Now that I’ve had time to play with Hour of Devastation, it’s time for the Set Re-Do. I take a look at the cards I got wrong and adjust the ratings appropriately—at least, until the Set Re-Do Re-Review (note: this will not be happening).

The previous rating appears first for reference, and my new rating appears right below it.

Hour of Devastation Set Reviews

Limited:

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold, Artifacts, and Lands

Constructed:

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold, Artifacts, and Lands

For HOU, I’ve noticed a few main reasons I was too high or too low on a card:

  • Triple-Amonkhet was much faster than I thought, and that influenced my evaluation of Hour of Devastation. The format is now of a reasonable speed, which makes slower cards better than I assumed, and fast cards a little worse.
  • The Desert synergies were more powerful than they looked, mainly because Deserts are great. I was high on the cycling Deserts to start, but I’m even higher now, and that makes me look for Desert synergies aggressively.
  • Cards with novel effects have higher uncertainty, and I have changed my evaluation on these (this happens with every set—I get some new effects right, and some wrong, and it’s harder without previous cards to compare to).

White

Desert’s Hold

Limited: 3.0

What if you add 3 life to Arrest? Does that make it civil forfeiture? Actually, I guess that can happen without even an arrest, but I’ll stop before I get into it. Either way, this is a good card without Deserts and a great card with them, and one I’ll play in any white deck.

New Rating: 3.5

Deserts are great, and you want them in your deck. This also fits very nicely into any aggro or control deck, and I want to bump it to 3.5, since it’s clearly premium removal.

Overwhelming Splendor

Limited: 1.5

This might not be the most efficient card, but I see an 8-mana finisher and am immediately interested. This does make all their creatures awful, and that might be worth trying to get to a long game and slamming Splendor. It strikes me as worse than Sandwurm Convergence, but still worth trying. 8 mana is a lot, and this really takes a dedicated deck, so I’m not starting with high hopes.

New Rating: 2.5

This still doesn’t fit into every deck because it costs 8, but in a dedicated ramp deck (which is one of the better archetypes), it’s a valid finisher. I’ve liked this card, and am willing to prioritize it once I’m in ramp.

Steadfast Sentinel

Limited: 2.5

You don’t have room for infinite 4-drops, but this is a fine way to fill out that part of your curve. You want this to die sometimes, making it something you can attack with without fear in an attempt to pave the way for the 4/4 version.

New Rating: 1.5

Even though I’ve liked eternalize, this is just a step too clunky to be good. It’s playable, but not much more than that, and I’ve been happier to cut it than to play it.

Blue

Imaginary Threats

Limited: 3.0

Imaginary Threats is a very real card. Cycling is huge here, as this is a situationally powerful card, and getting to cash it in mitigates the risk of it being dead. When this is good, it’s great, as it makes it so none of their creatures can block for two turns while also letting you ambush them if you have good blocks. That’s good in a race and good in a stalled board, which is an appealing place for this to land.

New Rating: 1.5

The effect here has been underwhelming, and despite cycling still being powerful on situational cards, this is a bit too situational for my tastes. You don’t cast this often enough for it to be worth the slot, and even when cast, it’s not amazing.

Proven Combatant

Limited: 2.5

I kind of like this lil’ scrapper. She chumps or trades for a 2/1 early, and comes out as a 4/4 later, which is a fine deal at both 1 and 6 mana. There are matchups where you will want to side her out, as she doesn’t match up well against flyers, but against any opponent with ground creatures I think she’ll prove to be good enough.

New Rating: 1.5

Like Steadfast Sentinel, this has gone from a card I want in my deck to a card I’m happy not playing. It’s too low impact, and given that it’s a slower format than triple-Amonkhet, a 1/1 is less of a relevant card than it used to be.

Spellweaver Eternal

Limited: 1.5

If an aggressive blue deck exists, I could see this moving up a notch. I’m a little skeptical, but open to the idea. In a control deck, this doesn’t block well, and putting random 2/1 beaters into midrange usually doesn’t work out well. At least Tah-Crop Skirmisher gets value when it blocks, whereas Spellweaver Eternal is geared much more toward aggression.

New Rating: 3.0

Spellweaver Eternal has been clutch in the U/R Spells deck, and is a solid playable in U/B and U/W. Even in U/G, it has legs (well, not literally), and overall it has pulled its weight. Afflict 2 means some nice guaranteed damage, and prowess means this attacks as a 3/2 often enough to be worth 2 mana.

