Welcome back for another What’s the Pick? Pack 1 Pick 1 with Iconic Masters. Let’s see what the packs have in store for us this time around. As always, I’m hoping for a Mana Drain:
Blue is the best color in this set by a sizable margin, and Ancestral Vision is a great card. In a format with card advantage at a premium, this is a card I’d be happy to first pick. Drawing three cards for 1 mana, Ancestral Recall is one of the best cards in the history of the game. The obvious downside to Ancestral Vision is that it comes with a big delay because of the suspend 4. This means that if you’re behind, or in a topdeck battle late game, sometimes Ancestral Vision won’t be enough, as you’ll die before you can cast it. All that being said, I’m still slamming it.
Honorable Mention: Serra Angel.
Truly an icon, Serra Angel has been one of the better uncommons or even rares in tons of different formats. The reason for that is pretty clear—Serra Angel is a 4/4 flying, vigilance for 5 mana. Even in today’s era of Siege Rhino and Charging Monstrosaur, a 4/4 flying, vigilance for 5 is still a great card. Iconic Masters is no exception.
This card is basically a bomb. Being able to play an enormous flyer and tutor for your next best card or an answer to whatever situation you may be facing is exceptional. A friend of mine actually had a deck recently with 2 Rune-Scarred Demon—not too shabby. The biggest downside to Rune-Scarred Demon is its cost. But in this format, there’s a good amount of mana acceleration and the games are slow, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Honorable Mention: Mnemonic Wall.
This is actually a very strong card, but not a card I’m happy to first pick. This is a weak pack, though, and blue is the best color. Blue control decks are the best blue decks, and Mnemonic Wall is strong in those strategies. Naturally, you want to prioritize spells Mnemonic Wall can return, particularly cards like Repeal or Electrolyze that can also draw you a card.
Another somewhat weak pack, at least Draconic Roar is a cheap, efficient removal spell. Not as efficient as a card like Swords to Plowshares, but it does have the upside of being able to deal 3 to your opponent in the event you’re able to pick up a Dragon or two. Another interesting note is that U/R is probably the best color combination in this format, and Draconic Roar is a terrific card to have access to alongside Mnemonic Wall.
Honorable Mention: Star Compass.
Not ideal for a first pick, but Star Compass is a great card in any deck, regardless of which colors you end up. Acceleration is good in most Limited formats, and this one is no exception. We all know the feeling of being on the draw and having the opponent play 4-mana cards when we only have two lands in play, and it really isn’t fun. That’s a good spot to put your opponent in.
Funny. I still remember when I was a kid, maybe 14 or so, when I first saw Swords to Plowshares. I didn’t think it was very good. I mean, I didn’t realize instants and sorceries were different cards, and I surely didn’t want my opponent gaining life. I wasn’t exactly on the money with my early card evaluation. Swords to Plowshares is probably the best creature removal spell ever printed. Given that, there’s really no surprise that it’s my first pick out of this pack. Removing any creature from the game for 1 mana is as good as it gets. Also, in this format, the Kamigawa Dragon cycle is rare, and Swords to Plowshares will allow you to deal with all of those cards and not have to face the after effects of their triggered abilities.
Honorable Mention: Heat Ray.
Heat Ray is also a good removal spell. It will cost you a bit of mana, but you should be able to deal with basically any creature at instant speed. It pales in comparison to Swords to Plowshares, but if you always compared removal spells to Swords, you wouldn’t be particularly happy with any of them.
This is actually an incredible card in this format. While 8 mana is usually a lot, this format has Guardian Idol, Millikin, and Star Compass at common. It also has the cycle of Karoo lands, so it’s easier to hit land drops later in the game. If you’re comfortable with casting the Hellkite, it’s not hard to understand why it’s a powerful card. 5/5 flash, flying, deal 5 damage when it enters the battlefield. Yes, please. Under optimal conditions, you might be able to kill multiple creatures, and then even block another one on top of that.
Honorable Mention: Grisly Spectacle.
An instant removal spell with the added upside (or sometimes downside) of milling your opponent for some cards, Grisly Spectacle is one of the better common removal spells. 4 mana is on the pricey side, but in a format this slow with so many expensive creatures, it’s a great addition to any black deck, in virtually any number.
Thanks for reading! How did I do this time? Let me know in the comments. I’ll be back soon with some more packs.