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By: Doctor Anime, Tomer Abramovici
May 10 2013 7:15am
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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

 

 

Azorius

 

Ascended Lawmage

 

A 3/2 flyer that cannot be shot out of the sky with removal is great at 4cmc. Your opponent either has to put up a flyer of its own to deal with it or try racing, which is no easy task against azorius. Hexproof instead of shroud is also wonderful, working particularly well with the powerful enchantments available in this format. Though such a sweet combination opportunity is rare, this card plus Unflinching Courage is basically unstoppable!

3.0

 

Beck // Call

 

Both of these sides feel kind of "meh" to me in limited. Call is certainly more valuable. Making 4 1/1 flyers for 6cmc is pretty good. If you get to fuse them then you've pretty much won the long game, since you just drew 4 cards and have the blockers to survive and use them.

3.0

 

Council of the Absolute

 

Decent p/t for its cmc and either ramps out your bomb or shuts out your opponent's removal / bomb. It's hard not to get value from these guys.

3.0

 

Deputy of Acquittals

 

The common for azorius is one of my favorites. Bears are always playable, flash bears are even better, but a flash bear that can save your creatures from removal and/or reuse ETB triggers? So much value! I'll take a playset, thank you.

3.0

 

Jelenn Sphinx

 

Azorius continues to impress me. This sphinx is an evasive poker that pumps all your other attacking creatures, while simultaneously being an amazing blocker. Its fat butt stops most removal spells from killing it as well. An absolute nightmare for your opponent to deal with.

3.5

 

Lavinia of the Tenth

 

4/4 protection from red is already a great deal at 5cmc. It's randomly an absolute hoser against an opponent. You know what else is an absolute hoser? Lavinia's ETB trigger. You're bound to detain the majority of your opponent's forces, which is a massive tempo gain whether it's used offensively or defensively.

4.0

 

Protect // Serve

 

A fine combat trick that might sometimes be a 2for1. Can't go wrong with that. If it's a 2for1 more often than I think it'd be then it might require a higher rating.

2.5

 

Render Silent

 

Pretty much just a Cancel with peace of mind that your opponent isn't sneaking in anything afterwards. That doesn't make it much more exciting though.

2.0

 

Restore the Peace

 

It's Aetherize for 1 mana less, except you have to take a massive amount of damage first? No thanks. I guess this has the added benefit of letting you re-use your creatures' ETB creatures after an attack but the odds of me actually wanting to use a card to do that is slim to none.

1.5

 

Orzhov

 

Blood Baron of Vizkopa

 

Is your opponent also playing Orzhov? Congrats, you've won! Even if he isn't, a 4/4 lifelink is pretty insane at 5cmc. In such a multicolor-heavy format where everyone is encouraged to go tricolor, having protection from 2/5 colors is going to consistently be a huge deal as well. Oh, and then there's the fun part where Blood Baron goes super saiyan once the opponent is down to 10 life and then 1shots. Nasty stuff.

4.5

 

Debt to the Deathless

 

Cool in multiplayer formats, but in limited a card like this that has no effect on the board isn't playable. There are much better finishers available.

0.5

 

Maw of Obzedat

 

It doesn't look like much by itself, and honestly a 3/3 for 5cmc is underwhelming. But once plopped on the board and supported with a handful of other creatures, this thrull makes combat an absolute nightmare for your opponent. Suddenly you can swing into locked board states for lethal, sacrificing blocked creatures to pump the unblocked ones. Or take out your opponent's bomb by sacrificing a creature or two. The possibilities are endless -- and your opponent has to consider all of them before he does anything.

3.0

 

Obzedat's Aid

 

Your deck needs to have a high density of bombs for this type of card to be good. Having this card in hand with nothing good to target is awful. However, I can see this card shining particularly well in a golgari deck, using cards like Grisly Salvage and Rot Farm Skeleton to fill the graveyard with bombs and then putting it into play with this.

1.5

 

Profit // Loss

 

Combat trick, removal, both, 2for1 potential.. The makings of a good card.

3.0

 

Ready // Willing

 

A solid combat trick on both sides (Ready being better), with the fuse offering the chance of a complete blowout. I'm a fan.

3.5

 

Sin Collector

 

Insane value when it nabs a card, still a decent body and a free peek at your opponent's hand when it doesn't. Can't go wrong with that.

3.0

 

Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts

 

You've pretty much won if you managed to cast Teysa and your opponent can't swing for lethal in one go or has a removal spell for her. Seven mana is pretty steep, but with the amount of keyrunes and cluestones available it shouldn't be a problem. Not that it's entirely relevant, but Blood Baron is better than her because he comes out quicker and dodges more removal. You know, for those many times that you open a Blood Baron and foil Teysa in the same pack.

