Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Aug 01 2017 12:00pm
0
Login or register to post comments
320 views


I love this game. I love writing about it. Compiling lists about it. Evaluating it. Sometimes, I even play it. I'm an Accidental Player.

> summary <

 Hour of Devastation, the second and final set in the Amonkhet duology, is all about our old friend Nicol Bolas and his plan to get rid of the Gatewatch. Which appears to be utterly successful, given that by the end of the storyline, our heroes and heroines have all been thoroughly defeated (ever notice how in MTG storylines the bad guys tend to win a lot? I mean, both the Eldrazi and the Phyrexians are currently triumphant in their targeted planes, and now Bolas is gloating as well. It's weird). Clearly a signal that New New World Order is starting to be enforced, since dialing down the Gatewatch for the foreseeable future is part of the plan.

 Compared to its predecessor, this set is more Bolas-related than Egypt-related, but there's still a lot of what made Amonkhet such a flavorful setting. Given that Bolas aims to take over the multiverse raising an unbeatable undead army (the Eternals), Zombie and Warrior are by far the dominant tribes in the set, with the former in particular being linked to no less than 13 other tribes, frequently in triple-typed entries. Furthermore, the major Egypt-inspired humanoids previously seen in Amonkhet, namely Naga, Jackal, Bird and Minotaur, all make a return in Hour of Devastation. Cleric and Wizard are also well-represented, since Bolas is a wizard who runs a theocracy after all.

 Anyway, let's have a look at the new creatures and their tribes. As always, the focus is on all the Constructed applications, the tribes are listed alphabetically, and you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 Infodump

  • Cards: 189 (+10 duplicated basic lands but including 10 cards only found in the planeswalker decks)
  • New cards: 176
  • New creatures: 98
  • Reprinted cards: 13
  • Reprinted creatures: 0
  • Creature types affected: 37
  • Tribes with more than 5 additions: Warrior (+20), Zombie (+19), Human (+18), Cleric (+10), Naga (+10), Wizard (+10), Jackal (+8), Bird (+6), Minotaur (+6)

Angel: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 140, online: 139

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Not sure why Bolas should have Angels working for him, but I guess it's all a measure of his wicked deception. While Angel of the God-Pharaoh is just a cycler for Limited purposes, Angel of Condemnation has a couple of interesting abilities. She's able to exile a creature every other turn, or blink one every turn, to exploit ETB effects, reset control, or just plainly stop attacks. Only problem is, all this versatility does not come cheap, requiring a slow, mana-intensive activation cost. Being vigilant, she can still attack before indulging in her control trickery. And her casting cost of 4 is reasonable. On the other hand, her body is fragile and unimpressive, and her overall impact is clunky at best. Bonus points for effort, though.


Archer: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 70, online: 66

 Related Tribes: Human, Jackal, Minotaur

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: All these three Archers are good picks in Limited, especially the 2-drop Firebrand Archer, and the midrange finisher Bitterbow Sharpshooters. But even with the best will in the world, they're not going to show up in any Constructed list, I'm afraid. Zealot of the God-Pharaoh is an exclusive card from the Nicol Bolas planeswalker deck, but that's just about all that could be said about it.


Beast: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 343, online: 338

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: The Desert type plays a big role in Amonkhet flavor, and Hour of Devastation adds a strong new batch of Desert lands (in fact, 15 out of the 20 current cards with the Desert type are from Hour of Devastation). It was only natural to also introduce "Desert matters" cards, then. Both the two new red Beasts (which are the meaningful ones) belong to this category, with Sand Strangler getting the most out of the deal, since free removal is always bound to draw the most attention. It's otherwise just a Hill Giant, but it's interesting how the Desert matters cards also care for Deserts in the graveyard, which is especially relevant, and mechanically necessary, since the vast majority of the Desert lands either have cycling or can sacrifice for value, so they're not going to stay on the battlefield long, if at all.


Bird: +6

  

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 222, online: 211

 Related Tribes: Cleric, Warrior, Wizard, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: A bunch of new Birds in Hour of Devastation, but largely of the filler variety. Dauntless Aven is meant as an exert companion, while Aven of Enduring Hope is just a functional reprint of Angel of Mercy, which was never that impressive to begin with.

