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By: gwyned, gwyned
Aug 01 2016 12:00pm
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I. Introduction

As of this writing, the prerelease events for Eldritch Moon have officially started on Magic Online. With all its protections stripped away, Innistrad has fallen into the corruption of an ancient evil, and its only hope rests in the hands of an unlikely alliance. If you're looking for superb analysis of this set's impact on Limited and Standard, I'm afraid you've clicked the wrong link. Instead, it is the purpose of this article to break down this unique set from the perspective of the Standard Pauper player. Double face cards, Delirium, and Madness have returned for this second set, alongside the new mechanics of Meld, Emerge, and Escalate. It would probably be good to already understand how these mechanics in Eldritch Moon work before continuing with this review. Today, in Part One, I will be analyzing the White, Blue, and Black Commons from the set, saving the rest of the cards for Part Two.

If you've read my previous set reviews, you should be familiar with my methodology. Rather than assigning a particular letter grade, I will instead note each card as falling into one of four categories: "hit," for those cards that define an entire archetype or will (almost) always be played in a particular color; "grounder," which are cards that should see play in at least one archetype but won't always make the cut; "bunt," which are cards that are only borderline playable; and "myth," which are cards that should almost never be played. As always, special thanks to ChannelFireball which inspired my original "hit or myth" rating system. So with that out of the way, let's jump right to the cards!

II. White Commons

1. Borrowed Grace is our first Escalate card, and by comparing it to the classic Inspired Charge we get a good feel for the flexibility of this mechanic. At Instant speed, you're either paying one less mana for one less stat boost, or one more mana for an additional stat boost. But unlike Inspired Charge, there will also be board states where giving multiple creatures a 2 point Toughness boost will either save them from removal or allow them to survive combat. In such scenarios, you're getting at least a 2-for-1 out of this card, which is clearly strong value from a 3 mana Instant. In any sort of aggressive White Weenie, Boros, or even Orzhov build, you should strongly consider including this card.

Verdict: Grounder - This card should definitely grace most of your White based decks.

2. Much of the time, Choking Restraints will be a more expensive Pacifism, which at first glance might seem like a terrible deal. However, if you've got synergy with Auras or the ability to recur them, getting 4 more copies of such a strong removal spell might already be good enough for this to see play. But in any sort of Control deck, what makes this card worth the additional one mana investment is the ability to permanently remove an opponent's creature, albeit for a premium. Interestingly enough, because this exiles the card, it not only sidesteps any Graveyard recursion your opponent might have, but also activates the lifegain ability from Ruin Processor. I certainly expect to see this card see a good amount of play.

Verdict: Grounder - Try to restrain yourself from just throwing it into any White deck.

3. A 3 mana 2/2 with Flying in White like Dawn Gryff is nothing unusual; in fact, it's a near reprint of Shadow Glider which is already available in Standard Pauper. Many sets have featured similar creatures with a relevant mechanic from the set or secondary ability of some sort, which makes this vanilla creature pretty lackluster. Both Kor Sky Climber and Stalwart Aven are much better alternatives at the same cost, both of which have seen a decent amount of play in the recent metagame. And given that the aforementioned Shadow Glider has not seen any play, I don't expect anything different from Dawn Gryff. Even in a format like Standard Pauper, these "french vanilla" creatures still aren't good enough.

Verdict: Bunt - I hate to be gruff, but by now it should have dawned on you how lackluster this is.

4. Desperate Sentry is an interesting use of Delirium. Obviously a 1/2 for 2W is not a card you would ever want to play. In this case though, it is clearly intended as a sacrifice target, as you receive a 3/2 token when it dies, which is a reasonable if unexciting payout for 3 mana. But even better, if you play this is the late game once Delirium is active, you instead get a 4/2 for 3 that still nets you the token when it dies. This seems like it would slot well into most Orzhov builds, and might be viable in some other White based decks with sacrifice effects or token themes. So while I wouldn't include it in just any White deck, there's enough going on here that I expect this to see a good amount of play.

Verdict: Grounder - Including this in your deck is hardly a sign of desperation.

