If you missed the Limited Reviews::
And don’t forget Constructed:
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.)
[ccProd]Archetype of Endurance[/ccProd]
[draft]Archetype of Endurance[/draft]
It’s probably just my propensity for 8-drops that has me reviewing this, but the possibility of making your whole team immune to targeted spells while also getting a 6/5 does seem impressive. There aren’t many attrition-based matchups where the opponent has no sweepers, but if there is, giant hexproof creatures are the archetypal answer.
[ccProd]Courser of Kruphix[/ccProd]
[draft]Courser of Kruphix[/draft]
Of course, I like any card that lets you play free lands and gain life, and said so in my preview article. My opinions haven’t changed since then; Courser looks like a promising card for any midrange or control deck that wants a lot of lands, and gets even better once you add any sort of deck manipulation.
The main advantage this has over [card]Advent of the Wurm[/card] is that it’s single-color, which lets it see play in a wider range of decks. Triple-green is still no joke, but getting six power/toughness at instant speed isn’t either (two Centaurs walk into a bar…). Ambushing attackers and leaving mana up during your opponent’s turn is mostly going to be better than scrying for 2, though it is a nice option to have. The best place I can see for this is a green-based control/midrange deck, possibly out of the board against other control decks. Resolve a couple of these and you have a real centaurmy, which could hasten the centaurmageddon.
[ccProd]Hero of Leina Tower[/ccProd]
[draft]Hero of Leina Tower[/draft]
I wouldn’t leina on this too hard because of how mana-intensive it is, but if there’s a dedicated heroic deck it could be a good way to safeguard against flood. I still haven’t seen this mythical heroic deck in action or even proposed, so take all heroic recommendations with a grain of salt.
Mono-green is always in the hunt for good sideboard cards, and this could break the mirror wide open. Oftentimes both sides will have random large things out, and those things are easily chumped by mana Elves. One Hunter’s Prowess later and you get to do 4-6 damage to them and draw a full grip of cards, possibly even chaining into another Hunter’s Prowess.
Cantrip mana fixing is powerful enough to see play in all sorts of formats, though I expect this to make more of an impact in Block/Pauper rather than Standard. It is potentially a heroic enabler, though you would often rather bash than tap your monster for mana.
I like [card]Mending Touch[/card] a little more because it costs one mana, but both these spells do stop most removal spells in their tracks. Anti-Verdict cards are always worth keeping an eye on.
[ccProd]Nessian Wilds Ravager[/ccProd]
[draft]Nessian Wilds Ravager[/draft]
How big is big enough for a 6-mana vanilla? 12/12 probably still doesn’t do it, especially since the opponent needs a creature out for you to even get the 12/12, but there may be matchups where you just need the biggest creature you can possibly find.
Paying an extra mana to scry is kind of a reach, but there may be decks that want acceleration at any cost. If seven truly is the new six, even bad acceleration might find a home.
The tools for a graveyard-based deck are slowly but surely accumulating, and perhaps Conley’s BG Dredge deck might finally have everything it needs. This giving you a creature and a land while filling your graveyard is a solid bit of value, and the perfect enabler for something like [card]Nighthowler[/card]. If you aren’t utilizing the graveyard, the inconsistency and lack of choice when it comes to fixing probably make it worth finding another way to get lands.
[ccProd]Unravel the Aether[/ccProd]
[draft]Unravel the Aether[/draft]
[card]Fade into Antiquity[/card] just faded into antiquity, as [card]Unravel the Aether[/card] is just a much better card for the role. Shuffling a card into their deck doesn’t really matter in Constructed, and saving a mana plus being an instant certainly does.
Look, I don’t know how the mana is going to work or what you are putting [card]Chromanticore[/card] on, but I do know that this card is extremely powerful. It legitimately seems difficult to lose if you can slap this on something and bash, and there has to be a way to make that happen.
[ccProd]Ephara, God of the Polis[/ccProd]
[draft]Ephara, God of the Polis[/draft]
I like the idea of a personal [card]Howling Mine[/card], and it doesn’t seem impossible to get there with Ephara. Every now and then, she might animate and go whack the opponent, but even if she doesn’t she could be awesome. Imagine a White Weenie deck splashing Ephara and Lyev Skyknight. Ephara shores up the attrition matchups and the rest of the deck is good against aggro.
[ccProd]Fanatic of Xenagos[/ccProd]
[draft]Fanatic of Xenagos[/draft]
[card]Loxodon Smiter[/card] has always performed well, even if its text box is blank in most matchups. Fanatic of Xenagos gains trample in exchange for the opponent getting the ability to make some of his stats temporary, though they have to get attacked a turn early to do so. Overall I think that’s close enough to a wash that Fanatic seems solid, and the addition of red mana over white puts it in a color that has less options for large creatures (which is a point in its favor).
[ccProd]Karametra, God of Harvests[/ccProd]
[draft]Karametra, God of Harvests[/draft]
You have to be pretty serious about ramping to want to resolve a 5-drop and another creature before getting a land, and I just don’t see the payoff right now. I like casting expensive spells as much (or more) than the next guy, but these days you should be killing them with your four- or five-cost cards, not setting up a future play.