 On the other hand, Nimble Obstructionist adds a bonus effect to its cycling, but being that a Stifle of sort, paired with an offensive body, turns this little bird into one of the most appreciated rares in the set: chances are you'll want to stop the opponent from activating something, but if you don't, you'll certainly find some use for a 3-powered flyer.

 The onomatopoeic River Hoopoe (that's what we call "upupa" in Italian) has the peculiarity of being the only non-humanoid Bird in the set (the second in the block after that Bone Picker vulture). It's also my favorite here: a defensive 2-drop that gains you life and cards later, if requiring a conspicuous investment of mana. Not something that you really want to play (well, except maybe in Commander?), but not bad for a humble uncommon. Plus, I tend to automatically love Simic cards that combine what green and blue do best: in this case, efficient body and lifegaining from the former, flying and card-drawing from the latter.


Camel: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 7, online: 6

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: So now, thanks to Amonkhet block, there's seven Camels in the game. The two from Hour of Devastation are the fastest drops so far, and both are "Desert matters" guys. Nothing unbelievably good (they're both common slots fodder, after all), but distinctly playable. So this is how the tribe looks right now. Will there be new members soon? Probably not on Ixalan, which has a South American jungle-like setting; so maybe once we'll be back on good ol' Dominaria next Spring?


Cat: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 153, online: 147

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Cats keep being non-humanoid in Hour of Devastation (no love for Bastet in the design team, apparently), with two solid draft picks, especially the 2-drop Fear Prowler, which has plenty of stopping power and additional value, plus a Cat lord, no less. It kinda came out of the blue, what with Cat not really being a major tribe in Amonkhet, but the majestic lion Pride Sovereign is not a bad lord by any means. Granted, he doesn't pump his team in more classic lord fashion, instead becoming as big as his entourage is; however, his real strength relies in the ability to extend that entourage himself, at the rate of two lifelinkers every other turn (or every turn, if you can find a way around exert, which is not too hard). Maybe not a groundbreaking must-include addition to the tribe, but cool enough to warrant use as a strong 3-drop in Cat tribal. His main problem has to be the conflict between his two abilities: you want him to generate those kittens at every occasion, but then his increasing body becomes a bit pointless, or just defensive, because he'll never get to attack while he's busy attracts followers.


Chimera: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 14, online: 13

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Meet the first mythic Chimera ever printed (and only the third rare Chimera, and that includes Volatile Chimera, which was a draft card from Conspiracy: Take the Crown). Since Theros block, Chimeras have been correctly redefined as the living and breathing monsters of myth, not just the mechanical oddities from Visions, that have been the only Chimeras in the game for 16 years.

 So, does Majestic Myriarch live up to expectations as the greatest Chimera ever? Gotta admit, I'm not a fan. It's a 5-drop that does next to nothing on its own (it would just be a 2/2 vanilla for 5), and even if surrounded by a big enough team, with a large enough number of abilities to borrow, isn't that just the definition of win-more? Like, you have two flyers with lifelink, and in virtue of that, you get another, possibly larger flyer with lifelink? On paper, I'm unimpressed. There's something to be said about a monogreen creature potentially getting to play with inherently non-green keywords, though.


Cleric: +10

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 340, online: 316

 Related Tribes: Bird, Human, Jackal, Naga, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: A whole bunch of new Clerics, first among which has to be the Naga one, Ramunap Excavator, aka Crucible of Worlds on legs. Of course it's not meant to actually compete with Crucible of Worlds in eternal builds, since that's a card you don't want to be killed by any bolt effect. It's good for redundancy, though; even if it's designed to interact with cycling, more than, you know, with Strip Mine and Wasteland.

 The other rare is Wildfire Eternal, which I like. The combination of its abilities play like a better version of tribute: you either block it and lose 4 life (which, if I interpret it correctly, even bypasses protection), or you risk a big spell to be cast for free. It's also nice to note, design-wise, how afflict 4 makes up for the reduced power, since all Eternals in Bolas' zombie horde are supposed to be 4/4 creatures.