Strategic Planning

Limited: 1.5

Besides tanking the value of Portal: Three Kingdoms Strategic Plannings (this card used to be worth way more than you’d think), this is exactly medium filler for Limited. It’s rarely bad to add Strategic Planning to your deck, but it’s also never great. It gives you something to do early if your deck is short on plays, and gives you a bit of card selection plus a combo with graveyard effects like eternalize. In short, it’s a fine card but nothing you really need to prioritize.

New Rating: 2.0

Not a huge bump here, but I’ve played Planning a little more often than I expected. The format being slower means 2-drops are less important, and that frees up room for nonsense like this.

Tragic Lesson

Limited: 1.0

Making Divination an instant isn’t a huge draw in Limited, and adding the return-a-land or discard drawback is tragic. I’m not into this and, despite my love for card draw, I have trouble justifying it.

New Rating: 1.5

This gets a bump for the same reasons as Strategic Planning, though it’s still slightly worse.

Unquenchable Thirst

Limited: 1.5

Making your opponent’s creatures thirsty seems like a pretty good plan, and I love the Desert text (for both flavor and game play). One thing that makes this a little less good than it would be otherwise is how many untap effects are in this block, thanks to exert, which makes this take some splash damage. Delicious, refreshing, splash damage.

New Rating: 3.5

This was likely the biggest miss. This looked like it would take too much of a hit from untap effects, but it really didn’t, and given how good Deserts are, this quickly became the top blue common (and one of the top commons overall). Unquenchable Thirst is great, and deserves to be treated as such.

Black

Apocalypse Demon

Limited: 2.0

I’m not overly impressed by this black rare with a drawback (spoiler: there are a lot of them). In the average game, this will come out as a 4/4 to 7/7, and that’s not insane given the drawback of needing to eat a creature in order to attack. There are some decks where this will be great, no doubt, but I don’t like this level of variance in my 6-mana cards. Sometimes this will be too small, and other times you won’t have other creatures to sacrifice, or this will get bounced or killed once it eats something.

New Rating: 1.0

This one I’m still unsure about, but so far it has seemed real bad. Being a rare, I’ve not had many opportunities to face it, but given that I’ve refused to take it and it’s been horrible against me, I’m downgrading it.

Carrion Screecher

Limited: 1.5

This might be a pushover, but it’s still a 3-power flyer. That’s going to make the cut about half the time, depending on your curve and how aggressive your deck is, which is the definition of filler.

New Rating: 2.5

It turns out that flyers are pretty good, and Carrion Screecher being a Zombie is a real upside. I’m mostly happy with this card, and now rate it higher than I did initially.

Lethal Sting

Limited: 3.0

The additional text here is a fairly big price, but not enough to stop me from playing this in basically every deck (given a high enough creature count—around 14+). Make sure you have fodder, though it’s cute that this works with small crappy creatures and big ones alike.

New Rating: 2.0

While this isn’t a huge downgrade, I want to make it clear that this isn’t premium removal, and there are plenty of decks where you don’t want to play it. It’s still fine in creature-heavy decks with some toughness, but I don’t like it as much as I did.

Torment of Hailfire & Torment of Scarabs

Limited: 1.0

I’m ready for my very own Torment of Hailfire, as I know I’m going to get a million comments talking about how busted this is. The most common case for this is casting it for 6 or 7 mana, at which point the opponent takes like 6-12 damage and discards a card or two, which is not what I look for in such an expensive card. You need to be pressuring them a ton for this to really hurt, and in some of those games they will have excess cards to discard. Punisher cards have always been bad, no exceptions, and this won’t be the one that breaks the mold. That all said, I know what’s coming.

Limited: 0.5

See Torment of Hailfire, and imagine it’s slower and less powerful. Yeah.

New Rating(s): 2.0

I’m still skeptical of these two cards, but I will admit they pull their weight in aggressive decks. That’s fine, though I feel like we are never going to know the “true” rating, as people are still all over the map on them.

Red

Blur of Blades

Limited: 1.5

The first Blur is likely fine, as picking off 1-toughness creatures or winning a combat is worth 2 mana, but these don’t stack well. Most decks won’t have that many good targets, so I’d start one of these and sideboard the rest. The incidental damage adds up, but isn’t enough to really push this into premium range.

