2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. Naturalize. (Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although explanation of why is obviously important.)
1.0 It has seen play once. One with Nothing. (I believe it was tech vs Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)
5.0: I will always play this card. Period.
4.5: I will almost always play this card, regardless of what else I get.
4.0: I will strongly consider playing this as the only card of its color.
3.5: I feel a strong pull into this card's color.
3.0: This card makes me want to play this color. (Given that I'm playing that color, I will play this card 100% of the time.)
2.5: Several cards of this power level start to pull me into this color. If playing that color, I essentially always play these. (Given that I'm playing that color, I will play this card 90% of the time.)
2.0: If I'm playing this color, I usually play these. (70%)
1.5: This card will make the cut into the main deck about half the times I play this color. (50%)
1.0: I feel bad when this card is in my main deck. (30%)
0.5: There are situations where I might sideboard this into my deck, but I'll never start it. (10%)
0.0: I will never put this card into my deck (main deck or after sideboarding). (0%)
The fact that this gains two life instead of crushing an artifact leads me to try and vine other alternatives.
In M13, I was happy enough maindecking one Plummet, and with all the 3-4 color decks in Ravnica, I suspect the same will be true. Good fliers are commonly splashed, and now that people are doing a ton of splashing, it won't be hard to find targets.
While I'm sure someone can weave a complicated scenario where this is somehow good, I'm going to avoid getting caught up in that web of lies.
If you need a 7-drop, I guess this qualifies, though it's significantly worse than Duskdale Wurm. Stopping fliers is certainly valuable, but a 5/5 for seven just isn't that efficient.
Now I know why Birds got rotated out! They clearly couldn't have this in the same format, that would just be too broken. Of course, this is actually too expensive to play; once acceleration costs one mana, you have my permission to play it.
Silhana Starfletcher this isn't, but I'm still running it in every three-color deck and just about any two-color deck. Fixing colors and ramping to five are both quite valuable, and every now and then it actually gets to tap for two or more mana.
It's staggering how difficult it is to justify playing creatures that cost five or more mana, much less seven.
As 7-drops go, this is on the weak side. No trample, no reach, and the slightly odd stats of 6/7 make this the bottom of the barrel when it comes to finishers. If you are desperate for a way to kill them, I suppose this could suffice.
Creature quality has made great strides over the last couple years, and a 3-power guy for two mana is nothing special anymore. This having one toughness basically precludes it from seeing any play, and the addition of Vigilance does very little to change that.
It dies to a stiff wind, but even the chance of getting 3-6 points of damage in early makes this playable. Even if they do play blockers, you can just save this to trade for a 3/3, and likely profit on mana in the process.
I was curious how big the token would need to be before this would be good, or even playable. I settled on 4/5, since even at 4/4 this isn't efficient enough to make it. At 3/3, the only thing this will herald is your impending loss.
In a deck without populate, this still gets to chump block and make a guy, or make a guy when it suits you. In a deck with populate, this might net you a couple extra 3/3's. Either way, you are paying four total mana over two turns (which is also much better than having to spend it all at once), and four mana for a 3/3 isn't terrible. All the little bonuses add up to make this very playable.
Chorus of Might
I would say that this might not be good enough, but the reality is that it just isn't good, no “might” needed.
In an aggressive deck with a ton of creatures, this is the stone nuts. In a creature-light defensive deck, it's wildly unplayable. As long as you can tell where on the spectrum your deck lies, you should be able to figure out how good this is. Most cards don't have this wide a range, but that is how you end up with very powerful cards at common - they make up for their power by having a ton of built-in inconsistency. That, or they are just Sparksmith.
It's been a long time since a 5/5 for four mana was an absurd rate. Luckily, this is that plus a flashback spell that gives +5/+5, and that isn't irrelevant. In a world of Thragtusks and Huntmasters, this definitely has tough competition, but I don't think it's dead on the water.
An undercosted monster that turns one of your other guys into a monster after it dies. Not only is that a 2 for 1, both cards you get are very good. Sign me up!
