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Battle for Zendikar Limited Set Review – Green

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*Retired and inducted into the Limited Hall of Fame: Pack Rat. Umezawa’s Jitte.

5.0: The best of the best. (Citadel Siege. Wingmate Roc. Dragonlord Atarka.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Tragic Arrogance. Whirler Rogue. Icefall Regent. Hangarback Walker.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Abbot of Keral Keep. Jhessian Thief. Ultimate Price.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Separatist Voidmage. Fiery Impulse. Epic Confrontation.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Deadbridge Shaman. Skyraker Giant. Watercourser.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Read the Bones. Silumgar Butcher. Dragon-Scarred Bear.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Throwing Knife. Chandra’s Fury. Artful Maneuver.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Vastwood Gorger. Aeronaut Tinkerer. Cobblebrute.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Thornbow Archer. Deep-Sea Terror. Akroan Jailer.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Vandalize. Vine Snare. Congregate.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Fascination. Infinite Obliteration.)

First, a quick note on 5.0s: I am slightly relaxing what I consider a 5, as reserving it for just the top cards ever in Limited isn’t as useful. Yes, Umezawa’s Jitte and Pack Rat are on another level, but cards like Citadel Siege or Atarka should make the list as well. You are going to see more cards get the highest grade, even though I’m not going so far as to say that the best card in a set automatically gets it. It’s possible for the best card to still not quite get there.

Beastcaller Savant

Limited: 3.0

Mana elves are always prized picks, but being unable to cast non-creature spells does dampen my enthusiasm on Beastcaller Savant. It is funny that Savant is the name here, given how he focuses on one thing (casting creatures) and is quite bad at everything else. With awaken being many of the expensive cards in the format, it’s unfortunate that Beastcaller doesn’t help cast them. Still, he does ramp most of your cards out, and is an Ally with haste to boot.

Blisterpod

Limited: 2.0

I like this little dude. Blisterpod is cheap, will often trade for a real card when all is said and done, and enables both sacrifice themes and bigger mana decks. A speedbump that dies into a Scion is not a bad deal, and I’m going to play Blisterpod in most of my decks. It definitely interacts well against opposing X/1’s, and blocking a 4/4 before ramping into your 7-drop is not bad for one mana. If you have zero ways to sacrifice or make use of this and your opponent is on a bunch of fliers, siding this out is acceptable.

Brood Monitor

Limited: 3.5

You get a lot for your six mana here. 6/6 worth of stats with mana-generating abilities is well worth the mana spent, and there’s unlikely to be one card that can trade for this (aside from something like a sweeper or counterspell). If your deck stops at six and has no cards that care about Scions, this isn’t quite as exciting, but it’s still a fine addition. What I’m really looking for with Brood Monitor is to ramp out a giant monster, or to give all my creatures +1/+0, those sorts of things.

Broodhunter Wurm

Limited: 3.0

Despite a higher percentage than normal of 3/3’s and 3/2’s, this is still a solid deal. The stats and cost line up well, and even though you can hunt for a better deal, this is going to make the cut.

Call the Scions

Limited: 2.0

This is like a Brood Monitor except that it doesn’t stand on its own nearly as well. I suppose the better comparison would be Blisterpod, and like Blisterpod, if you don’t have reasons to want Scions it’s just a fine card. I think you will play this more often than not, given what green is looking like.

Earthen Arms

Limited: 1.0

If you need a seven-mana finisher, this is acceptable, but it’s not rock-solid. I don’t want to cast it for two mana, and even at seven it pales in comparison to many of the other options.

Eyeless Watcher

Limited: 3.0

Kozilek’s Predator this is not, even if the total stats are comparable. The biggest drawback is that if you sacrifice the Scions to cast something, you are left with a 1/1 instead of a 3/3 (which is worse; I ran the numbers). I’m still going to play this every time, as it offers enough utility, even in a deck without gigantic cards.

From Beyond

Limited: 3.5

A 1/1 every turn is already solid, and given that the 1/1’s sacrifice for mana and otherwise combo in the set, this is beyond playable. The ability to sacrifice this to get an Eldrazi is very relevant too, and this card alone enables a good ramp strategy. I’d play this plus a giant Eldrazi even if I had no other support, and the odds of getting no other ramp cards is very unlikely.