New Rating: 2.5

I pretty much always play the first copy of this, even if I sometimes have to side it out. -1/-1 is so much more flexible than 1 damage, and this almost always trades up for something. That plus 2 damage makes it a solid main deck inclusion.

Hazoret’s Undying Fury

Limited: 0.0

This card seems quite bad to me. Even if every other nonland card in your deck costs 5 or less, you are still only 80% to hit 2 or more, and at that point you are probably playing 5-8 mana worth of spells. Given that it costs you 6 mana and you skip your next untap step, I think this is too much downside to get a 2- or 3-for-1. Without the skipped untap step, I’d be in, but adding that is too great a cost.

Then again, I could be wrong and this nets you a 3-for-1 and 10 mana worth of stuff, but I don’t think that will be the case often enough.

New Rating: 2.0

After playing with this and seeing it played, I’m ready to substantially bump the rating. In a deck where your curve ends at 5, Hazoret’s Undying Fury tends to hit enough spells that it’s worth it, and makes an effective last card in hand. I would be wary of it in a deck with 6+ cost spells, and it’s way better in a deck like U/R Spells than R/G Midrange, but either way it’s been pretty good for me (though very high-variance).

Imminent Doom

Limited: 0.0

You have to match the progression exactly here, so that means playing a 1 into a 2 into a 3 and so on. That’s just not realistic for Limited and as sweet as this might be, it’s too much of a stretch for my tastes.

New Rating: 1.0// 3.0

This is still a miss in most decks—that hasn’t changed. What has is that I’ve seen this be very effective in decks with four 1-drops, and great in decks with 5+ 1-drops (assuming you curve 2-4 normally, with a couple 5s). This is doable, and given the amount of playable 1s in the format, I’ve actually been happy taking this in the middle of pack 1 and working toward it, though I wouldn’t first-pick it. It’s also cute with aftermath cards, as they can often trigger it twice.

Wildfire Eternal

Limited: 3.5

Blocking this is painful, and not blocking it can lead to a bunch of free mana. This falls off a bit late game, as playing a spell for free isn’t all that enticing, but it still forces in damage no matter what. I like Wildfire Eternal, even if it takes a few moving pieces to be really good.

New Rating: 1.5

In a spell-heavy deck, I’d still play this, but it’s pretty bad outside of that. It doesn’t block as well as I’d hoped, and getting in for 1 a turn is not impressive.

Green

Beneath the Sands

Limited: 1.0

I get that you can cycle this when you have enough lands, but a card that’s inefficient to cast or cycle isn’t one I’m happy to play. In a 3-color ramp deck, I can get behind this, but I’d avoid it otherwise.

New Rating: 2.5

I’m still not slamming this into every deck, but with green ramp being one of the better archetypes, I’ve played it a lot. It’s good if your plan is to cast 5+ mana spells (and be 3 colors), and paying 3 mana to ramp is actually workable in this format.

Oasis Ritualist

Limited: 2.0

I’m really hoping green ramp is a thing in HOU. Oasis Ritualist takes you to 7 nicely, and supports a plan of playing giant monsters and other sweet cards. It’s got a respectable body, making it relevant even when you don’t need the mana. I like this card in most green decks, even if it won’t fit into a low-curve beatdown deck.

New Rating: 3.0

This is another uptick due to ramp being good. Ritualist is one of the better commons overall once you are in the archetype, and I’d take it over everything but premium removal at that point. I still don’t play it in low-curve green beatdown, but it’s good everywhere else.

Overcome

Limited: 4.0

The strategy here is pretty simple: Overrun the board with creatures, then cast this and send a stampede the opponent’s way. As long as you have 3+ creatures in play, this deals a ton of damage, and if you’ve successfully gone wide this will finish almost every game. Trample is huge, and makes this a threat even on smaller boards if you’ve got sizable creatures.

New Rating: 3.0

Given that the format is a little slower and you can build decks other than beatdown, I’ve found Overcome to be less necessary. A lot of green decks would rather ramp into Rampaging Hippo and Greater Sandwurm, at which point you don’t really need this effect.

Rampaging Hippo

Limited: 2.0

Hopefully the format is a little slower than triple-AKH because this might actually live up to what Greater Sandwurm seemed to promise. A cycling finisher is something ramp decks like to see, and Rampaging Hippo does a good job at filling that role.

