Previous Limited Reviews: White | Blue | Black | Red | Gold & Artifacts
Welcome to my Theros Beyond Death set reviews. I’ve been reviewing each and every set since Alara Reborn, and I always kick things off with Limited. This review will give each card a grade for Limited, which does mean both Sealed and Draft. However, if there is a meaningful difference between the two formats for a specific card, I’ll call that out in the comments. Note that the grades help you compare the cards to each other, or see where a card lands at a glance, but the commentary on the cards tells the full story. Enjoy!
Note: The gold/artifacts review will be following this one shortly. Thanks! – LSV
Retired and inducted into the Limited Hall of Fame: Pack Rat. Umezawa’s Jitte. The Scarab God.
5.0: The best of the best. (Oko, Thief of Crowns. Embercleave.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (The Great Henge. Lochmere Serpent. Stonecoil Serpent.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Murderous Rider. Bonecrusher Giant. Edgewall Inkeeper.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Bake into a Pie. Scorching Dragonfire. Covetous Urge.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Rimrock Knight. Trapped in the Tower. Maraleaf Rider.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Rosethorn Acolyte. Lost Legion. Youthful Knight.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Raging Redcap. Garenbrig Squire. Wicked Guardian.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Ogre Errant. Sporecap Spider. Fling.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Eye Collector. Fortifying Provisions.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Return to Nature. Crystal Slipper.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Irencrag Feat. One with Nothing.)
Arasta spins a tangled web, and your opponent will have a hard time killing you once they are tangled in it. We are reaching the point in the set review where I have gotten to play with/against these cards, and I will note that Arasta is an excellent defender but won’t close out games by itself. I faced this down with a UB deck full of spells, and largely just ignored their Spiders as I milled them out, so make sure you’ve got some good win conditions (which this will buy you more than enough time to find).
This has a lot of words for not a lot of effect. At the end of all this, you get a couple life, some self-mill, and a very slow Raise Dead. If you got that all at once, this would likely be worth two mana, but having to wait two turns for the best effect makes this a titanic waste of a slot.
Chainweb is a fine way to use up your escape slots, though be aware that you can’t just jam 5-6 escape cards and get full value from all of them. This does heavily punish fliers, and is good in a sacrifice deck, but I’ve seen it get stranded in play in green midrange decks a few times as well. Your opponent has a good amount of control over when this hits the graveyard, and they will see the escape coming, so this isn’t always going to play out exactly as you want.
I really like Destiny Spinner. It’s got great stats and is an enchantment, and the land-animation ability can be very potent in the lategame. Plus, it randomly hoses counterspells, which is nice text to get essentially for free.
In some draws, this will act as a double accelerant and even fix your mana. In others, it’ll be “just” a 2/4 enchantment creature for a cheap cost. I like both of those outcomes, and will be happy playing this in any green deck. It gets bonus points if you’re splashing, and given enough Ilysian Caryatids, you may be able to put together a nice 5-color beast.
Continuity: 1.0 (see Arena Athlete‘s flavor text)
The Iroans don’t mess around, but they do apparently have time for games. This gives you a lot of stats, a lot of cards, and even a nice gold medal at the end. However, you get the gold medal even if you don’t successfully trigger the 3rd chapter, which makes it a participation trophy. This card plays out really well, as it does everything without help, making a 1/1, then buffing it, then drawing based on it, and will play even better if you have support (like other 4-power creatures). I really like this card, and inconsistency regarding medals aside, think the flavor is about as good as I’ve ever seen on a Magic card.
I wouldn’t call this a gift, as a fairly vanilla combat trick isn’t really what most green decks seem to be in the market for. Still, it’s playable if you are interested in winning creature combats, but green’s creatures are big enough that they mostly will do that on their own. It also doesn’t support too many themes, with an outside impact on 4-power matters and heroic.
Unchecked, Hydra’s Growth will end the game in about 3-4 turns. It’s a high-payoff high-risk card, and I would shy away from it without protection. It combines exceedingly well with Karametra’s Blessing and Starlit Mantle, and can also be a great SB card against decks without the right kinds of removal. I’d tend to run this in the Auras/Constellation deck, and be aware of what removal your opponent may have when deciding whether to side this in or out.
