Guilds of Ravnica Limited Set Review: Green

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Before I introduce the grading scale, I offer the usual caveat—the grades don’t tell the whole story, and what I write about each card provides context.

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. (Bolas’s Clutches. Icy Manipulator. Lyra Dawnbringer.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Josu Vess, Lich Knight. Tatyova, Benthic Druid. Slimefoot the Stowaway.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Cast Down. Time of Ice. Adeliz, the Cinder Wind.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Vicious Offering. Blessed Light. Shivan Fire.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Cloudreader Sphinx. Caligo Skin-Witch. Grow from the Ashes.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Fungal Infection. Academy Journeymage. Mammoth Spider.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Krosan Druid. Soul Salvage. Ghitu Journeymage.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Relic Runner. Ancient Animus. Deep Freeze.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Divest. Homarid Explorer. Arbor Armament.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Rescue. Cabal Evangel. Drudge Sentinel.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Kamahl’s Druidic Vow. One with Nothing.)

Affectionate Indrik

Limited: 3.0

A 4/4 for 6 is slightly smaller than I’d like, but getting a free fight with the deal makes this pretty good. Note that you target what you want to fight, and if the opponent plays a pump spell in response, you can decline to fight. It’s a quirk of the templating, and gives you a pretty big advantage in spots like that.

Arboretum Elemental

Limited: 3.0

This is going to end a lot of games, but at least you have to work for it. Convoke doesn’t look as good as it was in previous incarnations because there are fewer good token makers, but that doesn’t mean this 9-drop can’t reliably be cast for 6-or-so mana. That’s a good enough deal that I’m sold, and there are some control decks that will have a hell of a time trying to stop this.

Beast Whisperer

Limited: 4.0

Whispers turn into howls if this goes unchecked, and it’s cheap enough to have a very big impact on the game. You may even be able to slowroll this until you can play this plus a cheap creature in the same turn, guaranteeing the 2-for-1. I’d up my creature count if I had this, but it’s great even in a deck with as few as 12-14 creatures, just because the effect is so strong and the cost is relatively low.

Bounty of Might

Limited: 4.0

Playing around this might just be impossible. It represents 9 points of damage, making it really difficult to survive if you don’t block, and it heavily swings combat if you do put blockers in front of their creatures. It even has the potential to be great on defense, and overall this is one of the best Overrun-type effects we’ve seen in a while (particularly because your opponent may not even see it coming).

Circuitous Route

Limited: 2.0 // 3.0

In a normal deck, this is exactly what the name suggests—not the most efficient way to get to the place you want to go. Casting a 4-mana ramp spell isn’t great when your curve tops out at 5. In a deck well-suited to take advantage of that ramp, this is a key part of the archetype, as ramping into 6s and 7s can be very effective. This also pairs well with card draw, as casting a draw two into a 4-drop is a perfectly good way to spend 7 mana. Between this and District Guide, there may be an uncommon-driven 5-color deck, though Urban Utopia and Lockets do provide some support at common.

Crushing Canopy

Limited: 1.0

Sealed: 3.0

Effects like this are classically sideboard cards in Draft and main deck cards in Sealed, and this is no exception. Note that it doesn’t kill artifacts, which is a shame with all the Lockets running around.

Devkarin Dissident

Limited: 2.5

This fills out your curve and has some relevance in the late game, which will help convoke decks. The rate on the pump isn’t good enough to make me excited about this, though that might be a dissenting opinion if this set ends up being very fast.

District Guide

Limited: 3.5

I loved me a Civic Wayfinder, and now this gets Gates too. That makes it an easy early pick, as it leaves you open to painting with all of the colors of the wind. I’m sad it’s uncommon, but I get that it might make things too easy if it were common.

Generous Stray

Limited: 3.0

Between convoke and undergrowth, I don’t think it’s too generous to give this a 3.0. By itself, it’s a fine way to use 3 mana, and it’s great once it gains some relevant synergies. I do find it funny that cats are supposed to have nine lives, yet you’ll sacrifice or chump with this at the first opportunity.

Golgari Raiders

Limited: 1.5

I’m not very high on undergrowth. There will definitely be decks where this is reliably a 4/4 in the midgame, but in most decks it’ll just be too small too often. This needs to be a 4/4 or bigger for me to feel like I’m getting away with something, and balancing that with the times where it’s a 2/2 makes me not want to prioritize it. Bear in mind that this is somewhat of a build-around, as having tons of cantrip creatures and surveil can change the equation, but as it stands I’m not very impressed with a lot of the undergrowth payoffs.

Grappling Sundew

Limited: 1.5

Convoke decks are in the market for cheap creatures, and this can help you survive until your Siege Wurms and whatnot hit the battlefield, but I’m still grappling with how badly 0-power defenders line up against mentor. I wouldn’t prioritize this, and getting indestructible in the late game doesn’t move the needle much.

Hatchery Spider

Limited: 3.5

This is the kind of undergrowth card worth sticking to—by the time you can cast it, you’ll naturally have a fair amount of creatures in the graveyard, and it’s got solid stats and reach for the cost. Having a Hatchery Spider would bias me towards wanting green creatures, but you don’t have to go overboard—this is pretty good even if it whiffs a bunch of the time.

Hitchclaw Recluse

Limited: 2.5

Defensive decks will be more than happy to hitch their wagons to this, as it stops Skyknight Legionnaires right in their tracks. The usual caveat about high-toughness low-power defenders being weak to mentor applies, but this feels like the kind of card many of the Selesnya and Golgari decks will count on.

