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By: arcadiave, David Farnham
Mar 17 2015 11:00am
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So here is my second installment in my three-part series for Dragons of Tarkir.  There's a lot of sweet uncommons in this set, from powerful removal spells, great finishers, and synergistic enablers.  Again, I have these cards rated on a 1-10 scale, the full breakdown of which you can find in my common review.  Here we go!

Colorless Uncommon:

Scion of Ugin - 6 - It's important to note that, like Ugin, his scion is not an artifact, just colorless.  This therefore dodges Reach of Shadows and Shatter alike.  Sometimes you just need a big flier and this can do the job.
 
White Uncommons:
 
Aven Sunstriker - 7 - This is a card that is so good when megamorphed that when they cast it normally you should be afraid, because it means they are about to bolster the heck out of it.
 
Battle Mastery - 3 - I'm not normally a huge fan of Battle Mastery, since it has all the inherent aura problems.  In some of the Ojutai decks I could see it being effective though.
 
Dragon Hunter - 6 - It's funny that while this can block Dragons all day, it can't kill any of them without some help.  There is a lot of bolster in white though and if this just gets a couple of counters...
 
Dromoka Captain - 7 - This is the first of those repeatable bolster cards I have been talking about.  Ironically enough this one in particular kind of wants to be your only creature so it can just keep being a little bigger than your opponent's creatures.
 
Echoes of the Kin Tree - 5 - And we go straight into another bolster card.  This one is a bit more interesting because of the inherent card disadvantage. However if your deck is able to weather the storm, this does give you a pretty inexorable win condition.
 
Graceblade Artisan - 5 - Hehe, I knew Sage's Reverie meant something!  I think there is  a kind of niche Ojutai strategy built around auras.  In that deck I am sure the Graceblade is good, I'm less sure about the overall validity of the strategy.  Jeskai Runemark on this guy does make him a 6/7 flier though.
 
Great Teacher's Decree - 7 - Making Rush of Battle look really bad.  This finisher is actually quite decent earlier in the game, triggering your prowess creatures and making them just a little too big to block profitably.  And the next turn it just happens all over again, only with more combat tricks!
 
Orator of Ojutai - 5 - My gut is that this will be an Angelic Wall most of the time, which is mediocre.  If you happen to have lots of dragons this card gets better and better.
 
Scale Blessing - 6 - This card is pretty decent.  Since you get to bolster before it checks, it will always at least bolster 2.  And later in the game or if you have been spreading the love it can be very strong.
 
Shieldhide Dragon - 5 - I'm not quite sure how this cycle of dragons are going to work, if it going to be something where you just play them in your colors, or if there is going to be more of a 5-color dragons deck full of green ramp where you play all of them.  This creature isn't really great unless you are paying the megamorph cost, and that is a lot.
 
Silkwrap - 6 - Obviously Suspension Field is better than this, since you would prefer to spend your removal spells on powerful creatures.  This does get rid of everything in the early game though, and it's not like you're going down on mana.
 
Strongarm Monk - 7 - This prowess all your guys guy is a great curve topper in a prowess deck, before you start playing your Great Teacher's Decrees and tap spells to burst them down.
 
Surge of Righteousness - SB - This is the first in a cycle of hate cards.  This one is good enough you can side it even if they are just playing one or the other although some of the others are not.
 
Blue Uncommons:
 
Belltoll Dragon - 6 - Hexproof is just way better than lifelink.  I can see playing this dragon just in any slower blue deck.
 
Dance of the Skywise - 5 - This is a pretty nice combat trick you can combine with some of the prowess and pseudo-prowess creatures.  And if the math works, you can make your 0/4 into a 4/4 and alpha for lethal later in the game when you draw this.  Please note that the creature loses all their abilities with this and don't get tripped up.
 
Encase in Ice - SB - The flash is really nice on this card.  Like the Surge, this is very reasonable even if they are playing just red or green, they don't have to play both.
 
Gudul Lurker - 5 - Unless you're planning on just sacrificing this to exploit in the first few turns, you should probably just morph this every time and build your own Phantom Warrior.
 
Learn from the Past - 3 - While this card isn't straight up unplayable, I can't really foresee needing or wanting it's effect.
 
Qarsi Deceiver - 4 - There is probably still a blue-green megamorph deck that wants this card and some of the green ramp to start powering out fatties.  I'm not sure how many expensive morphs you need for this to be worth it though.
 
Sight Beyond Sight - 6 - This is kind of reminiscent of Bitter Revelation in terms of its total effect, although I think it's a little worse.  It will trigger your prowess twice though.
 
Silumgar Sorcerer - 8 - This card is just insanely good and is a great way to start into the Silumgar exploit deck.  A 2/1 flash flier for three is very good anyway, and the ability to counter a creature while adding a good creature to the board is a steal, even if you have to get rid of a cheap non-value creature.  If you get to sacrifice a Jeskai Sage or Sultai Emissary it's even better.
 