[ccProd]Kiora, the Crashing Wave[/ccProd]
[draft]Kiora, the Crashing Wave[/draft]
Planeswalkers that cost four mana, draw a card per activation, and have a decent way of protecting themselves have historically done very well. Kiora suffers a little from starting at such a low loyalty and not actually killing the creatures she stops, but the rest of the equation is there. I think she will fit quite neatly into the middle of the planeswalker pantheon, and see a decent amount of play as a result. As with most planeswalkers, she’s will be best in a controllish deck that can protect her, and the ramp aspect she offers rewards you for playing expensive cards, as such decks tend to do. Her ultimate is also remarkably cheap, making her an efficient win condition in matchups that have trouble removing her.
[card]Sylvan Caryatid[/card], [card]Elvish Mystic[/card], and [card]Voyaging Satyr[/card] make it difficult for new entrants into the mana acceleration market, especially when those entrants cost two colored mana to cast. What Kiora’s Follower has above all these other cards is a second point of power, and a very relevant one at that. A mana elf (Merfolk) that can brawl with reasonable effectiveness is versatile, and even the tough casting cost will eventually be a boon once we have the UG God to worship.
Kiora’s Follower also gets to untap anything, not just lands, even if lands are going to be the most common target. That can complicate attacks for your opponent, get you multiple uses from creatures with activated abilities, and even do strange and insane things with artifacts if that ever becomes a thing.
[ccProd]Mogis, God of Slaughter[/ccProd]
[draft]Mogis, God of Slaughter[/draft]
If only Mogis cost five I could nickname him Slaughterhouse Five, since he’s definitely a house. Of course, if he cost five he would be substantially worse, and right now he hits at a very good spot. In an aggressive deck, he deals damage at a fast pace, demanding tribute every single upkeep. It is unfortunate that Elspeth kind of blanks him, but past that he requires a Detention Sphere before he will stop hitting control decks. It isn’t inconceivable that he animates from time to time, especially in a heavy red deck playing cards like [card]Boros Reckoner[/card], but his main use will just be a targeted [card]Sulfuric Vortex[/card].
[ccProd]Phenax, God of Deception[/ccProd]
[draft]Phenax, God of Deception[/draft]
Don’t be deceived; I’m not that optimistic about Phenax’s chances. He is a God, which bears examination, and there are potential interactions ([card]Tireless Tribe[/card], anyone?) that are kind of neat. I think he’s going to have to remain satisfied with being the best God in Limited, because he just takes too long to have enough of an impact in Constructed (and is in colors that have the least creatures in general).
Though I still think Minotaurs aren’t going to happen, I do have an obligation to mention any card that reduces cost. Those cards tend to be powerful, or at least have the potential to be powerful, though I wouldn’t move in on [card]Didgeridoo[/card] just yet.
[ccProd]Reap What Is Sown[/ccProd]
[draft]Reap What Is Sown[/draft]
I think there are better ways to go about this if you want to give your team a boost, but triple-targeting is noteworthy in a world full of heroes.
[ccProd]Siren of the Silent Song[/ccProd]
[draft]Siren of the Silent Song[/draft]
In general, drawing a card is much better than your opponent discarding a card, but a saboteur with evasion is interesting. I like siding such things in for control decks, though the odds that this sees play go way up once [card]Nightveil Specter[/card] rotates out.
[ccProd]Xenagos, God of Revels[/ccProd]
[draft]Xenagos, God of Revels[/draft]
Everyone wants to party with Xenagos, because who wouldn’t want to get much stronger and faster? He gives you a bonus even the turn you play him, making him one of the most dangerous Gods we’ve seen. He’s also in colors that are fairly likely to get him all riled up and ready to attack in person, which adds a ton more damage to the already massive amounts he represents. Red/green decks have a lot of good options at this cost, and Xenagos is definitely a relevant one.
Paying three mana for a 5-color mana rock isn’t quite good enough to see play, but having the option to double or triple up may give Astral Cornucopia the boost it needs. Good colorless ramp spells are few and far between, so they are worth keeping in the back of your mind.
Setting aside the use in Affinity, which this printing doesn’t change, all I can see coming from Springleaf Drum is a potential inspired deck, mostly on the back of [card]Pain Seer[/card]. I’m not sold on the idea, but it’s there.
[ccProd]Temple of Enlightenment[/ccProd]
[ccProd]Temple of Malice[/ccProd]
[ccProd]Temple of Plenty[/ccProd]
[draft]Temple of Enlightenment
Temple of Malice
Temple of Plenty[/draft]
As with the previous Temples, these are all excellent and will see a ton of play. I love having these lands in the format, and can’t wait until we get all 10.
Top 3 Green Cards
3. [ccProd]Fated Intervention[/ccProd]
2. [ccProd]Unravel the Aether[/ccProd]
1. [ccProd]Courser of Kruphix[/ccProd]
Even getting one card on par with Courser of Kruphix is a victory, and green also picked up a very solid sideboard card and a number of potential playables. Not a whole lot in the aggro department, but green midrange got a few interesting ones.
Top 5 Cards in Born of the Gods
5. [ccProd]Searing Blood[/ccProd]
4. [ccProd]Courser of Kruphix[/ccProd]
3. [ccProd]Bile Blight[/ccProd]
2. [ccProd]Spirit of the Labyrinth[/ccProd]
1. [ccProd]Brimaz, King of Oreskos[/ccProd]
White is the clear winner here, but all the colors except blue picked up some interesting additions to the world of Constructed. Blue at least got a couple multicolor cards of note, and once you get Sphinx’s Revelation, you have to resign yourself to the scales balancing over the next couple years. I’m excited to play with Born of the Gods, though my first experience with it will be the Modern Pro Tour in Valencia in two weeks.