Other War of the Spark Reviews
Blue | Black | Red | Green | Golds, Artifacts, and Lands
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.)
War of the Spark Set Review: White
At a base level, Ajani’s Pridemate is a passable card, and you may randomly end up with 1 or 2 life-gain cards in your deck. Once you have 3+, especially repeatable ones, this becomes a powerhouse, largely because the opportunity cost is so low on a 2-mana 2/2.
This isn’t much of a promotion—it comes with a small pay bump, but I bet the new boss is gonna pile on tons of new responsibilities. Basically, this is a fine trick if you’re in the market for one, but most decks will want 0-2 cards in this vein, and this doesn’t help your 2/2s take down 4/4s.
Bond of Discipline
I’m not very high on Bond of Discipline, despite it having a potentially powerful effect. This is the kind of card that really captures people’s imaginations—while there are games where this taps down six creatures and lets you attack for lethal (or near-lethal while you gain 10+ life), it also rots in your hand most games.
When you have this in hand instead of another creature or a removal spell, you lose games where you just needed one more game piece, as this by itself doesn’t get you ahead. If you compare it to Sleep, it’s largely worse—it only gives you one attack step, and the life gain is similar to preventing a counterattack. Add that to the fact that Sleep varied by format (it was good in fast formats and mediocre in slow, removal-heavy ones), and you have a card I think will be overrated. It is worth mentioning that with more planeswalkers, this does give you a way to kill opposing ‘walkers, but most of them provide value immediately, so spending a card killing them is often not the most exciting proposition.
Overall, this card is playable as a way to win races and break board stalls, but I’d only run it if I had a ton of creatures and little removal. I’d also side it out against decks with lots of removal, so please be disciplined and don’t just look at this and think it’s the next Overrun.
This is expensive enough that I’d be looking to side it in against decks with reach (like burn, or funnily enough, cards like Bond of Discipline that get extra damage through). It’s a mediocre main-deck card, given the stats and cost, but if you’re playing a control deck and have no expensive cards, feel free to do your best Tormund Giantsbane impression. Yum.
Charming, yes. Effective, no. I’d mostly be looking to side this in against an aggro deck full of 2/1s, or maybe run this if I had multiple Ajani’s Pridemates and a life-gain theme. There will be around 3 of these per draft, and I would want 5+ before even considering them. A stray one of these won’t do much—you need the whole pack before they become a threat.
The floor on a 1-mana card that replaces itself isn’t very low, so I don’t mind Defiant Strike if you are a couple cards short. It’s also pretty nice in U/W or R/W, as there’s a spells-matter theme going on in blue and red, so sometimes you’ll end up enabling your Thunder Drakes or Spellgorger Weirds with this.
Divine Arrow is efficient enough that it’s beyond reproach, as it kills most things and does so pretty cleanly. It’s at its worst in aggressive decks, as they get to block before you can kill their creature, but even then it still removes 4/4s from play for only 2 mana.
At no point will you be excited to play Enforcer Griffin, but it should still make the cut more often than not. It’s a solid combination of stats and cost, and fills out the 5-drop slot with a beefy evasive threat. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.
Finale of Glory
At 4 mana, Finale of Glory is a slightly worse Call the Cavalry, but it scales up quickly after that. The sweet spot is 6-7 mana, though it’s absurd if you somehow get to 12. The reason cards like this are so good is that they are very strong with lots of mana, yet still castable and effective if you’re stuck on 4-5 mana. That flexibility plus power is worth a lot, and as a result this is one of the better cards in the set.
Gideon is powerful, but he can’t protect himself, which unfortunately may lead to him getting killed. When you are ahead, Gideon will stomp your opponent—an indestructible 4/4 attacker plus a good keyword each turn is a lot to handle. He eventually gets to exile anything he wants, though at that point your opponent is probably on the ropes anyway. That’s a lot for 3 mana, and Gideon is a legit early pick. Still, if you are behind, he doesn’t stop the opponent from bashing him, so he’s a step below the bombs in the set.
