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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.
Retired and inducted into the Limited Hall of Fame: Pack Rat. Umezawa’s Jitte.
5.0: The best of the best. (Noxious Gearhulk. Verduous Gearhulk. Aethersphere Harvester.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Untethered Express. Herald of Anguish. Whirlermaker.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Renegade Freighter. Winding Constrictor. Thopter Arrest.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Welding Sparks. Prophetic Prism. Aether Chaser. Daring Demolition.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Dawnfeather Eagle. Scrounging Bandar. Dhund Operative.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Wayward Giant. Leave in the Dust. Countless Gears Renegade.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Bastion Mastodon. Implement of Malice. Highspire Infusion.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Renegade’s Getaway. Reservoir Walker. Watchful Automaton.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Ironclad Revolutionary. Precise Strike.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Take Down. Natural Obsolecence.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Secret Salvage. Lost Legacy. Gonti’s Machinations. Other complicated black cards.)
Act of Heroism
The potential for a 2-for-1 pushes this up to “mostly play” category for me. 2 mana for +2/+2 is about what I’ve come to expect, so getting two upsides past that does the trick.
This is both a 2-mana 2/1 (essentially) and a 5-mana 4/4 double striker, which is an insane deal when it only costs you one card. You don’t even need to adorn it, as the name suggests, though putting random Auras on this will make it a fearsome threat indeed.
Angel of Condemnation
I would have bet on this getting a 4.5 or 5.0 without reading anything but the name, and wow does it deliver. Flavorfully, this should cast Condemn, but mechanically there’s nothing to complain about. It’s a 3/3 flying vigilance for 4, which is already excellent, and has two very relevant abilities to boot. Leaving mana up and passing is really hard for the opponent to beat, as you can flicker anything with the first ability and use the second when you don’t, losing use of the Angel for a turn. This is a legit bomb, and you should take it the vast majority of the time regardless of what else you have.
Angel of the God-Pharaoh
Cycling ended up being a bit more of a cost than I thought, given Amonkhet’s speed, but Winged Shepherd still was rarely cut. I suspect Angel will be about the same, with a slightly worse cycling cost but much better power and toughness. A 4/4 flyer is a great finisher, and being able to ditch it for something else is a nice bit of flexibility.
Aven of Enduring Hope
A second big flyer at common gives white some late-game punch, and the 3 life attached makes up for any lack of speed. This used to be a bomb uncommon called Angel of Mercy, and while formats are more powerful now, I still hope that this card is as good as it looks.
This does take a little work since it doesn’t really go off until you add life gain to the mix, but a fail-case of a 5-mana 5/5 is really not bad. There’s a saying about not looking a gift horse in the mouth that applies here, as this is solid + upside more than a strict build-around.
A 2/1 flyer for 3 with upside is something I’m always in for, and the more exert running around the better it gets. I’m assuming white is still pretty aggressive, and this should do a good job of chipping in for 2 a turn, while supercharging any exert creatures you manage to pick up.
(After reviewing the top commons and what I’d actually pick, I’ve adjusted this rating to 3.0 – LSV)
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.
Exiling a creature with eternalize is a fine ability to have, but that doesn’t make me disposed to play a 3-mana 2/3. Play this if you need a curve-filler, or side it in against a mono-eternalize deck, otherwise leave it in the sideboard.
Djeru, With Eyes Open
Limited (if you are digustingly lucky): 3.5
Without a planeswalker to fetch, this is almost unplayable (you can do so much better than a 5-mana 4/3 these days). Once you have a ‘walker, this becomes great, though you will still probably wheel it. A 2-for-1 that tutors up one of your best cards and protects it is sick, and all you need is a rare plus a mythic to get there.
Cheap cycling on a situational card is a classic, and this works out fairly well in any aggressive deck. When you want this effect, it’s awesome, and you can cycle it the times when you don’t (which will be the majority). I’d never be excited about this, but I like it in beatdown decks or as filler if you are a few cards short.