Paying six mana for something that really doesn't add to your board presence is a sure-fire way to experience death firsthand.
As Glorious Anthems go, this one is a bit awkward. It does make your guys into monsters, eventually, but takes a fair amount of work to get to that point. The effect is powerful enough that I'd just about always play it, as long as I had a bunch of creatures (14+) and reasonable expectation of living to hit the lategame. One nice thing about having something like this in your deck is that even though it is inconsistent, it can lead to absolutely ridiculous things, which means you are always drawing live to go off.
Bear with me, as I drudge through the uninteresting stuff. Even with the bonus, a 2-mana 2/2 is just not what I'm looking for in Constructed.
The scavenge cost might look prohibitively expensive here, that is until you realize you aren't actually paying for it. The power/toughness to mana ratio here is already good, so the powerful (if expensive) scavenge text is just a bonus.
If this keyword becomes popular, you could do worse than preventing a turn's worth of damage and making a 3/3 or 5/5 (or if you are really optimistic, an 8/8). It's also cool to note that the damage is only prevented to you, so you can make whichever blocks favor you.
If you are confident that you will be populating most of the time, this is a strong card. If not, try to avoid it if possible (many of of the populate cards are like this; once you hit critical mass, a whole bunch of possibilities open up).
I always liked Sylvan Ranger, and this is fairly close to it. Not being able to attack is worse, but that's somewhat balanced by the ability to get a multicolor land. It's times like this that I miss Birthing Pod; even though I didn't play the card all that often, it was part of the reason that cards like this would keep seeing play.
Unless you draft the most streamlined beatdown deck I've ever seen and have perfect mana, you will be playing this card. It fixes, it blocks, and it always makes the cut.
Now that infect is gone, the Giant Growth market has crashed, and just in time for actual Giant Growth to return.
As often as I've wanted to cut Giant Growths from my deck, it's rarely right to do so, especially if you are getting the age-old rate of +3/+3 for one mana.
This worked much better when it gobbled up creatures from the graveyard instead of on your side. The whole costing five instead of two thing might also be a factor.
The size to mana ratio isn't great here, but it isn't terrible either. Unless you foresee having an excess amount of fodder, I wouldn't want to run this, though it is a good sideboard card against removal-heavy decks. Don't eat anything unless it's marked for death and you end up with a monster eventually.
Golgari got so many good cards this set that they had to throw out some decoys. This is one of them.
Even as just a 2/2 Lure guy for four, this would be sweet. Adding the ability to scavenge is certainly a good bonus, and more importantly, this gets insane with other scavenge cards. Once you start being able to pump this guy up, he just begins to eat their team at will. Being a pinpoint removal spell early, a Visara midgame, and a pseudo-Overrun late, it's pretty hard to go wrong with this.
As much as I like card advantage, I'm not enchanted with the idea of paying eight for what isn't even an entire crash of rhinos.
As I've said before, eight mana is significantly more than seven, often representing a two or three turn delay. Given that, playing Horncaller's Chant isn't for the faint of heart, but if you are serious about ramping, this is a decent finisher.
I monitor successful Standard decklists pretty carefully, and I'd be shocked if I ever saw this in one.
There are a good number of decks where I'd just play a 3/3 trample for four, so add in a very significant bonus and I'm sold.
It's a trap! This is exactly the type of card that looks appealing, but ends up with you spending a ton of mana for a very small benefit. I don't like my Rampant Growths costing me seven mana over the course of the game, and we are very far away from needing to rely on this.
I'm much more amenable to this in Limited. Not only do you get ramp, you get fixing, so I don't mind as much getting taxed over and over again. Not every deck will want this, but if you are three or more colors, I'd imagine it'll make the cut.
Oak Street Innkeeper
This is a strange card. It gives your creatures hexproof, but only when tapped and on the opponent's turn? I have no idea where that combination of conditions came from, but I dont know that they don't make this a keeper. If this is your anti-removal card, you are in trouble.