Giant Mantis

Limited: 3.0

I would not have been very interested in Rise of the Eldrazi, but in this format I think Mantis will pull its weight. There are enough 3-power attacking creatures that this should stop plenty of your opponent’s cards, and at a good price to boot.

Greenwarden of Murasa

Limited: 4.0

A six-mana 5/4 that draws a good card coming and going is very powerful. By the time you can cast this, something good has to be in your graveyard, and you are barely paying for the ability. Greenwarden’s strength does rely somewhat on having other good cards in your deck, but it’s going to be good to great in any deck.

Infuse with the Elements

Limited: 2.0

I tend to like the converge cards that work with two colors of mana a lot more, and this is no exception. If you are a two-color deck with outs to hit three, this is playable, and at 3-4 colors it becomes quite strong. You do have to want a combat trick, which is not universally true of green decks.

Jaddi Offshoot

Limited: 0.5

Stopping 2-power ground creatures and gaining small amounts of life is a sideboard proposition if I’ve ever see one. I will want to have access to one of these, but don’t expect to side it in all that often.

Lifespring Druid

Limited: 3.0

My keyboard almost stuck and gave this a 30.0, which I found momentarily amusing. Maybe it’s just the set-review related delirium, but I thought it was funny. Anyways, this a good card (even if not a 30). It’s worse at ramping than Leaf Gilder, but still good enough at both accelerating and combat that you will always play it. Converge being in the set makes tapping for any color a good upside, so some decks will want this at a higher rate than others.

Murasa Ranger

Limited: 3.0

This is almost Invoker-esque in its ability to give you something to do with excess mana. The cost is high enough that I wouldn’t expect to immediately use it on turn five, but it’s a very nice option to have, and one you aren’t paying much for.

Natural Connection

Limited: 1.0

This card has been one of the most controversial, so it’ll be interesting to see where it settles. I’m on the side of not liking a three-mana ramp spell, even if it’s a combat trick with landfall. Landfall decks don’t always even want to accelerate to large amount of mana, and saving this to use as a combat trick sounds quite mediocre to me. It does ramp you, and does fix your mana, so it is going to be playable in some decks, but I don’t anticipate playing it very often.

Nissa’s Renewal

Limited: 1.5

Now this means business (businissa?). If you want to hit 8+ mana, Nissa’s Renewal gets you there and gives you the life you need to survive to cast your giant spells. How often your deck will want this effect isn’t clear yet, but in a big mana deck I like the idea. The rating reflects the average, since this is unplayable in many decks and presumably great in others (though it’s something I plan on testing out to see just how great).

Oran-Rief Hydra

Limited: 3.5

To some degree, this is just a big dumb animal, with all the vulnerabilities and lack of speed that comes with. However, it’s a really big one, and that makes it a good enough finisher that it’s a cut above most commons and uncommons.

Oran-Rief Invoker

Limited: 2.5

Classic invoker power creep (poor Stonewood Invoker). If you want a 2-drop that’s good in the lategame, this definitely fits the bill. Not every deck wants 2-drops, but enough do that this should make the cut almost always.

Plated Crusher

Limited: 2.5

As far as 7-drops go, one that shrugs off removal is actually quite strong. I love being able to tap seven mana and have no fear of bounce or kill spells, though I do have to temper my enthusiasm with the crushing realization that some decks (I’ve heard), don’t want seven-drops at all. Brutal, but real.

Plummet

Limited: 0.5

Strictly sideboard material. I sometimes maindeck Plummet in sealed, but I’m not seeing that here at all, so just bring this in against 3+ fliers you want to deal with.

Reclaiming Vines

Limited: 1.0

On the other hand, this could be maindeckable if you need another card. It kills awakened lands, there are a couple enchantments (though one or two more common ones would have made this a solid maindeck choice), and overall is a decent option to have. I’ll lean towards not starting it, but if you have to it isn’t the worst.

Retreat to Kazandu

Limited: 1.0

I’m still on the “not quite worth a card” side of all the non-white Retreats, and this is no exception. It just doesn’t do enough in most games to be worth it.

