Welcome back to my set review! If you missed the previous installments, check them out:
Here’s the ratings system I’ll be using:
5.0: Multi-format all-star (and undoubtedly worth too much money). [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card]. [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card].
4.0: Format staple. [card]Sphinx's Revelation[/card]. [card]Burning Tree-Emissary[/card].
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes, but not a format staple. [card]Elvish Mystic[/card]. [card]Supreme Verdict[/card]. [card]Voice of Resurgence[/card].
3.0: Archetype staple. [card]Boros Reckoner[/card]. [card]Domri Rade[/card].
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. [card]Azorius Charm[/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%)
Agent of Horizons
[draft]Agent of Horizons[/draft]
Even if you are looking to broaden your horizons when it comes to Constructed, this is the wrong way to go about it. Agent could just be straight-up unblockable and it still wouldn’t be a slam dunk by any stretch.
So far, I’ve ended up with this in my deck even when I can’t activate it, though that might speak more to my drafting than anything else. 3 power for three mana is a fine deal, and in a UG deck (or a green deck that has a few free sources of blue mana), [card]Agent of Horizons[/card] is a good way to fill out your curve.
Anthousa, Setessan Hero
[draft]Anthousa, Setessan Hero[/draft]
Needing your 5-drop to survive and get targeted is a tall order, especially when all you get out of it are some temporary 2/2s. Not everyone who wants to be a hero gets to be one, a lesson this set is doing a good job of driving home.
Anthousa threatens to do a ton of damage if you untap with her, which isn’t unique in this set full of giant monsters. It is nice that she makes it hard to block most of the damage, and if you have enough lands to send a full six in, your opponent probably just dies. Still, 5-drops tend to be fairly replaceable, and even though Anthousa is good, I’d hesitate to take her over a good cheaper card.
It’s tough competing against [card polukranos, world eater]Polukranos[/card] (I mean, the guy has “World Eater” right in his name), so cut [card]Arbor Colossus[/card] a bit of slack. He’s gotten the ol’ [card]Battlegrowth[/card] upgrade, where you pay one more mana for +1/+1, which is not actually an advantage, but in return he gets to swat any flier regardless of its size. That part is nice, and having reach means he defends you as soon as he’s summoned, something PolyK cannot claim. If there is a deck with fliers big enough to be worth killing, Arbor Colossus is powerful enough to be a solid sideboard option, and potentially even a maindeck choice.
When I talk about monstrous bombs, this is exactly the sort of thing I’m referring to. Arbor Colossus is enormous to begin with, gets even larger, and even eats one of your opponent’s better creatures.
The unnamed artisan isn’t the only sorrowful one. I like scrying a lot, and will never get to use this to scry because of how much it costs.
Playing maindeck enchantment removal is decent if you are a control deck, but it’s never super exciting. The scry on this is nice, and it’s a solid sideboard card even if you don’t maindeck it.
It seems pretty satyrsfying to slam this on a 3/3 after it tangles with another 3/3, and as both halves of [card]Boon Satyr[/card] are reasonable, that might actually happen in Constructed. It’s very nice to be able to add another 4 points of hasty power to the board without overextending into [card]Supreme Verdict[/card], and the ability to supersize any creature seems strong in the midrange matchups as well. Boon Satyr is at its weakest against aggro, though it’s still passable, and the total package here fills enough different roles that it offers green yet another strong midrange play.
When you bestow this to win a combat, I’m not entirely sure how your opponent is supposed to win the game. You killed their creature for free, made one of yours into a monster, and get a 4/2 even if they can kill your behemoth. I’d avoid playing this as a 4/2 under all but the most extreme circumstances, though it is nice to have the option.
Bow of Nylea
[draft]Bow of Nylea[/draft]
There has to be an ability you’d want here, just based off of probability. The ones that interest me the most are the ability to shoot down fliers and the ability to gain life, with +1/+1 counters and [card]Gaea's Blessing[/card] both likely much less relevant. Fliers are living in dangerous times, and even though I doubt there are enough around to justify the Bow, stranger things have happened (like this card being made).
