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By: embermage34, Austin Warner
Apr 28 2008 2:15am
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First off, as this is the first of i hope to be many articles, let me tell you a bit about myself.  My name is Austin Warner.  I'm an avid Magic player who's played, at least casually, over the last 11 years.  I have begun to start playing competively over the last year and hope to continue to do so.  Currently living in central Illinois, my living situation has made it hard for me to play Magic on paper regularly. As such, I have recently started playing Magic online under the name of embermage34  to be able to play more often so i can  prepare for the various PTQs, Regionals and the various Grand Prix tournaments near where I live. 

Shadowmoor proves to be a very interesting and fun set.  The set has built upon some little used concepts and brings them to the forefront of the game within this set.  Hybrid, first introduced in the Ravnica block, is one major theme for the set as almost half the the colored cards within the set are hybrid.  The other major theme is that of the -1/-1 counter. There are two new keyword abilities using these counters, Wither and Persist, and many other cards which use -1/-1counters in some way.  When first looking upon this set, you would think that it would be a set that leans toward multicolor decks, however many of the cards in the set have abilities that would work better in mono or dual color decks.  This interesting parallel makes the set very exciting, and I'm looking forward to see what is to come within the new standard/block season.  Without further adieu, lets look further into the White portion of the set!

I'm rating the cards on a 5 point scale, 1 being near unplayable while 5 being a must have.  Also, I'm giving the cards two ratings, one for limited play and one for competitive constructed (looking more in terms of Block Constructed and Standard).

Apothecary Initiate W
Creature- Kithkin Cleric
Whenever a player plays a white spell, you may pay 1. If you do, you gain 1 life.
1/1

Apothecary Initiate is part of a cycle of mono color one drops which do an ability as a response to a player playing a card of the card’s color, if you pay one mana. In particular, this little bugger is an Ivory Cup in creature form.  There’s not much use from this guy other than he fits into the one mana slot for decks in Limited.  He’s simply outclassed by many other one mana creatures though for constructed use.  For abilities, Martyr of Sands provides a better way to gain life, while for aggro decks this won’t be used as it does not have 2 power or a useful combat ability.

Limited: 2
Constructed: 1

Armored Ascension 3W
Enchantment- Aura
Enchant Creature
Enchanted Creature gets +1/+1 for each Plains you control and has flying.

Armored Ascension is one of many strong auras that came out with Shadowmoor.  This one in particular is awesome for any white based deck in limited.  Most of the time when this card is played you’ll be improving a creature by +4/+4 or more and giving it evasion.  If left unchecked, this card will end any game quick.  However,  this card is plagued by the inherent disadvantage it being lost whenever you lose the creature.  As such, for constructed this card could prove useful but will probably not be used much since the potential for giving away card advantage is too great.

Limited: 4
Constructed: 2

Ballynock Cohort 2W
Creature- Kithkin Soldier
First Strike
Ballynock Cohort gets +1/+1 as long as you control another white creature.
2/2

A 3/3 first striker for three mana isn’t too shabby.  Also with only one white in the cost it can be splashed into decks that use enough white hybrid cards.  This guy is a solid card to pick up in limited formats. For constructed, he’s a little too vanilla most aggro decks.  He’s outclassed by many of the 3 mana Kithkin from Lorwyn/Morningtide.

Limited: 3.5
Constructed: 3

Barrenton Medic 4W
Creature- Kithkin Cleric
TAP: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn.
Put a -1/-1 counter on Barrenton Medic:  Untap Barrenton Medic.
0/4

Barrenton Medic is an interesting card.  Though he’s just a variation on the old Samite Healer, he’s got some combo potential in his secondary ability as he adds -1/-1 counters to himself.  There are quite a few cards in Shadowmoor that can move,trigger off of, or remove -1/-1 counters so this guy is a good enabler for these abilities.  In limited I see this guy as a good mid pick for drafts and a pretty good addition to any white decks made for sealed.  In constructed, this guy is pretty average.  At a 5 mana cost he’s pretty expensive for an ability that has limited use. 

Limited: 3
Constructed: 3

Boon Reflection 4W
Enchantment
If you would gain life, you gain twice that much life instead.

