Other LSV Core Set 2020 Limited Set Reviews:
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Retired and inducted into the Limited Hall of Fame: Pack Rat. Umezawa’s Jitte. The Scarab God.
5.0: The best of the best. (Niv-Mizzet, Parun. Skarrgan Hellkite. Ethereal Absolution.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Thief of Sanity. Judith, the Scourge Diva. Experimental Frenzy.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Gate Colossus. Mortify. Biomancer’s Familiar.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Blade Juggler. Skewer the Critics. Skyknight Legionnaire.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Sauroform Hybrid. Watcher in the Mist. Wojek Bodyguard.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Ornery Goblin. Syndicate Messenger. Plague Wight.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Radical Idea. Noxious Groodion. Ghor-Clan Wrecker.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Wall of Mist. Axebane Beast.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Feral Maaka. Knight of Sorrows. Prying Eyes.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Expose to Daylight. Persistent Petitioners.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Font of Agonies. One with Nothing.)
This has both bark and bite going for it, as it starts as an aggressive 3/3 for two and can shrink itself to dodge removal. That’s a good deal, and the only note is that you ideally want 10 or so Forests in your deck so you can cast this on time.
I lean towards playing exactly one Brightwood Tracker, as it really gives you a good plan in the lategame. The 2/4 body helps block, and the activated ability looks at enough cards that you should be in good shape to track down some reinforcements.
Cavalier of Thorns
I’m trying to find a way to give all of these super high grades without being too cavalier about it, but really you can just read the card. Cavalier of Thorns is huge, has reach, and both triggers give you an advantage. The first one gets a land, which is solid, but also stocks your graveyard, and means that when this dies you get to put something good on top. That’s a lot of power for five mana, and I hope to open one of these every time I draft.
Even though this is just a vanilla creature, the stats to cost ratio is good enough that you aren’t realistically cutting it from any deck but the most focused (whether that be on control or a tribe like Elementals).
I like Elvish Reclaimer. It works nicely with Evolving Wilds and self-mill like Gorging Vulture, and by itself can eventually grow into a solid creature. It also does fix your mana and thin your deck, which is a pretty nice deal for just an initial one-mana investment.
Winning fights with Feral Invocation usually leads to winning games with Feral Invocation, as you not only killed their creature but have a monster left over. This doesn’t fit too well decks with too high a curve or that are short creatures, so avoid it in ramp/control decks.
There are enough token and sacrifice synergies that I’d expect to play Pup more often than not, but you do need something to make this worth playing. On its own (well, you know what I mean), this is 2/3 worth of stats for three mana, which isn’t quite good enough.
Gargos, Vicious Watcher
Gargos is a house. Not only is this an enormous vigilance threat, but it only costs six mana, which means it’s eminently castable and will come down early enough to dominate the game. What really puts this over the top is the discount ability, as it’s insane when you get multiple Hydras.
Okay, that’s a lie, the part that makes this insane is that it kills something if the opponent has a way to deal with Gargos, and Bolas help them if you have ways to target your own creatures. The fight part of this card is just obscene, and it makes this card one of the tippity-top in the entire set (especially when combined with the ridiculous cost and stats).
Gift of Paradise
I’m seeing a lot of good reasons to play Gift of Paradise, as it is a ramp spell that also fixes colors and throws in some life for good measure. Not every deck will want this, but if you are more than two colors or have expensive cards, this is quite the gift.
It doesn’t get much dorkier than Greenwood Sentinel, as vigilance doesn’t do much on a 2/2 and green doesn’t seem to be interested in curve-out aggro.
Growth Cycle is a serviceable combat trick, though I’m not that excited about trying to draft a ton of these. There’s not a huge difference between +3/+3 and +5/+5 in most combats, so going deep on tricks is just asking to have a bad matchup against removal or aggro.
Healer of the Glade
This is nominally a sideboard card against aggro, but it would have to be super low-to-the-ground aggro before I wanted to board this in. It doesn’t actually stop a 2/2 into a 3/3, so don’t treat this as more than it is. I could also see this in a super dedicated Elemental deck, though that’s likely more of a Constructed idea than a Limited one.
Besides being a great callback to the Black Keys, Howling Giant is exactly what I want to pay seven mana for. This has reach, so it defends against fliers, and makes two Wolves alongside it, so it trades favorably against removal. I’d gladly draft a ramp deck if I started with Howling Giant, and it works especially well if you have some ways to bring it back from the graveyard.
The 2-drop accelerator is almost always a 3.0, and Leafkin Druid even has two little bonuses. First, it’s an Elemental, so it enables some of your other cards, and second, it can sometimes tap for two mana, which is often relevant even later in the game.
Leyline of Abundance
Like the other Leylines, this is way too situational to be of use.
Most of the time, the trigger on Loaming Shaman will do nothing. It can marginally disrupt an opposing black deck that is trying to stock its graveyard, and in a long game can prevent you from being decked, but for the most part this is a 3/2 for three, which is playable but not fantastic.
I’m a fan of Mammoth Spider. It shuts down just about every flier you’ll face, and helps the bigger green decks survive into the lategame. It can also rumble just fine if need be, as a 3/5 is substantial. I’m happy playing multiple Mammoth Spiders, and really prioritize the first one.
Might of the Masses
I don’t know where this scary green token deck is, as Might of the Masses keeps coming back at uncommon. You need a lot of creatures out for this to be great, and for the most part I haven’t seen it be all that.
Sideboards here we come!
Netcaster Spider gives green another line of defense against fliers, which is kind of odd, now that I think about it. Still, this also defends you just fine, though I like it a little less than Mammoth Spider, since Netcaster trades instead of just stopping all the fliers.
