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By: Arnnaria, Sean Costales
Mar 26 2008 11:01pm
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Welcome to Pure Standard! 

Morningtide has officially been integrated into Standard.  With the release queues ending, we finally have a chance to see what cards have what it takes to make it in Standard and what cards aren’t living up to expectations.  I looked back at the Morningtide set reviews that came out on PureMTGO and found the cards that were overrated and the cards that were underrated.  This was also based upon the buzz that was generated pre-Morningtide release and the high prices some of these cards fetched.  Hopefully you enjoy yourself as I present the Top Five Overrated Cards of Morningtide and the Top Five Underrated Cards of Morningtide.
 
Top Five Overrated Cards of Morningtide

5. Scapeshift

 

This card shouldn’t technically be on the list because no one really thought it was going to be any good in Standard.  The card, however, was seen as an auto-include in Extended Tron and Cloudpost decks.  However, I added it to my list because it’s the perfect example of an overrated card.  When new sets come out there are always cards that explore new design space and are something we have never seen before.  Sure, Preeminent Captain reminds us of Goblin Lackey and Earwig Squad is a black (Jester’s Cap).  But a card like Scapeshift is something fresh and new.  When judging these cards, people tend to get excited and don’t see the forest for the trees.  They think of all the new, cool interactions the card has and don’t think about practicality or deck space.  Scapeshift hasn’t seen the play people thought it would; and that, in turn, makes it an overrated card.
Scapeshift

4. Chameleon Colossus

Chameleon Colossus
Chameleon Colossus is a good card.  Chameleon Colossus might even be a great card.  However, right now Chameleon Colossus is a card without a deck.  He gets some play in the big mana builds, but it is mostly relegated to the sideboard.  So what happened to this card?  Right now, green is so good, not everything can make the cut.  Look at the three-drop spot in green right now, you have four great options: Imperious Perfect, Troll Ascetic, Ohran Viper, and Call of the Herd.  Most decks eschew Call of the Herd because Garruk is better, but not all decks.  You still can see Call of the Herd in some green builds.  When it comes to the four-drop spot, you already have Garruk Wildspeaker taking three spots and many decks auto-include four Harmonize.  Not to mention the uncanny power of Tarmogoyf, that’s sixteen cards that you’re playing in green without even thinking of other staples like Into the North or Search for Tomorrow.  Right now there’s simply no space for a card like Chameleon Colossus.

3. Grimoire Thief

Oh Grimoire Thief, where have all your merfolk friends gone?  The blue tribe of choice these days is Faeries and Merfolk haven’t been seeing a lot of play.  That’s too bad because this card seemed like a decent edition to the deck.  The problem between the two blue tribes is Faeries have evasion while Merfolk do not.  Sure there’s Lord of Atlantis and (Acquitect’s Will), but that is pretty clunky when it comes to evasion.  If you had to make a decision between islandwalk and flying, I think flying always wins.  Personally, the problem with Merfolk for me is that all of them just seem weak in comparison to the sheer power of Elves!, Goblins, and Faeries.  Maybe we’ll see more Grimoire Thief if Shadowmoor gives us some good merfolk.
Grimoire Thief

2. Cream of the Crop

Cream of the Crop
When I first saw this card, visions of Sylvan Library danced in my head.  Not only is the price right, but the ability seems like you would be able to chain creature after creature and eventually overwhelm the opponent.  And if you needed removal of some sort, you could always put that on top.  However, the problem is that green would rather play a creature than a spell that guarantees a creature.  Mirri’s Guile, a cheaper more streamlined version of Sylvan Library, didn’t see any play in Standard so that could be an explanation as to why Cream of the Crop isn’t getting play.  Add to the fact how tight green is these days and you have yourself a card that generated a lot of buzz but got nowhere.

