My other reviews can be found here:
And the Limited Resources reviews can be found here:
For Constructed, things work slightly differently. First of all, I don’t review every card in the set, just the ones I think have Constructed applications. If I missed a card you think is awesome, feel free to post it in the comments or ask me about it on Twitter. I try to evaluate cards without using best-case scenario mentality (I gotta start using LR slang, right?), but I’ve certainly missed cards in the past, and if you can think of a good reason a card could be great, I would like to hear it.
5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage. Dack Fayden.)
4.0: Format staple. (Siege Rhino. Courser of Kruphix. Delver of Secrets.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Stormbreath Dragon. Seeker of the Way.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Chained to the Rocks. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Perilous Vault. Heir of the Wilds.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Naturalize. Savage Knuckleblade.) 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.)
Any card this cheap that draws you an extra card every turn is worthy of consideration, and meeting the condition doesn’t seem very difficult. The biggest drawback to the Beastmaster is its fragility, so I’d look at this more as a sideboard card for slow matchups, particularly those where there isn’t a ton of cheap removal. You don’t want this in your deck against anyone playing Wild Slash or Lightning Strike, but having it get hit by Hero’s Downfall isn’t the end of the world.
I like the prospect of getting 4 mana a turn, and think this has a lot more potential than in Limited. You can build your deck around it completely, and ideally use all the extra mana every turn. That being said, this is a 4-mana card that doesn’t affect the board or draw extra cards, and those typically have not done very well. It is cute that choosing Dragons and getting a Hornet Queen into play turns into a Wrath, but how often do you resolve Hornet Queen and go on to lose to creatures?
It doesn’t take many creatures before this is a good card to cast, and as long as at least one of them is big, you are gaining a substantial amount of life. There’s enough removal running around that I wouldn’t maindeck too many of these, but one in a creature-heavy deck could pay dividends. Where I think it really shines is after board, where you can have a higher confidence that your units will survive.
The best home I can imagine for this is Green Devotion with Hornet Queen and Polukranos (and many other creatures). This may even live up to its name as a card-drawing life-gaining Revelation in that deck, and that’s just the most obvious place where it is good.
Paying four mana to draw two cards isn’t quite where I want to be, especially since one of them is a land, but you have a pretty good selection on the other card. I wish it could get back Whip, like Erebos intended, but in a creature-heavy graveyard deck this is an interesting card to try.
I don’t know if it’s just the thought of playing this in Limited, but Temur Sabertooth looks pretty powerful to me. It’s expensive, but it becomes unkillable while also protecting your other creatures, and most importantly, can bounce your ETB effect creatures over and over. Paying two mana may be steep, but the repeated use is appealing.
Temur War Shaman
This is slightly more than I want to pay for this effect, so I’m only mentioning it for sake of completeness. All of Temur War Shaman’s thunder is completely and utterly stolen by Whisperwood Elemental, which offers a very similar effect at a full one less mana (and the potential for more).
Warden of the First Tree
Constructed: 2.5 (3.0 if the right lands show up)
Warden of the First Tree is an interesting combination of very high power and very difficult mana cost. If you can play this on turn one and activate on turn two, you are ahead of the game, even if it gets dealt with by a removal spell on turn three or four. If it isn’t killed, it soon grows to be a monster, and one that is impossible to race or block effectively.
A 1-drop that is good early and still powerful late is the kind of card you want in your deck, so what’s the problem? The problem is that getting G on turn one, W/B on turn two, and eventually W/Bx3 later (this at least you don’t need on curve) is not trivial.
Tri-lands and Temples are the best 1-drops around, especially in 3-color decks, and to play Warden of the First Tree you either have to warp your mana base or play him off-curve, neither of which are satisfactory answers.
This card is great, it just doesn’t have the mana base support it needs right now. It will still see play, due to the power level, but we won’t see it really take root until we get another cycle of untapped multilands (if such a thing were to happen, of course).
This card has what it takes to see Constructed play. For only five mana you get a 4/4 and a 2/2, and the 2/2 can sometimes be much, much more (it could even be another Whisperwood Elemental). If your opponent doesn’t have removal right away, this is at least a 2-for-1, and if they don’t have removal at all, this takes over the game. It even gives you some very nice wrath resistance, as all of your Caryatids and Coursers will sprout manifested cards if the board gets wiped, and this ability is basically just a bonus.
This card is excellent, and even though it costs five, it could fill the same role as Wingmate Roc (it’s less impactful than Roc but also requires no attacks, and is in a color that supports it better).
Yasova acts quickly, attacking for 4 on turn three or 4 while sending potential blockers at the opponent. She does a lot of damage by herself, more when backed up by a key removal spell, and she’s a 3-drop that is very impactful later in the game. She definitely rewards you for being aggressive, so you need to make sure your deck can attack, but red/green beatdown will definitely try out a few copies.
Top 5 Green Cards
Green may not have as many cards that struck my fancy, but I like Whisperwood Elemental a lot. I’m looking forward to casting that card in a nice midrange deck, though it could be at its best in Green Devotion. That deck is very creature-heavy and desperately wants cards that punish wrath, so between Whisperwood and Shamanic Revelation, maybe there’s a reason to go back to green. Yasova is a nice addition to beatdown strategies, and Warden could be, though his fate seems a little more ambiguous.
I’ll be looking at the rest of the set in my last installment, with Top 10 lists for Limited and Constructed to follow!