Oh look, another green bomb. This one attacks from a completely different set of angles, offering multiple highly-useful abilities. My favorite Bow sighting so far has to be from a game I watched just this weekend. Shuhei (Nakamura) was playing against PV (Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa), and the game was very close. Shuhei had a turn where he was likely going to attack anyway, but drew Bow, and slammed it precombat. He then attacked with anything, and after PV made a bunch of blocks, tapped his last land to cast [card]Coordinated Assault[/card]. Yeah, that wasn’t pretty.
Even past ridiculous situations like that, it’s hard to envision a game where Bow won’t be highly impactful. If you are attacking, deathtouch is awesome, as well as the +1/+1 counter ability. Shooting fliers and gaining life help you stabilize, and if somehow you can’t win via the rest of the Bow, you can’t even get decked!
I wonder if there is an actual number of +1/+1 counters this could gain where it would be an awesome Constructed card. I guess if it gained 17 per trigger, it would kill fast enough to be interesting, but even then it wouldn’t be among the best cards in the format.
It only takes one spell and [card]Centaur Battlemaster[/card] gets big enough to dominate most boards, especially if that spell happens to also grant it some stats. It is unfortunate that most heroic decks are looking to be lower-curve aggro decks, but Centaur Battlemaster fits well enough in midrange decks that have bestow cards as well. This plus [card]Hopeful Eidolon[/card] is a particularly nice combination.
Commune with the Gods
[draft]Commune with the Gods[/draft]
Even without [card]Unburial Rites[/card], this new Less-[card]Grisly Salvage[/card] may power similar types of decks. Simultaneously looking for and powering up [card]Whip of Erebos[/card] is an enchanting idea, and lifelink on Whip goes a long way toward making slow plans like that succeed. Overall, the card selection this type of card offers you is not worth the mana you spend unless you are getting value in other ways. Grisly Salvage and [card]Mulch[/card] both clearly got there, and Commune has a shot, even if it’s going to be a little tougher.
The worse your deck is and the more you need to draw a particular bomb the better this gets. I’d try to avoid playing it, but sometimes your best plan is to move in on finding your [card]Arbor Colossus[/card] or whatever the bomb may be. If your deck is bad and you don’t have any bombs, you’re going to have to pray to the gods, not commune with them.
Defend the Hearth
[draft]Defend the Hearth[/draft]
Because of Turbo-Fog, a deck that has incinerated more entry fees and rating points than any other deck in history, I can’t just call this unplayable.
In race matchups, Fog is a passable sideboard card every now and then, though I’m rarely happy about it.
Fade into Antiquity
[draft]Fade into Antiquity[/draft]
If the cycle of Gods ends up seeing a ton of play, I could see trying to fade them with this. That won’t be the case immediately, so I’d hold off on jamming a bunch of these into your sideboard until it does.
Instant-speed enchantment removal is much more likely to lead to blowouts, but Fade is still a fine filler card, and a great sideboard card.
I’ve heard that if a card spends too much time in Limited, it goes feral, and this seems to support that claim.
[card]Feral Invocation[/card] isn’t the cheapest combat trick, but it’s one of the more effective ones. Sticking around means you get a 1.5 for 1, and is one of the best non-bestow ways to trigger heroic. Sometimes your opponent just takes the hit from your [card]Staunch-Hearted Warrior[/card], and wasting a [card]Savage Surge[/card] there is always miserable. Feral Invocation lets you punish the opponent without completely throwing away a card, and does enough damage that they will be forced to block sooner rather than later.
Hunt the Hunter
[draft]Hunt the Hunter[/draft]
This is one of the narrower sideboard cards I’ve seen, but in a world of 5/5 Hydras and the like, killing a creature for one mana has some appeal, especially in a color that gets very few kill spells.
Hunt the Hunter is a pure sideboard card, and isn’t quite exciting enough to warrant taking very highly as a result. [card]Glare of Heresy[/card] and [card]Dark Betrayal[/card] both do their thing unconditionally, while this requires both of you to have green creatures. That’s one step more than I’m usually comfortable with, so even though I’ll often side it in, I won’t draft it very early.
As devoted as I am to casting giant monsters, this isn’t the way to go about it. Four-mana spells are awesome in their own right these days, and shouldn’t merely be ramp to cast even larger things later on. I do admit this would be busted at three mana, so there’s a chance it powers some kind of wild engine.
