, for obvious reasons. As someone who plays online a large amount, having multiple decks is incredibly easy due to not having to swap cards from deck to deck, or sleeve and unsleeve, or anything of that sort, so I always pay attention to new potential generals. This is not one of them. Any strategy that wants to play a small body'd general, and have lots of attackers loses to wrath effects, and the format is crawling with them. The fact that he's in white, makes me consider him for even a toolbox option in Captain Sisay
, and I can't see it fitting in there either, the effect is too weak in the format for needing so much commitment on the board.
1/5 Planar Cleansing
: Wraths are good. If i didn't consider 4s to be near-staples, this would be a four. The only reason it isn't, is because there is too much competition in the six-slot ( Austere Command
, Akroma's Vengeance
, Phyrexian Rebirth
, and so on). If you're in a three color deck or higher, you are somewhat wary of the three white in the cost, as sometimes you need that wrath right when you could potentially cast it, and if you draw the wrong duals, you may not have it, but your chances of having two white for the Austere Command
are much higher. That said, so long as you're not a deck that tries to load up the board with enchantments and artifacts, this card is great.
3.5/5 Rhox Faithmender
: It's a decent wall against early drops, and in a deck that wants to gain life, this guy should be there. But the fact that "General Damage" exists makes me wary of any strategy that is relying on life gain.
1/5 Serra Avatar
: The lack of evasion makes this card lackluster to me. I'd rather play (most of the time) smaller body, that can actually get in there.
1/5 Serra Avenger
: Love the card, just not in Commander.
1/5 Sublime Archangel
: When someone mentions "exalted" in Commander, my first two thoughts are Rafiq of the Many
, and Finest Hour
. This card could see play with those, as well as just a way to make your general really, really big. The body is small, but the effect could potentially kill a player before it is answered, if you have enough creatures on board.
3/5 Touch of the Eternal
: Considering we start at 40 life, this card seems bad. Even if it's late game, and fourteen or so of your permanents are lands, resetting back up to fourteen in a format where late-game attacks of over one hundred aren't uncommon, it seems unplayable.
1/5Blue: Battle of Wits
: I love the card, I love winning with the card, unfortunately, 100-card singleton. It's only mentioned at all because it's a rare.
1/5 (I would rate this a 0, but I don't want to add it to the list at the top of each article) Clone
: This guy has been around for ages, and has seen a good amount of play in Commander for a long while. No reason for that to change.
4/5 Master of the Pearl Trident
: If you're playing tribal merfolk, play this guy. I would probably try to politely suggest a deck change, or a tribal switch, but if merfolk are your thing, more power to you.
1/5 Jace, Memory Adept
: My opinion of this card can be read in further detail in the M12 review, however I will say i have since added him to a few of my lists, and he works out rather well. He's obviously no Mind Sculptor, and whether he's stronger than Jace Beleren
is very much dependant on your deck's strategy, but planeswalkers are fun in general.
: The effect is powerful. I know they are unrelated, but this card reminds me in a way of Vedalken Orrery
, in the sense that they both impact everything you're going to do until the card is answered. I'm aware one makes everything instant-speed, and one makes everything free, but they share the fact that impact everything in your hand at any given point. The mana cost is obviously a big difference. Going from four converted mana, up to ten is a gap. The good news is, if you tap out for this card, and it resolves, you still in theory have "counter mana" open to defend it (since you're in blue, this is relevant). The one thing i dislike about this card for the format is that being able to cast cards for free, still means you need to draw them. On the other hand, if I'm holding Time Stretch
the turn i play this, then it probably just wins so long as you play some card draw to find your win conditions. One note I feel that needs to be made, is I only consider this card playable in mono blue decks, or two-color blue control decks. Those decks are strong enough, and popular enough though, that I don't feel I need to lower the rating because of it. I consider this - when paired with nearly any amount of extra turns - blue's equivalent of Tooth and Nail
: This card isn't unplayable. It can evade the occasional Mind Twist
or something similar, but it's not on the same power level of a card like Wild Ricochet
. Since i'm in blue, i'd probably prefer to just Mana Drain
the spell that i'm swerving. The playability of this card is inversely related to the quality of your card pool for building decks. For instance, my card quality in paper is ineffably lower than it is on MTGO, due to things like Imperial Seal
: The power level of this card is based on one thing, and one thing only, and that is game-state. If there are things to abuse in the graveyard, this is very efficient at it, if graveyards were just recently shuffled back in, or exiled, this card is awful.
2/5 Sphinx of Uthuun
: I stand by my strong feelings of like for this card. Fact or Fiction
on a decent-sized body, and since the last printing of this card, blink-like effects have only gotten stronger.
4/5 Stormtide Leviathan
: I still consider this one of the strongest beatdown-type win conditions available in blue. It comes with the added bonus of locking out a good amount of creatures that lack flying or island walk.
: More times than not, if you're in blue (which you are if you're playing or considering playing this), you'd prefer to just simply take control of the creature outright rather than give them something in exchange. A few exceptions would be if you are giving them something that has a drawback, or if you're playing Zedruu the Greathearted
1/5 Talrand, Sky Summoner
: The fact that i'm so many months behind on reviewing this set comes into play with my review of this card, as well. If I had written this on time, like my past reviews, I would have rated this card a 2. I have seen this card in action (in Commander) twice since it was printed, and both times, it never did anything relevant. 2/2 flyers are simply not good enough in the format. They're decent at chump-blocking flying generals, or serving as ways to try to evade edict effects, but other than that, they just don't do anything, even in large numbers.