 Not much of note among the rest. Vizier of Anointed is Entomb (or more accurately, Corpse Connoisseur) for embalm and eternalize cards. He also adds a card-drawing trigger when those abilities are used, but I'm not sure it's enough for him to make sense as a 4-drop. It's cool that such a kind of tutor exists, anyway. In more wider formats like Commander might prove relevant at some point.


Crocodile: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 19, online: 18

 Related Tribes: Demon, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Amonkhet block has been good to Crocodiles. The final two of the grand total of five additions are even better than the previous three. Ammit Eternal is very above the curve as a 5/5 for 3, even for today's standards; of course, it's bound to decrease in size, but has a simple way to go back to full strength, and the chance to inflict 3 damage even when it's at its smallest. A very desirable player in aggro builds. Tenacious Hunter is more midrange, but pretty solid at that, if you manage to activate its vigilance and deathtouch condition; and it's nice that you find ways to do just that in-tribe, via the abovementioned Ammit Eternal; or the other Crocodile Demon from Amonkhet, Baleful Ammit; or Crocodile of the Crossing from the same set. Are Golgari Crocodiles suddenly a thing?


Demon: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 92, online: 89

 Related Tribes: Crocodile, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Ammit Eternal is even better if you look at it as a Demon, because Demons always seek for new members at the lower spots on the curve, and Ammit Eternal might be the best 3-drop the tribe ever got.

 And while Apocalypse Demon feels like a step back to the realm of bad 6-mana Demons that require sacrifices without an adequate payoff (although, given the right amount of graveyard cards, it might not need to attack more than once, which I suppose was the reasoning behind the design), we have the next entry in the line of "larger-than-life Demons that do larger-than-life things". Razaketh, the Foulblooded is a 8-mana Demonic Tutor, but it's not just a rehash of Rune-Scarred Demon, because that one would only tutor up one card; Razaketh can do it as many times as you want, at any time, and more than once per turn, provided you have enough creatures to feed to him (and, of course, life to spend). This is kinda huge, considering you can Entomb and Exhume him as early as turn 2; it puts Razaketh in the same functional ballpark of the greatest of all Demons, Griselbrand himself. But Griselbrand can rest easy: despite being able to directly go get the combo pieces you need, Razaketh misses on two crucial aspects of the Griselbrand package: he doesn't give back life and, more importantly, he requires external resources in the form of sacrifice fodder (he can't even sacrifice himself in a pinch). So he's not going to become the new reanimator target of choice, but he can still be awe-inducing in the right build. Plus, he's the third of the four Demons Liliana made a pact with to get his own card, after Griselbrand himself was released in Avacyn Restored and the underwhelming Kothophed in Magic Origins (the fourth one, Belzenlok, is still unaccounted for).


Drake: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 77, online: 76

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Oh, look, a Drake. Without looking at its text, who wanna bet it'll just be meaningless filler? Will somebody take that bet? Anybody?


Druid: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 154, online: 150

 Related Tribes: Human, Naga

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Man, do these Druids are bad. A consequence of living in a world filled with deserts, I assume. I mean, Hope Tender is almost comically awful (why in the hell did she need that activation cost?!), unless you want to consider her like a fragment of Candelabra of Tawnos. Avid Reclaimer is from the Nissa planeswalker deck, but even with a Nissa around, she's not really something you want to play. Oasis Ritualist does see some play in Limited, since I guess you can look at her as both a mana fixer and a midrange drop, occasionally accelerating into a 6-drop. We'll take what we can from these Druids.


Elemental: +4

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 374, online: 367

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Bloodwater Entity gives you back a spell from the graveyard but, eh, not exactly in the same way Snapcaster Mage does. I guess it guarantees to fuel its own prowess at least once, so there's that. The rest of these Elementals are strictly for Limited, with Granitic Titan being the most played because of cycling (cycling is really great in Limited). Actually, maybe Brambleweft Behemoth would see some play too, because it's the kind of green finisher one would never consider playing in Constructed but is kinda hard to answer in Limited; problem is, it's not actually part of the set, it's only found in the associated Nissa planeswalker deck. Oh well, thanks for nothing, Brambleweft Behemoth.


