If you need to catch up, here are the previous set reviews for Gatecrash:
4.0: Format staple. [card]Sphinx's Revelation[/card]. [card]Thragtusk[/card].
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes, but not a format staple. [card]Avacyn's Pilgrim[/card]. [card]Restoration Angel[/card]. [card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card].
3.0: Archetype staple. [card]Farseek[/card]. [card]Gravecrawler[/card].
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. [card]Think Twice[/card]. [card]Curse of Death's Hold[/card].
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. [card]Naturalize[/card]. (Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.)
1.0: It has seen play once. [card]One with Nothing[/card]. (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%)
For this review, I’m adding another set of criteria. Some people think the best way to respond to my (awesome) puns is a simple letter grade, and even though it is commonly agreed that the grading is too harsh, I left it in the capable paws of Pat Cox (@wildestnacatl on Twitter) to deliver them. Here’s the scale he will be using:
A: Something an extremely clever and good-looking person would say. It is unlikely Luis will ever achieve this grade.
B: A reasonably clever pun that is actually apt to the situation/conversation at hand.
C: Usually groan-worthy, but at least tangentially related to the current situation. Most puns fall into this category.
D: Has nothing to do with anything, and isn’t funny, but can still be understood to be a play on words. Reused puns also receive this grade.
F: These puns make no sense and have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Act of Treason
[draft]Act of Treason[/draft]
This effect always threatens to be playable, and it all depends which versions are around. I’d say that [card]Traitorous Blood[/card] or [card]Mark of Mutiny[/card] command the most slots right now, with Act and [card]Traitorous Instinct[/card] coming in afterwards.
With battalion, [card]Act of Treason[/card] may be the best it has ever been. Going from two attackers to a full battalion and stripping a blocker at the same time is huge, and the best part is that Gruul wants this card way less than Boros does.
Not only is this not a bomb, if you play it you will rapidly turn into a corpse.
Some battalion cards are very binary, and this is one of them. It’s a blank when it doesn’t have battalion, and reasonable when it does, which combines to make it more of a workhorse card than a bomb. In the battalion deck, you will always play this (and it’s a 2-drop, which is very important), but in any defensive or even midrange deck it’s not the best. As the score reflects, red decks are very aggressive in this format, so this will end up being played way more often than not.
Unfortunately for Cinderella here, there’s no Prince Charming waiting to whisk it away into Constructed.
Can you imagine how good this would have been if they reprinted it earlier? This card is great in Limited! Even if it’s a little worse than [card]Blaze[/card] most games, it’s still awesome.
Thinly-veiled Insult: A
While I might not see the genius here, if there are any defenders of this card out there, they need to get crackling on the deck right away so they can prove me wrong.
I liked this card a lot more when it was [card]Vent Sentinel[/card]. Giving up a card to make your Gates into a win condition seems fairly situational, and I’d only suggest you play it with 9+ Gates in your deck.
As much of a beast as this may be, it’s hard to get fired up over a 3/4 for three in Constructed.
Most red decks are going to have a ton of creatures, whether it’s because they need to battalion or because all of their spells are secretly also creatures. Given that Ember Beast has that many allies, it’s hard to imagine getting burned by its drawback.
Three Strikers and they’re out (of blockers). I’m not optimistic about the likelihood of assembling a battalion that easily, so if you do, you probably want to find something with a slightly more powerful output. I do think there’s a battalion deck out there, but I’m not fired up about this guy’s inclusion.
A 2-drop with a highly relevant battalion ability is exactly what red decks are looking for, making this a very solid card.
I like the name a lot, and luckily the ability doesn’t lag all that far behind. If you can make a bunch of tokens, the effect is alarmingly powerful, and you shouldn’t need too many triggers before you’ve burned your opponent out. It’s similar to [card]Beastmaster Ascension[/card], with an easier trigger condition and a less powerful output. Whether it all balances out right is yet to be determined, but I have hope.
Firing this off once already more than justifies its inclusion, even after you account for the times when you draw it along with an alarmingly low number of creatures. As long as you make sure to keep your creature count high, something you already should be doing, this will perform reasonably well.
Foundry Street Denizen
[draft]Foundry Street Denizen[/draft]
Mono-Red has a wealth of 1-drops to call upon these days, and a sometimes 2/1 is behind [card]Stromkirk Noble[/card], [card]Radkos Cackler[/card], [card]Stonewright[/card], [card]Legion Loyalist[/card], and even [card]Reckless Waif[/card]. This may have foundry a home in the past, but this format isn't lacking for other options.