4.5

 

Tithe Drinker

 

Okay, this is my favorite of the guild commons. Child of Night with extort is bonkers good. Extort is so good that you'll probably not want to trade with your opponent's creatures, but the lifelink means that your opponent may be forced to hold back an attacker so you can't attack with it for free. Which is a win for you, especially when you're extorting away.

3.5

 

Dimir

 

Breaking // Entering

 

Breaking is meh, but Entering is interesting. I really like that the creature has haste. You have both your graveyard and the opponent's to work with so there's a higher chance of having a good target for this. I'd run this card just for Entering, and would pass on it if I could only play Breaking.

3.0

 

Far // Away

 

Both sides are playable, but fused together and it really works wonders. Far patches up Away's weakness of letting the opponent choose which creature to sacrifice. Alternatively, you get to kill a creature while saving one of yours from removal. Very versatile in Dimir.

3.5

 

Haunter of Nightveil

 

3/4 for 5cmc is decent, and that ability is such a beating. -1/-0 doesn't seem like much but boy does it add up. Combat becomes much harder for your opponent. You're preventing a significant amount of damage that comes your way as well. Overall a high pick for Dimir.

3.5

 

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker

 

I hear that milling the opponent to death in about three hits is good. Evasion also helps with that. 2/4 is fairly hard to deal with as well. Mirko is easier to shut down than some other game-winning bombs like Blood Baron, but he's still pretty ridiculous.

4.0

 

Notion Thief

 

Most cases he'll be a 3/1 flash for 4cmc and that's it, which is pretty meh in my books. When his drawswing actually connects against a blue player or a sac'd cluestone, however, it'll be backbreaking. I think those situations will be few and far between, but with a slower format maybe there will be more chances for that than I currently think there'll be.

2.5

 

Pilfered Plans

 

I love Divination almost as much as LSV in slow formats, so obviously I love this card. The mill also turns on your Death's Approaches and self-mill helps with a whole bunch of things if you're in golgari.

3.0

 

Reap Intellect

 

Discard like this is far too slow to be maindecked but if you're against an ultra-slow control deck then it might be a decent sideboard.

1.0

 

Warped Physique

 

2cmc removal that can kill just about anything? Yes, please! This is premium removal, folks.

3.5

 

Woodlot Crawler

 

Just like Skylasher, a creature that randomly hoses your opponent and is randomly unblockable is amazing. Even when it doesn't, a vanilla 2/1 for 2cmc isn't bad.

3.5

 

Izzet

 

Blast of Genius

 

It's card advantage and removal wrapped into one card. Amazing, no doubt, but there are some downsides to keep in mind. 6cmc is a hefty price but shouldn't be a problem in a slow format. Sorcery speed is unfortunate but not a big deal either.

The biggest thing is that the removal part isn't consistent. You can't just toss away an extra land (which you'll probably want to do when you're casting this at 6 mana) and then kaboom goes their best creature. You have to throw away a high-cost spell to kill a big creature, probably the card that you least wished to throw away from your hand. It's still worth it, of course (otherwise you wouldn't throw it away!), but still is a negative to consider. The card is 6cmc, 3for2, and one of those cards won't be the worst one in your hand.

Regardless, it's still very strong.

3.25

 

Catch // Release

 

Neither of these sides are exciting on their own. It gets really good once fused, but 9cmc is a steep price even for a slow format.

1.5

 

Dragonshift

 

A combat trick or finisher, the versatility is what makes this card great. My one complaint is that the dragons are 4/4 and not 5/5. 5/5 is the classic dragon body and I don't think the p/t bump would've broken the card.

4.0

 

Fluxcharger

 

A great blocker that can switch to deal massive damage in a pinch. Me likey.

3.0

 

Goblin Test Pilot

 

I don't like this card. I want to like it. Maybe if it was 0/3 so it could block a little better and not kill itself. Maybe if it was 1/2 so it could attack. Maybe if it wasn't so clunky to play with in the physical version, especially in multiplayer.  But it's not, and I don't.

That said, it might be a decent sideboard option against swarmy decks.

1.0

 

Melek, Izzet Paragon

 

2/4 at 6cmc is underwhelming, but it can still block decently enough. If he sticks around long enough for his ability to trigger once or twice though he more than pays for himself. In the right deck, with a couple turns of him sticking on the board, he can be pretty nasty.

