Previous Set Reviews
5.0: The best of the best. (Pack Rat. Umezawa’s Jitte. Wingmate Roc.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Butcher of the Horde. Savage Knuckleblade. Crater’s Claws.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Triplicate Spirits. End Hostilities. Necropolis Fiend.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Lightning Strike. Suspension Field.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Debilitating Injury. Mardu Hordechief. Flesh to Dust.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Glacial Stalker. Bitter Revelation. Hunt the Weak.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Dragonscale Boon. Defiant Strike. Cancel.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Scout the Borders. Aeronaut Tinkerer. Ranger’s Guile.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Tusked Colossodon. Bronze Sable. Oppressive Rays.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Naturalize. Feed the Clan. Congregate.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Search the City. Pyxis of Pandemonium.)
This is no Plummet, though at least it kills a bunch of Thopters at once. This is strictly sideboard material, and unlike Plummet, I wouldn’t maindeck it in Sealed.
The amount you have to spend on this before it does anything is way too great, and once you have that much mana, why do you need more? I’m not a fan of my mana ramp spells costing 6+ mana, and that’s exactly where this lands.
It’s kind of cool that this Naturalize lets you at least play it as a 1/1 if there are no targets forthcoming, though it’s still low enough on power level that I’d only bring it in if I had specific targets to hit.
It’s even cooler that this Naturalize comes with a 4/4 attached, and as such this is a very solid maindeck card. Even against decks with no target, it pulls its weight, and when you do hit something this is a huge blowout.
Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen
A 3/4 reach that gains you 1 life when it attacks is a card I’d be happy to play, and this will frequently do more than that. There are a lot of good Elves running around, and having a reason to draft them is pretty nice.
Speaking of good Elves, Dwynen’s Elite is a Grizzly Bear when you need one and multiple creatures if you can wait until an Elf hits the board. It shouldn’t be hard to end up with a couple Elves in your deck, and if you can hit 7+, this becomes a solid card.
In the right deck, this is a very threatening turn-three play, assuming you can afford to take turn three off (which sadly, is not the world we usually live in). If you do have breathing room to play this before you play your bigger creatures, it can accumulate a fair amount of value, but a lot of pieces have to fall the right way.
Elvish Visionary is awesome. It feels great to cast, never costs you a card, and fits into plenty of different engines. You can sacrifice it for profit, it enables Elf synergies, and best of all, you can play it in every green deck and it will be good. It doesn’t do anything amazing, but smoothes out your draws and is just good value.
Unless you have a vast supply of creature tokens, it seems like quite a leap to think that this card does anything. You lose mana and board position in order to draw a random creature card, and you are down a card just by casting this. Let’s leave this to the 60-card decks.
Gaea’s Revenge does a lot of good things, but it still costs seven mana. Not every deck will want such an expensive card, even though it’s great that this bashes immediately and is immune to removal spells.
Gather the Pack
This is another somewhat awkward spell mastery card, as you want a high creature count to ensure that it works, which conflicts with spell mastery. I don’t like the idea of spending two mana and risking missing, so I’m going to avoid this card unless I have a lot of creatures, some insane ones, and maybe even some graveyard synergies.
Herald of the Pantheon
A 2/2 for 2 with no other abilities is playable in most decks, and this is closer to that than it probably wants to admit. If you end up with a couple enchantments, neat, but don’t go out of your way to try and make this work. I’m also sad that Herald isn’t a bear nor a member of CFB Pantheon, as this is close to being the perfect punchline to a bunch of different jokes.
As was pointed out to me by an astute Twitter user, “Hitchclaw Recluse” sounds like a character from a bad detective novel. Besides a funny name, this does do a good job of keeping you alive, even if it’s not the most aggressive card. Beatdown decks can pass on this, but every midrange and control deck should be happy to run it.
If this is in your opening hand on the play, it will look pretty good, and sometimes even works on the draw. In most other situations, this is a 1/1 for one that just sits there doing nothing. Even if you could force it through with another card, that’s rarely worth it, as a 2/2 mana Elf on turn six is just not exciting. Don’t be a victim of best-case scenario thinking, and avoid playing this.