5. Faithbearer Paladin is an interesting variation on the typical White Common Siege Mastodon. You're giving up a point of Toughness, but getting the very relevant Lifelink ability in its place. Even with all the removal in the format, it's not trivial to deal 4 damage to a creature, and even if all this does in combat is trade with another creature and gain you three Life, that's still decent value for your 5 mana. But if you can give this evasion and even a modest Power boost, this can quickly become a card that dominates the board state. Even better, since it's a Human, there are a few additional synergies that this can take advantage of. All in all, this is a surprisingly solid card that should see some play.

Verdict: Grounder - I have faith that this will bear a lot of weight in a variety of White decks.

6. White is increasingly seeing this type of effect at Common where a creature gets to tap an opponent's creature when it attacks. In the case of Fiend Binder, you're paying 3W for a 3/2, which is pretty expensive for an ability that only activates when it attacks. With only 2 Toughness, it's unlikely you'll be able to attack with this creature more than once, and it trades with almost any two or three drop your opponent controls. Way back in Magic 2014 we had Master of Diversion, with only a single point less Power for 3 mana, and even that card didn't have much of an impact in the metagame. Given all those factors, this card doesn't give you enough value for the price you're paying, and I doubt it will see much play.

Verdict: Bunt - Friend, you're better off keeping this in your virtual binder.

7. Guardian of Pilgrims is a relatively simple card that gives you a slight advantage when it comes into play but otherwise doesn't have much effect on the game. Unlike Limited, you would almost never play a 2/2 for 2 in even a highly aggressive build, and the fact that you get to boost a single creature by +1 / +1 the turn you play this isn't much of an incentive to do otherwise. It is a Spirit, which means it does synergize well with Apothecary Geist, but at least at Common there really isn't any other advantage to playing Spirits. Really, this is just a worse version of Ampryn Tactician, so if that's the kind of effect you're looking for, I would just play that card instead of this one.

Verdict: Bunt - Guard against the temptation to seek out this card.

8. Auramancer is back and better than ever in Ironclad Slayer. For the same cost, you're getting an extra Point of Power, but are more restricted in the types of permanents you can return. Of course, Pacifism and Dead Weight are among the best Enchantments to return anyway, so that restriction isn't much of a downside. The ability to return Equipment is a nice bonus, but currently it is pretty unusual for the few Equipment cards that get played to ever go to the Graveyard anyway. Overall though, a 3/2 for 2W is already borderline playable, and if your game plan includes using Auras either to enhance your creatures or remove those of your opponent, this card definitely deserves a slot in your deck.

Verdict: Grounder - I'm willing to make an ironclad promise that this will see plenty of play.

9. Ironwright's Cleansing is strictly worse than both Fate Forgotten and Revoke Existence, both cards that have only recently rotated out of Standard. It's interesting that White and Green share such a similar role in dealing with Enchantments and Artifacts, with White tending to exile them but Green tending to be Instant speed and less expensive (although there are plenty of exceptions to that general rule). With this block's slight emphasis on Equipment and Enchantments, it makes sense to have access to this sort of effect in your Sideboard, but most of the time it's not going to have a major impact on the game, even when you bring it in against the appropriate deck.

Verdict: Bunt - I'm uncertain if this is the right card to clean up these sorts of permanents.

10. Lunarch Mantle is a great example of the type of Aura you should avoid in most decks. For an Aura to be reasonable to include in your deck, you want it to make a major impact on the game state the turn it comes into play. But this card gives you a mere 2 point boost in both Power and Toughness, along with a clunky ability that grants Flying at the cost of sacrificing one of your permanents. While this technically does help activate Delirium, you're simply gaining very little for a pretty significant investment. In almost any board state, I would probably prefer Angelic Gift, which at least replaces itself despite its minor effect. This is a bad card, and you shouldn't be playing it.

Verdict: Myth - This is not the mantle of a hero. Take it off at once.

11. Sigardian Priest isn't quite Blinding Mage, but it's remarkable close. For 1W you're getting a 1/2 that can tap for any color mana to tap down any creature, provided it's not a Human. While the Human tribe is certainly a big emphasis in this set, there are plenty of major threats that this can still deal with. The biggest advantage of tappers is the ability to change the threat you're targeting, and it's no exaggeration to say that this is the best tapper we've had in a long time. Granted, with the emphasis on removal in the format, your opponent will often be able to deal with this more easily than something like Pacifism. But the flexibility and utility of this card still is good enough to be worth considering in most White decks.

Verdict: Grounder - I'm trying to guard against rating this too highly.

