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By: Doctor Anime, Tomer Abramovici
May 03 2013 12:06pm
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Welcome to my Dragon's Maze set review for the limited format. Before I begin, I'd like to point out that I've changed around the descriptions of the rating scale. Hopefully it offers a more accurate description than the standard ranking descriptions.

As always, feedback is much appreciated to get things more clear and accurate!


5.0: Will usually win you the game all on its own, even if you're very behind, and there's little that your opponent can do about it.

4.5: Will usually win you the game all on its own, even if you're behind, though your opponent may have a fighting chance to either find an answer to it or race you if he/she was well enough ahead before you cast this.

4.0: Goes a long way to winning you the game and/or getting you out of a losing position all on its own, but it's not usually an insta-win. 

3.5: Goes a long way to winning you the game or getting you out of a losing position, but it won't usually win all on its own. It's a premium card just shy of consistent bomb territory.

3.0: Consistently powerful and an auto-include in any deck that can run it. Decks that run a lot of cards of this power level will yield very strong results.

2.5: Good and should almost always make the cut in your deck.

2.0: Fine and will often make the cut in your deck.

1.5: Playable, but not exciting. Run a couple cards of this ranking to help you hit 40 cards.

1.0: Not usually main deck worthy, but possibly a strong sideboard option.

0.5: Never main deck worthy, but possibly a very situational sideboard option.

0.0: Don't run this ever.

Card rank is further modified by how easy it is to play at its full potential and/or how easy it is to accommodate in a typical deck.

-0.0: Requires an insignificant amount of effort to accommodate in a deck. Easily splashed.

-0.5: Requires some effort to accommodate in a deck. May not always be splashable.

-1.0: Requires much effort to accommodate in a deck. May not always be splashable.

-4.5: Door to Nothingness in M13 draft. Hardcore mode. Recommended playlist: "Danger Zone" on loop





Battering Krasis


Jawsome! I found that this card was a little weaker than I hoped due to its low toughness. It'll often quickly die to removal or trade with a creature. I never got to see it bigger than 3/2 trample, which is underwhelming at 3cmc. I guess that's okay though. And with a bit of luck, you might be able to grow it into a true street shark to terrorize your opponent.



Kraul Warrior


Bears are playable and this one has the bonus of scaling late game. Can't go wrong with that.



Maze Behemoth


5/4 trample for 6cmc is merely okay. Giving some other creatures trample is fairly underwhelming unless they also happen to be very big and lack evasion, which narrows this ability's effectiveness even further. Run it if you really need a high-end creature.



Mending Touch


Save a creature from removal or from trading with another creature for 1cmc. Not exciting and pretty situational.



Mutant's Prey


At first glance it looks highly situational. Not only do you need a creature bigger than your opponent's, but that creature also needs +1/+1 counters on it. What are the odds of that? Well, higher than you'd think. Unleash, scavenge, and evolve all give +1/+1 counters, so there will be a fair amount of decks that can use this just fine.





Not being instant speed really cuts down this card's playability. Still, Lava Axe damage for 2cmc is still value, so there may be aggressive decks that might want to run this. Preferably ones that have tons of trample and lifelink, maybe both, like Unflinching Courage.



Renegade Krasis


A fine card all on its own but it can really get out of control in a deck full of creatures with +1/+1 counters. Evolve, Scavenge, Unleash. BUG decks, go nuts!



Saruli Gatekeepers


My least favorite Gatekeeper. 7 life is a lot but a far less powerful effect than the other gatekeepers. And honestly, green can do better than a 2/4 for 4cmc. Still playable, just not exciting.





Superbear! Being able to hose an entire color's game plan is huge in limited. It will randomly win you games against certain opponents and anywhere else it's a perfectly fine bear that happens to have reach.



Thrashing Mossdog


Grey ogre with reach and scavenge? Value town! This lil' fella shuts down an impressively long list of popular fliers in the format, from Balustrade Spy to Wind Drake. He's higher rated in matchups where that reach goes to work, otherwise he's still solid.





Bane Alley Blackguard


Not very good on defense or offense. The only other thing he offers is the ability to chump block Deathcult Rogue. Not worth a main deck slot.



Blood Scrivener


2/1 for 2cmc is playable and this one has a situational upside. You'll be glad when this draws you a card or two as bonus.



Crypt Incursion


A formidable sideboard option against graveyard-heavy golgari decks that are chaining multiple Grisly Salvages. Also a decent enough option against hyper aggro decks where you really need the lifegain.