1. Declaration of Naught

Right now, blue isn’t the dominant color in Standard.  That role goes to green or black.  For the first time in a long time, a pure control archetype doesn’t exist in Standard.  There are many reasons for this, but pre-Morningtide Sonic Boom died because it ultimately couldn’t deal with the extraordinary amount of Treetop Villages out.  Now, mono blue decks have to deal with (Treetop Village) andMutavault.  This causes a major headache for blue decks as nearly any color can add Mutavault and be a thorn in the side of blue players.  Declaration of Naught was my first pick as the most powerful blue card in Morningtide.  I think it still has potential, but right now there are too many man-lands for Sonic Boom or a Mono Blue Control build to be effective.  Maybe Shadowmoor will bring something for the ailing blue deck, but until then, I don’t expect to see Declaration of Naught anytime soon.
Declaration of Naught

 Top Five Underrated Cards of Morningtide

5. Obsidian Battle-Axe

 

Obsidian Battle-Axe
Most of the tribal equipment is subpar in constructed.  However, Obsidian Battle-Axe combines really well in Elves!  Alongside its partner-in-crime Bramblewood Paragon, the warriors in Elves! get a boost.  With an Imperious Perfect in play, you can make a token and then attack with your 4/3 hasty elf.  Don’t forget that changelings are considered warriors too; so if you’re playing Chameleon Colossus you get a 6/5 hasty beast (and bird, and cat, and hound) to attack with.

4. Reveillark

When Reveillark was first revealed by the rumor mongers people quickly discovered the degenerate combo that goes with it.  However, after the combo was played it was quickly discovered at how fragile it is.  Tormod’s Crypt, Extirpate, and Earwig Squad are three ways to disrupt the Mirror Entity / Body Double combination.  However, the card inspired a lot of builders to eschew the combination in favor of a more control-orientated build.  Now, Reveillark control is one of the top tier decks in all of Standard.  This card was never underrated in the traditional sense; everyone always thought it had potential.  However, everyone saw the card as a combination baddy, not a control beatstick it turned into.  If you have control over the game and are able to get a Reveillark in play it puts your opponent on a fast clock.  If your opponent tries to get rid of it, you simply return a couple Mulldrifters and refill your hand.   Reveillark was underrated for the type of deck he shows up in now; and it was overrated for the silly combination that ultimately turned out to be too weak.
Reveillark

3. Heritage Druid

Heritage Druid
At first glance this card looks like a bad version of Skirk Prospector.  However, in certain elf decks it turns every single one of your creatures into a Llanowar Elves.  Another added bonus is that creatures can tap for the mana the turn they come into play, so with cards like Hunting Triad and Elvish Promenade you can chain your spells together and play your entire hand in one turn.  If your opponent isn’t playing mass removal like Wrath of God or Damnation this spells game over for your opponent.  Heritage Druid is a crucial part of Elf decks now in both Lorwyn Block Constructed and Standard.

2. Shard Volley

Have you played in the tournament practice room lately?  There are so many mono red burn decks playing there recently it’s uncanny.  And while this spell stinks in the early game, in the late game it might as well be a functional reprint of Lighting Bolt.  A red burn deck doesn’t worry too much about casting high end spells – three is about its maximum casting cost.  So if your lands aren’t doing any damage – like Ghitu Encampment, Mutavault, or Keldon Megaliths – they’re just dead cards to you.  Any red mage would be happy to get rid of their dead cards and do three extra damage.  The icing on the cake is that this card combos up perfectly with another powerful red spell in Morningtide – Countryside Crusher.  For one red mana, you get three damage and a +1/+1 counter on your giant warrior.
Shard Volley

1. Bitterblossom

Bitterblossom
Bitterblossom showed up in three of the top eight decks at Grand Prix Shizouka.  It has become the ultimate power card of Standard in Faeries.  In fact, the faerie mirror match is often decided by whoever draws their Bitterblossom first.  The card is so powerful that it is seeing play in Classic; the ultimate test of a card’s power in the online metagame.  The question is why was this card so underrated?  I didn’t think this card was going to be as powerful as it is until I started playing with it.  The card gives you an evasive creature every turn.  Combat math gives you an edge on the life lost.  Faeries isn’t the only deck that the card has been used in, it’s also showing up in Doran builds.  I wouldn’t be surprised if all decks that run black, like Rock and Elves!, start running it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple of weeks Bitterblossom becomes more expensive than Mutavault.