12. Spectral Reserves seems to be a very strong card for White. For 3W, you're getting 2 Power and Toughness worth of creatures with Flying, but split up into two tokens to prevent your opponent from dealing with it with a single removal spell. You're also getting 2 points of Life out of the deal, which is a small but surprisingly significant bonus. This would be amazing as an Instant, but even as a Sorcery, this is still a great effect. Obviously it will slot well into any White token builds, but even in other White based decks this would be worth consideration. It's not quite Midnight Haunting, but it's probably as close as we should expect to see at Common. All in all, this seems very solid.

Verdict: Hit - I reserve the right to change my rating, but this seems like the right deal.

13. Steadfast Cathar seems like the exact opposite of Borderland Marauder, getting a 2 point boost in Toughness whenever it attacks. A 2/3 for 1W would be good enough in an aggressive White Weenie or Boros deck, but probably wouldn't see much play outside of those two archetypes. This is clearly worse than that, since it can't actually block a 2/2 and survive to fight again. The 1 Toughness also leaves it quite vulnerable to a couple different Red spells that deal 1 damage to multiple targets. So while it's better than a 2/1, it's not quite as good as a 2/3 either, which leaves it somewhere in the middle as a decent but decidedly mediocre card that probably won't make the cut most of the time.

Verdict: Bunt - You should be able to say cards you rather play instead pretty fast.

14. Thraben Standard Bearer is somewhat of a difficult card to evaluate. While a far cry from the Flagbearers from Apocalypse, a repeatable method of generating tokens at Common certainly caught my attention. In an aggressive White Weenie build, your strategy should be fast enough that you can get at least some value out of a 1/1 for W, and the fact that it then lets you convert extra Lands or other unwanted cards into 1/1 Human tokens is pretty good, especially if you can take advantage of the Human subtype. Overall though, this isn't great, but it seems like it could have an important role in the right sort of White Weenie or Tokens build. Outside of those archetypes, it probably doesn't make the cut.

Verdict: Bunt - It will be interesting to see if the new Standard can bear this.

White looks solid enough, but lacks any cards that stand out as major contenders. Spectral Reserves is easily the best of the bunch, but even it pales in comparison to the rest of the highest rated cards in the set. Ironclad Slayer is probably the card that will actually have the biggest impact, since it gives you such a big incentive to build around it with cards like Choking Restraints and other solid Aura-based removal spells. Sigardian Priest rounds out the best cards in White from this set.

III. Blue Commons

1. Contingency Plan is the latest in a long line of card-selection spells in Blue. For 1U, you get to look at five cards, get rid of any you don't want, and place the rest back in any order. This is very close to Index from Magic 2013, but the ability to remove any undesirable cards is a huge advantage. Unfortunately, what this card really needs is the secondary clause to draw a card afterwards, as otherwise you are spending a card just to improve your future draws without having any effect at all on the state of the game. While this does help activate Delirium, it does not activate Madness, as the cards are placed in the Graveyard rather than being discarded. Overall, this doesn't do enough to make it worth a card.

Verdict: Bunt - I hope you have better contingency plans than this.

2. Convolute is remarkable similar to Mana Leak, only costing an extra mana put also forcing your opponent to pay an extra mana in order to avoid the spell being countered. Granted, there is a significant difference between a counter for two mana and a counter for three. But without the presence of Cancel in the format, this is probably the go-to permission spell going forward. While it won't be as good in the late game, the fact that it only requires one colored mana source makes this an ideal spell for a more tempo or midrange Blue deck. And even in the late game, four mana will sometimes be enough to prevent your opponent from being able to play their finisher. Just how often remains to be seen.

 Verdict: Grounder - It's a big convoluted figuring out how good this will end up being.

3. Ghostly Flicker returns to Standard Pauper in its near reprint Displace, which differs only in the fact that it can only target creatures rather than additional types of permanents. Back in the day Ghostly Flicker enabled some sick combos, including the ability to endlessly recur it with Archaeomancer and some other permanent with an advantageous 'enters the battlefield' effect. But even without such a combination, this card has the potential to be quite strong, allowing you to sidestep removal, escape from negative Auras, or just get double mileage out of any ability that activates upon summoning. Most of the time, it should be trivial to get a card's worth of value out of this; getting two certainly isn't out of reach.