All this stops is sorcery-speed removal, and even requires attacking before it does so. Most games you won't be able to attack with all the guys you want to keep, making a narrow card even more narrow. I can see siding it in for the right matchup, but that isn't going to be very common.
Beating the rubble back in an avalanche: very difficult.
In a game of Constructed: comically easy.
Unlike Primal Huntbeast, the stats here aren't quite good enough to run this all the time. Like Primal Huntbeast, if you do have sweet Auras, this card is awesome.
“You attack? I'm going to SAVAGELY untap my guy and block!”
Getting to untap does make this more likely to successfully ambush than Giant Growth, but I'd still rather pay half as much for 50% more growing. I also don't like playing more than two or so combat tricks, so you don't need to take this too early.
Seek the Horizon
If you want card advantage, fixing, or both, I'd advise you to seek out better options. By the time you cast this, the fixing isn't going to be hugely relevant, it's slow, and is going to be worse than just casting Divination or the like.
I've drafted more than my fair share of Seek the Horizons; I was known to get pretty filthy during Champions Block. That being said, I still can't really endorse it in most decks, mainly due to how slow and clunky it is.
Slime Molding sounds redundant; is it slime or mold? Alternately, it sounds like a home improvement project some reality show would do to your house...”now we are going to install the slime molding; it should raise the value of the house by 19,000 dollars”. Regardless of which it is, notice that “Constructed playable” was not present in either scenario.
Here we have the Green Sun's Zenith of Limited: not efficient at any cost, but flexible enough to always be a solid play. The fact that it can be a 2/2 for three or a 7/7 for eight makes this pretty awesome, if not super exciting.
Not only is this not the stones, you won't fare well if you try and run it anyway.
In a deck that can pay the kicker, I'd always run this, and even if you can't, it's probably fine. 3/2's are good enough at blocking that they usually make the cut, and can even lay down a beating if the way is clear.
While I've been a fan of the Indrik clan in the past, you are going to have to drag me stomping and howling before this is going into my deck.
This isn't the most giant of spiders, but it's big enough to stop the vast majority of things it is supposed to stop. There are few cards that are more perfect for Limited than this; it's so good at what it does, but it also can't really kill the opponent and nobody would ever call it broken.
Not only does this expose you to a 2 for 1, you have to do real work just to get value out of the random extra mana you get on their turn. Another example of poor urban planning.
You would have to have an incredibly unrealistic amount of instants before I'd advise you play this, and even then it would still probably be wrong.
If Champion of Lambholt hasn't hit the big time, I'd be surprised if this did. While things can get wild if you have pump spells, there are too many situational things going on for me to get interested.
Build your own Overrun is a fun game; I played it at the prerelease, and would like to play it again! The later in the draft it is the weaker this gets; it really isn't all that impressive on its own.
In fair formats, casting this seems difficult, though rewarding. In unfair formats, this is just another card that probably wins you the game if you Sneak Attack it in. Those qualities combine to make this something we have to keep in mind from now on, but probably not the first choice in most decks. I'd love to live in a world where casting this is realistic, but I don't think we do, and getting it Detention Sphere'd is quite a beating.
Eleven mana has never been all that feasible outside of Rise of the Eldrazi (one of the all-time great formats, by the way). I still hope to cast this one day, and suspect I'll lose a fair amount of matches trying.
Top 5 Commons
This isn't the most exciting selection, but green plays a great support color here. It offers protection, fixing, ramp, card advantage, and not removal. All of these cards are also extremely close together, so the order doesn't matter much. I can easily see taking any of these over any other one, and that even extends to many of the cards that didn't crack the top five.
I'll get to this in a second; it appears that much of green's strength is in the multi-color/hybrid cards of the set. Luckily, that's coming up instantly, and all you have to do is keep going!
Talk about starting things off with a bang! Broodmate Wurm (as this is undoubtedly going to be called) is a big game combined with another equally-sized game. Ten power worth of tramplers for six mana is awesome, and this interacts very favorably with most removal spells you are going to face. It might not have flying, but it still has value, and that's the most important thing. The casting cost is a bit tricky, but that's not really going to stop me, now is it?