This has looked pretty good so far, the highlight being Web (David Ochoa) playing an [card]Arbor Colossus[/card], activating it, and playing a [card]Nylea's Disciple[/card], all in the same turn. He did not gain a small amount of life off the Disciple, nor did he lose that game. If you are heavy green, the Acolyte gives you a lot of mana to play with, a decent body to hold off attackers, and both those are useful things to have.
I’m not particularly enchanted by the idea of +2/+2 and reach, so as a result none of my creatures will be either.
[card]Leafcrown Dryad[/card] is a workhorse, and a very solid part of most good green decks. It gives you all the inherent advantages of bestow while offering a relevant early drop and one of the keywords green wants most.
I would say this cuts right to the chase, but there are enough abilities on the card that that would be inaccurate. What this does do is punish blue-based control, especially the blue decks that don’t have access to [card]Doom Blade[/card] or other black removal. Dodging both [card]Detention Sphere[/card] and [card]Azorius Charm[/card] is nice, and even [card]Supreme Verdict[/card] means that Hydra got a solid hit in. It’s inherently mana-inefficient, since it needs to be cast at four or five mana most games and is still just a 3/3 or 4/4, but if the control decks aren’t taking the necessary precautions Mistcutter Hydra could make some big moves.
Pro-blue and uncounterability are nice bonuses to an already-sweet card, as Mistcutter Hydra offers a customizable monster that swings races whenever it shows up. The usual caveats regarding expensive cards apply, but at least this can be cast as a [card]Hill Giant[/card] if worst comes to worst.
Nemesis of Mortals
[draft]Nemesis of Mortals[/draft]
Nemesis is one of the more unique cards in the set. Any time a card offers a ridiculous amount of mana reduction it deserves a second look, and Nemesis could potentially be a 10/10 for a total of four mana over two turns. Its mortal weakness is that its purely vanilla, so a [card]Doom Blade[/card] later and all your hard work is wasted. If there’s a deck that gets paid enough to fill the graveyard, [card]Nemesis of Mortals[/card] could be an interesting part of it, though [card]Boneyard Wurm[/card] never made any big waves and is in a similar vein.
If even one creature dies before turn five, you get a 5/5 for five, which you can’t be too unhappy about. Even if you end up getting this on the cheap later in the game, mana saved is mana saved, and this offers up a 10/10 for way less than you’d normally pay.
If you have to asp why this isn’t Constructed playable, let me refer you once again to everyone’s favorite [card polukranos, world eater]Hydra[/card].
I don’t think it’s a reach to call this the best green common. As far as 5s go, this is one of the best non-rares, and there are rarely any creatures big enough to attack past it. Even if there is something big enough to tangle, a turn or two later and the Asp becomes monstrous enough to get back to dominating the board.
As a matter of course, I’m obliged to point out that vanilla 3/3s are unlikely to see play. There is one that is good enough, but unfortunately for [card]Nessian Courser[/card] that 3/3 happens to be [card]Kalonian Tusker[/card].
What other rating could a 3/3 for 3 get?
Nylea, God of the Hunt
[draft]Nylea, God of the Hunt[/draft]
Green is emphatically not in the hunt for more good 4-drops, but it’s still better to have more options than fewer. It is unfortunate that Nylea doesn’t really offer that much Wrath protection. She ostensibly does, being indestructible and all, but if they do Wrath, you aren’t left with an attacker (barring a lot of sandbagged creatures). What Nylea does do very well is let you destroy other creature decks. She’s huge herself, gives all your giant monsters trample, and the pump ability makes it very difficult for your opponents to make profitable blocks. Of all the Gods, she depends most on you having other cards in order to be good, which is not an advantage by any means. I don’t know that she does enough of what green needs, but like the rest of the Gods, she is powerful enough to consider.
On the other hand, Nylea may be the most threatening god in Limited, at least when it comes to creature combat. Even though the pump ability is expensive, having access to it really messes up your opponent’s attacks and blocks. I’m less optimistic about Nylea becoming a 6/6, but that will happen some of the time, and will be awesome when it does.
It takes some work to make this an Obstinate Baloth, but there is the potential to gain much more life than just four. I could see siding this in a mono-green devotion deck.
A Hill Giant with a decent upside is rarely unwelcome, and Nylea’s Disciple can be a very relevant lategame play. It’s not usually going to be insane, so in an evenly-split G/X deck, feel free to leave it out.