Verdict: Hit - This might displace all others as the most powerful card in the set at Common.

4. Unsummon type effects have often proven to be quite useful in the format, and Drag Under gives the additional value of replacing itself once it resolves. You're paying at least one extra mana for this ability, and it's no surprise that such a strong card would also only be at Sorcery speed. But this card is perfectly suited for a Blue tempo type deck, where you're looking to keep your opponent's creatures off the board or locked down just long enough to finish him or her off. Even better, since it replaces itself, the scenarios where you feel like you're getting good value out of this card are much more varied. While not an auto-include in any Blue deck, it should see play more often than not.

Verdict: Grounder - Being at sorcery speed is the only thing that dragged this down.

5. Enlightened Maniac is another card that looks terrible at first glance, but is actually very reasonable. For 3U, you're getting 3 Power and 4 Toughness split up among two creatures. While an 0/2 may not seem very exciting, it does give you an easy target for Exploit or other sacrifice-type effects. It also combines well with Displace or bounce spells, since the 3/2 will remain in play while the card itself returns later to place yet another token onto the virtual battlefield. This card seems an obvious include for the popular Sultai archetype, but should also see play in a variety of different Blue based decks. It is a bit expensive, but if you can take advantage of its features it seems well worth the cost.

Verdict: Grounder - I hope you don't think I'm crazy in my evaluation of this card.

6. Speaking of good sacrifice targets, Exultant Cultist is another reasonable target for such abilities. It's only a mediocre 2/2 for 2U with no additional abilities, but it does replace itself when it dies. Both Jeskai Sage and Palace Familiar saw a decent amount of play while they were in the format, but of course this card lacks both evasion and any sort of secondary ability, which will probably prove to be a decisive difference. Obviously your opponent won't want to simply trade with it in combat or with removal, but a 2/2 is hardly a major threat on either offense or defense. And while it certainly is a good sacrifice target, that along may not be good enough for this to make the cut.

Verdict: Bunt - I'm not proud of my rating, but I think you should cull this.

7. Fogwalker is an interesting use of the Skulk mechanic. As a 1/3, your opponent will never be able to trade off for it, and indeed may often not even have a creature on the board that can block it at all. You're also getting a nice bonus when it enters the battlefield, allowing you to lock down one of your opponent's already tapped creatures for a turn. This is another reasonable tempo play for Blue, and naturally would fit into a deck that's trying to take maximum advantage of such a strategy. Outside of that archetype though, this has a more limited role. Still, even if all this does is force your opponent to use a removal spell on your two-drop, that's still a pretty reasonable outcome.

Verdict: Grounder - I'm still a bit foggy as to how good this will end up being.

8. Ingenious Skaab has a lot of different things going on. At its base, it's a 2/3 for 2U, which is already decent if unexciting. But it also has Prowess, which would probably make it good enough to see some play with just that. Then on top of that, you also have the activated ability of giving it +1 / -1 for a single U. Even without Prowess, you can activate twice for a 4/1, which should enable it to at least trade with most creatures in the format. And once you start pumping it up with other spells, you have the potential to hit for a massive amount of damage if it goes unblocked. Despite the risks you run of investing lots of mana and then having it removed, this card seems like one of the better Commons in the set.

Verdict: Hit - The design of this card is nothing less than ingenious.

9. In a set where the Graveyard matters as one of its themes, it's not surprising to see a card like Laboratory Brute, which is a simple Hill Giant in Blue that also dumps four cards into your Graveyard when it enters the battlefield. If you're looking for a relatively painless way of activating Delirium, this certainly does the trick. The problem is, an otherwise 3/3 vanilla creature isn't going to have a big impact on the game state, even in Blue where such large creatures are harder to come by. It is a Zombie, which gives it additional synergy with Cemetery Recruitment and Cruel Revival, but overall I'm not sure even a dedicated Delirium deck would benefit that much from this card.

Verdict: Bunt - I would send this brute back to the drawing board.

10. Spontaneous Mutation is an interesting variant on cards like Jace's Scrutiny. Rather than an Instant, it's an Aura with Flash, which gives the card some added synergy with the minor Enchantment theme in this particular block. But while it's certainly cheap enough, the fact that its Power reduction is equal to the number of cards in your Graveyard definitely means this won't be an early play. In a dedicated Aura deck that's looking to recur these type of spells, this might be something you'll want to consider, but it's decidedly worse than Pacifism, Dead Weight, or even Claustrophobia. So while I can admire the design, ultimately this is not a card I expect to see much if any play.