Yeah, this really isn't beatable. Perhaps this is called Armada Wurm because they need an armada to stop it?
Call of the Conclave
I'm not one to play Watchwolf all that often, but I'm not one to call it unplayable either. If populate is going to be a deck, this is almost certainly involved. Even if populate isn't a deck, you can't go too wrong with 2-mana 3/3's, especially now that Vapor Snag is (thankfully) gone.
The word of the day is “beatdown”. Dropping this on turn two gets ugly pretty fast, especially if you have populate cards to keep the pressure up. The worst thing about this for the populate deck is that the rate is so good that other decks are just going to take it anyway.
Kitchen Finks is a legend among 3-drops, so even a much worse version has room to see play in Standard. Just make sure you don't have a broken leg; horses know exactly how those are dealt with.
Gold cards are awesome. Because they are difficult to cast, you get a sweet amount of power for the casting cost, and even if it really is fair, it looks unfair. This might not be the best example of unfairness, but I'm inordinately thrilled to get a 3/3 Loxodon Hierarch for three mana at common.
If you are looking for something to beat the G/W mirror, this might just be it. Armada Wurms are cool and all, but if both sides have 4+ creatures on them, Collective Blessing is actually a giant beating. It's expensive enough that you can't play a ton, but I can definitely see this making it into Standard.
I had the privilege of playing this at the prerelease. The main problem I found was that this was basically just Overrun, because all my opponents just conceded the turn it was cast anyway. I'd recommend taking and splashing this under most circumstances, because it really is that good.
Pump spells often have a rating in common, and it probably isn't too hard to figure out what it is.
I don't mind paying a little extra mana to make my combat blowout permanent, and that's exactly what this does. Keep in mind that you can unleash multiple Rakdos guys at once, if need be, stopping them from blocking (at a significant price).
If one Centaur for two mana sounds great, how about you just pay four more mana and get a second one for FREE! According to most informercials, that's a great deal. According to most set reviewers, it's not.
Six mana for two 3/3's is a much better deal than eight mana for two 4/4's, and unlike Horncalling, you have a shot at getting a better token than this card makes. I like Broodmate Centaur, even if it obviously lacks the punch of Broodmate Wurm.
This is no Timely Reinforcements, but even those of us who were always on Timely's side knew that it was a little too good to be true. If there are a number of super-aggressive aggro decks, it might just be time to have a little reunion of heroes in your sideboard.
Gaining seven has very little intrinsic value in Limited, and I'd strongly advise that you keep this in the sideboard for all but the most aggressive matchups. I also know that my advice won't be heeded, and that people are going to play the hell out of this card.
Having the same power and toughness as Blade Splicer and immunity to discard and counters both, this smite just be good enough for some beatdown decks. Even if the abilities don't come up all that often, vanilla 4/4's for three are aggressive enough to be worth taking notice of.
I can't imagine that this has much of a text box in Limited, but it's still a giant beatdown. It drops off pretty quickly in the lategame, even if it's a 4/4, so make sure to play it on turn three in order to prevent said lategame from occurring.
I could use a sanctuary myself; I keep having to review vanilla 7-mana guys. Has the number of them risen dramatically or what?
Despite the multitude of seven-mana monsters in this set, Duskdale Wurm still has ‘em all beat. I like Sanctuary well enough, but would still gladly trade the vigilance and a point of power/toughness for trample.
Here we have my vote for the second-best charm, even if it's more Standard-focused. All of the modes here are good, with the kill spell likely being the best. An efficient kill spell that doubles as a 2/2 if needed and can actually finish off the opponent, Selesnya Charm is exactly what creature decks are looking for. It lets them play good removal without risking dead draws against control, and in a world full of Wolfir Silverhearts and Sublime Archangels, +2/+2 and trample is huge.
