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Battle for Zendikar Set Review and Set Redo

Ratings Scale

5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Siege Rhino. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren. Seeker of the Way. Hordeling Outburst.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Deathmist Raptor. Dromoka’s Command.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept. Tragic Arrogance. Dragon Fodder.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living Guildpact. Naturalize. Duress.) 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.)

Eldrazi Displacer

Constructed: 2.5

I’m very thankful that this doesn’t protect itself, because it would otherwise be one of the most annoying cards in the format. It’s still surprisingly strong, and is cheap enough that it has a good chance of seeing play. It can trigger ETB effects, save your other creatures from removal, make it so your opponent’s creatures can’t attack or block, and overall be a nuisance.

It’s the kind of card that at first blush just seems like a Limited house (which it is), but I can’t help but think there’s a good amount of Constructed potential too.

Call the Gatewatch

Constructed: 2.0

I don’t want to call this just unplayable, but I also don’t see myself spending mana to tutor for a card type that’s not generally good when you are behind. Planeswalkers don’t tend to be silver bullets that answer a certain strategy, so the idea of a toolbox seems unrealistic (and undignified—aren’t these the most powerful beings in the multiverse?). Where Call might see play is if there’s some combo deck that needs a specific planeswalker, because past that I don’t see it making a huge Constructed impact.

Dazzling Reflection

Constructed: 2.0

There is a combo in Standard that involves making a creature hit for 20 in one turn (Temur Battle Rage + Become Immense), so a Deflecting Palm that’s purely defensive could be of interest.

What makes it tough to justify is that Dazzling Reflection says “the next time that creature would deal damage this turn,” and Temur Battle Rage creates two instances of damage. That means you don’t gain 20, you just break even as you gain 10 then take 10. Consider me undazzled by the prospect.

General Tazri

Constructed: 2.0

5 mana for a 3/4 needs to do something spectacular to see Standard play, like come with a second 3/4. Tazri gets another Ally, but puts it into your hand instead of into play, which generally won’t be enough. At least the Overrun ability is easy to activate in Constructed!

Immolating Glare

Constructed: 2.5

Ah yes, another entry into the vast catalog of situational white removal spells that UW Control might play. I at least like how cheap this one is, though you have to be very controlling to play a spell limited to killing attackers.

Linvala, the Preserver

Constructed: 3.0

Linvala is a funny case. I wrote about her in detail in my preview article, and I think she’s powerful enough to see a lot of play. White-based control decks have a big incentive to play Linvala and few other creatures, but where I think she will really shine is out of the sideboard. She looks quite good against aggro decks and insane in the midrange mirror. She’s a reverse Wingmate Roc, and one of the few cards I can imagine that will let you mount a comeback against the Roc.

6 mana is a lot against something like Atarka Red, so I don’t think she solves that matchup by any means, but against a deck of Siege Rhinos she seems like the perfect trump.

Oath of Gideon

Constructed: 2.5

Oath of Gideon is the rare Oath* where I like the planeswalker text more than the main ability. Having all your ‘walkers enter a full loyalty higher is powerful, especially with the namesake of this particular Oath. Getting two 1/1s is by no means irrelevant either, and they can protect your legion of planeswalkers quite well. If there is a Standard Superfriends deck, this looks like the perfect way to enable it.

*Technically, they are all rare, and as we know, technically correct is the best kind of correct.

Searing Light

Constructed: 2.0

Look, sometimes you need a 1-mana kill spell. Disfigure ended up seeing play in every Constructed format back to Legacy, and even a worse white version could see the light of play.

Stone Haven Outfitter

Constructed: 2.5

The textbox here is absurdly powerful, and might be the most powerful text box I’ve ever seen on a 2-drop Kor. A token-based deck with cheap equipment can have some nice turns with Outfitter in play, though you might have to look to older formats to find more powerful equipment. I’m sure that with enough effort, Shuko can turn into Skullclamp

Even though I don’t know exactly where this might go, I do think it has a lot of potential.

Stoneforge Acolyte

Constructed: 2.0

I have to give the Stoneforge Mystic throwback a shoutout, and it’s not impossible that the Acolyte could make his own name for himself. In a deck with a lot of Allies and equipment, this is not very much to pay for a solid repeatable effect, and a 1/2 Ally for W could be something the deck is interested in as well.

Wall of Resurgence

Constructed: 2.0

I know some people will be tempted by the allure of a 3/3 and an 0/6 as a defensive option, so I just want to warn you: this is how your lands get destroyed. The 3/3 is going to be tapped if you cast this turn 3, and exposing your lands to removal is a way to get locked out of casting expensive spells. That said, a low-curve deck that just wants bodies against aggro could look at this as an option.

Top 3 White Cards

3. Eldrazi Displacer
2. Oath of Gideon
1. Linvala, the Preserver

For a small set that has fewer colored cards than normal, white didn’t do poorly. Linvala is a very powerful card to have access to, and gives white decks more tools for the creature-based matchups that tend to dominate the Standard landscape. Oath and Displacer both offer interesting build-arounds, which is something white doesn’t tend to get, and it’s cool that a lot of the power of white in this set is somewhere other than a White Weenie deck that ultimately won’t get there.

Next up is the final word on blue!

LSV