Silumgar Spell-Eater - 7 - The hits keep on coming!  This is just a great value way of handling that scary rare creature your opponent has.  It's obviously better if you have a decent number of other ways to use your mana if they sniff out your plans, which the better players will.
 
Silumgar's Scorn - 3 - Most of the cards like this are at least okay if you don't have a Dragon but I don't think this is one of them.  Maybe if they are consistently using all of their mana every turn you can get them with this after sideboard but it's not hard to play around.
 
Skywise Teachings - 7 - This is a great build-around-me uncommon to make a more controlling Ojutai deck, letting you get constant value off of your rebound spells.  This is a nice first-pick for that though, since you can easily play it in any slower spell focused deck.
 
Void Squall - 4 - This tempo play is pretty slow and only really good at letting you continue to have good attacks.
 
Youthful Scholar - 7 - This is the ultimate "kill-me" creature in the Silumgar decks, you can cast him right before you start playing your Vulturous Avens and Silumgar Butchers, or anything really.  But even if you don't have a ton of exploit, this is just the best chump-blocker ever, and completely deters any small creature attacks.
 
Black Uncommons:
 
Acid-Spewer Dragon - 5 - Deathtouch on large evasive creatures isn't even a real ability most of the time.  It is relevant though that there are some even larger dragons as well as some spiders and toughness granting cards that this can deal with.
 
Ambuscade Shaman - 6 - Another really solid Raid enabler, this one heavily encourages you to go heavy into Raid.  This might actually be a seven if that deck comes together well.
 
Blood-Chin Rager - 6 - Another Warrior tribal creature that doesn't do anything in multiples.  I like this one a little better since Kolaghan has a lot of Warriors and the evasion will make combat really tough right away.  It is important to note that this creature has to attack to make that happen though so they can block and kill it.
 
Deadly Wanderings - 2 - A fixed Homicidal Seclusion eh?  I can't really imagine how you would be pulling this off in this set, and if you have multiple creatures this card doesn't do anything.
 
Death Wind - 7 - More cards reminiscent of Avacyn Restored, this card has been bumped up to uncommon.  These kinds of cards are always good but not amazing, since they usually cost about as much or a little more than whatever they are killing.
 
Foul-Tongue Invocation - 6 - Silly dragon-themed rider clause aside, three-mana instant speed edicts are always okay in limited.  Just be prepared to side it out if they are playing tokens or die trigger creatures.
 
Marang River Skeleton - 5 - I actually think this card will be played more often just for its regular cost, but it's nice to have the morph and maybe you get them by megamorphing and regenerating.
 
Minister of Pain - 6 - This card might actually be right to not exploit with a good portion of the time, but when it's good, it will be very good.
 
Rakshasa Gravecaller - 8 - Wow this is a hot exploiter!  Not only is a 3/6 for five quite good in limited, but getting two 2/2's is strong value you would normally need to pay almost that much mana to get.  Also in a pinch you can feed his zombies to your other exploiters for even more value.
 
Self-Inflicted Wound - SB - I'm less in love with this card as some of the other hate cards.  It doesn't kill what you want and is sorcery speed so I could see just having better cards.
 
Ukud Cobra - 6 - This is a weirdly generic card for uncommon, but for those of us who played with Keepsake Gorgon know how good just a 2/5 deathtouch is at stalling out the ground.
 
Ultimate Price - 8 - There's going to be some great stories about the times I had this card and got stomped by a multicolored dragon, but at the end of the day there aren't that many of them, and this kills most everything else.
 
Virulent Plague - 1 - I was going to give this a SB rating, until I realized this isn't even good against any of the limited strategies in this set.  This is obviously in the set for constructed purposes and you can safely ignore it.
 
Red Uncommons:
 
Atarka Pummeler - 7 - Not only is a 4/5 for five totally playable in red, but the formidable ability will often end the game.  I like it when my finisher spells are already included in my big creatures.  This is obviously more for the Atarka deck than the Kolaghan deck although it's probably fine there too.
 
Draconic Roar - 7 - In a funny way this is probably better than Lightning Strike, not because of the dragon ability but because it will force bad players to spend their burn on creatures rather than the face.  3 damage is a little worse in this set though because of the large overall size of the creatures.
 
Dragonlord's Servant - 4 - There is a big question mark on whether this dragon deck is a thing in limited, or whether this card is for casual constructed. But that is a contingent that I have for 4's.  If you don't have lots of dragons, neither Atarka or Kolaghan is really interested in a 1/3 for two.
 