Verdict: Myth - The format would have to mutate a ton for this to be playable.

11. Take Inventory is a near reprint of Accumulated Knowledge, which at times has been somewhat of a staple in Classic Pauper thanks to its ability to draw so many cards in the late game. At worst, this card cycles for 1U at Sorcery speed, which at least means its replacing itself. Once you cast the second one, you're paying 2UU for 3 cards over 2 turns, which I would evaluate as being excellent value; anything beyond that, and you're getting an amazing deal, potentially ramping all the way up to 10 cards for 8 mana if you cast all four! In a Control build that gains additional value from casting multiple spells in a turn, this should be an auto-include. But really any Blue deck should probably be playing this.

Verdict: Hit - Definitely take this and put it in your inventory.

12. Tattered Haunter is essentially a reprint of Welkin Tern from the original Zendikar. While generally even these sorts of "french vanilla" creatures aren't good enough to make the cut, getting a 2 Power flyer on Turn 2 is exactly what any sort of aggressive or tempo based deck wants to be doing. The blocking restriction hardly even becomes a consideration in many games, since this card really only belongs in a deck where you want to be attacking as much as possible. It's also a Spirit, which does give it some minor synergy with a few cards from the previous set. All in all, this is a decent roleplayer that will definitely see play but won't have a major impact on the format.

Verdict: Grounder - I'm still haunted by my tattered hopes of what a return to Zendikar should have been.

13. Turn Aside is a reprint from Scars of Mirrodin, where it saw a decent amount of play as a cheap permission spell against certain archetypes. With all the removal in the format right now, this will rarely be a dead card in your hand, and is probably one of the best ways to protect an important creature in the cardpool right now. That said, like all counters, it's a reactive strategy that forces you to hold mana up and accurately predict your opponent's intentions, and there certainly will be matchups where this wouldn't be great. I don't think you'd want to include this in your maindeck, but as a Sideboard option, it definitely warrants consideration in almost any Blue deck.

Verdict: Grounder - It's hard for me to turn aside such an obviously useful little spell.

Blue has three cards that should make an immediate splash in the format: Displace, Ingenious Skaab, and Take Inventory. All three should see play in most Blue-based decks, with Displace being good enough to potentially even spawn a new archetype around it. I also really like Enlightened Maniac, and to a lesser extent Fogwalker as well. Overall Blue should prove to be good in the upcoming metagame, with several good creatures and spells backed up with decent support cards as well.

IV. Black Commons

1. Boon of Emrakul really just highlights how good Dead Weight really is. Most of the time, you would only want to use this as removal, since only a handful of creatures in the format are big enough to survive the loss of three Toughness, and even then the creature would probably end up trading with one of your opponent's in a painful two-for-one. While it's nice to see so many Aura-based removal spells in a format with multiple ways of recurring Auras, this is one of the worst of the bunch, especially since you do run the risk of the Power boost actually helping your opponent. So while there might be some scenarios where this is useful, in the long run you're better off just skipping this card altogether.

Verdict: Myth - This boon is a bust.

2. Borrowed Malevolence is our next Escalate card, but one that is so inexpensive that you will rarely, if ever, only choose one of its abilities. Neither effect is particularly powerful, but in combination together there certainly are scenarios in a complex board state where this could swing combat your way by preventing two of your creatures from dying, effectively giving you a two-for-one out of this card. Of course, that's definitely the best case scenario. More often than not, this will be a relatively cheap combat trick that should allow one of your creatures to survive combat. The added flexibility is certainly a nice perk, but it's not enough to push this card into a higher ranking than a middling combat trick.

Verdict: Bunt - It's really not that evil.

3. Cemetery Recruitment is our Disentomb variant for Eldritch Moon, and it comes with a sweet little bonus under the right set of circumstances. Getting a potent creature back into your hand from the Graveyard while also drawing a card for the low cost of only 1B is actually quite good, so it makes sense to wait to play this until you have the appropriate target. There are over two dozen Zombies in the Standard Pauper cardpool right now, including a few very good creatures like Ingenious Skaab, Nantuko Husk, and Stitched Mangler, so finding such a target shouldn't be too difficult. Obviously this isn't going to be good in just any Black deck, but if your list already includes several Zombies, this is well worth including in your deck.