This evokes a comparison to Overrun, much like every other green sorcery that pumps your team. In this case, the comparison is apt, as Joraga Invocation will help end the game just like Overrun did. Of course, it does it slightly differently, because instead of trample this forces your opponent to chump a bunch. The end result will frequently be the same, as you can expect a lot of creatures to head to your opponent’s graveyard, but unfortunately this won’t kill the opponent quite as often. It isn’t hard to get two creatures out of this, and if you are getting three or more, you end up very far ahead.
The 2-power mana Elf is a powerful addition to any Limited deck, as it both ramps early and still trades for a real card. It’s not gilding the lily to say that this is one of the best if not the best green common, and that you should take it no matter what kind of green deck you are drafting (it being an Elf is even bonus synergy).
I like drawing cards, and the ability on this is better than “draw a card” in most green decks. Shaman of Spring was solid if not exciting, and this is a touch above that. Being an Elf helps, and seeing more cards does as well, so I’d be happy to run this in any deck with 12+ creatures.
If your opponent doesn’t kill this, they are going to lose to it in short order. It only costs three mana, yet it frequently starts attacking for 5+ damage soon after it hits. There are games where you draw this late and it isn’t insane, but even then it will become a 3/3 sooner rather than later, and if you can drop this early I don’t see how your opponent can win if it survives.
Mantle of Webs
Maybe you side this in if your opponent is long on fliers and short on removal, but that’s an unlikely scenario and this is not a powerful card. It’s a shame too, because any card with the name “Web” opens up a ton of possible David Ochoa jokes (that’s his nickname), and this is so bad that I’ll just have fewer opportunities to use them. I still will, it’ll just happen less often.
Might of the Masses
If you want a pump spell, you probably have a lot of creatures, so this is probably fine. It’s also a decent way to win a fight early, as +1/+1 often does the trick, and overall this delivers about exactly what you expect (while sometimes also delivering a massive beating).
Nissa, Vastwood Seer
Nissa is awesome in Limited. First of all, she’s a Borderland Ranger (albeit one that doesn’t fix your colors), and that’s a great start. You’d play her if that’s all she did, and once you hit seven lands, she does a ton more.
Nissa, Sage Animist
Her planeswalker version is very good. You will usually just make a 4/4, which means you aren’t down a card even if Nissa gets attacked, and if she survives you start drawing two cards a turn. The fact that her base version is good, her flip condition is easy, and all three of her planeswalker abilities are good makes Nissa great.
Because this doesn’t help a multicolor mana base, you won’t always play it. Decks that want to ramp to 5-7 mana are interested, and while that’s most green decks, it isn’t all of them. The spell mastery part is a nice bonus, though as with many other spell mastery cards, that shouldn’t affect how you draft much.
Costs 7: check
Draws cards: check
Relies on having other expensive cards: check
All right, I guess I’m sold. This isn’t for every deck, so the rating more reflects that it’s a good finisher in control decks while being unplayable in aggro decks. I’m OK with that, as I don’t want anyone interested in attacking taking my precious Revelations. If I see this early, I will build around it, and drawing 3-4 cards while scrying unneeded lands to the bottom sounds pretty good, especially once you factor in the extra life you get as well.
Green aggressive decks do exist, and Orchard Spirit is exactly what they want in a 3-drop. If you don’t care about blocking, this is essentially a 2/2 flier for 3, and that’s a fine deal (if not an exciting one).
When I imagine this powering up all I can think of is the Colossus ultimate from the old X-Men arcade game, which is probably meaningless nonsense to the vast majority of readers. Luckily, I have many categories of meaningless nonsense to write about, so if you missed that one, I’m sure you’ll get plenty of the others. The card is also great, as a 5-mana 6/6 that becomes a 12/12 and can’t be double-blocked is a pretty fantastic threat.
Even without renown, this blocks quite well, which is a good start. Renown creatures that are good even without renown are what you want, and this fits the bill. It also is threatening on offense, as the opponent has to trade something medium-sized or bigger to stop it from growing, and once it does become a 3/4, it demands even bigger tribute.