Kolaghan Forerunners - 6 - This creature would have been really scary in FTF, I'm not sure how well the Kolaghan deck can go wide when they don't have nearly as many token makers.  But even as a decent three-drop that gets better as the game goes long and have dash, this creature is fine.
 
Lightning Berserker - 4 - This card seems to suggest a mono-red deck or close to it.  It would be interesting to try to build one with this and Dragonrage from FTF, I'm not sure how good it would be though.
 
Qal Sisma Behemoth - 6 - This both guarantees most of your formidable cards and is a great mana sink for aggressive Kolaghan decks.  Also your opponent can't attack into this if you have mana, and then you can spend that mana on an instant burn spell or something and get the best of both worlds!
 
Rending Volley - SB - The best of the bunch.  The mana efficiency on this card is insane.
 
Roast - 8 - The value of this card will change depending on what you are playing against but it is a range from good to insane.  The removal in this set is quite a bit better than what we've been forced to endure for the last couple years.
 
Sarkhan's Triumph - 3 - Depending on how good your dragons are and what else you can do with your mana this could make the cut.  Personally I'd rather contribute to the board though.  If you have a dragonlord though...
 
Seismic Rupture - 5 - This has got Atarka written all over it.  If your creatures are big enough you can probably maindeck it safely since few decks don't have several creatures die to this.  It is a little awkward that dash gets around this completely though.
 
Stormcrag Elemental - 6 - Another good morph creature for the Atarka big creature deck, or a final blow in the Kolaghan decks.
 
Stormwing Dragon - 6 - At least first strike does something reasonable here.  This can tussle with the other larger fliers and come out on top.
 
Warbringer - 7 - This is another one of the interesting dash enablers, providing some true degeneracy when out.  I can easily imagine some crazy sequences that can start with "he cast Warbringer and I couldn't kill it."
 
Green Uncommons:
 
Ainok Survivalist - 6 - There are actually a decent number of enchantments and artifacts to kill, but not quite enough to maindeck a straight up Naturalize.  This is a nice creature that allows you to destroy some of the powerful auras without requiring a specific hate card.
 
Circle of Elders - 4 - Unfortunately mana ramp is best earlier in the game to play out your big creatures, not after you already have a bunch out.  And a 2/4 vigilance for four isn't great in green.
 
Display of Dominance - SB - This is probably the narrowest in this cycle.  Not only do they really need to be playing blue and black, but they need to have a bunch of targeted removal as well.  
 
Dromoka's Gift - 7 - Four counters is a lot, I mean a lot a lot.  With this at instant speed it's not hard for your weakest creature to beat your opponent's best in combat and completely swing the tide of the game.  Ironically it is also really good in small board states where you can make a big creature bigger.  Be careful of course to not walk into a bounce or removal spell though.
 
Explosive Vegetation - 4 - This is definitely a playable ramp card, as it takes you from four to seven and color fixes you as well.  I foresee this going in Atarka decks and any kind of 3 color or more dragon deck.
 
Herdchaser Dragon - 5 - Green doesn't really need big fliers and trample doesn't really do anything on one.
 
Inspiring Call - 4 - This is one of the reward cards for bolstering onto a lot of different creatures.  It is still a little scary to play a card in a bolster deck that neither bolsters nor can be bolstered on.
 
Lurking Arynx - 5 - I'm really liking most of these formidable creatures.  While this will probably die in combat after you activate the ability you can probably take down some obnoxious creatures.  You can also just break some stalemates by making multiple creatures have to block him over some of your even larger creatures.
 
Press the Advantage - 7 - For some weird reason they decided that Symbiosis needed to cost twice as much mana and be upgraded to uncommon. There is a good reason for that.  In the big combats you can get into with green decks, it is pretty easy to blow them out with a timely use of this card. And unlike your average pump spell, you can still get value even if they have a response.
 
Salt Road Ambushers - 4 - This is another one of the cards to reward you for playing the morph deck.  Since it doesn't count itself and it's not really that great unless you are playing that deck, you will probably play it normally most of the time.  The reward is definitely there though.
 
Salt Road Quartermasters - 7 - Firstly, this creature just starts as a 3/3 for three, which is great.  It is also just a good creature that allows for some sweet plays and synergizes with the whole bolster theme.  You can even move both the counters so that all your bolsters will be on to him, although that is quite mana intensive
 
Scaleguard Sentinels - 6 - Elvish Warrior was always fine in limited.  If you happen to reveal a dragon or are playing the dragon deck this card gets obviously quite a bit better.
 
Sight of the Scalelords - 4 - This is a really interesting card in that it rewards you for something a little different.  Luckily a lot of the big Atarka creatures also qualify for this, so if you have a good ramp deck with a lot of fat butt creatures this rewards you amply.
 