It’s really hard to get even one card’s worth of value from Gideon’s Sacrifice, much less multiple. If somehow you end up with a really big board, this could help sway a combat involving tons of creatures, but that’s just not all that likely, and on the face of things this is card disadvantage.
While I normally don’t like Edicts (cards that make your opponent choose and sacrifice a creature, named after Diabolic Edict, Killer of Morphlings, First of Its Name), Gideon’s Triumph works a bit differently. It only interacts with creatures that attacked or blocked, which means your opponent’s 5/5 can’t hide behind their 1/1, as the 1/1 won’t be getting into combat. Even if they do send both creatures, note that you can block and kill a smaller creature, then cast Gideon’s Triumph after damage to make the opponent sacrifice the bigger one. You will take damage, but that’s usually going to be worth it. I think this will play out pretty well, and I’d look at it like a slightly worse Divine Arrow.
So this is effectively a 5-mana 6/6 (slightly better, as double strike stacks nicely with combat tricks and is harder to multiblock), and the drawbacks are that it’s unkillable and provides a constant stream of value? I’m in! God-Eternal Oketra is easily one of the best cards in the set, and you should slam it if you can—I’d even consider switching into white if I opened this in pack two.
Without any other synergies, this is mediocre, but the synergies with proliferate are abundant and easy to find. If you have two other cards that work well, I’d be grateful for Grateful Apparition, and at 3+ it becomes one of the better cards in your deck. I’d mostly look for +1/+1 counters, though planeswalker loyalty is another good combo.
Ignite the Beacon
Paying 5 mana to draw two cards is a tough sell, and unless you have 3-4 planeswalkers in your deck, you may not have two cards to draw. It is true that Ignite the Beacon finds two of your better cards, so I’d consider it if I had one great planeswalker and a couple decent ones, but it’s slow enough that you have to make sure your deck has enough early game that you can afford to take a turn off to start igniting things.
Maybe I’m thinking too fondly of Wishcoin Crab, but I could see this providing ironclad defense of your planeswalkers. Granted, this format is shaping up to be slower than Guilds of Ravnica, but Crab was a 2.0 there, so I like starting this at 1.5.
We haven’t seen a tapper this good in Limited for quite some time (this set has a bunch of intentionally juiced commons, which should be interesting). I like that it can’t tap other copies of itself, as the “tap your tapper” dynamic can rune a game. This is cheap, locks down the creatures you care about (with the Zombie Army from amass being the most notable miss) and does a good job dealing with the progressively larger threats your opponent will produce. Law-Rune Enforcer is efficient enough that I’d play two with no problem, and three still sounds pretty good to me.
Loxodon Sergeant may look appealing, but it’s mediocre. A 3/3 for 4 is passable, and adding vigilance to both it and your team for one turn doesn’t do a lot, so you end up with a filler card you’re not thrilled to end up playing.
In a creature-heavy aggro deck, Makeshift Battalion does its job. It’s a decent threat if you can trigger it once, and if you get there twice you got a very good deal.
Martyr for the Cause
A bear with upside is a fine playable, and Martyr for the Cause goes up in value if you end up with a bunch of planeswalkers and +1/+1 counters. It is pretty neat that it may stop your opponent from attacking entirely if you can chump and threaten a planeswalker ultimate, which really lets this live up to its name.
Despite costing 8 mana and requiring multiple creatures to crew (or one big one), I’m still into it. It basically wins the game if it attacks, and this format does not seem like it punishes 8-drops as much as most. I wouldn’t slam it in an aggro deck, but as a finisher for control or midrange it doesn’t get much more powerful than Parhelion II.
I don’t like Pouncing Lynx much in defensive decks, but it’s a great attacker if you’re in the market. I’m not surprised we are starting to see more first-strike-on-your-turn cards—it’s a clean mechanic that plays well.
Cheap removal that also scrys? Sign me up! There’s nothing fancy about this card, and it’s good in and against any Limited deck.
Rally of Wings
Not many decks will be able to play this, but it’s a beating when you do have a good Rally deck. A teamwide +2/+2 and an untap for just 2 mana is powerful—I’d look to have 8+ fliers in my deck before Rallying. Note that this works very nicely with Trusted Pegasus, and I’d count Pegasus as two fliers for this calculation.
