I now have over 20 Hour of Devastation Drafts under my belt, and I’ve seen a few cards now that have been getting too much play for how bad they are.
#7: Hour of Eternity
I’ve seen people play this in blue-white and blue-red, and it seriously does not belong there. The rate is usually 5 mana, get a 4/4, and 7 mana get two 4/4s. At 5 mana it’s mediocre. At 7 mana you start getting a better rate, but you need 7 mana for that—it’s a lot.
Not to mention that blue-white usually already has embalm and eternalize to empty their graveyard and blue-red is not interested in a 7-mana card.
I’ve found that it is a decent game-ending card in blue-black—through cycling you’ll be able to make enough lands drops and play defense to get to 7, even sometimes 9 mana.
#6: Imminent Doom
I have a hard time believing this card isn’t just a variance fest. After you cast it, you likely need to find a 1-, 2- and 3-drop to get your money’s worth.
That means not playing the ones in your hand or having extras. It really requires the stars to align for a payoff that is pretty nice to be sure, but not worth the possibility that it doesn’t do anything.
#5: Wildfire Eternal
Unless your deck is full of Hazoret’s Undying Fury, there just aren’t that many expensive spells that you can play with this guy’s ability. You seriously need to be casting something that you wouldn’t be able to cast otherwise because the body here is pretty bad. No one will ever block a 1/4, so the afflict 4 is useless and a 1/4 for 4 mana is atrocious.
#4: Torment of Scarabs
I had high hopes for this card when I first evaluated the set. I even gave it multiple opportunities to show me if it was good, but unfortunately after playing against several kinds of decks, it’s just bad.
Against slow decks it is decent, but there aren’t many of those in this format. 8 out of 10 of my matches are races and Torment of Scarabs just doesn’t do anything in a game where you are not ahead, and casting a do-nothing, 4-mana card is an especially good way to never get ahead.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I want it for my sideboard and that’s pretty much it. It is also a reasonable filler for an aggressive deck that needs a late-game play after being ahead on board.
#3: Hazoret’s Undying Fury
This card is pure math. I don’t think you can play enough games of Limited with it to say if it’s good or bad. I won’t believe you if you tell me it’s good because you cast 4 spells in the four games you played with it—you were just lucky.
Let’s break it down. Let’s say you’re casting it turn 6, your deck has 17 lands total, so 11 left in your deck (assuming none in your hand). You are turn 6, you’ve drawn 6-7 cards from your draw steps plus your 7 from your opening hand, that means you have 26 cards left. 15 of them are then hits for Hazoret’s Undying Fury.
Using a hypergeometric calculator, we get the following numbers:
4 hits – 9%
3 hits or more – 42%
2 hits or more – 81%
1 hit or more – 97%
As the numbers say, hitting 4 nonlands is unlikely. You’re a slight dog to hit 3, and a huge favorite to hit 2.
If you’re hitting 3 cards, you’re definitely getting a good rate for 6 mana, my issue here is that your deck will have removal and tricks that can be conditional and aren’t really great hits. Let’s say you have a Sandblast, a Kindled Fury, and an Act of Heroism in your deck, you’re now lowering that 42% to 23%. Not to mention flipping removal on an empty board…
Your deck is composed mainly of 2- and 3-drops, a few 4-drops, and maybe one 5-drop. On average you would then hit a 2- and a 3-drop.
Where I’m going with this is that you are rarely a favorite to hit 6 mana worth of cards, especially when red decks are incentivized to have lower curves because they are aggressive.
Oh, and I forgot to mention: your lands don’t untap next turn.
Overcome is slightly worse than the actual card Overrun that used to be part of a few core sets, but unlike these effects that were part of core set Limited, this one is in a regular set in a new era of Magic.
Creatures are way better than before.
Which means that board stalls happens less because there’s far more trading, and creatures with abilities tend to snowball so people block them and try to kill them more frequently. There are also very few ways to create tokens in the Amonkhet/Hour of Devastation format.
Overcome is still playable and can be good—there are ways to build your deck in a way that you will trade less frequently. It’s just not as reliable as it used to be, making Overcome not exactly a bomb in every strategy.
Don’t get me wrong—most of these cards are still first picks, yet, the fact that there are eight sweepers in the format gives people a better reason to play around them when the situation presents.
The only thing you can do about that is to ease off of the slow roll and fire your rare earlier than you’re used to.
[Editor’s note: The math for Hazoret’s Undying Fury has been corrected.]