New Rating: 3.0

I’m a big hippo fan (as in a fan of big hippos), and this has indeed lived up to the Greater Sandwurm promise (that card is also a solid 3.0 now). Ramp is good, and cycling expensive threats are good. A 5/6 trampler is real, and having this be good at any point in the game makes it a good pickup.

Sifter Wurm

Limited: 3.0

Sifter Wurm is exactly the kind of card you can build a control deck around, as it’s a huge threat that comes with a ton of life to catch you back up (plus a little card selection). I’m hoping this is worth doing, as the payoff here looks real.

New Rating: 3.5

Sifter Wurm is great, and might even be a 4.0 once you know you’re in ramp. It dominates the board, brings you back against a life total deficit, and even gives you some nice scry action.

Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

Limited: 1.0// 3.5

If you can cast Nicol Bolas, he is awesome, with the “if” part being the rub. I’d like to think this is a viable dream, and that first-picking Bolas can work out, but there is a real chance that it’s not a good strategy to try to cast a 3-color 7-drop. The abilities are powerful enough that it seems worth it, and I’m sure going to try.

New Rating: 1.0// 4.0

This is still not the safest first pick, but given the speed of the format, I’d be more inclined to take it than I was. You can make green ramp decks, and 3-color nongreen control decks are very doable too. That makes Bolas a legit bomb, even though he will rot in your sideboard a decent amount of the time.

Driven // Despair

Limited: 2.0

If you can reliably get two creatures through, this is a big swing in cards. It takes a bit of setup and doesn’t impact the board, but is powerful when it does work.

New Rating: 3.0

This is a gold card, so keep that in mind, but in B/G it’s well worth playing. It leads to huge card swings, and even getting in with two creatures makes this great.

God-Pharaoh’s Gift

Limited: 3.0

This is a build-around, insofar as it’s a 7-mana spell that requires a stocked graveyard. If you can swing that, this is powerful enough to take over a game, and acts like a mini-Sandwurm Convergence, which is appealing.

New Rating: 3.5

Slower format, 7-drops are good, all that jazz.

Manalith

Limited: 1.0

I suspect this is not a Manalith format, though if 3-color control decks are legit, Manalith can help them. Don’t play this in 2-color decks, and especially don’t play this unless you have a good number of 6+ drops.

New Rating: 2.0

I’m not claiming this card is great, but it’s playable in ramp, particularly nongreen ramp/control decks. It makes 3-color decks more consistent, and does help cast 5+ drops.

Mirage Mirror

Limited: 1.5

I don’t like the idea of paying mana for this over and over, but it is undeniably powerful in a long game. On balance I think it’ll be mediocre, with high notes here and there as the board state permits.

New Rating: 3.0

I’d always run this, and even would take it early over all but premium removal. It’s a pain to keep spending mana, but constantly upgrading to the best permanent on board is a real upside.

Sunset Pyramid

Limited: 2.5

This seems like a plausible way to avoid running out of gas, and I can see this being useful even in aggro as your top-end. It’s cheap enough that it feels like it can slot in on turns where you don’t have much going on, and eventually scrying is still a decent use of the card.

New Rating: 3.5

I’ve loved Sunset Pyramid in everything but pure aggro, and even there you can play this as one of your “finishers.” It dominates slow games, and even the scry ability is very useful.

Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs

Limited: 0.5

0/4s don’t block particularly well in this set, and being able to maybe ping for 1 is not a huge upside.

New Rating: 3.0

It turns out that 0/4s do in fact block well, and given that you want a couple Deserts in most decks anyways, this reliably pings. I’ve found this card to be good in both aggro or control, making it a very real card, indeed.

Cycling Deserts

Limited: 3.0

These are all worth picking above midrange playables, and I’d play 2-3 without batting an eye. Protection from mana flood is so good, and these are better than you think.

New Rating: 3.5

These are kind of fake 3.5s, since I’m still taking cards like Open Fire over them, but they are solidly above all but the premium commons. Cycling lands are very good, and while I was already high on them to start, I still want to bump them. There are also enough good Desert payoffs that I’m happy to have a couple Deserts to power up Unquenchable Thirst and the like.

Conclusion

Most of the ratings changes were due to a slower format, though there were plenty of cards that looked better or worse than they ended up being. I’m not too unhappy with the initial grades, after a re-review, but there were enough cards that changed that it was worth examining.