Boon Reflection is one of those cards that get my mind going for fun, combo type decks.  Unfortunately, most cards of that nature tend to not be very powerful outside of casual play.  This card fits perfectly into that mold, as I’d love to build a life gain deck using this guy for multiplayer, but this card has very little use in competitive play.  For limited formats, it would be near useless as the number of cards that give you life are fairly limited amounts.  For constructed, this card would be sort of a “win more” card in the sense that it just enhances your few cards that give life rather than actually doing something itself.  Cards of this nature are a dead card most of the time until you get a card which triggers it. Also, the very nature of life gain is problematic as gaining life doesn’t actually win the game; it just takes longer to get you to no life. 

Limited: 2
Constructed: 2

Goldenglow Moth W
Creature- Insect
Flying
Whenever Goldenglow Moth blocks, you may gain 4 life.

0/1

This guy is a 1 mana creature with a 0/1 body which flies, and has a very marginal secondary ability.  This card will easily be picked at the bottom of any pool and may see little play as it only costs 1 so it fills a cheap slot in limited.  For constructed, It’s outclassed in almost every way by other creatures already made.

Limited: 1.5
Constructed: 1

Greater Auramancy 1W
Enchantment
Other enchantments you control have shroud.
Enchanted creatures you control have shroud.

Greater Auramancy is a very niche card as it only affects enchantments and enchanted creatures.  I see very little use out of this card in limited play as unless somebody has a ton of enchantments in his or her deck, the card will be functionally useless. In constructed I could see a deck built around enchantments using this card to keep them around, but I don’t think this kind of deck will have the power that most competitive decks have.

Limited: 1
Constructed: 2

Inquisitor’s Snare 1W
Instant
Prevent all damage target attacking or blocking creature would deal this turn.  If that creature is black or red, destroy it.

Inquisitor’s Snare is a fairly average card.  Its damage prevention and limited creature kill.  In limited play, this card is a very good mid pick card as it is at least somewhat functional against any deck, and with the number of hybrid cards running around the black/red limitation for the creature destruction isn’t nearly as bad as in some other sets.  For constructed, this card is an average sideboard card, but there are quite a few cards that will see play over it.

Limited: 3
Constructed: 2

Kithkin Rabble 3W
Creature- Kithkin
Vigilence
Kithkin Rabble’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of white permanents you control.
*/*

This card is part of a cycle of creatures whose power/toughness are each equal to the number of permanents of its color you control.  This card is very strong in limited and is also color defining.  This guy goes great in any white based deck and can easily be a 4/4 or 5/5 when it’s played, growing also if it’s left unchecked.  In constructed this card is outclassed by other 4 mana creatures, such as Calciderm, as it only emphasizes your board rather than completely improves it.

Limted: 4
Constructed: 2

Kithkin Shielddare 1W
Creature- Kithkin Soldier
W, TAP: Target blocking creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
1/1

Kithkin Shielddare has an interesting combat trick which will be useful in limited, as this card will be a good mid pick to fill holes. However it will be looked over in constructed as there are better options for the two slot of white aggro decks.

Limited: 3
Constructed: 2

Last Breath 1W
Instant
Remove target creature with power 2 or less from the game. Its controller gains 4 life.

This reprint from Mercadian Masques is arguably the worst of the new crop of white creature destruction/disruption printed in Shadowmoor.  This guy has limited use and also has the downside of giving 4 life to the controller of the creature it kills.  In limited play it is decent as generally creature kill is light all around and any form is helpful.  For constructed, the options are too numerous to warrant this to be played.

Limited: 3
Constructed: 1

Mass Calcify 5WW
Sorcery
Destroy all nonwhite creatures.

Obligatory white mass destruction here.  This particular version kills everything that isn’t white, which if you’re using the card means you’ll easily be able to keep some critters.  This card is a veritable bomb in limited as it can easily turn the tide in a game.  In constructed however, this card is too expensive to warrant the “nonwhite” clause.  Wrath of God will still be superior.

Limited: 5
Constructed: 2

Mine Excavation 1W
Sorcery
Return target artifact or enchantment card in a graveyard to its owner’s hand.
Conspire(As you play this spell, you may tap two untapped creatures you control that share a color with it. When you do, copy it and you may choose a new target for the copy.)

Mine Excavation is a niche card.  I don’t see much use at all for it in limited play, unless you happen to draft many scarecrows so that you can turn this card into a pseudo Raise Dead.  In constructed, the card’s effectiveness is also very low as there are not many enchantments or artifacts running around in competitive play, much less a need to recur them.