Fatal Fumes


Removal that takes out a bunch of stuff and even more stuff if you have an available blocker. Not quite premium removal but still very solid.



Hired Torturer


A good body for its cost with late game win-con potential makes it a solid addition to control decks. It also kills Deathcult Rogues. Substantially worse in aggro decks, of course.



Maze Abomination


4/5 deathtouch for 6cmc is playable. Making some of your other creatures deathtouch, especially low-drops that are outclassed on the board so they can trade with better things, is pretty powerful. On average it's an okay inclusion.



Pontiff of Blight


2/7 is a powerful blocker for buying time, which is exactly what you need to take full advantage of extort. Decent on its own, but add a couple other creatures on the board and the amount of lifeswing you'll be doing with all that extort should end games fast.



Rakdos Drake


Terrible when not unleashed, but when unleashed you're attacking with a 2/3 flyer for 3cmc, which beats out Wind Drake. A solid addition for most decks.



Sinister Possession


This card doesn't impact the board in the same way Lust for War did back in ROE drafts since it doesn't force the lifeloss each turn and doesn't tap down a potential blocker. Control decks won't want it. Hyper aggressive Rakdos decks may run it if they're lacking better tricks.



Ubul Sar Gatekeepers


Boy, did I love this card at prerelease! Decent body AND removal makes it my favorite of the Gatekeepers. Just like all the other gatekeepers, however, you need the right deck for these to shine and even then there might be consistency issues.





Awe for the Guilds


I wouldn't like this card if it said "all creatures can't block this turn." This one doesn't even work on multicolor creatures. Bleh. I wouldn't waste a card on such a weak effect.



Clear a Path


Not reliable enough to be main decked, but obviously it's a very powerful sideboard option against defender-heavy decks. I foresee myself losing to this card next time I try my Doorkeeper.dec again.



Maze Rusher


6/3 haste for 6cmc is playable but not good. By the time you drop this you'll likely have next to no more creatures in hand, so granting SOME future topdecked creatures haste is a very underwhelming effect.



Possibility Storm


The possibility of this card helping you more than it helps your opponent is very low. You've wasted 5 mana and a card to play something that does absolutely nothing by itself. Someone more clever than me might be able to construct a deck around this that uses it to cheat in some absurdly powerful bomb, but I've got nothing.



Punish the Enemy


Lightning Bolt got a lot more expensive. Still, it's hard for instant speed removal to be bad, and this one still gets the job done admirably.



Pyrewild Shaman


Card advantage? In MY red?? Yes, indeed! 3/1 bloodrush for 3cmc would've been a worse Slaughterhorn but this guy's recursion ability makes him not only great aggressively but also good at grinding out opponents. He won't win the game on his own, but he helps you to keep coming up on top on trades, provided you can keep hitting the opponent to get him back.



Riot Piker


Being forced to attack sucks. Eventually the opponent will put down a creature that the piker is forced to suicide into. He works much better in aggressive decks packed with bloodrush though, or auras like Madcap Skills.



Rubblebelt Maaka


I like grey ogres that double as offensive giant growths. A solid choice for red decks.



Smelt-Ward Gatekeepers


Threaten effects are particularly strong late game when you can pick up one of their bombs and swing for lethal. That means you're in less of a hurry to find those gates to activate this guy (assuming you've got other plays). Otherwise he's a decent body like all other gatekeepers.



Weapon Surge


I'm usually not a fan of these kinds of combat tricks but wowza, both uses of this card are so inexpensive! I can see this being a go-to combat trick in red.







It can't be killed and it's the perfect blocker and attacker. In fact, it can do both due to pseudo-vigilance. Yep, it's a game-winner! The only downside is if you really want to make sure this bomb sticks around, you need to treat it as a 7drop and have three blue mana sources available so you can have its self-exile effect ready in case of a removal spell. Sort of how like (Pack Rats) is treated as a 5drop. This makes Aetherling a little restrictive in what decks can really play it, but obviously well worth building around.



Hidden Strings


Hands of Binding this is not. It's certainly a more interesting effect. If you put this on an evasive beater, you're essentially giving two creatures vigilance each turn, or untapping two lands to cast more spells per turn (but not ramp unless it's an instant). Or maybe you have multiple bomb cards that have activated abilities which require tapping. I don't know. I think it's cool, but like most Cipher cards the effect tends to not be worth the hassle.



