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By: arcadiave, David Farnham
Jan 26 2015 1:00pm
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Here it is, the last installment of my review for Fate Reforged, with all the most exciting rares and mythics!  One of the reasons why I like to split up my articles like this, besides them being too huge otherwise, is that each layer of rarity helps me understand the context of the whole and better evaluate the next step.  It also helps me to group the rarities and evaluate them more against each other and less against cards of the same color.  With that little aside, it's time to look at the rares and then the mythics for Fate Reforged!  Again these cards are evaluated on a 1-10 scale with 1 being bad and 10 being amazing, a more detailed breakdown is on my Commons review.

White Rares:

Citadel Siege - 9 - It's important to note that the counters occur on your combat, and the tapping occurs on your opponent's combat.  Overall this is one of the strongest Sieges for limited, as either choice will probably win you the game.  If you have a decent number of creatures out or any Abzan synergies the counters are probably better, if you are behind or there is a problematic evasive creature you probably should pick Dragons.  Do note that by first-picking this you are committing more too playing white, as the double-mana makes splashing a precarious thing to do.

Daghatar the Adamant - 8 - A 4/4 vigilance for four is quite solid, and I would probably rate him as a 7 on that alone.  The synergies with the outlast lords and just the ability to move around counters to make combat hell for your opponent easily brings him up another slot.

Dragonscale General - 7 - I feel that the rewards for the General in a dedicated Abzan deck are very very high, but the falloff is also more extreme, and there are definitely board states where she is going to be very awkward, like being behind with no outlast creatures.

Mastery of the Unseen - 5 - This gives your slower white deck some nice inevitability. The lifegain will add up throughout the course of the game and the activated ability gives you inexorable card-advantage.  Faster white decks will not be interested though and this won't be a super high pick.

Rally the Ancestors - 3 - I'd like this card a lot better if it was return X creatures rather than return all creatures with cmc X or less.  It's super important to note that you can only use this for surprise blockers, as the creatures do not gain haste.  I could maybe see sideboarding this in a long grindy mirror-match where maybe the other guy has a Duneblast or you have a lot of ETB creatures.

Blue Rares:

Jeskai Infiltrator - 6 - Mostly this is just a 2/3 for three, which is really good in this format.  The conditional unblockability and occasional shell-game will be nice, but won't happen super often. 

Monastery Siege - 8 - This is one of the easiest choices to make of all these modal cards since in limited you will want the loot every turn about 99% of the time.  Fueling delve and finding your best cards will always be relevant, whereas making removal spells cost a little more is easily played around and becomes irrelevant later in the game.  That 1% of the time that you get to play this before you attack for lethal, negating your opponents Whisk Away + Sandblast will be nice though.

Sage-Eye Avengers - 7 - It's funny that I just assumed that this creature had flying the first time I looked at it, that would have been fantastic!  As it is this is a solid beater and if it can attack once, it's pretty easy to just tempo them out at that point.  This is definitely capable of locking some opponent's out of the game.  Sometimes though the board will be too stalled on the ground for this to get any headway.

Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest - 8 -  This is a spicy meatball!  If the mana-constraints on the activated ability weren't so rough I would definitely rate this a 9 as granting creatures double-strike is quite potent and makes any kind of combat a losing proposition.  Early in the game and in smaller board-states this can also just attack for 10 because of a Defiant Strike.

Supplant Form - 8 - This also could be a nine, I think the card is a little expensive for a clone that gives you tempo.  I do like the versatility that if you are the one with the best creature you can kind of hold up this spell with impunity as either they will play their own great creature which will get bounced and then you kill them, or they draw a removal spell for your bomb, which you then counter by bouncing it back to your hand and getting a replacement.

Black Rares:

Archfiend of Depravity - 9 - Super easy bomb-rare here. 5/4 fliers in one color that can turn the tide of a losing battle with their ability is quite good.  Do note that the ability occurs on your opponent's end step, so if they have a bunch of creatures when you play this they do at least get to make one big attack before throwing their creatures into the bin.

Crux of Fate - 7 -  I think it is slightly more likely that the person with Crux of Fate has less dragons than their opponent, so this makes it a little awkward, but End Hostilities was very reasonable and this will be mostly the same.

Mardu Strike Leader - 7 - Because the trigger is on the attack, not dealing damage to the player you will always get at least one creature.  It will almost always give some good value but rarely win the game.

Palace Siege - 8 - Each of these modes are better the longer the game goes, so I think it's just a question of whether your ahead or behind.  If you're on the backfoot you should probably pick Khans as getting back a blocker every turn will let you win the attrition war eventually.  If you are ahead and just trying to close out the game, picking Dragons will give you inevitability in that regard.  Since they both trigger on your upkeep, this is a card that costs five and doesn't do anything until your next turn and is a little slow, which I think is what keeps it behind Citadel Siege in raw power.

Soulflayer - 6 - I just don't really think you're going to get that many good keyworded abilities with this.  Maybe if you're lucky you can get flying or something but I'd probably just want something more consistent, especially because of the double-mana in its mana cost.