Trostani, Selesnya's Voice
This card is a tad defensive for what these colors are looking to accomplish these days, but that certainly doesn't disqualify it from consideration. Five toughness does make this hard to kill, and popping extra Centaurs or Wurms into play is not something that can be ignored. The lifegain even makes it impossible to race, and I can see plenty of matchups where this is exactly what you want, even if that means Trostani starts in the sideboard.
If this isn't awesome, you aren't trying hard enough. It does take some setup, and can drop off drastically if you don't see it until late, so just open it early. Once it gets rolling, it's not easy to lose, as you gain life and board position every single turn, and it shouldn't be that difficult to draft a deck that makes that possible.
Paying four mana to populate is the most exciting use of this card, so it joins a long list of cards that are good if populate is good. Armada Wurm, Thragtusk, and Call of the Conclave have a lot of carrying to do. Playing the Guildmage and planning on paying six for a Centaur just isn't efficient enough, though it can be a passable backup plan if the real plan doesn't work out.
While not quite as unbeatable as the prior GW Guildmage, an unchecked Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage will still lead to victory in short order. Once you untap with one Centaur in play, the floodgates open, and the game ends shortly. It's worth waiting until late to play this, since getting even one Centaur out of it is great.
This is way too reliant on things faring well for you; when they go poorly, so does this. It's still a potentially huge threat, and even pretends to be an Ophidian under the right circumstances. I can't shake the impression that it's a win-more card, but I'm willing to admit that it has some potential.
I've been impressed by Crusader of Odric in M13 draft, and this not only does more, but has more support. If you are drafting a normal GW deck, this is going to be a solid part of it.
Before you militantly start defending this, remember that it's been a really long time since Jackal Pup was the gold standard of 1-drops. A 2/1 for one is honestly not that special anymore. Granted, this has a very useful ability on top of that, but it isn't the second coming of Goblin Guide or Wild Nacatl. I like the card, but still think it will be overplayed. Good Snapcaster decks don't need ten instants in their graveyard, they just need one, and killing this won't be all that difficult. If there is a GW (or G, or W) beatdown deck, this is on the short list for inclusion, but I don't like it in all the random midrange decks I've seen it in.
It may sound like heresy, but you won't always want a 2/1 creature in your deck, even if it costs only one mana. If you aren't realistically going to beat them down, having one random aggressive drop isn't productive, and the ability here isn't likely to be very relevant. In beatdown, this is great, but most decks aren't going to be that heavy beatdown.
I'm growing tired of ranking populate cards, but here we are. I like this less than most of the other ones, mainly because it takes a turn to work and looks like it'll make you more vulnerable to the things you are already vulnerable against (Wraths in particular). It does combo well with Thragtusk, but mainly strikes me as a sideboard card for matchups where you don't expect a ton of attrition.
Limited: unplayable to awesome (1.0-4.0)
Cards like this are impossible to rate accurately, since there is no average case. In the nut populate deck, this is insane, making a 3/3 or better every single turn. In a deck without much support it's just flat unplayable, and most decks will fall somewhere in between. It looks like it's worth drafting around, so if you see it early, go for it.
I like this card. It's close enough to a card that's playable without the populate text, making it a potential freeroll in the right deck. As a sideboard card, it seems excellent to me, and I can see it being played in decks that don't even expect to populate all that often, mainly because it's so good when they do. Kill your Detention Sphere, make a 5/5 sounds absurd.
The Keyrunes make this a potential maindeck card, but that's still pretty greedy. Even if you have a ton of populate, there's no guarantee you will have a target for this, so I'd recommend keeping it in the sideboard (where it's likely to be very good).
Even if straight green doesn't have a ton to offer, Constructed-wise, green plus white did quite well for itself. Deadbridge Goliath and Gatekeeper Vine aren't the most inspiring, but Armada Wurm, Call of the Conclave, Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage, and especially Selesnya Charm all more than make up for that. GW will be a force to be reckoned with come Standard season.
Next up is black, along with its Golgari underlings!