Maze Glider


3/5 flyer for 6cmc is alright but nothing to write home about. Giving your other creatures evasion, however, is pretty darn sweet. In the right deck it can be very powerful, but in most decks it's just fine.





Cancel is playable in the right limited format, but a 4cmc Cancel is bad.



Murmuring Phantasm


If you're control and you need more 2drops to avoid getting stomped by aggro decks, this works in a pinch. It stops most anything early and fills the slot. Of course, the flip side is that it will sit there doing nothing if there's nothing to block. I think it will show up in my blue decks more often than not.



Opal Lake Gatekeepers


Decent body and sometimes draws a card. Pretty solid.



Runner's Bane


2cmc targeted removal that hits a large pool of nasty creatures. Too good to be true? Well, sort of. Evolve creatures and scavenge can outgrow it, and azorius has 101 ways of bouncing the creature back. Even with all these downsides, this is still targeted removal for 2cmc, and it's great.



Trait Doctoring


I can't think of a single instance where I'd want to use this in limited. There might be, so I'm not giving it a straight 0.0




Uncovered Clues


I'm sure someone somewhere will have a deck full of bomb instants/sorceries that he wants to dig for with this card. For the rest of us, this isn't great.



Wind Drake


Wind Drake has always been solid in any limited format that I've played it in. I don't think it will be much different here.





Boros Mastiff


Bears are always fine in limited, and this one has the added bonus of sometimes gaining you life. At its best, a creature-heavy boros deck can get some significant lifeswing out of it with a timely bloodrush. At its worst (and most often), well, it's a bear.



Haarzda Snare Squad


I knew this card was good going into my prerelease events, but after playtesting it exceeded my expectations. More consistent than Court Street Denizen with the same powerful offensive ability (though less explosive), making blocking a nightmare for the opponent. Four toughness lets it block very well too.



Lyev Decree


A very low-impact effect to use a card on. Super fast aggro decks have plenty of better options to get damage through, such as removal or repeatable evasion. Slower decks don't want it because they have more powerful ways of closing games and using this to delay damage is just as good as a 1shot pure lifegain card (aka not good).



Maze Sentinel


3/6 vigilance for 6cmc is just playable and possibly giving other creatures vigilance isn't that great either. Just a high-end filler if you need one



Renounce the Guilds


Multicolor permanents are generally high value targets in Limited, which means this card will almost always trade with something good. Off the top of my head, the only time this white Edict would be really miserable is if Boros has red/white soldier tokens out. Sure, this can hit you too, but it shouldn't be hard to set yourself up so that it doesn't affect you.



Riot Control


Sometimes a card like this will be glorious, when your opponent tries swinging in for lethal and you respond by dropping this baby down and taking him out on your following turn. I've been on the receiving end of that before (the card was Druid's Deliverance). Usually, however, that ideal circumstance will not present itself, and you'll be wishing this card was something more consistently useful instead, like a removal spell.



Scion of Vitu-Ghazi


A 4/4, plus two 1/1 flying tokens is already fantastic at 6cmc. Sometimes you'll even get to trade a 1/1 for a 2/2, 3/3, or 4/4 instead! Now that's value! This card is always great, and sometimes amazing.



Steeple Roc


3/1 flying first strike is really tough to get around with creatures. Swinging for 3 in the air is also a fast clock. The downside is that it dies to any sort of removal, including the dreaded return of Electrolyze. 5cmc is pretty steep for something that dies so easily. I like this bird, but I certainly wouldn't want to run multiples for that very reason.



Sunspire Gatekeepers


Decent without its trigger, amazing with it. It really comes down to how many gates you're running. If you've got 4+ gates this should be great. The token is especially interesting to Selesnya players that are looking for more populate targets.



Wake the Reflections


I like my populate cards to do something generally useful on top of populating, but if you managed to reach a critical mass of fattie token generators in your deck, this aggressively costed card will be great for you.



That's all for now. Come back for the next article where I review the fancy multicolor cards. Trust me when I say that is where the true power cards of this format are!


Nice review! One quick note by middleman_35 at Sat, 05/04/2013 - 20:38
middleman_35's picture

Nice review!

One quick note as I noticed it a couple of times, a 3/3 for 3C is generally referred to as a Hill Giant whereas a 2/2 for 2C is a Grey Ogre.

Oops, I got that one mixed by Doctor Anime at Sun, 05/05/2013 - 19:49
Doctor Anime's picture

Oops, I got that one mixed up. I'll make a note of it for next time.