The most aggressive battalion decks will play any cheap creatures they can get their hands on, even if this conflicts with the other [card court street denizen]Denizen[/card]. If you don't have battalion, you need 10+ red creatures and an aggressive deck before considering this.
I furiously resisted making a sweet joke, and it looks like I succeeded.
Pun: C, but at least you know it.
If you somehow end up in a controlling red deck, try harder. Also, play this card. It's a good defensive option, and a great sideboard option for a racing matchup. Most red decks won't want this to start, but I like picking this up just in case.
The flavor text here is hella cool, and by "flavor text" I mean the part about winning the game if you have 20 artifacts. Past that, this is another in a long line of Limited-only Dragons.
Pun: F (Using “hella,” even jokingly, is a failure.)
RAWR! As long as you get a quick start, a 6/5 flying trampler ought to wrap things up quite nicely. On the other hand, dragon your feet might put you far enough behind against aggro that even this won't save you.
This isn't my fervorite card in the set, but getting global haste and a 2/2 all for three mana is a good enough deal that I have to acknowledge it. Red does have an abundance of guys that already have haste, so as long as you can form a team that is both good and needs haste, you could raise some hell.
Attacking every turn is a very real drawback, but most red decks already want to do that. Forming a battalion out of nowhere is awesome, and if you time this guy right, he can be a giant beating.
All this needed to do is hit players and it'd be great, though I guess it would be awkward for people with really common names, like Joe or John or the like. Being a creature-only burn spell really limits the use here, since most red decks can't really pay four for something that doesn't help kill the opponent.
Killing almost any creature for four mana is excellent, and picking up a two-for-one every now and then only sweetens the pot. I guess it's technically possible to kill three things, or more, but I try to review cards assuming we are living within the realm of reality, even if that's not where I operate.
[card]Boros Recruit[/card] is all grown up, and ready to rumble. The anti-token clause is a little wordy, but the card combines with some friends to deliver a giant beating. Haste on a battalion guy is clutch, as is costing one mana, and trample plus first strike is nothing to scoff at. If [card]Lingering Souls[/card] starts seeing a ton of play again, this will do good work keeping it in check.
Curving out and dropping this on turn four or five is incredibly good, regardless of whether the Loyalist even survives combat. If you can get him to attack multiple times, even better. This won’t make a terrible deck insane, but it will make a good deck great, enabling battalion perfectly and setting up a beating of a turn. It’s also fantastic with bloodrush, making this a high pick for any red deck.
I can’t even make a joke here, since the name is actually more ridiculous than anything I could come up with. I feel like Pat should grade the name, and do so as harshly as he does my (excellent) puns.
Pun Self-Assessment: F
As loathe as I am to admit it, this aura delivers. The turn you play it you will often smash for your biggest creature’s power +3, and then you get to trade your creature plus this for two of their creatures. A good deal all-around, and some games they just won’t ever be able to block it. It also sets up combat tricks perfectly, if there are any to be found...
Mark for Death
[draft]Mark for Death[/draft]
This won’t see any Constructed play, and you can mark my words on that one.
Part [card]Prey Upon[/card] and part [card]Falter[/card], [card]Mark for Death[/card] is a very strange card. In the early game it lets one of your guys fight one of theirs, and in the late game it’s just a way to swarm them. Where it gets really strange is in the midgame, where it isn’t clear if you should be attacking with everything or choosing the fight by only attacking with one guy. My expectation is that this ends up being a decent but not great card, since it is a little tricky to use (and costs a good amount of mana on the turns where it would be best).
Requiring a massive army for a card to be good is a massive fail in Constructed.
Consistently dealing 2 damage is enough to justify this, and it will often do much more than that. It’s not a great draw when you are already losing badly, but it’s awesome in most other situations (and it’s still possible to be losing with a bunch of creatures on the board).
Once again, we have a Primordial that requires a specific set of circumstances in order to be awesome. If your opponent has just one huge thing, this deals approximately a million damage, and that’s likely enough to keep this in the running as Standard evolves.
Molten Primordial is going to end a good portion of the games it's cast, so the real trick is living long enough to get to that point (while also lowering the opponent’s life total so that it’s lethal).