Verdict: Grounder - Just be sure you mind who you're recruiting when you play this.

4. Certain Death is yet another example of expensive, unconditional removal in Black that has the minor bonus of draining your opponent for two Life when you cast it. Despite this perk, the fact that this is only Sorcery speed is a pretty big deal, greatly reducing the scenarios where you could get full value out of such an expensive card. While easier to cast than Flesh to Dust, it's slower, more expensive, and doesn't dodge Regeneration effects either. It's also worth remembering that there's a big difference between five and six mana in terms of when you can expect to cast it, which means this may be too little too late against any sort of aggressive deck. I don't think you should play this.

Verdict: Myth - Let me rephrase that; I'm certain you shouldn't play this.

5. Gavony Unhallowed is a 2/4 for 3B with an ability that just begs to be combined with a sacrifice-heavy strategy. Although it lacks any sort of evasion, it's already large enough at 4 Toughness to sidestep most forms of conditional removal, and it will only take a couple activations to make it a very formidable threat indeed. This card also combines very well with Nantuko Husk, essentially giving you double value for every creature you sacrifice. As such, it will probably immediately see play in the Sultai Control archetype that has been dominating the metagame right now. Additionally, there's enough value here to make this worth building around, so it may even spawn a brand new archetype.

Verdict: Hit - It shouldn't take long for players to develop an unholy fear of this card.


6. Given the way these three cards interact with each other, it only makes sense to talk about them together. Graf Rats is not typically a card that you would play in Standard Pauper, as a vanilla 2/1 for 1B is quite mediocre at best. So if you're including this in your deck, it stands to reason that you're probably hoping to Meld it into Chittering Host. Midnight Scavengers, on the other hand, is equivalent to a more powerful Gravedigger where you're paying an extra mana for an additional point of Power and Toughness but also are limited to recurring creatures that cost 3 or less. This card is quite good, and should probably be included in almost any Black deck even if you're not trying to Meld it. Hopefully it also doesn't escape you that it can return Graf Rats to the battlefield when it comes into play, making it even easier to assemble Chittering Host. And once you do so, you have a very powerful 5/6 Menace that can immediately attack, and gives all your other creatures an additional point of Power and Menace as well. The opportunity cost to successful Meld these creatures is pretty low, so assuming that you're playing for the long game, the payoff for getting Chittering Host into play is worth including both Graf Rats and Midnight Scavengers in your deck.

Verdict: Graf Rats (ignoring Meld) - Bunt; Midnight Scavengers - Hit; Chittering Host - Grounder

7. 2/2s for 2 are a staple of Limited, but to see play in Standard Pauper you definitely want a bit more for your cost. Unfortunately, Olivia's Dragoon doesn't really offer you much incentive. It is a repeatable Madness outlet, but giving a 2/2 creature Flying for a single turn isn't really all that exciting. Granted, in the best case scenario in which you have a handful of Madness cards, this does let you activate it as many times as you want, potentially allowing you to cast a ton of creatures or spells at a reduced cost. But that's a pretty niche strategy, especially given the relatively small number of solid Madness cards at Common. So while this has the potential to be pretty good, more often than not it probably won't be.

Verdict: Bunt - I'm just not crazy about this card.

8. Skirsdag Supplicant has as its baseline a 2/3 Human for 2B, which is not only a reasonable stat line but a significant creature type as well. Its activated ability only requires you to have a single Black mana and a card in hand as well, which you then discard to make each player lose 2 Life. Obviously this has strong synergy with Madness, allowing you to get full value out of the cards you're discarding. But even better, assuming you are ahead on board, every card you draw after get this online has the potential to be a Black 'player-only' Shock, making this a very viable finisher in the right build. While this is certainly at its best in a Madness oriented deck, there's enough value here to make it worth including in other Black decks as well.

Verdict: Grounder - This is just begging to be used in a variety of archetypes.

9. Strange Augmentation is aptly named, as it is a bit strange. A one mana Aura that grants +1 / +1 is absolutely unplayable, as the reward you're getting by no means justifies the huge risk you run of your opponent using removal to get a two-for-one. Obviously once you've activated Delirium this is a pretty sweet deal as far as the mana cost is concerned, but at that stage in the game, the discounted price hardly matters anymore. And even if you always knew you would get a three point boost in Power and Toughness with this card, it still is questionable whether you would want to play this in anything but a pretty aggressive deck. For all those reasons, this is not a card I want to play.