God: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 23, online: 23

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: The fifth cycle of Gods is the most peculiar so far. For starters, it's an incomplete cycle, only touching upon pairs of Bolas' colors (given that they're ancient, forgotten gods that Bolas has corrupted, to the point that their original names have been forgotten as well). More importantly, they aren't indestructible, and they're always creatures. They make up for loss of indestructibility with the ability to return to your hand after hitting the graveyard. So they're vulnerable to the same kind of removal that affects the indestructible Gods (exilers, mostly), but in addition they need to be cast again and again, and none of them gains anything from it (no ETB effect, no reset of counters), so one has to be more careful when engaging them in combat than you normally would with their previous tribesmembers.

 Aside from that, they each have a pair of strong abilities, one passive and one activated. The most popular of these guys is currently The Scarab God, due in large part to it essentially being a Zombie lord: it's a Dimir-colored 5/5 for 5 which at each upkeep turns the number of Zombies you control into damage to the opponent's dome and scry for you. It's a pretty powerful effect for no cost whatsoever. And if you feel like dumping some mana into it, you can create eternalized Zombie tokens by recycling your dead creatures.

 Even more effective is The Locust God, which for the same cost of zero promises a 1/1 flyer with haste per turn, more if you manage to draw more than one card. And what do you know, it even gives you a looting activation to help with that, although it's definitely an overcosted activation for a looting effect. It also costs more and has a smaller, if evasive, body compared to its Scarab counterpart.

 Last and arguably least, The Scorpion God is a "-1/-1 counters matter" kind of guy. It has an activation that puts such counters around, and when it kills something by putting a counter on it, or if that something just happens to die of other causes, you draw one card. It certainly can be good in a deck that's already built around -1/-1 counters, but it's less versatile than its other two partners.


Golem: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 97, online: 97

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: I get why this is a rare: if you manage to cycle a couple cards (which might involve spending just 1 mana each, or even fewer, so less than the provided discount), you can cast a 4/4 for 1. I'm not sure it's worth the bother, though, even in an Astral Slide build or something like that.


Hellion: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 13, online: 13

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The last Hellion we met was Lathnu Hellion from Kaladesh, which didn't feature the classic Pyroclasm-like ETB trigger. Chaos Maw brings the tribe back to basics, and while it's correctly costed, it's just not as efficient as previous iterations of the type. For instance, Caldera Hellion does the same global damage for 5 mana (yet dies to it if didn't devour something), while Crater Hellion ups the devastation to 4 and still costs 1 mana less, albeit with echo ready to rear its ugly head the following turn. Chaos Maw has any right to cost 7, being bigger and not as self-damaging as its brethren tend to be; but if you just wanted a Slagstorm on legs, you wouldn't need to invest so much.


Hippo: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 4, online: 4

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Hippo had just got to three, and now there are four of them. It's a hippo invasion! This one is just a cycler, but with enough of a balance between cost and threat (trample always helps green creatures with that) to become a legitimate pick in HOU-HOU-AKH drafts.


Horror: +4

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 186, online: 185

 Related Tribes: Insect

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Not much to say about all these forgettable Horrors, if not that a 5-drop lifelinker has its niche in Limited. There's no universe where Graven Abomination successfully passes for anti-graveyard tech, and Bolas apparently likes to surround himself with ugly Insects; it is pretty comical that casting one of the two uber-powerful incarnations of the wicked dragon results in the weaponization of Wasp of the Bitter End, of all things. Like the opponent should worry about your tiny flyer suddenly acquiring value (and dying in the process) rather than the fact that you have a freaking Bolas on the board. Also, "Wasp of the Bitter End" is kind of a silly name.


Horse: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 24, online: 19

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Speaking of silly things: they decided Horse needed a lord. Horse, which is a tribe whose existence is already baffling to begin with, since horses are historically what warriors ride in combat, not the combatants themselves. But this is Magic: The Gathering, and if you go back two entries you find hippo mentioned as something you might want to field among your knights and dragons, so it's perfectly par for the course to have now the chance to assemble an army of indestructible horses. What's more striking about Crested Sunmare is that it's actually a very good card, possibly the best non-God creature in the set. It's a 5/5 for 5, which is right on the curve if not above, and everything it does, it's totally for free, including creating other 5/5s every time you gain life.