Tasigur, the Golden Fang - 9 - Or this card, which is sweet as all get out.  Even without the delve I'd be super happy to have a creature like this in my deck, and with delve you are just getting a rawly powerful card.  It will probably be a 4/5 for four which is fantastic, and the ability lets you just sit back like the Fang himself and slowly accumulate board presence and card advantage.

Red Rares:

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death - 8 - This is about as powerful as a card can get that on aggressiveness alone.  The 3/2 first strike for three means she is attacking through most things for the next few turns and while the ability isn't always great or even relevant, it makes your opponent more reluctant to trade their morph for your Leaping Master on turn four.

Arcbond - 5 - I'm not sold.  I think while this card is powerful in the right hands, a lot of times it will backfire or be used wrong and lose its player the game.

Flamerush Rider - 7 - There's some real burst potential here, as dashing this creature allows for a lot of surprise damage.  In slower decks or decks without a lot of solid creatures this obviously becomes worse and there will definitely be times where you first pick this and then realize that it is no good in your Hordeling Outburst deck, although this is obviously fantastic with Ponyback Brigade.

Flamewake Phoenix - 8 - I'm willing the overlook the mana problems here as this card is totally fine to play way later in the game.  Once you have a reliable ferocious creature this is just attacking every turn.  Obviously having this card wants you to try and be heavier red and also have a decent, though not huge, number of high power creatures.

Mob Rule - 7 - This card is very different from something I have seen before, so this rating is actually hedging a little bit.  Cards that can Threaten multiple blockers can downright win you the game, although this does it in a kind of strange and sometimes unpredictable way.  This obviously does nothing on defense although I do like that when you are losing by a lot it can actually just steal you games you have no business winning at all.  I'll be really curious to see what ends up happening with this most of the time.

Outpost Siege - 8 - I think this one the choice you make is going to be more dependent on your deck than on the situation.  If you are an aggressive token deck you will almost always want the Dragons ability.  If you are a slower Temur or Jeskai deck you will almost always want the Khans ability.  Still make sure to evaluate the situation when you draw it though.  Even if you're a slow deck if they are low enough sometimes the ping will be enough, and even if you are a fast deck, if you are flooded or stonewalled you'll just want more cards.  I think this will be very strong more of the time though, again it doesn't do very much when it first comes out though.

Green Rares:

Frontier Siege - 3 - I think this is the only unplayable siege, which is disappointing.  The Dragons ability is really awkward as green decks won't have a lot of flying creatures to trigger it, and by the time you get to four mana, ramping by two isn't going to do a whole lot most of the time.  Maybe once in a blue moon there will be the right deck for it, one with multiple expensive large flying creatures in it, but I think this is a card that is mostly for Dragons of Tarkir, not Khans of Tarkir.

Sandsteppe Mastodon - 6 - This card is powerful enough to warrant its inclusion, as a large reach creature that makes one of your small creatures insanely large is definitely worth seven mana.  I still wouldn't first pick it though and would like to have a couple of mana accelerators to make it work.

Shamanic Revelation - 7 - This card will sometimes be fantastic and sometimes do nothing at all, but I think it leans more towards the fantastic.  With all the board stall that green decks tend to get themselves in this will make you both win the card advantage race and the life total race, which should make winning a pretty easy feat.  Of course you don't really want to draw this early and in the early and mid-game this is merely okay and every once in a while uncastable but I think the rewards out weigh the risks.

Temur War Shaman - 8 - So at its worst you get a 4/5 and a 2/2, sort of like an easier to cast Bear's Companion for one mana more, which is acceptable but not exciting.  It's that second ability that really makes this a rare.  With a decent amount of morph creatures and manifest enablers, which green has in spades, this makes it really easy to get free value and start gunning your opponents small and evasive creatures.  I will first-pick this most times and build my deck around it, with all the sweet large green morphs and things like Formless Nurturing.

Wildcall - 7 - Because of the way this format works, it turns out that 3/3's for three or 4/4's for four don't really exist.  And so spending this at just about anything is really good.  And there is the gravy that if you happen to hit any reasonable creature, flipping it up will probably win you the game.

Yasova Dragonclaw - 8 - If Alesha is hard to block in the first few turns, Yasova is just a beating in the first few turns.  You can probably just steal their only blocker and attack with both the first turn or two and then let her sit back to steal their evasive creatures throughout the game, because unlike Alesha you don't need to attack to activate her ability.

Multicolor Rares:

Atarka, World Render - 4 - By the time you are casting a seven-drop, your opponent probably has a removal spell for something like this.  If you have a good deck with multiple mana-accelerators this becomes an acceptable curve-topper, but I like the Mastodon better.

Dromoka, the Eternal - 9 - 5/5 fliers for five really don't need to do a lot else to be fantastic and this will almost always get to help your blockers when it gets through.

Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury - 9 - This pumps itself so this is also a 5/5 for five that will probably top your curve and start demanding a removal spell immediately.  It even has raid for when your start was just that good and blanking some of the removal spells they could use. 

Ojutai, Soul of Winter - 5 - Only the Jeskai control decks will really want this, and so if you are interested it will probably wheel.  If you can get to the point where you can cast it, it will probably win you the game.