Not only is this card worse than all the other burn spells we have, the name doesn’t really sound like a Magic card at all.
In a format this fast, one-mana removal is certainly premium, even at sorcery speed. Killing their 2-drop and delaying battalion is extremely important, and on the flip side, curving out and killing a blocker while still playing creatures is crucial for the battalion decks.
I guess this isn’t the worst thing to rip in the late game, but on a scale from 1 to 5, I rightfully gave it a 1.
As far as six-drops go, this is decent value. This does not appear to be a format where you want a wealth of them, so I wouldn’t be in a hurry to pick this up (well, I probably will be, but you shouldn’t). As with other double-block cards, bloodrush is its friend.
I thought about giving this a 2 for value, but then I realized I’d get scorched in the comments.
Hey, I already liked [card]Incurable Ogre[/card]! Adding the ability to +5 the power of any guy is sweet, and the point of toughness will win some combats if need be (though you would probably rather just save this to kill the opponent).
If only this were a [card]Jackal Pup[/card]. At two mana, I don’t think the split card creature/[card]Giant Growth[/card] is quite going to cut it.
Either way you use this, it helps you curve out. It’s a cheap creature or a very cheap trick, and that sort of efficiency and flexibility goes a long way.
I’m pretty sure that red decks aren’t going to turn down a 1R deal 8, since that’s what this is going to end up being a large amount of the time. Not hitting creatures is a drawback that in no way invalidates this card, and I fully expect it to be great once we get cracking on Montreal testing.
As sweet as it is in Constructed, you don’t have the luxury to expect [card]Lava Spike[/card] to be good in Limited. Your deck has to be incredibly focused, which is unlikely, or they have to have some kind of sick life gain deck (also unlikely).
Unless Conley’s planning on bringing this back for Block (as he did with [card]Fissure Vent[/card]), I’d avoid it. As bad as this is, the structure of this review states that I need to write something, so here we are.
Barring a matchup where your opponent has an unbeatable artifact or only 2 life, I’d keep this safely in your sideboard.
Tin Street Market
[draft]Tin Street Market[/draft]
Even if this scale went from one to tin, this would still deserve a one.
I’m going to try to make this work, but I suspect I shall fail. Red is just not interested in this effect, especially given that the market price on looting is usually much lower.
I have to stay vigilant, lest people think that cards like this belong in Constructed.
Grabbing one of these to top out your curve is fine, though the casting cost towers above the average by enough that you really only want one or maybe two.
The first strike against this is that it costs four, and the second is that it’s only a 3/1. Bringing up the tail end is the fact that bloodrush needs to be a lot more aggressively costed in order to see Constructed play.
A good beater and a good trick. Bloodrush at its finest!
I really don’t mind set reviews, but what is this good for? Absolutely nothing.
The battalion decks need their bread and butter, and this is it. Warmind Infantry is reasonably cheap, large enough to do some real damage, and even reasonable when you don’t have battalion going.
Even though whatever you bloodrush is going to wreck face, in the end you are ogrepaying for either the body or the combat trick.
If you find yourself with one of these, try your hardest to save it for lethal. It does so much damage that it should almost exclusively end up killing the opponent, and only as a last resort should it be used to win a combat or cast as a creature.
Top 5 Red/Boros Commons
5. [card]Madcap Skills[/card]
4. [card]Ember Beast[/card]
3. [card]Massive Raid[/card]
2. [card]Skyknight Legionnaire[/card]
Boros is a deck where the pick order will change more than most, just because battalion has such specific demands. Mugging looks too efficient to pass on, but I could easily see taking any of the creatures over it, and Massive Raid is certainly not a card you want too many of. Haste and evasion are enough to push Skyknight over the top, which is likely why it's the archetypal Boros card.
Top 5 Cards for Constructed
5. [card]Boros Reckoner[/card]
4. [card]Legion Loyalist[/card]
3. [card]Aurelia, the Warleader[/card]
2. [card]Boros Charm[/card]
1. [card]Aurelia's Fury[/card]
THE LEGION HAS ARRIVED. Boros unquestionably gets the most out of Constructed this time around, and that's without even considering the non-multicolor cards (though red did sneak one card in). Aurelia's Fury, Boros Charm, and Aurelia herself are all insane, and sure to shake up Constructed considerably. I'll talk more about the Boros gold cards next, but suffice to say that they are not bad, not bad at all.