Ironshell Beetle

Limited: 2.0

This is a 2/2 for 2 with options, and that’s worth shelling out for. Making a critical creature big enough to be relevant is a good ability, and the 1/1 this leaves behind can fuel both convoke and undergrowth nicely. Aggro decks will want this as a curve-filler, and midrange/control will sometimes play it if they lack early action.

Kraul Foragers

Limited: 2.5

You don’t have to gain much life for this to be worth the cost, as a 5-mana 4/4 is only slightly smaller than what I’d expect to get. Sometimes this will be awesome, as gaining 5+ life makes this into a really easy way to stabilize (and it gives you a 4/4 to then start attacking with).

Kraul Harpooner

Limited: 3.0

Kraul Harpooner is a bizarre card. It’s quite good, as a 3/2 reach for 2 is a fine deal and this will sometimes take down a big flyer, even if it takes quite the wordy text box to get there. Note that it fights, not just deals damage, so that big flyer will often take the Harpooner down with it.

Might of the Masses

Limited: 2.0

When this is good, it’s amazing. In a swarm deck, getting +4/+4 or more is quite doable, and that’s a really great deal. Many decks won’t want to play it, so this almost reaches build-around levels of rating, but not quite. I’d only look to play this with 16+ creatures and a low curve, ideally with some token-making thrown in for good measure.

Nullhide Ferox

Limited: 4.5

A 4-mana 6/6 would be a 4.0 already, and this has some nice abilities tacked on. It’s not strict upside, as it does limit your ability to cast noncreature spells, but the onus is on the opponent to deal with this rather than you. Plus, if you ever get to put this into play off something like Burglar Rat, the game just ends on the spot.

Pack’s Favor

Limited: 2.5

If you’re in the market for combat tricks, this is a good one (I imagine a market for combat tricks being some kind of open-air bazaar, with people haggling over Giant Growths and Mighty Leaps). You can even cast this without any mana untapped, which is sure to be a headache to play around over the course of the format.

Pause for Reflection

Limited: 1.0

Adding convoke to Fog doesn’t really get me excited, as the effect is still way too situational. If the opponent has a massive Overrun effect, like Bounty of Might, you may want to side this in, but even then I’d be hesitant.

Pelt Collector

Limited: 3.0

In a creature-heavy deck, this will grow consistently and quickly. That makes it a great deal for 1 mana, as it’s good early and still solid late.

Portcullis Vine

Limited: 2.0

I like a minor defender build-around, even if most of the defenders are kind of dorky. In a control deck, getting to cycle your early defense once you don’t need it anymore is a valuable ability, so I’d play this even without other defenders.

Prey Upon

Limited: 3.0

Green has sizable creatures, as usual, so Preying Upon the opposition is not hard to do. It also plays nicely with Selesnya’s acceleration, making it a little better there than in Golgari, though it’s fine in either guild.

Siege Wurm

Limited: 3.0

Siege Wurm loses a little luster without Scatter the Seeds or Triplicate Spirits, but it’s still the convoke finisher of choice. Any heavy green deck should be interested, and decks with a low curve can make especially good use of the Wurm.

Sprouting Renewal

Limited: 3.0

Now this is a maindeckable artifact/enchantment removal. Getting a 2/2 vigilance is a great fail case, and you can even turbo this out with your other creatures. I really like Sprouting Renewal, and would love to see more cards as flexible as this one.

Urban Utopia

Limited: 1.5 // 2.5

In a normal 2-color deck, this is too expensive for what it provides. Remember, it isn’t acceleration, just color fixing, so it really only gets good once you’re at 3+ colors.

Vigorspore Wurm

Limited: 3.0

Vigorspore Wurm does a lot for a common, and I wouldn’t overlook it. The undergrowth ability will often be good for a couple extra damage, and granting vigilance means that damage will usually be free. The 6/4 body may be a little vulnerable, but being immune to double-blocks goes a long way in making this a powerhouse threat. At 6 mana, you don’t want a ton of these, but I like these as the Golgari finisher of choice.

Vivid Revival

Limited: 1.0 // 3.0

I smell a win condition for a sweet deck here, as Vivid Renewal will seal the deal if you can get the full three cards back (and aren’t dead on board). I like cards like this, and feel that they are usually worth building towards. Here, I’d look to be a 3-color deck, though if the cards are flowing you may be able to pull this off with just one guild.

Wary Okapi

Limited: 1.5

I’d be wary of including this in my deck, mainly because it dies to any 2-drop. The Okapi doesn’t accomplish a lot, though it is filler if you need it. I do like that it’s a sweet, real creature, and I even saw an Okapi at the Denver Zoo last week.

Wild Ceratok

Limited: 2.0

This statline is good enough to play but bad enough to not be excited about it. There’s an Andrew Baeckstrom joke here if I try hard enough, but I’m above such immature things (plus, he’s a Platinum pro now, so the joke doesn’t quite work anymore).

Impervious Greatwurm

Limited: 1.5

Most decks can’t handle something of this magnitude, and I don’t mean on the opposing side. Casting this is quite difficult, and the lack of trample is a really big deal. It’s certainly possible to build a deck with enough fodder that this comes out on turn 6 or 7, but the opponent being able to chump block makes this Wurm less than great.

Top 3 Green Commons

3. Generous Stray
2. Siege Wurm
1. Prey Upon

The 1 and 2 slots are very close, but the lack of token-making makes me give Prey Upon the nod. Still, both are solid commons, if not on the same level as the premium removal spells black has access to.


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