Hyrax Tower Scout gets dunked on by all the common creatures with escape, making it weaker than it would be in a normal set. It’s still a fine playable if you need bodies, but a ground dork that trades poorly with cards like Loathsome Chimera and doesn’t have 4-power for the RG theme is not where I want to be.
The 2-drop mana dork slot is always good, and this one is better than most. It taps for any color of mana, making 3+ color decks function (and even just fixing mana in a 2-color deck), and it even taps for two mana a good portion of the time. I’m a big fan of the Caryatid, and will gladly take this early.
More like Inspire Naw. This is an expensive effect that won’t even always work, and at best it’s a sideboard card in a deck full of enchantments vs a deck without any, which is rare (and this isn’t necessarily even good then, because you need a lot of creatures on both sides to make this worthwhile).
Limited: 1.0 // 3.0
The vast majority of decks won’t want this, as it requires a heavy dedication to both green and creatures (and be in need of a finisher). However, if you do find yourself flush on green monsters and don’t have a good way to close out the game, this does the trick. Note that it doesn’t give trample, which these effects typically do.
Loathsome Chimera has really grown on me. This card not only enables the 4-power matters theme at a very low cost, it also is something you’re happy to trade off (and it does so easily), after which you can bring it back at a low escape cost. This is a good one, and will do the job in a variety of different decks.
Mantle of the Wolf gives you a ton of stats for not a ton of mana, and by making multiple Wolves on death, negates much of the risk when it comes to Auras. This is an excellent card, and one you’ll be happy taking early. It’s also nice when your bomb is tutorable via a good common, Heliod’s Pilgrim in this case. This also makes Wolves when the Mantle dies, which means even a Return to Nature doesn’t blow you out completely.
Ah yes, the green Swords to Plowshares. Moss Viper is a good defensive play, though a little anemic if your plan is to beat down. It does combine nicely with Warbriar Blessing, so be on the lookout for that combo.
This may not be my favorite Repeal, but it’s really well-positioned in this format. It’s a one-mana removal spell against most decks, and even with some targeting restrictions it’s got plenty it can take out. It also doesn’t put them in the graveyard, which on balance is much better than destroying the target.
Nessian Boar is a very threatening card, as it can chomp entire boards and sometimes still live to tell the tale. This combines well with removal or tricks, since the blocks are forced, and even if they get a card per creature you will end up very far ahead on board. The biggest thing to watch out for is the opponent blocking with a couple creatures, drawing some cards, and then bouncing or killing the board, so against open mana you often will want to just pass on attacking.
I’ve been really impressed by the Hornbeetle. It curves perfectly into Loathsome Chimera, and on most boards it will end up growing. Note that this won’t grow if it’s the only 4-power creature in play, unlike some of the other cards in the set. A cheap creature that’s good any point in the game and can snowball very quickly is exactly what I’m looking for with my early picks.
Not all who wander are lost, and this one in particular knows exactly where it’s going – valuetown. Nessian Wanderer is a low-cost way to draw a bunch of extra cards, and you don’t need tons of enchantments to justify this, as one trigger already pays for it. It is a little annoying that you do need to note your deck order, since even though you don’t know the exact order you will loop through your deck and it’s good to know the rough area where certain cards are.
Nexus Wardens offers a fine way to stay alive in a defensive Constellation deck, though you don’t have that many slots for non-enchantment cards, and this isn’t among the strongest payoffs.
Limited: 2.0 // 3.0
Nylea is similar to Purphoros, in that I don’t really like her outside of a heavy green deck. Making your creatures cheaper and offering expensive card draw isn’t a complete blank, so I could see Nylea being a good option as a finisher in a control/constellation deck. Note that you don’t have to bin the card she reveals, so if it’s a blank you can mill it, if it’s a creature you get to draw it, and if it’s a good non-creature spell you can keep it on top.