Nightpack Ambusher is a monster. Not only can it eat an attacking 3/3, but it gives you the option of making a Wolf each turn if you’re willing to forgo casting spells. This clearly combines well with other Wolves and instants, but even in a deck with zero synergy, this is incredibly powerful.
The last time we saw Overcome, it didn’t quite deliver. Granted, Hour of Devastation was a strange draft format, but I still think the difference between this and perennial bomb Overrun is a big one. I like this most in creature-heavy decks that lean aggressive, as there are better finishers for control decks.
Limited: 2.0 // 3.5
In an Elemental-heavy deck, this grows out of control very quickly. It offers 4/3 worth of stats immediately (though the counter has to go elsewhere), and will gain life and counters as the game goes on. I’d even be happy playing this with just a couple other Elementals, as you only need either of the two triggers to go off to get a decent deal.
As always, Plummet is solid sideboard material (and sometimes makes the cut maindeck in Sealed).
Pulse of Murasa
Six life is a ton, and makes Pulse worth playing more often than you might expect. Whatever tempo you lose by spending three to draw a card is more than made up for by the life cushion, and this is a great way for your green decks to have a better lategame.
HAUMPH! Rabid Bite is consistently good, and because the other creature doesn’t fight back, there’s much less risk to this than with fight cards.
Season of Growth
Limited: 1.0 // 2.0
It’s hard to imagine what the reason for the season is, as this card asks you to have a lot of creatures and a lot of pump spells. I’m skeptical, but maybe in a deck with 5-7 pump spells (or Rabid Bites) this could be worth playing.
I’m happy enough using Sedge Scorpion to buy time for my bigger cards, and it even combos very nicely with Rabid Bite. Scorpions and Spiders team up to protect ramp decks, and 1-2 of these seems like a solid way to interact early.
Shared Summons being an instant and getting two cards goes a long way for me, as this lets you pick up your two best creatures and proceed from there. I would be more likely to play this if I had some awesome things to get, and recommend against playing this if you’re looking to curve out and attack.
Shifting Ceratops is a house. It would be a fantastic card even without the pro-blue/counterspell stuff, and adding that means some decks will just have no good answers. All of the abilities this can gain are good in different situations, and the base rate on this is absurd to begin with.
Silverback Shaman is awesome. It’s huge, can’t be chump blocked, and gives you a card when it dies, which will be often (unless the opponent just dies instead). It is a five-drop, so you don’t want to just slam infinite of these, but I like it both in aggressive or controlling green decks.
I like the cards that are Elementals as a bonus, instead of something you pay for. Thicket Crasher is certainly one of them, as it gives you plenty of stats and a decent ability, with its type as a cherry on top.
BrontyD is efficiently costed and has relevance the entire game, making it a good early pick. This dominates the board early and gives you protection against random artifacts or enchantments, which is an amazing deal for three mana.
Veil of Summer
Limited: 1.0 // 3.0
I really like Veil of Summer as a sideboard card. It can be an easy two for one if the opponent tries to kill or counter one of your things, and note that you can cycle it if they play any blue or black card, even something like a creature.
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
Vivien has three fantastic abilities, and doesn’t cost much to cast (though triple-green adds a turn or two to her expected drop time). She puts a lot of power and toughness on to the board each turn, and you can put both counters on the same creature if need be. She also usually puts you up a card immediately, as you can play her and Rabid Bite something, so the floor is very high.
Her -5 ability is interesting too. It’s the least powerful one, to be sure, but you can still get some value out of it if you run out of creatures to fight or put counters on (somehow). What I’d look to do here is keep an expensive dork in the sideboard, like an extra Vorstclaw or something, but I wouldn’t put anything good there at the expense of your maindeck.
As someone who is usually hungry myself, I can relate with the Hydra here. It does give you options, as it can eat the opponent by being a huge monster, or eat one of their creatures while still being reasonably large. The doubling ability is so good that you can cast this for any X starting at 2 and feel paid off, which makes this super flexible when it comes to your curve.
This will often be able to eat reasonably-sized creatures at X = 3+, and that’s often a better option against a deck that has ways to deal with the Hydra. Regardless, you’re getting a great deal, and this is one of the best cards in the set as a result.
While this isn’t the vorst, it’s not the best either (apologies, but I was contractually obligated to make that joke). I’d rather have a 6/6 trample, if such a design exists, but I’ll still play this if my deck needs some extra beef.
Limited: 1.5 // 3.5
Wakeroot Elemental is almost a build-around, as it goes from mediocre to great depending on how likely you are to have five green mana available. If you can consistently make lands into 5/5’s, this is fantastic, and if not, I’d tend to avoid it.
I was unimpressed with Wolfkin Bond last time it showed up and I don’t expect that to change. It’s not a ton of stats, it gets blown out by instant-speed removal, and sometimes you draw your five-drop and don’t have anything to put it on.
Saddle up! This offers you a hard-to-block 3/3 and a persistent bit of value, which is something I’m happy to play. I especially like this with giant green monsters, making this the perfect way for ramp decks to defend themselves in the midgame and pressure the opponent lategame.
Limited: 1.5 // 3.0
Woodland Champion gets out of control very quickly in G/W Tokens with Raise the Alarm, and even has some green cards like Ferocious Pup or Wolfrider’s Saddle that can buff it. You only need one counter for this to be a good deal, so I’d play it even with as few as two ways to make tokens.
Top 5 Green Commons
2. Rabid Bite
The top two commons are super close, and you’ll alternate between them depending on your curve/removal situation. I also really like both Druid and Mammoth Spider, so green has quite the squad assembled. The last slot went to Netcaster, though Sedge Scorpion and Centaur Courser are definitely in the same tier.