1/5 Tricks of the Trade
: I didn't want to mention this card, but the fact that there are "Voltron" style decks, makes me feel the need to do so, as this might not be completely unplayable in certain ones. For those who don't know, a deck that is built in "Voltron" style, is a deck that is designed to kill players solely through General Damage. Popular generals used for this strategy include, but are not limited to: Rafiq of the Many
, Doran, the Siege Tower
, and Uril, the Miststalker
. If this card were in one of Uril's colors, I would have most certainly mentioned it, which is what made me feel the need to mention it now. If you're playing a Voltron-style deck with blue, you can consider this. Otherwise, feel free to ignore it.
1/5 Void Stalker
: Tuck effects are good. There are better options than this, but this one is solid if you're in mono blue for example, where your options are limited. Azami, Lady of Scrolls
wishes this was a Wizard.
1.5/5Black: Diabolic Revelation
: Tutors are what make the format consistent to an extent, and all decks want to be more consistent at what they do. This is full of card advantage, in a color already rich in tutor effects, but black decks everywhere will love this just the same.
4/5 Disciple of Bolas
: The 2/1 for four mana is obviously subpar. But the effect to gain some life and draw some cards off of a creature is solid, especially in black where you can usually reanimate the creature if you want to do so. That said, you need to weigh this card against the other draw spells for that color, such as Phyrexian Arena
, and I'm not seeing this standing up to many of them.
1.5/5 Liliana of the Dark Realms
: The thing about planeswalkers that don't make tokens, is you generally need to have creatures on the board to help defend them. As more and more planeswalkers get printed, I begin to value cards like Carven Caryatid
higher and higher in deck building, simply because it cantrips, and is a decent blocker, and can combo with random things like Sun Titan
in the late game. This variation of Liliana is fantastic, particularly in a format with both Dual Lands and Shocklands. Her -3 ability can kill a problem creature, or it can pump your general to get in for more damage, and her ultimate can help that Diabolic Revelation
, or even certain generals such as Maga, Traitor to Mortals
. When all three abilities have powerful ways to effect what a deck is trying to do, the card is good. Just make sure you protect her in your list, or she will seem much weaker than she actually is.
: Mono-black, very much a yes. Two-color black, it's still probably a yes. Three color black is where this gets questionable, and five-color this is probably unplayable, since Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
doesn't live forever in most games.
3/5 Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis
: Mono black has a lot of powerful options for generals. Because of that, I don't feel he's overly strong as a general, when compared to things like Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon
, or Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
. I do feel he's still a very powerful option for being a General, and perhaps more importantly, I feel he's strong in other decks as one of the creatures. Thraximundar
loves having him in the list, as it helps with the edict theme. He's a viable option in any deck that is capable of having decent board control, such as Teneb, the Harvester
. If you can limit the amount of creatures your opponent(s) control, he becomes more and more powerful.
4/5 Phylactery Lich
1/5 Rise from the Grave
: This card is fine for reanimating, but there are better options. I would however run this over something like Zombify
, since it's not limited to your graveyard.
2/5 Shimian Specter
: Casting Cranial Extraction
on a card in someone's hand when you are in a singleton format is bad. That said, a Hypnotic Specter
that exiles isn't completely worthless, but the body is small for a 4-drop, and all in all just isn't worth a slot.
1/5 Vampire Nocturnus
: A decent lord if you're playing mono-black Vampires. But it's not one of the more powerful tribes for this format, even though mono black can be very powerful.
1/5 Wit's End
: Waiting to get to 7 mana to hit someone entire hand is a long time, especially in a format where Mind Twist
is legal. Most of the time, they will have played things, so hitting for four or five cards is usually their entire hand.
1/5 Xathrid Gorgon
: Not a bad creature in terms of locking down opposing creatures, and a decent body to block with. Only having three power on a creature in the 6-slot bothers me though.
1.5/5Red: Chandra, the Firebrand
: I rated her a 2.5 when she came out in M12. Everything I said about her back then remains true now. The +1 is still bad, her -2 will be decent at certain points, and her ultimate will usually handle some threats that are on the board, and chunk a player or two's life total down a little ways. That said, since she has been out for a year, I am yet to come across her in any opposing red decks, and I have never played her. She will take a hit in rating, I may have been too generous at first-glance of her.
: Not a bad card. There's not too much to say about it. Fires of Yavimaya
sees a lot of play, this is a mono-red version of that card without the option to pump something. If you're in a deck where you want to attack with creatures, there isn't much reason to leave this out.
3/5 Firewing Phoenix
: Too small of a body for the format, and too much mana to invest every time you want a somewhat weak creature back.
1/5 Hamletback Goliath
: I'm reminded of Taurean Mauler
with this card, in the fact that it will probably get somewhat big, but lacks evasion. The difference is, this creature costs four mana more, starts bigger, and will probably grow at a quicker rate since it counts opposing creatures. The largest upside (in my opinion) of the Mauler, is that he comes down so early, and players have to cast spells to progress in the game. For 7 mana, I want evasion of some sort.
1/5 Krenko, Mob Boss
: Goblins are a popular tribe, they're just not that great in Commander.
: More or less, it's an Earthquake
that hits planeswalkers. Planeswalker are powerful, and relevant in the format, and there are a decent number of non-flyers. If you're playing Earthquake
, I probably make the swap straight up for the one extra mana.
2/5 Mindclaw Shaman
: This card drew a lot of attention in Limited formats. The card has potential to be anywhere from game-breaking, to awful. In a format full of large spells and people holding cards in hand, the game-breaking side seems like it would come out a lot more.
in red. It's just weaker than Reiterate
1/5 Slumbering Dragon
: I can see playing this if you're in a deck that is trying to give people a reason to attack someone other than yourself, and I can see this in Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund
. Other than that, I don't see it being too playable.
1/5 Thundermaw Hellkite
: The fact that this is a dragon helps. Haste is never bad, it has evasion, and the body is decent. It also taps all opposing flyers (that don't have protection from red) the turn it hits play, which could clear way for an entire team of flyers.