3.5

 

Nivix Cyclops

 

A great blocker and swinging as a 4/4 for 3cmc is nothing to sneeze at. The izzet common is a good one.

3.0

 

Turn // Burn

 

YESSSSS!!! WHEEEE!!

...

Ahem. So, izzet is my favorite guild, and I've been a tad excited about this card. It did not disappoint during my prerelease events. It's a bonafide removal and combat trick rolled into one. It can kill anything. It's trivially easy to 2for1 with. It's really, really good. Play it, love it.

3.5

 

Ral Zarek

 

I doubt it's a surprise to anyone that repeatable Lightning Bolt is very powerful in limited. Being able to tap down blockers and mana ramp / give a creature vigilance / reuse an activated tap ability is really good, too.

4.5

 

 Rakdos

 

Carnage Gladiator

 

4 power with regeneration is a nasty combination, even in control decks. Of course, in aggro decks it's absolutely bonkers, pushing damage through like nobody's business.

3.5

 

Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch

 

4/4 first strike haste for 4cmc is a bomb in itself. Hasting her unleash buddies is gravy. 

4.0

 

Master of Cruelties

 

Wins combat like a champ and kills in two hits, or one plus a burn spell. He can be held off with enough blockers but you can easily turn that around with a timely removal spell or bloodrush.

4.0

 

Morgue Burst

 

The common of Rakdos has an oddly high cmc. It's a fantastic 2for1 card, but still, slotting this at common does hurt the aggro plan a bit. As for the card itself, 2for1 is great, though you have the Obzedat's Aid problem of not always having a great target in your graveyard to bring back. Pairs well with golgari.

3.0

 

Showstopper

 

It's hard for me to rate this card. Obviously you need to use this when your creature dies, and its power varies from an overcosted Shock to 4-6 damage. I'm skeptical of its consistent power. If you're creature-heavy then maybe it could be decent, otherwise avoid it.

1.5

 

Sire of Insanity

 

The discard could be good, could be bad. If you're rakdos aggro then you'll often benefit from it more than your opponent. Sometimes you'll have an awesome slow hand and can't play your sweet fattie because of it though. Regardless, it's a 6/4 for 6cmc, which is pretty good.

3.0

 

Spike Jester

 

It must feel great to play first as rakdos aggro and drop this turn 2. Sheesh. It trades with just about anything within its cmc range, and your opponents WILL trade, because 3 damage a turn from a 2-drop is ridiculous. Rakdos aggro WANTS this.

3.0

 

Toil // Trouble

 

Toil is a bad Divination, which is fine in slow limited. Trouble is pretty bad since it doesn't do anything. Combined they make a sweet finisher that at least does 4 damage to the face but hopefully more.

2.5

 

Golgari

 

Deadbridge Chant

 

A slow-roller that, if left unchecked for a few turns, leads to an eventual win due to a steady stream of card advantage. It doesn't technically win you the game by itself like another slow-rolling bomb, Assemble the Legion, but so long as your deck isn't complete poop then the outcome will be similar.

4.0

 

Down // Dirty

 

Both sides are way overcosted on their own, and like all split cards it's pretty good when fused. Though the problem here is that at seven mana fusion you run the risk of your opponent not having two cards in hand to get max value. A strong sideboard in golgari decks against control.

1.5 

 

Drown in Filth

 

With no lands already in the graveyard you can expect this to often give -2/-2 or -1/-1. That's already playable as a 2cmc removal. Combine them with other good golgari cards like Grisly Spectacle or Rot Farm Skeleton, or further copies of Drown, or a blue splash for dimir self-mill cards, and you've got yourself a stellar premium removal. Not to mention that it plays so nice with scavenge.

3.5

 

Flesh // Blood

 

Flesh probably isn't worth running by itself, but Blood certainly is! It's the same cmc as Pit Fight, you don't run the risk of losing your creature, and you can aim it at your opponent's head as a finisher. Being able to fuse is the cherry on top of a wonderful gruul card. I'd say this is the strongest of the split cards in limited.

3.5

 

Gaze of Granite

 

As far as board wipes go, this is on the expensive end for limited. You'll have a hard time trying to kill your opponent's high-cost bombs with this, though it does a fine job of wiping away an opposing aggro deck's hopes and dreams. Paying 6 mana to destroy everything 3cmc or less sounds reasonable. I dunno. I'm rating this "low" for a board wipe but wouldn't be surprised if it's better than I initially give it credit for.

