Hour of Devastation: Hour of Revelation and Uncage the Menagerie

This week I’m taking a look at a couple expensive sorceries I’m excited about: Hour of Revelation and Uncage the Menagerie, two cards you would have had no idea I was going to discuss had I not just mentioned them at this very moment. Literally zero idea, because nowhere else in the article were they mentioned before right now.

Ahem. Let’s, uh… let’s get started.

Hour of Revelation

Before the most recent round of bannings—heck, even before that—Mardu was one of the definitive decks to beat in Standard. Heart of Kiran, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Scrapheap Scrounger, and Toolcraft Exemplar all required you to have different forms of removal. Sure, you could Fumigate, but that’s not getting rid of the Vehicles or the planeswalkers. You could use Grasp of Darkness, but that doesn’t kill Gideon. You could Ruinous Path, but that’s basically never going to kill a Heart of Kiran.

The point here is that Standard has a ton of different threats that come in a ton of different packages. Even cards like Dynavolt Tower or Aetherworks Marvel required some non-traditional answers. I wished for a Planar Cleansing on more than one occasion in Standard.

Apparently Papa Forsythe heard my cries!

Hour of Revelation ends up being better than Planar Cleansing in nearly every way. And by “every way,” I mean in one particular way. The cost is the exact same, 3 white mana and all. The ability is exactly the same, destroying all nonland permanents. The spell type is the same, both being sorceries. What’s not the same, however, is the cost! Wait, no, I went over the cost already. Okay, sometimes the cost is significantly better. Specifically when there are 10 or more nonland permanents on the battlefield. Your deck like going wide? Well, I’ve got some bad news for you, Jimmy…

This is a card that has been needed in Standard for some time, and it should be a boon against a ton of the top tier decks, even without the significant discount. Think about it—when was the last time a white-based control deck in Standard had the ability to wipe the entire board, free of planeswalkers, free of artifacts, and free of enchantments? Can I tell you how much of a field day I want to have after casting this on turn 6, then flowing perfectly into Approach of the Second Sun on turn 7? Can I tell you? I won’t, but just know that I really want to tell you.

That doesn’t even cover what this card does in Commander. Well, okay, so it does the same thing actually—wipes the entire field of every nonland permanent—but let’s be real: This is never going to cost more than WWW in Commander. This is a 3-mana Planar Cleansing almost every time, which is just ridiculous.

Standard has been begging for this card, and it might be the one that gets those Fumigates unsleeved. Don’t get me wrong—Fumigate is a great card, but when I’m talking about something that is also going to take down Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, or unused Clue tokens, or copies of Liliana’s Mastery, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

Uncage the Menagerie

Wow, this card… I am not a fan.

Wait, what?

That’s right. I’m not a fan of this splashy, green X-costed mythic. Me. The guy that loves the durdliest cards imaginable.

“But… but Frank. You said in the opening paragraph that this article was about cards you were excited about!”

Okay, that’s true. But maybe it’s also about cards I want to be excited about. Who knows? All I know is that this is a cool idea that doesn’t feel great in execution. Let’s talk about why.

So XGG. That’s the cost. At sorcery speed. All of this makes sense. Then I get to the text box. I get X creatures. Also makes sense. But then they have to have exactly X mana cost. So, simply put, this card will never be able to find three 1/1s, for example. If I make X 3, I can only get 3-mana cards. But I can get only two 3-mana cards. The first X (quantity) is “up to” X, while the second X (converted mana cost) is “exactly” X. This is disappointing to me. I can never get five 2/2s. I can never get four 3/3s.

In a way I get it. You’re more likely to have fewer large drops in your deck and a higher number of low drops. There are also significantly more combo pieces at the 2-mana spot than there are at something like the 7-mana spot. At least, I think so. So if you want to cast this for 9 total mana in order to get 7 individual 2-drops to, I don’t know, combo out or something, no can do. If you want to get a 2-drop and a 1-drop and a 4-drop to instantly assemble some kind of Murderous Redcap Rube Goldberg combo machine, no can do there either. Which I guess is a good thing. But being able to only get one 1-drop, or two 2-drops makes me a little sad.

Maybe… ladies and gentlemen, I now realize I run the risk of selling myself on this card as I’m writing about it. Is getting two unique 2-drops—any 2 from your entire deck—put directly into play, for 4 mana, bad? Maybe it’s not. You get three 3-drops for 5 mana? So at worst you’re getting probably three 3/3s. 9 power for 5 mana? For crying out loud, do I actually like this card? What an emotional rollercoaster this has been! All that would be true, if it weren’t for the fact that it puts the cards into your hand!

Conversely, whether or not you have 6 unique cards in your deck, the idea of putting six 6-drops into play for 8 mana is insane. The idea of putting six 6-drops into your hand, unable to cast even one of them until your next turn—not so much.

Unlike super expensive green mythics like Praetor’s Counsel and Primal Surge before it, this card desperately wants to be good and exciting and splashy. Unfortunately, it just ends up being an over-costed, narrow, green card drawing spell.

That’s about all I have for this time. Give me those thoughts in the comments, and I’ll catch you next time!

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