: When this card came out, I would have commented about how the common belief was that it would be banned. And since then, it has been.
banned/5Green: Acidic Slime
: This card has been around for a while now as well, and is present in almost every deck with green. The utility of the targets, as well as the fact that it is on a creature makes it incredibly playable. I had this as a 3 in the M12 review, it has gained some love since then.
4/5 Boundless Realms
: If I were on time with this review, I would have given this a lower rating, due to Primeval Titan
stil being legal. Since Primeval Titan has been banned now, this card becomes more viable in ramp strategies.
3.5/5 Elderscale Wurm
: Resetting your life to 7 should hopefully never be relevant, but a Worship
effect that keeps you at 7 isn't awful. You'll still be in range of Exsanguinate
, but anyone who's under 50 life usually is.
2/5 Elvish Archdruid
: Tribal elves aren't very good in this format.
: A Rampant Growth
for shocklands and duals, but we have the suite of 4-cost cards ( Hunting Wilds
and friends) that do it better. Garruk, Primal Hunter
: This card has been well-received in Commander over the last year. I've seen it in a good amount of green decks in the time it has been around, and it makes me feel confident in keeping it where it was for the M12 ratings.
4/5 Ground Seal
: And old card reprinted, this card has seen play for a while. I love the cantrip, and I love "protecting" the graveyard. The downside (as everyone knows) is that it also prevents you from targeting, so decks seeking to reanimate can't run this as a way to protect their strategy.
2/5 Mwonvuli Beast Tracker
: I compare this card to Fierce Empath
, which sees a decent amount of play. Yes, every deck has things with 6 converted mana cost. So while this is more limited, the fact that it can even grab an Acidic Slime
will sometimes save you. I'm not sold that it's better than Chord of Calling
or Green Sun's Zenith
, but this can block, and therefore can defend a planeswalker for a turn. And has synnergy with blink effects and reanimating.
2/5 Predatory Rampage
: In this format, if it's not the size of Titanic Ultimatum
, it's probably not an overrun that you should be playing.
1/5 Primordial Hydra
: This guy can get large, and if he gets large enough, he does gain trample. Not an awful finisher, but green has no shortage of those to begin with.
1/5 Quirion Dryad
: Play this in Uril, probably not much else.
1/5 Ranger's Path
: We get a new friend to add to our suite of 4-drop duals/shocks fetchers, and we are thankful. I'm playing this in anything that's more than mono green, and probably even in that.
4/5 Roaring Primadox
: If you're trying to abuse blink effects, this guy is a way to help with that. I'd probably just prefer to run Erratic Portal
or Crystal Shard
if I was in blue as well.
1/5 Silklash Spider
: He can block a good amount of the things in the format, even the 6/6s running around, and he can keep flyers off the board. If these are things you want in your deck, he's a good tool for that.
: This card is obviously making waves in Standard, but the five life and the 3/3 don't matter so much in a format of 40 life and 6/6s.
1/5 Yeva, Nature's Herald
: I'd rather just play Vedalken Orrery
, and use a better General. And as a normal creature in a list, he's rather lackluster, since he only works with green, and even more specifically, green creatures. Too many limitations.
1/5Multicolor: Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
: I have literally built Grixis decks for the sole purpose of running this guy. He's a very polarizing card in terms of whether you like him or not, but the format is full of those. Each effect he has is powerful, and he drastically effects the board the turn he hits play, even if he doesn't survive to do anything again later. He does have a three-color requirement, which limits him to either 5-color, or Grixis lists, but in those lists, he should always be present.
5/5Artifacts: Akroma's Memorial
: The card is a well-played card. Some already consider it a staple, however I personally don't see it as such. You need enough creatures on the board to make it worth while. Most of my creatures when i make a deck are one of two types, either utility, or bomb. If i'm loading up my field with multiple bombs to take advantage of the Memorial, i'm walking into a wrath effect. If i'm playing it relatively normally and leaving one or two threats out at a time, the Memorial is rather ineffective. There are decks, perhaps, around one third of decks that are made, however, that can properly utilize this card, and those decks are the reason why people feel it is a staple, because it is amazing in the right list.
3/5 Door to Nothingness
: This is one of my favorite ways to kill someone, just because of the amusement that comes from it (more times than not, even the victim). That said, it's not actually playable.
1/5 Elixir of Immortality
: The five life doesn't matter, if you play this, you play it for the shuffle. And you probably can run better ways to do that.
1/5 Gem of Becoming
: I wouldn't mention this, except for the fact that it grabs the colors in the deck that has the hardest time with mana fixing, and that's Grixis. Green is well, green. And white has Weathered Wayfarer
and Land Tax
, but Grixis decks have very subpar ways of fixing mana, so this can be considered.
1/5 Gilded Lotus
: Popular in the format already, should continue to be so.
3.5/5 Sands of Delirium
: Mill still hasn't been overly successful at winning since the introduction of the Eldrazi Giants, and they are still legal.
1/5 Staff of Nin
: Personal Howling Mine
is nice, but the ping is irrelevant. There are better ways to draw cards.
1/5 Stuffy Doll
: This is much stronger in one vs one Commander than multiplayer, but combining this with Pariah
is somewhat common.
3/5 Tormod's Crypt
Decent option for graveyard hate.
2/5 Trading Post
: This card is very, very grindy, but the advantage that you gain from this card is incredibly long-term, and it will be too marginal to notice in most games, especially with how good removal is in the format.
2/5Lands: Cathedral of War
: One free point of General Damage is never a bad thing, so long as you can afford to run one fewer colored lands.
3/5 Dragonskull Summit
/ Drowned Catacomb
/ Glacial Fortress
/ Rootbound Crag
/ Sunpetal Grove
: The format loves mana fixing, and these are very good at it.
5/5 Evolving Wilds
: The format has real fetchlands, so no need to bother.