This card is heinously bad, as it puts you down a card, a mana, and you need to have a good card in your graveyard before you can even cast it. I suppose I would side it in against a mill deck, maybe, but you aren’t likely to ever play against one of those (let alone actually want this if you do).
This is a huge threat, especially once you consider that it’s a common. I don’t want to say it rocks, but I can’t resist, and the only thing keeping this from being rated more highly is that you don’t want a ton of 5-drops. It plays well with tricks, can’t easily be chumped, and will often give you way more than five mana’s worth of value.
When you cast this, attacking time is over for your opponent. They are now in the chump block phase of the game, as it’s extremely unlikely they can attack past this or effectively block it. Removal does kill the Spider, but anything short of a full-blown kill spell will leave this to just dominate both ends of the court.
This realistically should get a slight bump from how likely your opponent is to forget about it or not factor it in, as that will happen often. The boost to your attackers is a powerful ability, and trample is a nice little bonus. If you aren’t the attacking sort, this does lose a lot of value, so keep that in mind if you plan on forming the wolfpack.
The odds that you get a dedicated Elf deck aren’t super high, and I’d want in the neighborhood of 11-12 other Elves to be happy playing this. Take this late if you are in Elves, and otherwise feel free to shoot the messenger.
The Great Aurora
*Rates the card 0.0 based on casting cost*
*Reads the card*
*Doesn’t change the rating*
Assuming you need some number of random 2-drops, this is as good a place to start as any. Once you have one, the second becomes slightly more interesting, and once you have two or more, any subsequent Timberpack Wolves become legitimate high picks.
Combat tricks don’t get much more medium than this. It’s a fine playable, and you will run it more often than not, but it’s nothing special. At least removal spells are getting more expensive these days, making the odds that you get blown out much lower.
There are a lot of reasons to like this card, the least of which being that I identify with the creature type (or so people claim for reasons unbeknownst to me). A 2/2 for 2 with renown is good already, and giving it regeneration not only makes it harder to stop on turn three but also makes it very live in the late game. Undercity Troll is the rare breed of 2-drop that’s always solid, and as such it’s a desirable early pick.
The upside on this card is very high if you can connect, or even if you can have other renown creatures connect, but the downside is that it can often be fairly anemic when it’s lacking in support. A deck without tricks and light on removal sounds bad, but that’s the exact kind of deck that may want to avoid this. I also wouldn’t go out of my way to slam renowned cards because of this. The synergy is nice if it comes together, but there’s no need to force it.
If you need this, you will have access to it, and hopefully you don’t. I tend to gorge myself on expensive cards, and as such am usually good without this, but more restrained drafters may find themselves lacking a high end.
Maybe you can side this in if you have a matchup that comes down to a race and your creatures are bigger, but that sounds like a pretty rare circumstance.
Round 26, fight!
There have been a ton of these cards over the past couple years, about one per set exactly, and that’s because they play well and give green removal. This is on the low end of the power curve for fight effects, but is still a fine playable in any deck that has reasonable creatures (which should be every green deck).
6 mana for 8 or 9 mana worth of cards is a good deal, and this should always get you that. It’s a solid 2-for-1 that is great when ahead or behind, and all it asks is that you play a couple cheap green creatures, something you were likely going to do already.
In a deck full of renown creatures, this goes up accordingly.
This is a card with an eye for the long game, so don’t go throwing it in your aggro decks. I do like the idea of this as a top-end card in midrange or control, especially with Nissa’s Pilgrimage, but the risk of playing this and having it do nothing makes me rate it a little lower than I would most finishers.
Top 5 Green Commons
3. Rhox Maulers
1. Leaf Gilder
Green delivered about what I’d expect: a good mana Elf, a decent fight card, and some good midrange threats. Timberpack Wolf goes down in value the later in the draft you see it, and I’d be happy taking Fierce Empath, Elvish Visionary, and even the hardboiled Hitchclaw Recluse over it, depending on your deck. Green doesn’t look particularly aggressive, but probably can deliver beats when paired with red or white, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.