Rot Shambler

Limited: 2.5

In any deck with 15+ creatures, I expect this to be solid. It gets pretty rotten as your creature count drops (and clearly cards that make Eldrazi Scions count as creatures for this calculation), but the high end is high enough.

Scythe Leopard

Limited: 2.0

In the aggressive landfall deck, this is a great addition. In any midrange or control deck, it’s quite marginal. Make sure you are beatdown before including this and you should be good.

Seek the Wilds

Limited: 1.5

The flexibility this offers is nice in a ramp deck, or any deck that isn’t focused on playing a 2-drop on turn two. Giving up two mana is a cost, but having a split card that’s a land or a creature is definitely an advantage. Clearly don’t run this in a 10-creature deck, or anything of the sort.

Snapping Gnarlid

Limited: 3.0

I’d snap this up if I was planning on attacking. Scythe Leopard might be better in Constructed, but this is surely superior in Limited. It blocks well enough that even midrange decks are happy playing it, and it attacks for three instead of two.

Swell of Growth

Limited: 1.5

This is a swell combat trick, but not one I’m putting a high priority on. Like Natural Connection, it’s a medium trick and a medium ramp spell, but this does a better job in combat than Connection does at ramp, and those are the primary functions of each card.

Sylvan Scrying

Limited: 0.5

Only play this if you are absolutely desperate for fixing. Bonus points if you can pick up a good non-basic, but even then this is mediocre. Paying two mana for color fixing and not ramp is not what you want.

Tajuru Beastmaster

Limited: 1.5

Swarm decks don’t tend to want a ton of six-drops, and the Ally decks in this format seem to be much more aggressive than this. It’s a fine way to top off your curve, but nothing I’d be overly excited about.

Tajuru Stalwart

Limited: 2.0

In a 2-color deck, this is filler, which means you sometimes play it. In a 3-color deck, it’s very solid, and the kind of card that rewards you for converging without requiring you always hit all your colors immediately.

Tajuru Warcaller

Limited: 3.5

There’s a world of difference between +1/+1 and +2/+2, as this and Beastmaster show. As a 1-shot mini-Overrun, this is a good card in any creature-heavy deck. If you can repeatedly trigger the effect, it becomes awesome, and the rating reflects that.

Territorial Baloth

Limited: 3.0

Solid stats, a good ability, and strong on defense and offense alike. There’s nothing to complain about here.

Undergrowth Champion

Limited: 3.5

This is another one of those rares (mythics) that gets a high rating for how much it can dominate the game when played on curve. If you play this turn three, you can attack without much fear over and over again, and it does a great job if you need to block. It is more exciting in Constructed, given fetchlands, but even in Limited this is going to do some good work.

Unnatural Aggression

Limited: 3.0

The common fight card is good again, with the twist being that it exiles. The instant-speed part is the most exciting, but I’d bump this up a little if you care about the exiling ability. It’s worth noting that this effect is less replicable than the other green commons. You will take this higher than the random creatures, just because it’s an actual removal spell.

Void Attendant

Limited: 2.0

I tend to like the processors that can wait until later to be active. You can cast this and use it in combat without giving up the chance to process, unlike the ones that trigger when cast, and that’s a significant upside. It’s not great if you have zero ways to enable it, but I’d play this if I had even just a couple.

Woodland Wanderer

Limited: 4.0

Vigilance, trample, and good stats is a great deal for four mana. This is very playable in a 2-color deck, strong in a 3-color one, and absurd if you can cast it as a 6/6. Woodland Wanderer is the type of card I’d play always and try and squeeze in a way to make extra colors of mana for.

Top 5 Green Commons

5. Giant Mantis
4. Snapping Gnarlid
3. Eyeless Watcher
2. Lifespring Druid
1. Unnatural Aggression

Green’s commons aren’t the most exciting. It has a collection of decent creatures, decent ramp, and a decent removal spell, but nothing that would strongly pull me in. It does a good job of providing support for beatdown and big mana decks alike, but I think you need an uncommon/rare or a clear signal before you end up moving into green.

LSV

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