1/5 Hellion Crucible
: Sacrificing a mana source for a 4/4 doesn't seem worth it in the format.
1/5 Reliquary Tower
: This is a land with a Spellbook
attached, what's not to love?
That covers M13. I apologize for the many months that this is behind, but that did give me an opportunity to present what could be considered more accurate ratings of some of the cards. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned to for the next article, where I will write the review for the recently released Return to Ravnica.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012, 8:27 AM
I've been busy with life, and Football season, and other games as of late, so I haven't been around Magic much the past couple months, which is also why this post is a couple of weeks behind the announcement. I'll also catch up on the set reviews (and they'll probably be better, since the two sets i'm missing have been out for long enough to do some testing) in the near future.
As most of you have heard, or for those of you who were like me and haven't heard yet, Primeval Titan
has seen his last days in EDH for the foreseeable future. Rather than going into detail about my thoughts on the reasons behind the bannings, I'll quote Sheldon (of the EDH Rules Committee), and his post on the reasons, I'll also include a link to his post on the forums announcing the changes at the end of this article.
The days of casting Primeval Titan
on turn two are now limited to Cube Drafting (which also has recently resurfaced on MTGO, so any of you who have an account there should really check it out, it's a great deal of fun.), and casual table-top magic. Here's the portion of the original post pertaining to the reasonings behind this long-time favorite of the format was forced into early retirement:One of the concerns that we've had recently is the overrepresentation of heavy ramp strategies, to the point where it makes up a large proportion of the aggregate decks out there. While we think ramp should be good - this is battlecruiser Magic, after all - it's probably a little too prevalent and needs reining in a bit. With that in mind, we're banning the most egregious offender, Primeval Titan.
This decision won't be universally popular. Primeval Titan is dripping with awesomeness, and we ourselves are big fans of the card. But its ubiquity and effect on games couldn't be ignored and sad though we are to see it go, we think it will make for a more interesting and diverse format.
That's the official reasoning and thoughts on the topic, so i'll leave personal speculation out of it.
As for our new (read: old) best friend Kokusho, the Evening Star
, here is what they had to say about him:It's appropriate that Kokusho comes off at the same time as Prime Time goes on, as Kokusho was originally banned along the same lines. His presence had a similar warping effect on the format in the early days, with too many decks reusing the Dragon over and over (even if it didn't start in their deck!). However, in the intervening time, graveyard hate has become stronger and the overall level of creature power has risen to the point where we're comfortable - moreso after some testing - that it won't have the same impact.
He remains banned as a Commander because the mechanics of being a Commander allow him to circumvent the best method of dealing with him - the aforementioned graveyard hate. Getting him into exile as a creature is the end of it. As a Commander, it's license to start again.
So for the above reasons, we now have an old friend back into the mix of things. I agree with the first point they make, I think bringing Kokusho back for us lessens the blow of losing Primeval Titan
Now that we're caught up on the main changes (I should probably mention Worldfire
was also banned with the new update, but we all saw that coming); I want to write a small amount on a few cards that will become more relevant, and should be included into everyone's decks.
With the departure of Primeval Titan
, the main card that I feel loses value is Green Sun's Zenith
. When I approach deck-building, any deck that included the Zenith was primarily assuming it was targeting the Titan, and the lack of him as an option weakens this card significantly, and may lead to a revival in popularity of Chord of Calling
, which has seen decreased-play since the printing of the Zenith.
With the arrival of Kokusho, the Evening Star
, a lot of things should change. First and foremost, as the original post alluded to, players will need to include more graveyard hate than they were previously, as black decks will definitely want to be utilizing Kokusho's synergy with being reanimated, and then sacrificed. One of the black cards that has already seen a lot of play, but will see a lot more play now is Corpse Dance
. Corpse Dance
has always been a popular card in decks seeking to play around with the reanimation aspect of the game, often utilizing Yosei, the Morning Star
in decks such as Teneb, the Harvester
. Adding Kokusho into this mix will only make these strategies stronger, and most likely a little more popular. One other card that you should watch out for, is Rite of Replication
. Even if it is your own Kokusho, anyone playing blue that game can cast this on it, and not only kill it, but drain for a whole bunch. This play, among many others similar to it, will cause you to want to increase the amount of sac-outlets ( Diamond Valley
, Culling Dais
, Greater Good
, and so on) you want to run by a little. If you were only running between two and four of them before, you may want to up that to somewhere between four and six depending on what else your deck is trying to accomplish.
That about covers everything I wanted to cover about the bannings, I apologize to those of you who actually cared about the banning of Worldfire
, but short of those of us playing Jhoira decks, I don't think it affected too many people, and for most people, it was probably a positive change. On top of those things, it was also a relatively new card, so I don't feel it deserved as much attention as the other two aspects of the announcement.
Thank you to everyone for reading, I want to say that I'm sorry for the lack of set reviews the last few months, I will get back on top of those shortly.
Finally, for those of you who want to see the original article regarding these changes, here is the link: mtgcommander.net/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=1...
Sunday, June 24, 2012, 8:06 AM
I've been lazy, not so much busy as of late, just lazy. Watched the NBA Finals during the past week with some friends at bars and such which was good times. Also, as i'm sure most of you have heard, the bannings announcement took place a few days ago, four our beloved EDH, Griselbrand
and Sundering Titan
got a whack from the banhammer. Neither are too terribly surprising. Lets hop into the review!1 - This card shouldn't see much, if any play in EDH. Either very limited uses to one or two specific generals, or just bad.1.52 - This card might see a little play, and it's not totally unplayable, but by no means should it see tons of play.2.53 - This card is solid. Will see a respectable amount of play from decks in it's colors, and isn't too limited in it's strategy. 3.54 - This card will see a large amount of play. Bordering on becoming a staple for that color, the power level of this card is obvious, and it's something decks want.4.55 - Something that will become a staple of that color. These cards are cards that are simply good enough to be played in every deck of that color regardless of strategy.Green: Champion of Lambholt
: This might see some fringe play in certain strategies, dropping him the turn before a large token maker goes active might be interesting to have all of your creatures unblockable.