I liked the 3-mana 2/4 version a lot more. The stats-to-cost ratio isn’t fantastic here, and I think you’re better served by looking elsewhere.
Note that this is a sideboard card, but a potent one. I wouldn’t maindeck it, yet the grade reflects how powerful it is when you do get to side it in. I’d take this early, as a card that’s this efficient is good even if you get to play it a little less than half your matches.
Unless you specifically need life gain for your deck to work, this is just too low impact.
Hour of Revelation
I’m not a fan of 6-mana sweepers, as they are too hard to reliably cast and set up. Hour of Revelation can sometimes cost 3, but that’s going to be infrequent enough that this looks like a Planar Cleansing reprint, and Planar Cleansing was never particularly good.
If Hour is anything like Amonkhet, a 2-mana 2/2 is already worth looking at, and this gets quite a bit better in a Zombie aggro deck. It is paramount that you a) be aggressive and b) have 8+ Zombies, but once you do, this looks very good.
Oh good, another 3-power 2-drop that you can’t block effectively. I was hoping for more of these. Oketra’s Avenger is going to beat down with the best of them, and makes white aggro look very plausible in the new format.
Oketra’s Last Mercy
So how much life do you have to gain before a pure life gain spell is good? This promises up to 19, and that just may be good enough. My guess is that this is still bad in most matchups, with niche value in a racing matchup or in control against a very aggressive deck. Being down a card is no joke, but neither is gaining a ton of life, and I could see this doing good work. Not untapping your lands is kind of unfortunate since it makes follow-up plays a lot worse too, and overall I’m down on this to start but willing to revise my opinion (this is weird enough that I don’t have high confidence in my rating).
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.
This deals enough damage to kill just about anything, so I’m likely in. It’s worse in aggro, as the opponent still gets to block, but I suspect you’ll play at least the first Sandblast most of the time.
This is another strange one. In combat involving just two creatures, giving a permanent +0/+3 is solid, even if it doesn’t help kill anything. You can set this up so you win two combats with it, though that comes with the downside of not being able to save a creature whenever combat gets large enough. Yet another complication is that this can act as a Fog, where you just save yourself for a turn by dumping it on your worst creature. When you add all that up, I think you have a good card—one that will be a blowout when good, even if it won’t always work out the way you want it to.
This is too niche for Limited, though I’m sure there is plenty of nonsense you can get up to in Constructed.
Limited: 1.5 // 2.5
Once you get over the hump of finding your first Desert, this is a good deal for 3 mana. It’s marginal without a Desert, and desirable once you have 4+ Deserts in your deck.
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.
Steward of Solidarity
A 2/2 for 2 that spits out 1/1s, even if it’s every other turn, is a great deal. This can attack when the coast is clear and build an army when it isn’t, making it a fantastic addition to any deck.
Even with the cost of discarding a card, you are getting a 2/3, then a 4/4, and 6 life total. That’s a solid deal, and not one I’m looking to pass up. It’s a bit better in midrange or control than aggro, but either way it’s a card I’m happy to play.
Limited: 1.0 // 3.0
I really like this card. It’s not good in non-Zombie decks, but it offers a sick win condition if you’ve got 5+ Zombies, and that doesn’t seem all that hard to assemble. Every Zombie offering at least 5 points of evasive damage is no joke, and I suspect this will finish many games that looked unwinnable for the Zombie deck.
Vizier of the True
I was hoping not to block ever, so this truly helps. In a beatdown deck, this just makes blocking impossible, as you can play this on turn 4 and exert another attacker, then attack and exert this next turn. The beatdowns look like they aren’t going anywhere, judging from cards like this.
Top 3 White Commons
White’s common removal spell isn’t great this time around, but Sandblast is still playable. White’s best commons are creatures, with two aggressive beaters and a good curve-topper, though I can see passing on Aven of Enduring Hope more often than the first two cards on the list.