Conclusion

Magic is a dynamic game.  When new sets out, everyone rushes to find the gems that will define Standard and see play for two years.  However, our initial reactions to a set oftentimes can be dead wrong once the cards see play.  This doesn’t stop us from reviewing a set three or four times, but the truth is nothing reviews a card better than actual testing and practice.  Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes and become better reviewers when the next set comes out.  And with Shadowmoor previews less than a week away, it’ll be interesting two or three months from now to dissect which cards were initially overrated and which were underrated.  Thanks for reading. 

Sean Costales

Arnnaria on Magic Online

andredomino@gmail.com

0 Comments

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 68.202.66.78 (not verified) at Fri, 03/28/2008 - 20:01
Anonymous (Unregistered) 68.202.66.78's picture

worst. ever.

und3rachiever by Crack-Zilla (Unregistered) 71.169.191.206 (not verified) at Thu, 03/27/2008 - 11:11
Crack-Zilla (Unregistered) 71.169.191.206's picture

Being a player who has little money, i tried to make an elf warrior deck.

I tried cream of the krapp, and chameleonaire collossus, and guess what, they actually do good sometimes.

If i had better cards, maybe i wouldnt use them, but i am doing ok.

if you have cream of the crapp out, u can tutor a whole lot if u also have imperious perfect. if i have bramblewood paragon, collosus CIP with trample, which combined with the mana boost from garruk, can be quite deadly.

 

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 68.107.157.1 (not verified) at Thu, 03/27/2008 - 18:04
Anonymous (Unregistered) 68.107.157.1's picture

this is like worst article imo... heritage druid is terrble, what you say is overrated is terrible opinion (cream and collosus are redic) and when has anyone rated decleration and grimoire thief to be good cards...  when was revalark not worth a lot, and when was bitterblossom not expensive... sorry but this is a confusing article.

I don't agree by Anonymous (Unregistered) 24.58.199.5 (not verified) at Wed, 03/26/2008 - 23:35
Anonymous (Unregistered) 24.58.199.5's picture

On Under:  Bitterblossom and Reveliak were never under-rated.  They debued as high dollar rares at my local stores, with the only thing keeping Revelark's cost down being it's preconnage.  I have yet to see Battle-Axe or Hermit Druid in a serious constructed deck, so you may think them under, but they're junk to me.  Shard Volley was a bit under-rated at first, but now it's just another staple burn spell, like Rift Bolt.

On Over:  Declaration of Naught has always been a crap rare.  It's easy to see why if you've tried playing it inside a deck.  Cream of the Crop isn't Sylvan Library, it's Greater Good, which is a combo card.  It's an engine without a home (so far).  Colossus, if anything, is under-rated.  It's a high tier card without a fixed archtype, yet has shown up in extended rock decks that have gotten blue envelopes.  It goes well in Lorwyn block Treefolk btw.  The other two, Scapeshift and Grimmy Thief I never rated high, but maybe you did?  Although if you've never Scapeshifted into 4 Cloudpost 2 Vesuva and a Dark Depths, you should give it a shot sometime.

bitterblossom by DRAGONDUNG at Thu, 03/27/2008 - 07:29
DRAGONDUNG's picture

great article but i really have not seen bitterblossom making a huge impact on classic right now.  Its been discussed by some of us fanatics and it really only fits into a few decks right now.  Plus the life loss is really dangerous in classic when you are already starting out at 16 life. 

I agree with A. Nony Moose by one million words at Thu, 03/27/2008 - 06:11
one million words's picture

The early reviews I saw pegged Bitterblossom and Mutavault as the chase rares in the set.  Reveillark was also always in the top tier.  They are still critical parts of tier one decks. 

 Mumuring Bosk was also listed as one of the chase rares, and it has been dropping in price a fair amount.  It's good, but more limited than expected.  Countryside Crusher has also fallen a lot in value, and was not making as much impact as expected. 

Don't take this criticism to badly, however.  This sort of article is highly subjective, and opinions vary.  Any opinion article will always get feedback, generally critical.  Don''t let it bother you.