Previous Core Set 2019 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.
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.)
Arcades, the Strategist
Arcades is going to build a wall and uh, attack the opponent with it? I like Arcades, but playing a bunch of defenders has traditionally been a tough strategy, so I’m not sold on that. That they all draw cards goes a long way, so it might actually be good in Modern where there is some kind of Wall of Omens brew lurking.
Chromium the Mutable
I love cards like Chromium, as they really punish people who think it’s fine to just sit around and do nothing. Esper was already a deck, and Chromium gives it a solid edge against U/W if the format trends in that direction. Pearl Lake Ancient was a relevant card in its day, and Chromium is head and shoulders (and wings) above that option.
Mana dorks that turn into threats are a time-honored tradition, though this is not quite Noble Hierarch. 3 mana is a big ask, so this only really makes sense if there’s a deck that can really make use of the Dragon.
This riddle inside this Drake has not been unraveled yet, despite this being legal since Amonkhet. It’s got potential, but I would imagine that it would have been realized by now.
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
Ravenous Rats has never been so good. Nicol Bolas is an awesome threat on 4, and provides card advantage unless he gets countered. He wouldn’t need a ton more than that, but he brings the heat with a 7-mana transform ability that really takes this to the next level. Bolas is fine in multiples, and as an early threat plus late-game finisher, is never a bad draw. The opponent will kill this on sight, and drawing more than one will tax their resources greatly. I’m a big fan of Bolas, and if this power level is any indication, his machinations will be successful.
Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner
The Elder Dragons are a powerful bunch, but there’s always a ruiner. Palladia-Mors gets to sit with Vaevictus and Arcades at the kids table, and watch Chromium and Bolas discuss important Elder Dragon things. This would need to keep hexproof to be a real threat, though I’m glad we don’t live in that world.
I’m a sucker for Enchantress decks, and even played one at Worlds in 2007 (in Legacy no less). This isn’t an Argothian Enchantress, but it’s cool that it gives you a deckbuilding dream.
Vaevictus Asmadi, the Dire
I will admit that I missed that this casts Chaos Warp on both players, which does make it a lot stronger than it looks at first glance. It still is a 6-drop without protection that needs to survive to attack, so things are looking dire when it comes to its Constructed prospects.
Amulet of Safekeeping
This card is a clumsy way to try and hate on Storm, as it stops both Tendrils/Grapeshot and Empty the Warrens. Get it? The funny part is that it doesn’t even do that, as most Storm decks, particularly Modern ones, will just go off, cast a million spells and draw a ton of cards, then bounce this and kill you. A swing and a miss.
This isn’t as far from Constructed as you might think, but it’s still pretty far. As a Jayemdae Tome aficionado, I am obliged to mention this, though I suspect that I won’t ever cast it in Constructed (unlike Tome, which I cast regularly in Old School).
Crucible of Worlds
This is great in old formats, while still not exciting in Standard. It’s nice to have more Crucibles in the world, though, so pick one up if you don’t have one yet.
Manalith is pretty close already, and letting your Manalith draw cards has shades of Coalition Relic levels of value. There are good Dragons and good multi-color decks, so this is a pretty sweet card to consider. I really like mana cards that have other uses, and this fits the bill nicely.
Fountain of Renewal
1 life per turn is a decent deal for 1 mana, especially if you have some synergies going on. Add that to the ability to cash this in, and you have a card worth keeping in mind.
If they Ox a question, you’ve got an answer, and this even deals with three problematic creatures. It can also upgrade your 1/1s into 2/4s, and as an artifact, has synergy with plenty of cards in Standard. This is a funny card, but actually seems decent if you really need removal.
Hexproof is pretty annoying, so having a low-cost way of answering it is a nice thing to have in your back pocket. Every now and then this will show up, and is the kind of card people forget about until it’s useful.
Top 5 M19 Cards for Constructed
These are some good ones, and the combination of threats and synergy cards isn’t bad. M19 had a solid impact, and we will be dealing with Ravagers and Vine Mares until they rotate out of Standard. Plus, Zombies got a big boost and Sai could have implications for every format.