3.5

 

Korozda Gorgon

 

2/5 deathtouch for 5cmc is a great deal for what amount to a huge roadblock for your opponent and a scary attacker to boot. But the repeatable removal when playing with scavenge, unleash, and evolve... ouch. You have to build around this card to get the most out of it, but when you do, it's an absolute bomb.

3.5

 

Putrefy

 

Instant speed removal at 3cmc that has the ability to take out keyrunes and cluestones as an added bonus. One of the classic premium removal cards.

3.5

 

Rot Farm Skeleton

 

I do love 4power regeneration dudes. This ability is even better than regeneration due to golgari synergies, though you are paying extra for it. The big downside is, of course, not being able to block. If you're hardcore control then you should probably stay away from this, but if you're any sort of aggro then it's a great addition.

3.0

 

Varolz, the Scar-Striped

 

He starts off as a regenerating grey ogre, which is alright, but after you put some counters on him he becomes a huge unkillable threat. Not to mention he can pump your other creatures too! There aren't any better 3drops that I can think of.

4.0

 

Gruul

 

Armed // Dangerous

 

Armed being sorcery speed hurts its standalone playability, though it can be fine way of pushing damage through when there aren't any blockers or simply forcing your opponent to block with something you want dead. Dangerous costs too much by itself. Combined, it's a 6mana potential blowout, which in my opinion is the only consistently playable option but a darn good one. I had consistency issues with this card when I played with it, but when it works, you win.

3.0

 

Feral Animist

 

Bellows Lizard returns and I'm not anymore excited by this than I was before. I still think these type of cards will inevitably trade poorly with a lesser costed creature and it desperately needs trample, but if you really need a 3drop then a 2/1 dude that can sometimes get in for big damage isn't horrible.

1.5

 

Gruul War Chant

 

I'd take Madcap Skills over this any day, but in a very creature-heavy deck, I'm talking 17+ creatures, this can do wonders. Like madcap, it sets your opponents up for bloodrush blowouts.

2.5

 

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed

 

6/6, vigilance, reach for 6cmc is disgusting. Oh, and any removal spell to take him out  means the opponent takes 6 to the face anyway. Yikes. It's almost impossible to race him and defeating him in combat might be plausible if you weren't in gruul and backing him up with bloodrush creatures.

4.5

 

Savageborn Hydra

 

Flexible cmc on a double strike monstrosity that also scales lategame. A bloodrush'd unblocked swing or two and boom, dead opponent. Not easy to attack into either.

4.0

 

Scab-Clan Giant

 

It's random removal, but you'll often be on the winning side of it with a 4/5. Even if you kill a 1/1, that's value. It's a 2for1!

3.0

 

Zhur-Taa Ancient

 

I had the pleasure of testing this beastie out during a prerelease and it did not disappoint. Yes, your opponent will probably make more use out of his ability than you on the turn you cast it, but guess what? It's a 7/5 for 5cmc. Few things are bigger. You're on the winning side of that one.

4.0

 

Zhur-Taa Druid

 

The gruul guild common is a great one. The vast majority of ramp available to the slow fattie guild is all bunched up at 3cmc: keyrunes, cluestones, axebane guardian, verdant haven. This one comes out on turn 2! Not only is it ramp but also a simultaneously a great pinger that can end up being your needed reach in the lategame. Having RG ready on turn 2 will be tough for some decks though.

3.0

 

Boros

 

Blaze Commando

 

It requires building around, but Blaze Commando can be an absolute bomb in the right deck. Thankfully, the cards that trigger his ability are some of the best draft picks you'd want anyway in a red/white deck, such as Mugging, Annihilating Fire, Explosive Impact, Electrickery, Punish the Enemy... and those are just the commons. So it's rather easy to trigger Blaze Commando, and when you do so once or twice, he becomes one of the heaviest hitters in your deck.

3.0

 

Boros Battleshaper

 

Basically you're stopping their best creature from attacking or blocking and sometimes get to pick off a serious weenie-sized threat, like a guildmage. Having that effect every turn and a 5/5 on the field is going to win you games. Seven mana ain't cheap, though.

3.5

 

Gleam of Battle

 

Like Gruul War Chant, you need a ton of creatures for this to be worth it. Boros has an edge here because of how many great token makers are available to abuse this ability, but the 6cmc really slows down its power and hurts the rating.

1.5

 

Legion's Initiative

 

You're bound to decently buff all your creatures and it even saves your creatures from removal in a pinch. All for just 2 mana.

3.5

 

Tajic, Blade of the Legion

 

Almost unkillable and great at racing. Boom!