Ravnica at War
If your deck mostly dodges Ravnica at War, I’d lean toward maindecking it, as it does hit hybrid cards, and there are a lot of multicolored cards overall. This is also a good sideboard card, though pay close attention to what your opponent has—you’ll want to side it out or in depending on how much it hits, and it’s critical you have the most accurate info possible.
As long as you have a decent number of creatures/planeswalkers in your deck, this card will perform. Its stock rises especially quickly with planeswalkers, as those tend not to last too long on the battlefield.
I’m not a big fan of Single Combat. Your opponent getting to keep their best card means there’s no way to really punish them, and having both players wait a turn before reloading isn’t that huge either. I like this in Constructed, but in Limited I’m less optimistic.
Sunblade Angel is expensive, so early in the Draft I wouldn’t prioritize her (you have so few spots for expensive cards that I like to start out with cheaper ones). Still, once she hits the battlefield she does work, and she scales very nicely with any sort of pump spells. All those keywords add up, and she can easily dominate a game, even if it is unfortunate that she dies to a bunch of common removal spells.
Teyo, the Shieldmage
Like any good shield, Teyo’s value is predicated on what he has to protect. If he’s guarding other powerful planeswalkers, he can be dynamite, but if you’re lacking in finishers he is more likely to break your heart than get anything meaningful done. I do like that he provides a lot of toughness and hexproof, so if you pick your spots right you can get plenty of value for 3 mana.
I like this a bit more than I thought I would, all thanks to context (it’s what makes Limited great). A +1/+1 counter is just worth a lot more with proliferate in the set, and this gets you started when you have multiple ways to get value from counters. Teyo’s Lightshield also combines nicely with fliers, and at worst provides a 1/4 blocker to protect your planeswalkers. Note that this isn’t a defender, so if it gets enough counters it can start bashing.
Tomik, Distinguished Advokist
You can safely ignore all of Tomik’s fancy lands text, and evaluate Tomik as a 2/3 flier for 2. That is good, even with a WW casting cost.
Topple the Statue
Can anyone say best-of-one artifact hate? Topple the Statue does actually do the trick, as it’s Ice for 3 mana, and a cantrip Shatter if they happen to have an artifact. Killing Parhelion with this is gross, and even if they don’t have any good targets you can still tap down a key blocker or even a land on their upkeep.
Having this at 2/2 instead of 1/3, like the last couple incarnations of the effect, is a big change. This slants much more aggressive than Pegasus Courser, and can really pressure both opponents and their planeswalkers. Trusted Pegasus is fantastic in aggressive decks and really solid everywhere else, with only the most glacial of control decks not being interested.
This wanders back and forth between being nearly a dead card and almost unbeatable, all depending on your opponent’s deck. If they have a lot of big creatures, it can eviscerate their board, and lead to an insane 2-for-1. If not, it’s basically blank, which makes me want to sideboard it unless I’m very short on removal. It’s also relevant that it protects your creatures from burn spells, even if you won’t always know when that part is being good.
Wanderer’s Strike is a solid piece of removal, and in some sets would be among the better options. This set has a bunch of pushed commons, which makes Strike more of a decent card than a truly desirable one. I also wouldn’t worry too much about the proliferate part—in some decks that will be a good bonus, but even if you have zero combos, it’s a fine card.
I like cheap creatures with expensive activated abilities, as they tend to be good at any point in the game. War Screecher is no exception, as it’s a relevant early drop and a great way to use your mana later in the game. It does get better in aggressive decks, but it’s still fine in any deck that needs a 2-drop.
Top 5 White Commons
5. War Screecher
4. Wanderer’s Strike
3. Divine Arrow
2. Law-Rune Enforcer
1. Trusted Pegasus
White leans aggressive, as it usually does, but has enough removal that there are definitely the tools to play a more controlling game. I’m curious how this much good removal impacts the format – it looks to me like it will be slower, and all of the planeswalkers seem to lean that way too.