Previous Set Reviews
Limited Resources Reviews
5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Siege Rhino. Courser of Kruphix. Remand.)
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. Sandstorm.) 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.)
If you can build your deck such that this is always on, it gets to “average Constructed playable.” That’s not usually a great sign, but such is the curse of the marginal card: it can strive to be average if everything falls into place correctly.
I’m kind of excited about this card. I’m likely being optimistic, but the idea of ambushing something early and swinging close races late, all at instant speed, seems pretty good to me. It’s even a decent threat to toss out end of turn, and only costs 3 mana.
It’s Siege Rhino at a discount, but instead of draining them for 3 you need to hit them with it. Put that way, it doesn’t sound like such a great deal…
All of these gold cards are hovering near the fringe of playable, and Reclusive Artificer is no exception. If it can reliably deal 3 damage, it is great, and even at 2 it is somewhat interesting. That’s a hard goal to accomplish, though worth it if you can get there.
Shaman of the Pack
This is ahead of the rest of the pack when it comes to gold cards, as it has the power level and a deck that wants it. If Elves is a serious aggressive threat, Shaman of the Pack seems like one of the ways it wants to attack. You do need to be really dedicated to make this work, but such is the way of most Elf decks, and I can see this plus Collected Company doing some good work.
If you are gaining a bunch of life and drawing a bunch of cards, things are probably going pretty well for you already. Still, winning more is the best part of winning, and the Archive lets you do that. I’m always wary of cards that require good things happening to be good, but at least this really pays you when it works.
I built some artifact-based decks last week on Top Decks, and Hangarback Walker showed up multiple times. The card is quite strong, offering a good mana sink early or late, and accumulating value as the game goes on. It’s not a walk in the park for your opponent to deal with, either, as most removal spells will net you a couple Thopters for your trouble. A threat that can be played for 2 mana or 10 mana and gets you value against removal is a rare commodity, and should be valued appropriately. This is great in artifact decks and may even be good enough just for value, and I expect to see it in a variety of places.
Helm of the Gods
Like Blood-Cursed Knight, if you can reliably have 2-3 enchantments in play, this becomes an interesting card. I don’t know how easy that will be or whether decks with that many enchantments even want to attack, but 1 to cast and 1 to equip for +3/+3 is a very playable Constructed card.
Orbs of Warding
If you think this effect is annoying, imagine it in multiples. This does a ton of work against red decks full of burn spells and 1/1s, and can even add up against slightly larger aggro decks. I mostly like this as a sideboard option, as it is very powerful when the conditions are right.
Between Magmatic Insight and Tormenting Voice, there are actually legitimate card draw engines in red these days. Add those to the plethora of burn spells available and you have the start of a controlling red deck, especially once you factor in how successful Mardu has been already. Copying Crackling Doom sounds pretty good, and in a format full of creatures, a deck full of removal spells isn’t a bad idea.
Sword of the Animist
This card is deceptively powerful. Not only is it super appealing, it draws you a card as soon as you attack, which means it isn’t very difficult to get a couple lands from this, even if you have to chump attack with creatures to do so. I generally wouldn’t want to draw multiples, but one or two in a deck with a high end that has a bunch of creatures (see: Mono-Green Devotion) sounds awesome.
These are still very playable, and will remain so as long as they are legal. It will be painful when the Temples rotate, but at least we will still have these.
Formats evolve; this does not.
Foundry of the Consuls
I love spell-lands, and this definitely qualifies. There aren’t very many ways to get value from your lands these days, and if you can afford to play a colorless land, this will often be the one. Look for this to show up randomly in decks that don’t even have particular synergy with the fliers, as the effect is free enough and powerful enough to see play.
And then there were two. Mage-Ring Network does cut into the likelihood of Foundry seeing play in control decks, as this is exactly the kind of land I want in my ponderous control decks (and it goes without saying that I’m in for ponderous control decks). This gives you an edge in any slow matchup, and can let you drop a huge threat will still keeping countermagic up, which are valuable tools for any control deck.
This saw a little play last time it was legal, with rogue deckbuilders the world over looking for ways to get their sweet creatures through. I imagine it will see niche play again, though I like the other colorless spell-lands a lot more.
Top 10 Constructed Cards
10. Fiery Impulse
There are a lot of awesome cards on this list. Jace still seems incredible to me, even if he doesn’t flip the format completely. Languish probably has the biggest overall impact, so maybe it deserves the number one spot, but the new possibilities offered by Jace are more exciting, so there you go. I especially like Nissa as a complement to Woodland Bellower, as that synergy will be crucial in making most green decks work. This is a good collection of powerful cards, awesome buildarounds, and efficient removal spells. All of those things work together to make the format more interesting (Demonic Pact especially; I think this card is awesome), and I think that Origins will have much more of an impact than M15 ended up having, which is definitely a good thing.