1.5/5 Craterhoof Behemoth
: A 5/5 body with haste for 8 is a little subpar, but entering and giving this large of a pump to all of your creatures is pretty darn solid, obviously, this card is stronger in decks seeking to clog the board a little, but it has a strong effect, and effects the board significantly the turn it hits play.
3/5 Descendants' Path
: This might have potential in a tribal strategy, not that many of them are viable at this point. That said, if you're in tribal and are running green, a free creature every third turn or so isn't terrible, especially if you have something like Sylvan Library
to help stack it.
2/5 Druids' Repository
: This isn't quite a mana sink...but in essence, it's more of a "storage land" for attackers. Either way, i don't see this being particularly relevant in any decks, there are just better ways to mass mana, that aren't as fragile to removal.
1/5 Primal Surge
: I've spent a lot of time pondering this card, and i've consulted with some fellow players on it as well. The general consensus is that it's just too...dicey. Sometimes, you can make profit on it: valuing lands at two mana each (due to Rampant Growth
and Explosive Vegetation
, it seems like the suitable ratio), and then other permanents you hit at cost..but without something like Scroll Rack
to really make it big...it's just, lackluster more often than not. I'd almost always rather be casting Genesis Wave
, especially since that gets better as the game progresses, and Primal Surge
1.5/5 Revenge of the Hunted
: I don't mind the idea of this on something with deathtouch (looking at you Wurmcoil Engine
), but i don't think it does enough to warrant a slot in a deck unless for some reason you need a Taunting Elf
1/5 Somberwald Sage
: This might see some play in decks seeking to play a lot of creatures. Mayael the Anima
comes to mind first, as a particularly creature-heavy deck. Plus, even when it dies, it is a viable target of a Sun Titan
, which is a perk fore creature strategies.
2.5/5 Soul of the Harvest
: The same shell of a Primeval Titan
, however instead of giving you ridiculous mana ramp, makes all of your creatures cantrip until it's killed. Solid, not as powerful as the Titan, but solid.
3/5 Terrifying Presence
: Interesting combat trick in terms of a fog effect, however i can't play any fog effect that isn't Constant Mists
1/5 Triumph of Ferocity
: Not awful, but it's going to shift around a lot with the changes to the boardstate that happen almost every turn in the format, and i'd rather just run something consistent like Phyrexian Arena
or Sylvan Library
1.5/5 Ulvenwald Tracker
: Two mana isn't too bad to trade creatures. It's one less mana than Arena
itself, and only taps the tracker, not either of the creatures that are necessarily doing the fighting. Sill, it's just...a really lackluster effect in this format. I would potentially consider this in a deck like Doran, the Siege Tower
though, where you're building it with the idea of having more toughness than power, so your 3/5s kill their 3/3s, and so on. Wild Defiance
: I can't see a viable use for this card. There isn't enough burn in the format to use this as a counter to it. It doesn't save it from spot removal, if you're pumping guys with targeted cards, your deck is already playing ill-advised cards to begin with...just, no.
Here we arrive to what some are referring to as the "Powerpuff Girls", which having grown up in the 90s, and with it being on before Johnny Bravo for a while, i find amusing. Bruna, Light of Alabaster
: I love this card. I love everything about it, and i've already built a deck around it. I love the colors (UW control is one of my favorite archtypes), and the option of a control deck having a voltron-style general is pretty powerful, plus, some of the lines of play that can happen with her are just ridiculous. Plus, i have been on a kick of trying to find generals that force you to build a strategy in awkward colors, and UW Enchantress is definitely qualifying for that.
3.5/5 Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
: The most commonly played, and probably most exciting of the three, I am already seeing a lot of decks with her at the helm. I think she has become the new go-to for the red/white decks, with Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer
becoming more of the go-to option for people who want to use a lot of artifacts, and play a more all-in style of game.
4/5 Sigarda, Host of Herons
: I have not seen much of her thus far, i think people are still deliberating on how to build her. Evasion and Hexproof are two great abilities to have on a General, so there's no problem there, and 5/5 is a perfectly acceptable body, especially considering she's a 5-drop. This card is limited most by being Green/White. The win conditions in those colors are heavily combo-based, which more times than not will give the nod to Gaddock Teeg
over Sigarda, but she definitely has potential.
*Author's Note: I was initially going to stop after Green and Multicolored, like normal...but when i remembered that there were only three multicolored options, i figured why not just finish up the whole set, especially with M13 just around the corner, so here you are.*Artifacts: Angelic Armaments
: An equpiment giving 2/2 and flying isn't awful. I think biggest limitation to this card is going to be the equip cost of 4. Powerful option in the equpiment slot, just too much mana.
1/5 Conjurer's Closet
: This will be an MVP in any and all "enters the battlefield" strategies. Any decks seeking to utilize those effects are going to play this card for sure.
2.5/5 Gallows at Willow Hill
: I suppose maybe if you're in human tribal?
1/5 Moonsilver Spear
: Giving any creature the Geist of Saint Traft
effect isn't bad. But 4/4s aren't overly large in this format compared to Standard. As for the first strike, there are better equipment to give that.
2/5 Vessel of Endless Rest
: Something to consider in the mana fixing department, but Darksteel Ingot
pretty much has a lock in this slot, as it has had for years.
1/5Lands: Alchemist's Refuge
: I love this as an addion to a deck like Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
. I love that it's any nonland as opposed to just creatures like Winding Canyons
, which already sees a good chunk of play. Any deck with blue and green in it that plays Winding Canyons
can almost switch it directly with Refuge, and improve the card quality. Decks like Momir Vig however may want both.