 So what will you make indestructible in your Horse tribal decks? Well, the thing is, surprisingly, there are not many white Horses in the game. In fact, there's only other 3, and I want to feature them all because they're so unabashedly dreadful it's genuinely amazing.

  

 I especially love Hipparion (which, unfortunately, is not available online), because its ability is not being able to chump-block unless you pay for the privilege. There's literally no reason for that, because it wasn't particularly above the curve even back in Ice Age. It's just a thing it does. And what about Trenching Steed, which wants for you to sacrifice lands in order to boost its toughness? Is it because it's a Rebel, so it rebels against common sense?

 I'll let you contemplate what's best to pair with Crested Sunmare out of the 24 existing Horses, but it seems safe to say Horse tribal will need at least a second color (black has the Nightmares, green has cards that actually interact with Sunmare's token-generation, like Sacred Prey and Tarpan – that one is also not online, though). It's also safe to say that Horse is a terrible, terrible tribe that didn't really deserve such a mythic boost.


Human: +18

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 1957, online: 1776

 Related Tribes: Archer, Cleric, Druid, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Irrelevant

 Highlights: Once again, Human gets some good stuff from the classes it encompasses; once again, the fact that it does is mostly irrelevant.


Hydra: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 36, online: 36

 Related Tribes: Snake

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: I'm not sure why this thing is a Hydra, except for the fact that it's depicted as having multiple heads (then again, they probably told Mike Burns to draw a hydra that's also a snake and likes the desert, and he just did). I mean, mechanically, this has nothing in common with the other Hydras. Anyway, it's not bad, assuming you play it strictly within a deck that features a lot of Deserts; which is feasible because Hour of Devastation introduced some neat Desert cards. If that's the case, this is a 5/5 for 4 with vigilance, reach and trample, making for a more than solid midrange beater. Of course, it might end up the way Vorapede did: strong in a vacuum, not enough to find a home in any kind of actual deck. Still, CMC 4 is a whole different affair from CMC 5; if you're the latter, you're required to perform way more efficiently, because of the investment of mana and tempo. A 4-drop is simpler to fit.


Insect: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 153, online: 149

 Related Tribes: Horror

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: No highlight that we can speak of here. Quarry Beetle is serviceable, but neither its body nor its ability is alluring enough to warrant play. Wasp of the Bitter End only works if Bolas is around, and that's not something that's bound to happen often, let alone in an Insect deck.


Jackal: +8

   

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 23, online: 21

 Related Tribes: Archer, Cleric, Warrior, Wizard, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Jackal continues to replenish its brand new ranks. A lot of merely serviceable members here, plus three quality rares. Two are part of the Eternal Champions cycle, which are soon-to-be Zombies due to eternalize bringing them back, but also featuring a "power matters" ETB effect that exploits the fact that eternalize will make them bigger later on. Jackals gets the two fastest drops in the cycle, both being Grizzly Bears-like in cost and body, with Earthshaker Khenra being a hasty attacker that removes a blocker from the equation and Resilient Khenra boosting a creature (or himself, but he doesn't have haste, so that would be probably a waste).

 And then there's Wildfire Eternal, which I have already commented; it's not as fast and furious as the other two rare Jackals, but has some tricks up its sleeve.


Lizard: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 56, online: 53

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Nothing special about these Lizards, but nothing bad, either. Thorned Moloch attacks with first strike and grows with prowess, so it can be tricky to successfully block and it's a fast drop enough. And Frilled Sandwalla is a take on the Rootwallas of old (if you're curious, they took the name from the real-world chuckwalla, even if -walla is not actually a suffix, it doesn't mean anything on its own). In fact, this Sandwalla is just Basking Rootwalla without madness, which means it's a vastly inferior Basking Rootwalla, but still better than the other two Rootwallas.


Manticore: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 8, online: 8

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Amonkhet block has brought Manticore back on the map (assuming they were even there; let's say they were back when Chromanticore had its 15 minutes). With the two from the first set and this one now, they are also assuredly established as a domain of monored, which seems to be a given going forward (assuming they'll actually go forward). Manticore Eternal packs less of a punch compared to the previous two, but it's a relentless beater that'll deal some degree of damage to the opponent no matter what. Were its cost one mana lighter, it could have been actually tempting even in Constructed. As it is, it's certainly good for Limited.