The most remarkable thing about this is that it’s a Cat, which is not what I think of when I see a 3/3 trampler.
Gaea’s Embrace that leaves behind a 3/3 trampler when things go sour is pretty great in Limited, to the surprise of nobody. This is one of the more powerful bestow cards, getting around the chump blocking that often occurs.
[card]Abundant Growth[/card] saw some fringe play, so adding an entire mana to it effectively pushes it out of Constructed range.
In a straight 2-color deck with no devotion, this isn’t great, but is still playable. Once you decide to splash and/or have good devotion cards, I’d always include Nylea’s Presence.
Ordeal of Nylea
[draft]Ordeal of Nylea[/draft]
This is one of the few Ordeals with a better output in Constructed than Limited, but that still doesn’t salvage it. It takes too much work for an [card]Explosive Vegetation[/card], and is about the worst topdeck I can imagine.
If you are feeling particularly heroic, Ordeals are a reasonable choice, though Nylea’s is especially unrewarding. Two lands really doesn’t do much by the time this triggers, so it’s basically just a +3/+3 aura, and those are much better when they come with bestow.
A 3/7 is not the most pheresome card I can think of, especially for five mana.
It’s almost impossible to kill this with non-black removal, making it an effective way to gum up the ground. The biggest problem is that this is unlikely to kill the opponent, and eventually they will go monstrous or play a flier, at which point you’ve spent five mana on a glorified [card]Thraben Purebloods[/card].
Polukranos, World Eater
[draft]Polukranos, World Eater[/draft]
I really like Polukranos (or PolyK as Kibler calls it). A 5/5 for four mana is already a pretty solid deal, and adding the ability to both grow and shoot the opponent’s creatures at the same time makes this awesome. PolyK really pushes the envelope in terms of what you get for four mana, with the biggest drawback being its vulnerability to removal. A Doom Blade or Supreme Verdict later and you don’t end up with anything to show for your investment. I get that “but it can be Doom Bladed” is not the most interesting criticism, but it really is something you need to think about any time you pay four or more mana for a play. In this case, I do think it’s worth the risk, and that Polukranos’s effectiveness against creatures outweighs the risk of getting it killed by a removal spell.
This is not a real card in Limited. A 5/5 for four with no text is amazing, and the monstrosity ability really takes it over the top.
How big does Reverent Hunter need to consistently be to be great in Constructed? If it was a 5/5, I’d call it awesome, and at 4/4 it’s only barely playable. Even if it averages out to a 5/5, that may not be enough, just because of the TRGR problem. TRGR means “the rich get richer”, and besides being how the world works, describes how the games you get a 7/7 Reverent Hunter are the games you are doing pretty well in already. When this comes out as a 2/2, you are in trouble, and having cards that don’t get you out of trouble is asking for trouble. I think there is potential here, as long as you can figure out ways to not just lose to Supreme Verdict, which remains green’s main problem.
In a base green deck, this will be a 4/4 or 5/5 often enough that I’d always be happy to run it, but rarely will be insane. It isn’t going to be a 3/3 or 4/4 early enough to really take full advantage of the low cost, so treat it as a 5-drop on your curve and you get a better sense of its power.
This is by far the easiest way to cast a 5-drop on turn three, though it remains to be seen if that’s the best way to win games. I like the idea of this in a RG deck that can use it as a 2/1 for two and has reasonably-sized threats to ramp to. [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card] is the most natural fit, but [card ember swallower]swallowing embers[/card] and casting planeswalkers might also be a good plan. I don’t think that waiting on turn on ramp is worth it in a deck that just doesn’t want the body, so there probably aren’t very many [card]Goblin Charbelcher[/card]s in this guy’s future.
Random 2/1’s don’t seem fantastic in Theros, especially in green decks, so I’d recommend against succumbing to your hedonistic tendencies. If you need a 2-drop, so be it, but don’t play this with the expectation of doing a lot of ramping.
As annoying as this guy may be, it’s actually going to be impossible to kill him in Constructed. Of course, that’s mainly because he’s never going to show up there...
Even though it looks like a card advantage machine, Satyr Piper is just too slow to be of much use. If you have a big enough creature out that they can’t profitably block with, you don’t usually need a ton of help.
I swear, this is a savage rip-off of a card we just saw in Return to Ravnica, a card I remember being exactly as unplayable.