3/5 Cavern of Souls
: Making waves in a lot of formats, and for good reason. If you're in tribal, this could see some play, but overall, i can't see this be worth it in most cases, unless you just really want to protect your general from countermagic.
2/5 Desolate Lighthouse
: Looting has always been a beloved aspect of the game, especially for those of us who played back in the days of UG Madness. Having this in a deck will give you an option to pitch some lands, or even Anger
and draw a new card, without having to dedicate a more valuable card slot on a creature to do this job.
3/5 Slayers' Stronghold
: I can't see this card replace Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion
as the best RW "spell" land. The haste is taken care of by Hall of the Bandit Lord
which is seeing staple-status play, and has been for a long while, and adding +2 and Vigilance for paying in essence, three mana isn't overly impressive. There will be certain decks that play this though, and it's definintely not unplayable, just not as powerful as i want in a land based on creatures.
This wraps up the review of Avacyn Restored from the perspective of Commander. Once again, I apologize for the delay. Go read up on the spoiler for M13, some of those cards i'm already excited about for Commander. Enjoy the Summer weather; and until next time..take care everyone, and thank you for reading.
Monday, June 18, 2012, 6:34 AM
I've been incredibly busy with work the last couple weeks, so i apologize for the long delay between posts, i'm well aware the new core set is almost entirely spoiled, so i know i'm quite behind. So without further delay, here's the scale, and lets begin: 1 - This card shouldn't see much, if any play in EDH. Either very limited uses to one or two specific generals, or just bad.1.52 - This card might see a little play, and it's not totally unplayable, but by no means should it see tons of play.2.53 - This card is solid. Will see a respectable amount of play from decks in it's colors, and isn't too limited in it's strategy. 3.54 - This card will see a large amount of play. Bordering on becoming a staple for that color, the power level of this card is obvious, and it's something decks want.4.55 - Something that will become a staple of that color. These cards are cards that are simply good enough to be played in every deck of that color regardless of strategy.
For those not familiar with my methods, I will mention all cards that are Rare or Mythic, along with any card that could potentially be relevant. The limited filler that has no place in this format will be left alone to keep the articles short and to the point. Black: Appetite for Brains
: Hitting four or greater will hit close to 35% of most decks in the format, however there are still much stronger discard options for black.
1/5 Barter in Blood
: Already seeing play in a lot of black decks, solid answer to indestructable cards that isn't player-specific, and commonly run along-side Fleshbag Marauder
3/5 Dark Imposter
: Fragile body, even as a three converted mana cost drop, however the ability is solid enough that it may be worth a look for some strategies. I can see this being played in a deck that has green for the ramp options. If you're only able to hit one target per turn, it's not worth the slot. If you're in a deck with say... Seedborn Muse
and Mana Reflection
however, it can be incredibly solid. Lots of potential.
3.5/5 Demonic Rising
: Generally, the format fluctuates between clogged board-states, and wraths. The idea of securing one creature with consistency is difficult, but it's appealing enough that i'm in the middle of brewing around the idea of "land a bomb and defend it" type of deck at the moment. But the average deck will not want this type of card, as it's not going to be something that happens too frequently.
1.5/5 Demonic Taskmaster
: I bring this up because of the previous card, and a card later. This is solid for a strategy trying to stick with one guy on the board. With no help from equipment or other such cards, it swings for 10% of starting HP and it comes in at the three converted mana cost slot, which is solid. It also comes with the added bonus of having a sac outlet for something along the lines of say, a Solemn Simulacrum
1.5/5 Demonlord of Ashmouth
: The body is a good value, even for this format. Undying is good, and sacrificing a creature for the first trigger will be relatively easy, and more than likely not too terrible for the player, since you're in a color that has a plethora of reanimation options. The second trigger on the other hand from undying, if it was following a wrath, may be a little more challenging.
2/5 Descent into Madness
: Black option for a game reset. If you're ahead in permanents rather far, for instance after a large Genesis Wave
, there may be a time when this card is slightly less degenerate, and more of a win condition, but those circumstances it's probably just a "win more" card.
1.5/5 Dread Slaver
: Low power for this effect, if it can pick up some swords it's not so bad. I can't see this making the cut in most lists though.
2/5 Exquisite Blood
: May end up in a list where someone is trying to utilize cards like Sanguine Bond
, and so forth. But it's going to be a very niche-style strategy.
1/5 Gloom Surgeon
1/5 Grave Exchange
: If the card was reanimating instead of gravedigging, it'd be playable.
: One of the posterboys for the set, and a card everyone and their brother is excited for, myself included. I shouldn't have to say much, his power level is pretty obvious. Watch out with purchasing him, as there's a decent amount of chance that he gets banned. (The problem for this is in competitive EDH, he enables the already-existing monoblack storm decks even more consistently than they were running before.) That said, there are alternatives to take care of it, so stay tuned on the announcements if you do have him, or if you don't mind keeping him around for Legacy or something else, feel free to grab him anyways, and enjoy him.
5/5 Harvester of Souls
: Will trade when it blocks, and has the potential to draw anywhere from a few to a vast amount of cards. Will be seeing some play in decks wanting to abuse sac engines and get free cards for it. The body isn't entirely awful, but the six converted mana cost slot is incredibly crowded for this format, so probably won't make the cut every time.
3/5 Homicidal Seclusion
: If you've drafted this set, or played in any of the sealed events for it, you've become familiar with this card. I'm only listing it because of the potential to see random decks try to stick one threat, as this along with Demonic Rising
and such as mentioned earlier. The lifelink will protect somewhat against counterswings, but wraths will obviously still be needed for backup, fun to toy around with brewing at the absolute worst. This is slightly less niche-like, as it could be used in any voltron strategy.
