Previous AKH Set Reviews
Let’s take a look at the grading scale, with the usual caveat that what I write about the card is more relevant, as there are many factors that aren’t reflected in a card’s grade.
The ratings scale is slightly different as well:
5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Collected Company. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren. Radiant Flames. Shambling Vent.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Zulaport Cutthroat. Explosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept. Anticipate. Transgress the Mind.)
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.)
Champion of Rhonas
The possibility to cheat enormous monsters into play is enticing, and on a 3/3 it’s slightly more than a pipe dream. It’s still a lot to ask to have a 4-drop survive, and to have something giant in hand, but this could be a card Marvel decks side in against decks that take out removal.
This is one of the stronger 2-drop accelerants we’ve seen, as it ramps your mana and then becomes a 3/4 threat later in the game. Green decks are becoming more 2-drop focused, thanks to a lack of good 1s, and Channeler Initiate is already seeing play in decks like Black-Green Delirium. Servant of the Conduit ended up being a staple, and this could as well.
Dissenter’s Deliverance does a few neat things. It’s a way to kill Heart of Kiran and Torrential Gearhulk that isn’t dead thanks to cycling, and it also gets you closer to delirium. That adds up to enough value that this looks like a perfect 1- or 2-of in green midrange decks.
If you want beef, Honored Hydra has you covered. It’s a hard-to-kill threat that requires multiple removal spells (or just 1 Cast Out), and if you can discard it to an effect, comes back for 4 mana. It’s likely not quite there, but it’s got potential.
Despite no longer tapping down an army of artifact Felidar Guardians (which, if we are being honest, wasn’t going to work anyway), Manglehorn looks like a solid addition to the metagame. As a 1-of to Traverse for, it kills Vehicles and more, and the second ability can come in handy. Viridian Shaman saw play on its own merits, and Manglehorn is just a better version. I like it as both a sideboard and main deck card, and expect it to show up.
The best counter to Serpopard is that it isn’t actually good enough. Decks that run counters also run removal, and you aren’t even that excited about countering their 4/3 vanilla creatures anyway. It’s not horrible, but you can do better, and reports of this being a true hoser are overblown.
Rhonas the Indomitable
Rhonas is the real deal. It’s not hard to have just 1 creature with 4 power in play, and Rhonas self-solves, just like the rest of the Gods. Constructed is filled with efficient creatures (Grim Flayer, Tireless Tracker, sometimes Heart of Kiran), and Rhonas seems like a natural fit for an aggressive green midrange deck.
The main strength here is with New Perspectives, but just cycling this normally also could play. At 4, you are paying a premium, but getting 2 cards and a land drop is a real payoff. I also like how this interacts with various black planeswalkers, as both Lilianas can get Monitor back for additional value.
Not killing Heart of Kiran is a big miss, but it’s possible there are enough small flyers to make Stinging Shot a plausible sideboard card. Cycling helps make any card better, even ones not quite good enough to see play otherwise.
Mouth // Feed
Call of the Herd has been outclassed these days, and for Mouth // Feed to see play, you’d need a deck where Feed is reliably good. It might serve as a sideboard card for matchups that get into board stalls, but otherwise I don’t have much appetite for this.
Top 5 Green Cards
Green didn’t make out all that well here. There are some solid cards, but it feels behind most of the other colors. Still, the Felidar Guardian ban helped green decks significantly, so maybe there’s nothing to complain about.