Much like the Limited reviews, I’m shaking up how I approach Constructed this time around. By splitting the two up, I’m actually just going to review the cards I think have a shot at making it into Constructed. I’m casting a wide net, but reviewing 4-cost 3/3s with marginal abilities is punishing for everyone.
If you missed the Limited Reviews, I’ve got you covered:
I also get to tackle two colors at once, starting with white and blue!
Here’s the rating system I’ll be using, though you won’t see any “1s” today.
5.0: Multi-format All-Star ([card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card]. [card]Tarmogoyf[/card]. [card]Snapcaster Mage[/card]. [card]Judge’s Familar[/card])
4.0: Format staple. ([card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card]. [card]Supreme Verdict[/card]. [card]Thoughtseize[/card]. [card]Pack Rat[/card])
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. ([card]Geist of Saint Traft[/card]. [card]Nightveil Specter[/card]).
3.0: Archetype staple. ([card]Underworld Connections[/card]. [card]Thassa, God of the Sea[/card])
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. ([card]Rapid Hybridization[/card]. [card]Divination[/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.)
I know it’s an easy thing to wish for, but I’d be a little more excited if this cost one mana. For tricks like this, the extra mana is so much more prohibiting, because it’s a full extra turn if you want to play a guy with this up. If you build around this, you do get rewarded, and saving a [card]Banisher Priest[/card] from a [card]Lightning Strike[/card] sounds pretty filthy. The WW decks have so many white symbols naturally that the main cost here is really that it’s an expensive trick, which might still make it good enough as a sideboard card.
[ccProd]Brimaz, King of Oreskos[/ccProd]
[draft]Brimaz, King of Oreskos[/draft]
As I said in my preview article, Brimaz is going be the one king to rule them all, at least in terms of white beatdown decks. In Standard, he’s going to be an auto-include in Plains-heavy aggressive decks, and is powerful enough to try many different builds of such decks. He’s even purrfect for some different Modern decks, and it’s funny that both [ccProd]Bitterblossom[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Wild Nacatl[/ccProd] could both potentially be paired with Brimaz to great success. The size, cost, and abilities all line up so well here that Brimaz is just impossible to ignore.
[ccProd]Eidolon of Countless Battles[/ccProd]
[draft]Eidolon of Countless Battles[/draft]
I really like the idea of bestowing this and smashing for an extra 3-4 damage, after which it survives [card]Supreme Verdict[/card] and hits for a good chunk as a followup. [ccProd]Mutavault[/ccProd] plus Eidolon is a very real threat to control decks, and the bestow cost is low enough here that I think it’d be unwise to count this out.
Here’s another card I’m excited to try, though not in the same deck as the above two. UW-based control finally gets a planeswalker/creature sweeper that doesn’t kill [ccProd]Detention Sphere[/ccProd], which really was the only reason [card]Planar Cleansing[/card] didn’t see more play. We had two in our board at Pro Tour Gatecrash, but the cost of siding out Spheres was pretty big, and we didn’t even have the full four Spheres. Nowadays, that’s just not possible, so getting a sweeper that works with the rest of your deck is big news.
Fated Retribution is also an instant, letting you keep up mana for counters, Revelations, and more without losing value. Blowing up the world and then having your mana untapped is awesome, and enables the full-on counter wall at all times. I really like the idea of 1-2 of these in a UW deck, likely with no splash because of color requirements.
[ccProd]Hero of Iroas[/ccProd]
[draft]Hero of Iroas[/draft]
I can’t imagine I’ll enjoy playing against any deck where this is the hero, since Aura-based decks are always the villain. That doesn’t mean that Hero of Iroas is bad, and if there are enough Auras that have colorless mana in their costs, a hexproof-style deck could be alive and well.
The existence of this makes sideboarding with white decks a little easier, as now they have a good answer to [card]Detention Sphere[/card], [card]Underworld Connections[/card], Gods, and more, all in one.
[ccProd]Spirit of the Labyrinth[/ccProd]
[draft]Spirit of the Labyrinth[/draft]
This is a Vintage/Legacy staple more than anything else, and it’s a beating in those formats. Not only does it horribly embarrass [ccProd]Brainstorm[/ccProd], it turns off a ton of cards in [card delver of secrets]Delver[/card] decks, and [ccProd]Aether Vial[/ccProd] means it’s ready to ambush card draw at any point. Death and Taxes finally became one of the best decks in the format a few months ago, and this amazing card will only help solidify that.
[ccProd]Vanguard of Brimaz[/ccProd]
[draft]Vanguard of Brimaz[/draft]
Targeting the Vanguard draws you a 1/1 token for free, which is a decent ability on a 2/2 for WW, especially if devotion is relevant. As with all the other heroic cards, you need to find a deck that doesn’t mind playing cheap targeting spells.
This might be Divination’s high point, as a tier 1 deck is playing four copies, which already means that this is a great format. We already have access to this, but why not spend a few minutes talking about it?
Triple-blue is an imposing mana cost, but an instant-speed [card]Clone[/card] is powerful enough to warrant a second look. I did see Conley go off with this at the prerelease with [card]Mnemonic Wall[/card], though that’s more of a Limited interaction than anything else. I don’t think this is going to be a huge Constructed card, just something worth keeping an eye on. If there’s a deck that reliably has good targets in play, this is cheap enough to do some damage.
In the Hero of Iroas deck, why not shoot for the stars and go off with the Astronomer?
As Tom Martell mentioned in his article, this may be a 9th copy of the UU 2-drop for Mono-Blue, but that’s about the extent of it.
I like [card]Essence Scatter[/card] more than this for the most part, but if there’s a deck that truly doesn’t care about the extra colored mana symbol in the cost, Nullify does provide a little more value.
The subsection of cards Mono-Blue is interested in is pretty small, so picking up a solid playable at all is not bad. [card]Thassa’s Rebuff[/card] can help the deck win while ahead, increase its mid-game power, and make [card]Sphinx’s Revelation[/card] (and now [card]Fated Retribution[/card]) much more risky.
While I am underwhelmed by this in general, I bring it up for two reasons. The first is that it is a pseudo-lock with [card]Mnemonic Wall[/card] (Shahar decked someone with it at the prerelease), and I like the flavor, minus the [card]Master of Waves[/card] getting affected part.
Top 3 White Cards
3. [ccProd]Fated Retribution[/ccProd]
2. [ccProd]Spirit of the Labyrinth[/ccProd]
1. [ccProd]Brimaz, King of Oreskos[/ccProd]
White did very well for itself here. [ccProd]Brimaz[/ccProd] and [card spirit of the labyrinth]Spirit[/card] are both awesome, and even the 3rd and 4th place finishers ([card]Fated Retribution[/card] and [card]Eidolon of Countless Battles[/card]) are interesting. That’s a good haul for a small set, and Brimaz would be impressive in any set.
Top 3 Blue Cards
2. [ccProd]Thassa’s Rebuff[/ccProd]
Sorry, blue. At least you get to draw some cards!
Next up are black and red, which both picked up some solid removal spells.