2/5 Killing Wave
: This is getting a good amount of buzz as well, and has some fun applications. Not quite a wrath, so don't count it as one when you're deck building, but it can kill a few things more times than not.
2.5/5 Treacherous Pit-Dweller
: ..Maybe...if you're playing Homeward Path
...but even then, it just seems so sketchy to have to have a 1-of copy of a land of all things in black. If you want to though, nobody's stopping you, and he's pretty solid at early damage.
1/5Red: Archwing Dragon
: Might see some fringe play in niche strategies.
1.5/5 Bonfire of the Damned
: Very solid in other formats, but unless you get it with miracle, it will be quite lackluster in this format.
2/5 Burn at the Stake
: May see some play in stratgies seeking to use tokens and perhaps this as a potential finisher.
1.5/5 Dual Casting
: Echo Mage
sees play in some decks, but enchantments are obviously notorious for putting you in a 2 for 1 situation should your creature get killed. Also, being limited to what you control is subpar.
1/5 Hound of Griselbrand
: Has some potential if you can pump it a little. Undying makes up a little bit for the terribly lackluster body.
1.5/5 Kessig Malcontents
: If you're trying for a human deck for whatever reason, you want this.
1/5 Lightning Mauler
: I'd personally prefer that my Lightning Greaves
not die to a Wrath of God
, but some might prefer the guy for one reason or another.
: Not bad, especially given the increased starting life total. As long as you're in multiplayer, this one isn't too bad at focusing down someone relatively early on, since it checks the highest among all opponents. Lack of evasion makes this stay low in the ratings though.
2/5 Reforge the Soul
: Some decks like these effects, Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
off the top of my head, but there are a few others. Most of them cost two mana less, but perhaps you want an extra copy of this effect.
1.5/5 Rite of Ruin
: Red has stronger game resets and wraths than this, so if you're using this at all, it's in the removal slot, it's still only meh, but if you're in mono red, it's an answer to enchantments, which is rare for you.
2.5/5 Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded
: Most planeswalkers thrive in a format like this, this isn't one of them. The Insurrection
"ultimate" is obviously viable, as it's the best red card in the format, but getting up there with the discarding at random, and being so fragile at the start means you have a high percentage chance that this will do more harm than good. Also, the fact that you can't insurrection the turn he hits play with a Doubling Season
makes it weaker as well. The Sudden Impact
shouldn't be relevant...almost ever.
1.5/5 Tyrant of Discord
: I've already seen this running around on occasion. It's cute with Rite of Replication
, which i've seen happen once or twice. Otherwise, it's just a red fatty with potential upside.
2/5 Vexing Devil
: It's a tempo-based card obviously, and this format isn't terribly tempo based. If you're running non-multiplayer however, might be thrown into some decks, although hitting once for four is relatively lackluster, even if it is for one mana.
1/5 Zealous Conscripts
: Easy to splash, so can see play in any deck. The ability is quite versatile since it's any permanent, and this format love versatility. Sub-par body for the cost, but the effect can be powerful.
That wraps up this edition, it's early Monday morning, hopefully work settles down a bit this week and i can power out the finishing article for this set sooner rather than later, until then keep an eye out for further reviews, and enjoy slinging some of the awesome cards in this set.
Sunday, May 27, 2012, 6:47 PM
We're back for another new set review. The NBA playoffs are going on; summer is coming up right around the corner; Diablo III has been released; and GP Anaheim has been going on this weekend (hopefully some of you got to enjoy some of the streamed action). I will be reviewing Avacyn Restored from an EDH/Commander player's perspective. For those not familiar with my rating system, here it is:1 - This card shouldn't see much, if any play in EDH. Either very limited uses to one or two specific generals, or just bad.1.52 - This card might see a little play, and it's not totally unplayable, but by no means should it see tons of play.2.53 - This card is solid. Will see a respectable amount of play from decks in it's colors, and isn't too limited in it's strategy. 3.54 - This card will see a large amount of play. Bordering on becoming a staple for that color, the power level of this card is obvious, and it's something decks want.4.55 - Something that will become a staple of that color. These cards are cards that are simply good enough to be played in every deck of that color regardless of strategy.
For those not familiar with my methods, I will mention all cards that are Rare or Mythic, along with any card that could potentially be relevant. The limited filler that has no place in this format will be left alone to keep the articles short and to the point.
Angel of Glory's Rise : The body is disappointing for something in the seven-slot for mana costs, and the effect shouldn't be relevant in the format at all. That said, if you're in a human deck, and your playgroup has a zombie tribal strategy or two, be sure to include this one.
Angel of Jubilation : This is respectable. It is a 3/3 with evasion for four, pumps your other guys (so long as they're not black), and turns off pesky combo pieces like Necropotence and Greater Good . The triple white will probably limit this card to two or three color decks, but may see a decent amount of play in decks seeking to curve out to any extent.
Avacyn, Angel of Hope : The helvault has been broken, and here she is in all her glory. Strong body for being in the eight converted mana cost slot, with evasion, and being able to go on offense while staying back on defense is very strong. Making everything indestructible is huge, and is what puts her over the top. The triple white may cause a few to hesitate running her in anything beyond three colors, but being an eight-drop, i would feel very comfortable running her in three colors.
Banishing Stroke : Spin into Myth is already seeing play rivaling levels of staple-status. Adding other targets that don't have to be a creature as an option to hit a problem permanent, as well as the off chance to conveniently cast this for one white mana is enjoyable, and it maintains the efficiency of being instant-speed. Nothing but upside for this powerful tuck spell.
Cathars' Crusade : Not an overly powerful effect for most decks at all. I can see this seeing some play in something like Hazezon Tamar or another token-themed type of strategy.