Silumgar, the Drifting Death - 8 - While this is more of a slow death than the five-drops, the fact that this has hexproof and 7 toughness makes it more inevitable.  I don't know how you are supposed to deal with this guy between that and that all your flying or reach blockers are going to get -1/-1.  And if you got an uncommon in the mix it is game over.

Artifact Rares:

Scroll of the Masters - 4 - In some of the Jeskai decks I like this, as pretty soon the threat of pump makes combat really difficult for your opponent.  As a card that both doesn't do anything originally and requires you to put some leg work in to make it relevant later in the game I can't give it a high rating though.

Land Rares:

Crucible of the Spirit Dragon - 1 - If I could give it a negative I would because I know this card will lead many people astray.

Colorless Mythics:

Ugin, The Spirit Dragon - 7 - Let's be honest, we are all first-picking Ugin anyway but in a lot of decks you shouldn't actually be playing this.  It should win you the game the vast majority of the time though except ironically, against Ugin's Construct.

White Mythics:

Monastery Mentor - 7 - This is definitely more of a limited card, as it's pretty easy for this army to get stymied and you can't chain together a bunch of spells as reliably.

Soulfire Grand Master - 8 - It's not too hard to turn most spells into a winning game by giving it buyback.  Even something like Crippling Chill or Kill Shot become insane late game.  Really the only thing holding this card back is that it dies to almost anything and the ability doesn't do very much until late in the game.

Blue Mythics:

Temporal Trespass - 2 - I'll maybe see this once ever where it is good.  The triple-blue is very prohibitive, the delve is very prohibitive, and taking an extra turn in limited is usually not amazing.

Torrent Elemental - 9 - This is my bet for the most powerful card in FRF limited.  Even without the activated ability this card would be busted, a 3/5 flier for five is strong, and tapping All of your opponents blockers every time it attacks is amazing.  The activated ability just completely dashes your opponent's hopes, because even the good removal that could kill this is only temporary, you just then delve the Elemental away later in the game and then cast it again.  The real dagger is that exile removal, which normally handles this kind of nonsense, is even worse against this creature.  This might just actually be a 10.

Black Mythics:

Brutal Hordechief - 9 - I upgraded this a point because the trigger is life drain not just life loss, and therefore it's extremely difficult to race this.  This ranges from good to great to I just won the game with this creature because I played it and activated its ability.  That's a pretty amazing card.

Ghastly Conscription - 3 - This should definitely hit both player's graveyards but I know it can't because it would be too confusing with manifest to mix up your creatures.  Especially with delve the card just gets worse and will just be stranded in your hand a lot of games.

Red Mythics:

Shaman of the Great Hunt - 9 - Red's only mythic really pulls its weight!  This both beats in and is really aggressive in the early game, and gives you lots of card advantage in the late game.  And if you are able to get an attack in it's not quite as vulnerable to removal as the Grandmaster.  Just remember later in the game that like Yasova this doesn't have to attack, even though it has haste, the real value is in the counters to your creatures and the card-draw.

Green Mythics:

Warden of the First Tree - 8 - A one-drop that can become a 3/3 on turn two is pretty good, and the last ability is obviously amazing.  I suspect that you will only activate the second the turn before you activate the third just out of necessity but any early creature that can take over the game demands some respect.  This is definitely a virtual three-color card though and there is a decent window where this can get hit by a Bathe in Dragonfire or something and bounce spells are just insane against this.

Whisperwood Elemental - 9 - Any card that can beat a Duneblast deserves some respect, and this card can do it quite easily.  On the face of it, you get a 4/4 for five with a 2/2 at end of turn.  Even if your opponent kills it right away you've gotten some value and if they can't kill it it spirals out of control very easily.  The sacrifice ability even lets you take your worst case scenario, a wrath of god effect, and turn it into a positive, as you get left with a bunch of manifest creatures.  That being said you probably don't even need to cast spells very often when this is out, since you'll be spending mana flipping up creatures.

And that's all of them!  All the cards from Fate Reforged have been evaluated.  There are a lot of sweet cards, a lot of tricky cards and a lot of traps.  It's a very exciting set and I can't wait to get my grubby paws on them.  While I'm sure that there are going to be some that perform a little worse or a little better depending on the context or just certain conditions I think this will do you in good stead for the prerelease this weekend.  Without all the crazy three-color cards it will be easier to play more of your rares, although I think the greedy four and five color decks are not going to work with fewer packs of KTK.  If you have a question or something I didn't think of or straight up misread, let me know in the comment field below.  Thanks so much for reading my ramble and good luck this weekend!

2 Comments

That's a lot of 9s by CalmLittleBuddy at Tue, 01/27/2015 - 12:35
CalmLittleBuddy's picture

Not sure I have the same confidence in the mythics and rares of this set as you do! :) Great work. Thanks for the write up!

I actually think that this by arcadiave at Tue, 01/27/2015 - 15:46
arcadiave's picture

I actually think that this set has one of the highest concentration of bomb-rares in recent history. This becomes painfully apparent if you check Huey's Pick one, pack one, where he picks the rare about 90% of the time and 5% of the time he doesn't he probably should have but it would be too embarrassing to just pick the rare every single time.