Minotaur: +6

  

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 68, online: 67

 Related Tribes: Archer, Warrior, Wizard, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: A whole bunch of Limited filler for Minotaur, but also one legendary mythic. The overall theme for the taurine beasts seems to be afflict, plus a not very effective discard subtheme (although I kinda like that activating Burning-Fist Minotaur triggers Grisly Survivor). As for the mythic, Neheb, the Eternal is the zombified version of the Minotaur lord from Amonkhet, Neheb, the Worthy. Undergoing the Bolas treatment made him into a sturdy midrange afflicter, with the ability of ramping based on damage inflicted. It's a powerful ability with not a lot of immediate uses in most Constructed environments, because it brings you from 5 mana onward. Some Commander Big Red, maybe? It's a little too cute for its own good, but it shouldn't be dismissed right away, I think.


Naga: +10

   

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 33, online: 33

 Related Tribes: Cleric, Druid, Warrior, Wizard, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Naga keeps growing steadily (let's not forget it's a tribe that came into existence less than 3 years ago), and it's blessed here with the best member of the Eternal Champions cycle, and one of the best creatures in the set: Champion of Wits lets you loot for 2 on turn 3, then actually casts a Careful Consideration later on, all while having Snapcaster Mage body at first, and the Eternal-mandated 4/4 body once you super-embalm it. Card advantage, recursion, relevant bodies? You can see why this guy became instantly popular, right?

 The rest of the group is a big of a letdown. Of note, there's only Ramunap Excavator with its Crucible of Worlds impression (which can be certainly relevant) and the set's go-to midrange accelerator Oasis Ritualist.


Rat: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 52, online: 45

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Well, a fast drop with deathtouch is never not welcome in a draft enviroment, so there's that. The death trigger is just gravy.


Serpent: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 31, online: 30

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Let's put it this way: Serpent is not the most awesome of tribes. It's mostly populated by giant dorks that you wouldn't be caught dead actually putting in a deck. And while Striped Riverwinder clearly belongs to those spots in the curve past 6 CMC that have always a hard time to be taken seriously. But there are two elements to it that redeem its cumbersomeness: first, it's hexproof, which guarantees you won't see your efforts in casting it nullified by targeted removal; and even more importantly, it has cycling, which in turn guarantees your early hand won't be burdened by an unplayable dude; more so, you'll cycle it away for just one mana, considerably speeding up the proceedings (especially considering the new iteration of cycling from Amonkhet block averages at 2). Not saying it's an amazing card or anything, but you know, for a Serpent.


Snake: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 75, online: 68

 Related Tribes: Hydra

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: You know, despite those cobra heads, Ramunap Hydra doesn't look much like a Snake, either. It's bigger and more equipped for combat than your average Snake. Well, that means it could be a solid 4-drop in a Snake deck that uses Deserts?


Sphinx: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 42, online: 42

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Forget Ominous Sphinx (which is kind of just there): the weirdly goat-headed Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign is a Sphinx lord! Everybody gets a lord these days! Unesh is the kind of lord that cares about casting cost, not pumping his fellas, which is especially sweet in a tribe that doesn't exactly excel at fast drops. But the best part has to be that Fact or Fiction Unesh casts upon arrival. And maybe also the fact that the following copies of Unesh will cast a new Fact or Fiction for the actual Fact or Fiction cost (then they'll kill the previous iteration of Unesh, of course. But it's still not a bad deal, legendary rule-wise). I'm not entirely sure how Unesh ranks in power level compared to the other 6-mana Sphinges, which include all-time greatest like Consecrated Sphinx and Sphinx of Jwar Isle. But there may definitely be an argument on Unesh's favor, and that's something.


Spider: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 46, online: 45

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Now, that's a solid Spider. Obelisk Spider has non-keyworded wither (I suppose they didn't want to bring back a whole mechanic just for one card), good stats for its cost, and an automatic extort. And of course reach, as any Spider should. It's not very threatening for the opponent's life total, but I can still see this becoming a minor staple for the tribe.