While one-shot tricks aren’t the best way to trigger heroic, Savage Surge is strong enough that it pulls its weight in heroic and non-heroic decks alike. It swings most combats, and can make attacking a risky proposition for your opponent.
If you are in desperate need of a 1-drop to block with, I suppose you could do worse.
Most of the big green decks need a little help getting off the ground, which this does provide. It’s not much for attacking, or dealing with fliers, but you can’t have it all for just one mana.
As big as the number “7” may look, this is just 50% more expensive than Plummet with a strictly worse text box.
Limited: 0.5 to 2.0
Funnily enough, this is one of the few sets where this plays mechanically different from Plummet. Seven damage is not always enough in this set, what with bestow and monstrous running around, though this is still a fine sideboard card.
He is staunch of heart and low of power level.
Because of how bad a 2/2 for four is, you will often need to trigger this multiple times to get real value, a quest that is often more trouble than it’s worth. This is a reasonable way to fill out a heroic deck, and does combine well with [card]Time to Feed[/card], but I’m rarely on the look out for this while drafting.
Despite being a hexproof creature, Sylvan Carytid is easier to kill than it looks. Its main weakness is that it gets picked up by Supreme Verdict and Anger of the Gods, along with whatever it happened to cast. Still, it’s a pretty awesome card, offering ramp, defense, and fixing all in one two-mana package. Ramping out planeswalkers may be the best way to get around mass removal, and even if you are mostly casting other creatures, the power level here is high enough to make it attractive.
This is a better version of Voyaging Satyr, and that card is already awesome. Carytid helps you cast your spells in a reasonable timeframe, and blocks pretty well once that job is done.
Time to Feed
[draft]Time to Feed[/draft]
Besides accurately describing Wrapter playing League of Legends, this doesn’t do a whole lot.
As we continue to play the “how bad can it get game” with removal, Time to Feed shows us that we haven’t hit bottom yet. It triggers heroic, kills annoying fliers, and overall helps shore up many of the weaknesses green tends to have.
Keep on walking.
Voyaging Satyr is a standout in a set with a ton of expensive cards, and is the least replaceable common for green decks in Limited. Even if you end up with a slightly worse big creature because you took this, the fact that you cast it a turn sooner more than makes up for the difference (and you will be able to pick up big cards).
I have to admit that I’ve never watched the fox video that people seem to like, but I feel like it’s an appropriate thing to mention here.
A 6/5 trample for six is surprisingly effective, even if the big green monster slot seems overfilled. I’ve been happy playing one or two of these, especially if I have a Voyaging Satyr or two, and combining this with [card]Baleful Eidolon[/card] is a mondo combo.
If you are reliably hitting with multiple creatures in the early game, this might be the green mage’s version of [card]Thoughtcast[/card]. Drawing two cards for one mana is worth expending a little effort, and if there is a green deck that is attacking anyway, signing up for lessons could be profitable.
This is at its best in a heroic deck, and is very good there. A common answer to heroic is just not blocking, and forcing the heroic deck to expend combat tricks for pure damage or just deal a small amount each turn. With Warrior’s Lesson, you get to trigger heroic and draw a bunch of cards, punishing the enemy for taking it and making your creatures bigger for the next attack.
Top 5 Green Commons
5. [card]Nessian Courser[/card]
4. [card]Time to Feed[/card]
3. [card]Leafcrown Dryad[/card]
2. [card]Nessian Asp[/card]
1. [card]Voyaging Satyr[/card]
Green gets a respectable mix of cards here, with a ramp creature, a good monstrous creature, a good bestow creature, a situational removal spell and an efficient 3/3. That's about a perfect distribution of options, and showcases the mixed bag that green is in this set.
Top 5 Green Constructed Cards
5. [card]Mistcutter Hydra[/card]
4. [card]Arbor Colossus[/card]
3. [card]Sylvan Carytid[/card]
2. [card]Boon Satyr[/card]
1. [card]Polukranos, World Eater[/card]
Five creatures later, and we have green's Constructed contributions. It's not too surprising, and there are a wide range of roles being filled with these cards, but it is funny that green continues to bring the bodies that make Constructed go round.
I'll be wrapping up my reviews with artifacts, multicolor, and Top 10 lists shortly!