4.0

 

Viashino Firstblade

 

The boros guild common is exactly what you want. Haste goes very well with battalion and the first hit is gonna hurt. However, his followup attacks are not as impressive and he has no evasion, making him a lesser pick to Skyknight Legionnaire, but still a very good one.

2.75

 

Warleader's Helix

 

The obvious comparison to the parent Lightning Helix must be made, and while it's not as mana efficient, being able to take out 4-toughness creatures is very relevant in a format with gatekeepers and their buddies running around. It's one of the best removal spells in this format, period.

3.5

 

Wear // Tear

 

A fine sideboard card, and maybe an okay maindeck card if necessary given how often an opponent will be dropping down a keyrune or cluestone.

1.0

 

Selesnya

 

Advent of the Wurm

 

Flash it in after your opponent declares attackers and you snag a free creature, easy 2for1. And it's a 5/5 for 4cmc. And it's one of the best populate targets. Yep.

4.0

 

Alive // Well

 

Selesnya needs good populate targets, and this is a good one. The lifegain on top is pretty sweet too, especially at that low cost.

3.0

 

Armored Wolf Rider

 

The selesnya guild common is the least exciting of the bunch. The fact that Wizards didn't make a token generator for this slot is a bit surprising, a deliberate attempt to curb selesnya's power in DGM drafts. That said, a 4/6 for 5 is fine and does its job.

2.0

 

Bronzebeak Moa

 

It's generally attacking as a 5/5 for 4cmc which is a fantastic deal. Worse on the defensive, yes, but makes up for it with its potential to hit as an 8/8, which is surprisingly doable. Eyes in the Skies and Seller of Songbirds never looked better.

3.5

 

Emmara Tandris

 

This dainty elf lady may be pricey (though I ain't sayin' she a gold digga), but she can get into a fist-fight with a dragon and win. She's a wonderful top-end for token-heavy decks, otherwise you'd probably want to pass on her.

2.0

 

Trostani's Summoner

 

Selesnya's token generating savior in DGM. She can save you from a losing position with tons of chump blockers and populate targets and is generally very mana-efficient (though still pricey) for what she brings to the table.

3.5

 

Unflinching Courage

 

High risk, high reward card that if left unanswered will win you the game. If answered, the 2for1 is going to hurt. If you suit up a hexproof creature with this, like Ascended Lawmage, then it's no risk, all reward, good game!

3.5

 

Voice of Resurgance

 

You probably won't be making any tokens from your opponent casting spells on your turn, but that's alright. It's still a 2/2 for 2 that drops down a token afterward of variable strength, and it's always going to be great value. Then you can sell the card afterward for lots of money! Hooray!

3.5

 

Simic

 

Beetleform Mage

 

Like Frilled Oculus, it has a poor base size for its cmc but more than makes up for it with an excellent cheap pump ability. A 4/4 flyer is usually the king of the air.

3.0

 

Bred for the Hunt

 

The worst of the mass creature pumping enchantments. It doesn't even trigger off all your creatures, just some of them, and it doesn't make the creatures any more likely to connect, just more beneficial for you if they do.

1.5

 

Give // Take

 

Give looks fine on its own, Take not so much. Together at 6cmc it's drawing you 3 cards at least, probably 4, maybe even 5. That's a good deal and a good lategame card.

3.0

 

Krasis Incubation

 

A slightly overcosted Arrest is premium removal but this one also has the bonus of being able to switch to more threatening targets or, in a lategame stall, grow your own creatures until they stomp over the opposition.

3.5

 

Plasm Capture

 

It's an overcosted, more difficult to cast Cancel with the upside of ramping you up a turn. Awesome if you snag something good turn 4 or so and then drop a high-cost bomb immediately afterward. More realistically though your opponent will see this from a mile away and you'll use it on something the opponent was willing to let go, like a mediocre 2drop. Which is still fine, just not as good as dropping a 4drop of your own. Don't run it if you're not heavily in Simic, that GGUU cost is a doozy.

2.0

 

Progenitor Mimic

 

If you copy a good creature and your opponent doesn't have removal, you've won the game.

4.0

 

Species Gorger

 

6/6 for 5cmc is great. There's a huge drawback attached, though it should usually be beneficial if you're running a decent amount of evolve or ETB creatures. Not good in all decks, but your typical Simic deck will love this.

2.5

 

Vorel of the Hull Clade

 

A great blocker for its cmc and can quickly make evolve, scavenge, or unleash creatures get out of control. Needs the right deck to support him, which should be easy, and will demand an immediate response. Basically a less explosive, more consistent Renegade Krasis.

3.5

 

That's all of them! Thank you for reading and good luck in the Magic Online prerelease events!