Wall: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 116, online: 95

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: These Walls do their Wall things efficiently enough. Moaning Wall has cycling, and Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs is fast, colorless and adds a Desert-linked ping ability for good measure. By the way, the wall is dedicated to the Forgotten Pharaohs, not made up of them, right? I mean, those are statues with the effigies of the pharaohs, right? Right? (But wait, if there's a wall bearing their effigies, how can they even be forgotten?)


Warrior: +20

   

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 594, online: 577

 Related Tribes: Bird, Human, Jackal, Minotaur, Naga, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: A few Warrior highlights, beside the ones that are more clearly linked to their other tribes. Djeru, With Eyes Open is a planeswalker tutor, which is both peculiar and kind of a big deal, although being a 5-drop, he lacks some efficiency in ensuring a smoother walker propagation. But at least he prevents 1 damage to them, so there's that.

 Resolute Survivors add extort to every instance of exert, and yes, this is an unintended assonance. They also have a great body/cost ratio. And speaking of exert, Steward of Solidarity turns it into a way to be one of the cheapest token generators (her little guys even get vigilance, to boot).

 Finally, Oketra's Avenger and Cunning Survivor are excellent 2-drop commons in Limited. Hour of Devastation appears to be a particularly well-designed Limited environment, filled with efficient creatures that also do different things. It's almost too bad it can't get drafted alone.


Wizard: +10

   

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 602, online: 589

 Related Tribes: Bird, Human, Jackal, Minotaur, Naga, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Four of the five Eternal Champions are Wizards (the only exception being the red Jackal Earthshaker Khenra, whose class is Warrior). The already discussed Champion of Wits takes the cake, of course, as everything that makes you draw cards will typically do. The black Dreamstealer is also noteworthy, though, because it's a Hypnotic Specter with menace replacing flying as evasion, and the chances to ups his disruption to a whopping 4 cards once eternalized, which is pretty scary. Then Resilient Khenra's boost is fine, while Sunscourge Champion's lifegaining makes him probably the weakest of the lot, although still not bad. All in all, a first-rate cycle: all creatures with reasonable cost, the ability of coming back larger from the graveyard, and a power-based trigger that varies from outstanding to decent. Tribe-wise, Champion of Wits is still probably the most relevant, with Wizards being more typically found in blue.

 The only other new addition that deserves a mention here is Nimble Obstructionist, because the choice between a Stifle cantrip and a 3-powered flyer for 3 is really win-win.


Wurm: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 83, online: 79

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Sifter Wurm is the set's largest creature after Razaketh. And it's not just a large trampler: it gives you a deep scry and the chance of gaining some non-negligible amount of life (depending on what you pack in your deck, of course. But since you're already packing a 7-mana monstrosity, there's a chance you'll topdeck another). The most direct comparison here is Pelakka Wurm, which is very similar (same cost, body, keyword ability) and provides a fixed boost of 7 life plus a draw later. Sifter Wurm can potentially gives more life, but also way less, or none at all if you're extremely unlucky; and scry 3 sort of compares to a draw, especially since it happens right away. So my verdict is: this new guy is a legitimate replacement to Pelakka Wurm. And it's an extremely significant factoid, because Wurm only gets one new member at a time, and not very often, so to equal one of the tribe's best and brightest is no small feat.


Zombie: +19

  

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 394, online: 388

 Related Tribes: Beast, Bird, Camel, Cleric, Crocodile, Demon, Jackal, Manticore, Minotaur, Naga, Wall, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: So, Ammit Eternal is very good, Neheb, the Eternal and Wildfire Eternal (so many Eternals!) are also good, but not relevant to the Zombie tribe in the slightest (red Zombies? No way). So for a set that is at least partially focused on Zombies, Hour of Devastation provides very little new ways for the tribe to thrive. In fact, the best Zombie card in the set is not a Zombie at all, but the Zombie-powered Scarab God. Go figure.


SUMMARY

> top <

 Check the Complete Creature Types Reference Table here.


BEST IN SHOW
(click on them to go to their main tribe)

  

  

> top <


THE ETERNAL CHAMPIONS
(click on them to go to their main tribe)

   

 

> top <


KUMA'S TRIBAL EVALUATIONS