Defy Death : Reanimation effects run rampant in the format already, and white is a color that welcomes them. This card will have competition from the staple Karmic Guide in the five-slot, but if you're in a deck running a significant amount of angels, could very easily join it. I can't play this over something like Animate Dead or similar effect though, so the play will be limited, but there are niche decks that like the added bonus of targeting angels. Being a five-mana Zombify or Breath of Life should not make the cut without a worthwhile number of angels.
Divine Deflection : Damage prevention has been relatively limited in playability in the format. However, if you view this as removal instead of damage prevention, it doesn't seem as bad. With Path to Exile , Swords to Plowshares , Exile , and several other quite powerful spot-removal spells running around in white, this card has a lot of competition, both of which will serve as pseudo-damage prevention, by simply not letting something attack to begin with (which is better in the case of cards like the titans). Combine that with the plethora of wrath effects white has, and there shouldn't be any room in the removal suite of a deck for this card.
Emancipation Angel : There are legions of blink effects in this set, which brings all sorts of fun for anyone seeking them for a deck. This one is the one i choose to mention, despite there being several playable ones in the set, simply because it's a creature, which tend to be the most easily abused card type. Aluren comes to mind off the top of my head, as this card, with that, and say... Wistful Selkie can do some shenanigans, but there are hundreds of ways for this card to do stupid things. The main two to keep in mind are Aluren and Cloudstone Curio .
Entreat the Angels : The Decree of Justice impersonator does it incredibly well. The miracle options has vast amounts of upside, and in any deck with reasonable amounts of mana ramp, this card can be huge.
Herald of War : Weak body to begin with, can grow larger. The attackign clause is respectable, but starting so small makes me want a stronger five drop over this in almost any deck. If you're in an angels/human hybrid style of deck though, this guy is worth a look.
Restoration Angel : Another blink-effect among the many in the set, and this one has a reasonable body, with the efficiency of flash, and evasion, as well as being splashable. I feel this set has provided enough toys to supplment any form of blink strategy that people were working on previously, particularly in the bant color set. Having a chump blocker, and renewing a Primeval Titan or Rune-scarred Demon trigger never seems bad though.
Riders of Gavony : If you're in human tribal, maybe...but even then it's "meh" at best.
Silverblade Paladin : Even if this guy is just hanging around in your list of 100 to give your general doublestrike, it's not awful. More fragile than Battle Mastery , but it offers the perk of being able to be given to other creatures, and reset anytime you wish with a blink effect or sacrifice outlet.
Terminus : A near reprint of Hallowed Burial which is already a staple, this card costs one more mana, to make up for the option of drawing it as a miracle. The downside of this being a miracle, is you do not get an attack step first should you choose to use it that way, but if you're the one behind in board-state, that won't matter. And if it does matter, paying an extra mana for a Hallowed Burial is worth it most times. But i'll be more than happy to add this as basically a second copy of the burial with upside.
Arcane Melee : Expensive for what it does, but it does do interesting things to the game if it sticks around. Shrinking the cost of cards like Time Stretch and Storm Herd can be relevant, however not effecting the board the turn it's dropped definitely leaves this as a control card more than anything.
Captain of the Mists : Tappers are much more relevant in limited than constructed obviously, and you shouldn't be casting too many humans.
Deadeye Navigator : Another blink effect, could be cute on certain enter-the-battlefield triggers, reasonable body.
Devastation Tide : Evacuation is an obvious comparison for this card. You lose the efficienty of being instant-speed in order to gain the chance at casting it for two mana. I personally, do not like this trade. That said, it does it everything that isn't a land, which depending on board-states, can be better or worse; and it's that clause, that draws the comparison to Kederekt Leviathan . The card advantage of unearth, leaving a body behind after the soft reset, and again being board-state dependant. It'll depend on your deck's style of play which of these you include, but this is definitely a viable option.
Ghostly Flicker : I'm aware I initially said i was only going to bring up one of the many generic blink effects...but i wanted to point out that this is two Momentary Blink s without the flashback, and for one less mana. Something to take into account when building your Venser, the Sojourner shenanigans decks.
Infinite Reflection : Has some interesting applications with making every creature enter the battlefield as something with a comes-into-play trigger, or just making everything larger, or into a Blightsteel Colossus , but it takes some time to set up, and is relatively fragile, but might see some fringe play by different strategies.
Lone Revenant : I am enjoying the whole "attacks alone" theme this card has, and grabbing the best of the top four isn't bad for connecting. I don't like the lack of evasion, but that can be fixed with equipment, and it does have some protection from spot removal. This could have a place in some strategies.
Lunar Mystic : The prospect of making your instants cantrip is solid, but it's a 2/2 for four, in blue...which already has very respectable options for cards. I can't play this over Mind's Eye , as opponents drawing should happen more frequently than me playing instants.
Misthollow Griffin : I like the idea of him for standard, perhaps in some grindy UW strategy with moorland haunt, but in here, he's rather vanilla, which isn't good enough.
Spirit Away : Control Magic effects are quite common, buffing it and granting evasion in the process is pretty solid. Mana cost is a bit expensive, but if you're in a deck that wants these types of effects, this is certainly worth considering.
Stolen Goods : The random effect of this card takes away a lot of it's appeal to me. I'd rather just cast Knowledge Exploitation . It gives more knowledge since you get to see their whole library, and you get to pick what you can borrow, rather than hope for the best.
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage : The well-received Moonfolk Planeswalker, is solid in this format. Has potential to lock down a pesky creature that you don't want attacking (perhaps a titan or an eldrazi), can draw a lot of cards, especially against a token strategy. Lastly, there's the enblem, which is obviously a beast, as they tend to be.
Temporal Mastery : The upside of topdecking it is pretty huge, but otherwise it's just worse than the other options currently played. Will still probably be added to a lot of blue decks, as paying two more mana for the effect is still worth it in the format more times than not.
That wraps up the review of Blue and White, stay tuned for future reviews, and bust out your grills!
Magic: The Gathering Online Posts