Previous Unstable Set Reviews

Limited:

White | Blue | Black | Red

Welcome to my set review of Unstable! There are a few things different about this review:

  • This set is supposedly designed for Limited. As such, I’m going to try and nail down how good the cards are. Wish me luck!
  • Some of these cards are really hard to seriously review. I’ll try, but if I feel like it’s unrealistic to evaluate a card, I’ll say so.
  • Cards will be rated on flavor. There are some hits and misses here, and it feels appropriate to call both out. More than half the fun of silver-bordered sets is reading the cards and thinking “that’s sweet,” so this grade is meant to capture that.

Here are the mechanics of the set, for reference.

For the card ratings, the old ratings scale will suffice:

Ratings Scale

Retired and inducted into the Limited Hall of Fame: Pack Rat. Umezawa’s Jitte. The Scarab God.
5.0: The best of the best. (Glorybringer. The Scorpion God. The Locust God.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Archfiend of Ifnir. Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh. God-Pharaoh’s Gift.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Sunset Pyramid. Angler Drake. Sand Strangler.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Open Fire. Ambuscade. Gravedigger.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Desert of the Mindful. Oasis Ritualist. Oketra’s Avenger.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Unsummon. Puncturing Blow. Naga Vitalist.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Tah-Crop Skirmisher. Harrier Naga. Counterveiling Winds.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Moaning Wall. Khenra Eternal. Without Weakness.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Defiant Khenra. Disposal Mummy. Djeru’s Renunciation.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Forsake the Worldly. Chandra’s Defeat.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Solemnity. Luxa River Shrine. One with Nothing.)

For flavor, I need a new scale:

5.0: Exquisite flavor, like a piping hot quesadilla with a side of fresh guacamole. (Form of the Dragon. Standstill.)
4.0: Delicious, but not perfect, like a burger when you’re ravenous, but one that’s slightly overcooked. (Manor Skeleton [is it a man, or skeleton?])
3.0: An average meal, one that fills you up and tastes good, like Chipotle. (Lightning Strike, or any other generic burn spell.)
2.0: Will keep you alive, but isn’t very satisfying or tasty, like Soylent. (Siege Rhino [what are these numbers??])
1.0: Disgusting, but technically still edible, like Shake Shack. (Pin to the Earth [HOW DOES THIS NOT LOSE FLYING?])

As Luck Would Have It

Limited: 1.5

Flavor: 3.0

You have to roll like 30 dice for this to win you the game, but it will be oh so sweet if that ever happens. This card would be pretty bad for me, but that’s due to my verified lack of luck.

Beast in Show

Limited: 1.0

Flavor: 4.0

This flavor is delicious. I’m in for dumb wordplay, and this delivers.

Chittering Doom

Limited: 2.0

Flavor: 2.0

I’m still not buying the Squirrels and dice flavor pairing, and at this point, it’s unlikely I ever will.

Clever Combo

Limited: 1.0 // 3.0

Flavor: 3.0

In the Host/augment deck, this is pretty good. It’s usually not worth 2 mana in Limited to go find a card (from a narrow selection), but as the name implies, there are some neat combos to assemble.

Druid of the Sacred Beaker

Limited: 3.0

Flavor: 4.0

The number of creature types sell this for me, flavor-wise, and the ability to make 1-3 mana a turn does it for me on the gameplay side. The next round is on the Druid, apparently.

Eager Beaver

Limited: 2.0

Flavor: 4.0

Green is killing it on the name front. I can’t speak too highly about the gameplay or how this connects to the name, but I’m not gonna give something called Eager Beaver a low grade, even if I’m not eager to play it.

Earl of Squirrel

Limited: 4.0

Flavor: 5.0

This card is the nuts. The game play looks awesome, and the flavor is on point. It naturally buffs a ton of the creatures you will already have in play, and if it gets through once, you just win. Sounds like a hit to me.

First Pick

Limited: 3.0

Flavor: 1.0

I can’t give this a pass. If you call a card “First Pick,” can you please just make it an actual first pick? Have it deal 5 damage, or be a 4/4 for 2, or whatever. This is just a maindeckable artifact removal spell, which gets better thanks to Contraptions, but it’s nowhere near a first pick. This is a wasted opportunity.