Multicolor Uncommons-
 
Cunning Breezedancer - 8 - The multicolor dragons are quite a bit more powerful than their monocolored brethren.  It's hard to imagine this surviving and not winning the game within a couple turns (and spells).
 
Enduring Scalelord - 7 - In typical fashion of having your dragon tell you what your clan wants you to do, the Dromoka dragon wants you to bolster, and will kill your opponent very quickly by doing so.  A funny trick is that if you have two of these in play and put a counter on a creature you control, they both become arbitrarily (infinitely) large.  Luckily it's a may ability so you can stop.
 
Ruthless Deathfang - 6 - If your Silumgar deck is doing what it should be, you should be sacrificing enough creatures to your exploits for this to decimate your opponent's board.
 
Savage Ventmaw - 6 - This I think is a little less good in a vacuum, although with a lot of the expensive formidable costs you have more mana sinks in that deck than usual for limited.
 
Swift Warkite - 7 - It's important to note that while the creature gains haste and therefore can attack, that it doesn't have to.  You can therefore rebuy you best early dash creature and try to set up for a big turn the turn after you cast this.
 
Artifact Uncommons:
 
Atarka Monument - 6 - I like this one in the cycle a bit more than some of the others.  Atarka decks are a little bit more mana intensive so the acceleration from three to five is nice.  They also could use even more mana sinks late in the game and this provides that as well.
 
Dragonloft Idol - 5 - For this apparently inevitable dragon deck.  Although I guess a Hill Giant that will upgrade to a dragon at some point is serviceable sometimes.
 
Dromoka Monument - 5 - Dromoka decks want to be a little bit more aggressive than this.
 
Gate Smasher - 2 - This seems to be like that enchantment from earlier that likes you to have some tough creatures.  But the upside isn't even really there since the equipment isn't even that great.
 
Kolaghan Monument - 4 - I Really can't imagine the Kolaghan decks wanting to be this slow.
 
Ojutai Monument - 6 - Whereas this triggers some of the prowess cards and gives you a way to close out the game later.
 
Silumgar Monument - 5 - While this deck might actually be the slowest, I think it has enough productive things to do in the early and mid turns that it doesn't need to take a turn off.  Plus it doesn't have a lot of expensive spells to ramp into.
 
Stormrider Rig - 6 - I think this equipment is actually pretty decent and might be even better than I'm giving it credit for.  Equipment that can move for free is nice, and +1/+1 is more significant than you would think.
 
Tapestry of the Ages - 4 - I do think there is a slower Ojutai control deck out there that will want this card, but I don't think it will be super common and I can't really see the other decks wanting this.
 
And there is the last of them, all the uncommons from Dragons of Tarkir!  I'm getting really excited for this limited format and we haven't even gotten to the rares and mythics yet!  I'm curious to see how the rares are going to shake out against these more powerful than usual uncommons.  If you have any questions about my analysis or think I'm way off base with something, feel free to let me know in the comments below.  Thanks so much for reading and good luck at the prerelease!
 

6 Comments

I'm sorry to say but your by Flippers_Giraffe at Tue, 03/17/2015 - 15:33
Flippers_Giraffe's picture
1

I'm sorry to say but your card reviews didn't leave me any more the wiser on what the cards actually do.

You need pictures or at least a full description of what the cards actually do. As an example the first card Scion of Ugin if you said it was a 4/4 flying dragon spirit for 6 colourless mana and then gave your thoughts about the card it would have been much more useful.

Sorry to be negative but I gave up after the first few cards, hopefully you will add images or descriptions for your next article.

I'm sorry to hear about your by arcadiave at Tue, 03/17/2015 - 16:52
arcadiave's picture

I'm sorry to hear about your experience. Unfortunately card links do not work with sets before they are released so there is no easy way to have card images. I recommend in the meantime that you read the review while looking at the Visual Spoiler, and I will try to find a solution for my next series since this is feedback I heartily agree with.

An easy (but time consuming) by MarcosPMA at Tue, 03/17/2015 - 16:59
MarcosPMA's picture

An easy (but time consuming) fix would be to insert the images of the cards as pictures. Under "Source" there should be an icon to insert/edit images. Copy the URL of the image, size it accordingly and it'll appear in the article.

You can easily copy & paste by romellos at Tue, 03/17/2015 - 17:43
romellos's picture

You can easily copy & paste the related card from official Visual Spoilers to your article or paste the URL of the card at plain text editor as a second way.

Thanks guys! I'm not as used by arcadiave at Wed, 03/18/2015 - 00:28
arcadiave's picture

Thanks guys! I'm not as used to the interface and the way I knew about the links didn't work, so I wasn't sure about other options. I'll try that out next time!

Please check the workflow of by JXClaytor at Fri, 03/20/2015 - 03:01
JXClaytor's picture

Please check the workflow of your most recent article. I left notes for you there!