This is worth running in most green decks, as it fuels enchantments and 4-power matters. Plus, trample on everything adds up, and if you ever win a combat with a trick, you get to pummel the opponent for some extra damage.
Huntmaster is a fine addition to any base green deck, and can really overperform in concert with Nylea’s Forerunner. It also has the magic number of 4 power, which makes it appealing for decks that care about that too.
I see this strictly as a sideboard card against fliers, because paying 4-5 mana to get some lands into hand is not worth it.
Nyx Herald attacks as a 3/4 and can pump other creatures right away, making it an efficient attacker and a good way to up your enchantment count.
By the time you can cast this, extra mana doesn’t do much for you, and it’s not even that big for its cost. Leave this one to the Constructed brewers.
If you’re lacking in high end, this does up your devotion and overall stats by quite a bit. I don’t like that it dies to millions of removal spells, so don’t rely overmuch on this living against opponents with Revoke effects.
I’m a little higher on this than I thought I’d be. Getting an enchantment at instant speed is pretty useful, and this can help fix your colors when you’re splashing. Plus, upping devotion and later scrying are both minor advantages, making this barely above the line in most decks.
I often say things brawl, and this literally does. It’s a great 6-drop and will get rid of annoying utility creatures and medium-sized ones without much issue. I also really like the updated template to fight cards – you choose up to one creature, but if you choose a creature the fight will happen. That means there is no more “target your creature, you cast a pump spell, decide not to fight”. If you pick a fight, you’re fighting, no last-minute backing down.
Unlike Disenchants, Plummet remains a sideboard card in this format.
As long as you have 14+ creatures, I’m in for pursuing relentlessly. This gives you a 2 for 1 while filling your graveyard, and is the perfect escape enabler as a result.
Renata does a great job enabling multiple decks, as the cards in this cycle tend to do. She’s also just a strong card in her own right, and something I’m always glad to play. She brawls well, and her passive ability adds up to a lot of value over the course of the game.
I like the first two of these in any deck, though you will have to side them out sometimes. Ideally you are blowing up an artifact/enchantment, but the fail case of removing an escape card isn’t the absolute worst. This being an instant is huge, as you can really engineer some good midcombat blowouts.
Setessan Champion is a build-around, but not one that’s hard at all to enable. If this doesn’t die, the opponent almost assuredly does, as Setessan Champion gives you a steady stream of cards while also getting you ahead on the board. It even snowballs, as drawing a card leads to more enchantments, and so on.
This already gains 2 by itself, so you don’t need much more to make this worth a card. I like this as a way to win races or put yourself out of reach, and would play it in any heavy green deck.
Constellation decks don’t seem particularly aggressive, so this is mostly just a 2-drop for decks that lack one. You’ll pick up a pump here and there, but this isn’t what you are looking for in the decks that nominally would enable this the best.
I love Setessan Training. It’s a great enabler card, triggering heroic, constellation, devotion, and 4-power matters. That’s a lot for one unassuming card, and I suspect most people are not taking this highly enough.
You’ll play this in decks looking to up their enchantment count, but that’s about it. The ability can randomly gain you a couple life or enable escape, but it’s not so powerful that you’d play it for that reason.
The Typhon is great on four and a real threat on seven, making it a very solid card. There’s no green deck that doesn’t want this, and it combines nicely with milling or the 4-power matters theme.
This often will operate as a removal spell that leaves value behind, and being an enchantment gives it a ton more play. Warbriar Blessing is one of the strongest green fight cards we’ve seen, both on its own merits and because of tons of great additional synergy.
Wolfwillow Haven plays nicely as a ramp spell that you can cash in later, all while sticking around for devotion/enchantment synergies.
Top 5 Green Commons
Green has an incredible suite of commons, and Return to Nature and Relentless Pursuit are on par with almost everything on this list. After Blessing, I could see taking any of the other cards, depending on what your deck is trying to do. I am high on Setessan Training and Loathsome Chimera, but they’ve both overperformed for me, so I’m curious what you think.