Ground Pounder

Limited: 3.5

Flavor: 4.0

Did they save all the awesome names for green on purpose? This is a ground pounder in all senses of the word, and will make short work of your opponent. You don’t need dice synergies to make this great, though it does get a little better if that’s how you roll.

Half-Squirrel, Half-

Limited: 3.5

Flavor: 4.0

Is the flavor that this goes nuts if you augment the right Host? I’ll take it, and that includes during the Draft, as this gives you an absurd amount of repeatable triggers.

Hydradoodle

Limited: 3.5

Flavor: 4.0

The concept of hydra poodle is good enough to hit high on flavor, and if you add a bunch of die rolls to the mix, it just gets better. Given the average of 3.5 per die, this is good straight-up and great if you have a deck built around the mechanic.

Ineffable Blessing

Limited: 4.5

Flavor: 3.0

The flavor text gives you a glimpse of what this is going for, story-wise, but I’m not blown away. On the other hand, the gameplay is amazing, and I’d slam this early every time. Making most or all of your creatures cantrips is incredible for 2 mana, and if you get there, this will win you every game in which you draw it early.

Joyride Rigger

Limited: 3.0

Flavor: 3.0

Decent flavor text and a solid 2-for-1 make this a card I’m not unhappy about.

Monkey-

Limited: 2.0

Flavor: 1.0

Why do Monkeys care about when people die? That bizarre question aside, this looks like one of the tamer augment cards, and not one I’m going bananas over.

Mother Kangaroo

Limited: 2.5

Flavor: 2.0

Most of the Host/augment creatures seem more about the mechanic than the flavor, and this is no exception. It does pack a punch, and I’d play this if you needed more beef (though kangaroo does taste a little gamier, in my experience).

Multi-Headed

Limited: 3.0

Flavor: 4.0

OK, this one I buy, even if just because it will sound funny attached to anything. It also adds a lot of stats, and can trigger a ton of times in the right deck.

Really Epic Punch

Limited: 3.5

Flavor: 5.0

Sometimes, the bear punches back. This is awesome in a Host deck, and playable outside one, making it paws-down the best green common.

Selfie Preservation

Limited: 3.0

Flavor: 1.0 // 4.0

I’m of two minds here—on the one hand, the name is great and the concept is funny. On the other, this makes it optimal to bring basic lands with trees on them, which sounds like a hassle. All in all, this is a good card, even if it just gets Forests, and I wouldn’t stress about the rest.

Serpentine

Limited: 4.0

Flavor: 2.0

Not only does this have great stats, it’s also a trigger that can happen just about every turn. That outweighs the risk of being an augment, and makes me very high on this card.

Shellephant

Limited: 3.5

Flavor: 5.0

I am loving the names in green, and this is another to add to the pile. It’s efficient, dodges removal well, and is well worth shelling out 3 mana for.

Slaying Mantis

Limited: 4.0 (4.5 if your aim is good)

Flavor: 5.0

Now this is the kind of card I’m looking for out of Unstable! It’s goofy, but in a fun way, and will lead to a ton of awesome scenarios. Sometimes you’ll miss, sometimes you’ll fight too many cards, and no matter what, it’s sweet. Just a second is also really funny, as is the name. A+.

Squirrel Dealer

Limited: 3.0

Flavor: 4.0

Who doesn’t like Squirrels?

Steamflogger Service Rep

Limited: 2.5

Flavor: 2.0

If you have enough Goblins and Contraptions, I’d bump this a point, but needing multiple things is a bit annoying. It’s also slow and small, so I’m not over the moon about the service this provides.

Wild Crocodile

Limited: 3.5

Flavor: 1.0

This is the tamest croc I’ve ever seen, though it is a great card. You don’t even really need or want to augment it—just casting it is enough.

Willing Test Subject

Limited: 1.5

Flavor: 4.0

I’m not thrilled by the stats here, but I’d probably play it for science. In the die roll deck, this is a solid playable.

Top 3 Green Card Names

3. Ground Pounder
2. Shellephant
1. Slaying Mantis

These names were great, and there were plenty more to choose from.