Verdict: Myth - This will in no way augment your chances of winning.

10. Succumb to Temptation is a faster version of Sign in Blood. It's typically worth an extra point of mana to upgrade a Sorcery to an Instant, so the extra cost on this certainly seems fair enough. In fact, at least in a Control deck, having Instant speed card draw for 3 mana is actually pretty strong, allowing you to hold up removal or permission spells and then cast this instead if a better opportunity never comes along on your opponent's turn. But the real problem with this card is the presence of Read the Bones in the format, which lets you potentially see two extra cards and is also easier to cast. Which of the two is better will be pretty deck dependent, but I still favor Read the Bones over this slightly.

Verdict: Grounder - I gave into the temptation to give this a fairly high grade.

11. Thraben Foulbloods actually gives you some decent incentive for trying to get Delirium going early. As a 3/2 for 2B, it's already reasonable if not exciting, but if you can quickly activate Delirium, a 4/3 with Menace is big enough that it will often trade with two of your opponents creatures. It's also a Zombie, which is certainly worth noting given the presence of Cemetery Recruitment and similar cards that care about this creature type. It's too bad this didn't get just a little bit more Power and Toughness from the Delirium activation, as that might have been enough to make this worth building around. As is, it's solid but really only useful in a dedicated Delirium deck.

Verdict: Bunt - Don't cry foul at my low grade; it's just too niche to see widespread play.

12. Wailing Ghoul is about an unexciting as a card as we get in this set. For a single Black mana, this might be worth including in your Sideboard to help deal with aggressive decks. But for two mana, a 1/3 is quite mediocre, and the secondary ability is going to be pretty neutral most of the time. Even if you're going for Delirium or other Graveyard interactions, that's still not enough of a payoff to want to include such a weak card in your deck. For your two mana, there are a dozen better creatures just in Black. In fact, most of the time I'd be happier with Walking Corpse, and that's not a card that I ever expect to see in play in any winning Standard Pauper Deck. Just don't play this.

Verdict: Myth - If this is an important part of your plan, your opponent is going to be wailing on you.

13. Weirded Vampire demonstrates a nice, clean design for a Madness card, giving you a one mana discount on what is otherwise a Black Hill Giant. It isn't unusual to see a 3/3 for 3 in Green, but getting one in Black is certainly a nice bonus. That said, it's not like this card is going to have a major impact in most game states, so unless you've got a solid gameplan that revolves around a critical mass of Madness cards, this isn't exactly a card you want to be building around. Had this card included Flying or some other reasonable secondary ability, this might have been a pretty important card in the format. But as is, even with Madness it's still pretty bland, and as such I don't expect it will see much play.

Verdict: Bunt - Am I weird for not wanting to play this card?

Black feels all over the place in this set. It has some very good cards in Gavony Unhallowed and Midnight Scavengers, but also some real stinkers like Boon of Emrakul and Wailing Ghoul. The highlight of this color is definitely the potential to assemble Chittering Host, especially since Midnight Scavengers is such a good card all by itself. Skirsdag Supplicant also seems like a very useful card going forward, even if it takes a particular build to really get full value out of it.

V. Conclusion

So that's my first look at the White, Blue, and Black Commons from Eldritch Moon. In closing, let me remind you that you can check out all of my previous articles here on PureMTGO by clicking here. I also publish over on my blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and encourage you to keep up with all my projects there. You can get a sneak peek at any of my videos before they go live here at over on Simply search for "gwyned42," select one of my videocasts, and click the Subscribe button. You can keep up with everything I'm doing on Twitter at the username gwyned42; check out my profile here and click on Follow. Finally, I am the host of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, which is a weekly PRE featuring a Swiss tournament in the Standard Pauper format, with prizes awarded for the Top 8 finishers thanks to the sponsorship of MTGOTraders. As always, if you've never checked out MPDC, I encourage you to browse over to for all the information and then come join us at 2:00pm EST / 6:00pm GMT in the /join MPDC room.

See you again next week for the second half of my set review of Eldritch Moon for Standard Pauper!