5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Siege Rhino. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren. Seeker of the Way. Hordeling Outburst.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Deathmist Raptor. Dromoka’s Command.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept. Tragic Arrogance. Dragon Fodder.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living Guildpact. Naturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation 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.)
Beastcaller Savant is one of the best examples of how scarcity can create demand. In this case, the relative lack of good mana accelerants means that Savant will see play, even if it’s no Sylvan Caryatid or Elvish Mystic. Granted, it does have some advantages, like haste and the ability to attack, but only being able to cast creatures is a significant deckbuilding restriction. 3+ color creature decks will lean on a combination of Beastcaller and Rattleclaw Mystic, as having multiple accelerators is key in a deck trying to cast 4+ mana spells.
Blisterpod is the definition of an archetype staple. It does a perfect job in the type of deck looking for cards like this, and will enable those decks to flourish when they otherwise wouldn’t. It combines very well with sacrifice effects, and in some kind of Nantuko Husk or Vampiric Rites deck, it could be valuable.
Adding a mana to Awakening Zone is a big deal, given that acceleration is one of the purposes of this card. On the other hand, getting a 1/1 instead of a 0/1 makes this much better at affecting the board, and letting you cash this in for an Eldrazi goes above and beyond the original effect. This is still slow enough that I’d call it niche, but the power level is there.
Greenwarden of Murasa
Den Protector has a gigantic friend, and it means business. Greenwarden is huge and eventually nets you two cards, barring something like Utter End or Stasis Snare. That’s an impressive combination of on-board presence and card advantage, even if looping Greenwardens isn’t possible like it is with Den Protector. The best use I can see for this is to hit it off See the Unwritten (you even get to choose from anything that goes to the graveyard off See) or sideboard it in for the really grindy matchups. Additional enormous Den Protectors sound pretty good in the Abzan mirror.
It might be a shot in the dark, but this looks pretty solid against Mono-Red. It’s like a green Arashin Cleric that trades a point of power for potential additional life gain and costs one less to boot. Feed the Clan has new competition in the anti-red sideboard arena.
As long as Explosive Vegetation and Rattleclaw Mystic are in the format, I doubt we are going to need to resort to this, but when the mana acceleration options dry up, who knows how desperate we’ll become.
Now this has potential. Not only can you build a Constructed deck that legitimately wants 9+ mana, gaining 7 life is the perfect way to survive to use that mana. That this costs 6 does put it in a strange spot, since 6 is usually where you are casting cards you have ramped to—not additional ramp—but this combination of ramp and life gain is a good one, and there are 10-mana cards in this format that are worth casting. Primeval Titan this is not, but there may be something here.
Every now and then, a mono-green deck sides in Plummets to deal with annoying fliers. It’s good to have around, even if not very exciting. Plus, the new dual lands mean that any deck can easily splash, which has to mean that this plummets in value.
Creeping Mold is back, and it’s in vine form. I like the flexibility this offers, as you can side it in against specific enchantments and just target lands if those enchantments don’t show up.
Retreat to Kazandu
While I prefer Jaddi Offshoot when it comes to life gain, Retreat to Kazandu is more flexible. It can gain life in a race, and buff your creatures when you aren’t threatened. The two abilities combined could justify its inclusion.
Many jokes were made about how this was no Wild Nacatl, but in Standard, it might not be far behind. If this routinely attacks as a 3/3, it’s an excellent card, and you can even save up fetchlands if you need to push it through as a 4/4 in a particular turn. Green has some good aggressive creatures right now, and given how good mana bases are, playing a turn-1 Scythe Leopard is a very reasonable plan. I like this card, and I recommend trying it (or, if you are Pat Cox, I recommend buying the original art to go along with your Wild Nacatl piece).
Seek the Wilds
Every effect like this that has seen play has gotten value by dumping the cards in the graveyard, so it’s not a good sign that this doesn’t. It still might be worth it as a pseudo-Impulse, but I’d seek a more flexible card in most decks.
Snapping Gnarlid is significantly worse than Scythe Leopard, as getting Battlegrowthed is not an upside in Constructed. It still is a powerful attacker and could fill out an aggressive green deck’s curve. Landfall is a real deck, and I’d be surprised if these cards don’t see play. They are cheap and become immense very easily, making them the perfect core of creatures for aggro.
The rating here is a bit deceptive. Yes, this card is an archetype staple in Modern, as it makes Red/Green Tron a deck, but printing it here doesn’t change that. I don’t see this making an impact in Standard, but I know if I left it off I’d be yelled at by people who wanted me to mention that it’s good in Tron (which it is, and will still be).
Though this seems more like a Limited bomb than a Constructed card—make no mistake, it’s absurd—Warcaller does offer multiple triggers in a dedicated Ally deck. It could be a finisher for that deck.
Much has been said about how Undergrowth Champion is overrated or underrated (I guess the possibility that it’s correctly rated isn’t considered?). Here’s what I think: the card is certainly powerful, and cheap enough to let you harness that power in most games, but it lacks an obvious home. Landfall would be the place for it, but I don’t know how many 3-drops the deck wants, so I’d start with a couple copies in the main deck and a couple in the sideboard.
This card is an absolute beating against red, but the vulnerability against removal like Valorous Stance and Ruinous Path makes me worry about investing too much into it. Undergrowth Champion is a good card, but being good isn’t a guarantee that it will see play. My best guess is that the card shows up in some decks, and sees some play, but doesn’t dominate the format.
As monstrous as this may be, it’s still a french vanilla creature at the end of the day. The good news is that getting 3-4 colors of mana isn’t difficult, but the bad news is that this dies to any removal that hits big creatures, with no returning value. The stats are good enough to consider this during its time in Standard, but Siege Rhino version 2.0 this is not.
Top 3 Green Cards
Green got some odd cards in this set. All three of these cards enable fairly different decks, and they are all role-players more than straight-up engines. That being said, green received a lot of cards that cooperate well with specific themes, even if there aren’t a ton that are great just on pure power level. I don’t mind green taking a back seat in Standard, especially because of how good it has been recently, so getting a bunch of enabler cards is a nice break.