Limited: 2
Constructed: 1

Mistmeadow Skulk 1W
Creature- Kithkin Rogue
Lifelink, protection from converted mana cost 3 or greater
1/1

One of the timeshifted cards from Future Sight!  This little guy isn’t bad of a card.  He’s got a pretty good protection ability and lifelink.  However his 1/1 size still makes him pretty vunerable to many things.  This guy is a solid mid pick in drafts for limited and should easily fit into sealed decks using white.  For constructed, this guy is outclassed by other kithkin for that sort of deck, though he could possibly fit into a black/white version of rogues.

Limited: 3
Constructed: 2

Niveous Wisps W
Instant

Target creature becomes white until end of turn. Tap that creature.
Draw a card.

Niveous Wisps is an interesting little cantrip that’s part of another color based cycle.  All in the cycle turn the affected creature into the color of the spell while doing another effect.  This particular one taps the creature.  Tapping is a very interesting ability as it can be used in multiple ways in Shadowmoor as it can tap down an attacker, or enable a card for it’s untap ability.  This is a very good mid range card for limited play as it has multi-functionality and replaces itself as well.  In constructed though, this card would be hard pressed to find a place as it’s tap ability is a one time effect and it doesn’t do anything other treats the symptom of your problems (keeps a creature from attacking), rather than treating the cause(taking the creature out the picture for good).

Limited: 3
Constructed: 2

Order of Whiteclay 1WW
Creature- Kithkin Cleric
1WW, UNTAP: Return target creature card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard to play.
(UNTAP is the untap symbol.)
1/4

This creature has an effective recursion ability, provided you can find a way to tap him effectively.  The double mana cost to play and to use the ability means this card would work best in a predominately white deck.  This guy will be a solid pick for any white player in limited provided he has creatures to bring back.  In constructed, he seems too slow for aggro and control will have little use for him as most of their creatures cost more than 3 mana.  There could be some combo potential with this guy though.

Limited: 3
Constructed: 3

Pale Wayfarer 5WW
Creature- Spirit Giant
2WW, UNTAP: Target Creature gains protection from the color of its controller’s choice until end of
turn. (UNTAP is the untap symbol.)
4/4

This creature seems like a fun guy whose ability has both offensive and defensive purposes.  In limited, it would be very helpful in multiple ways as long as he can get tapped.  Generally he would be picked early to mid in packs as he wouldn’t be the reason to go into a color, but he definitely improves your white deck overall.  At seven mana, this giant is too costly to be of much use in competitive constructed play.
Limited: 3.5
Constructed: 2

Prison Term 1WW
Enchantment- Aura
Enchant Creature
Enchanted creature can't attack or block and its activated abilities can't be played.
Whenever a creature comes into play under an opponent's control, you may attach Prison Term to
that creature.

One of the better Pacifism variants I’ve seen over the years.  For one extra white mana, this card also stops activated abilities and has the potential to jump onto bigger threats if needed.  This card is an awesome pick for any white based deck in limited.  For constructed, This card is situationally better than Temporal Isolation.  It would depend on metagame to decide which card to play more often, in block though Prison Term will easily be a staple behind Oblivion Ring.

Limited: 4
Constructed: 3.5

Resplendent Mentor 4W
Creature- Kithkin Cleric
White creatures you control have
“TAP: You gain 1 life.”
2/2

Resplendent Mentor seems like a fun card, but won’t see much play other than limited and casual.  In limited, this guy could spell virtual doom for an opponent on a board that can’t do much other than sit.  Turning all your critters into a life gain machine which would easily make it impossible for your opponent to combat your life total before you can find what you need to win.  In constructed, it’s hard to keep enough creatures on the board to make this effective, and if you do have enough, you are generally winning already.

Limited: 3
Constructed: 2

Rune-Cervin Rider 3W

Creature- Elf Knight
Flying
(G/W)(G/W): Rune-Cervin Rider gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
2/2

Rune-Cervin Rider is a card that will be very useful for limited play, but does not have much use in constructed.  In limited, this guy is an evasive body with a pump ability.  That alone makes him an easy early to mid pick for white or green based decks.  In constructed he’s simply mixed in with the multitude of aggro based cards at 3-4 mana and this guy does not make the top of those lists.

Limited: 3.5
Constructed: 2

Runed Halo WW
Enchantment
As Runed Halo comes into play, name a card.
You have protection from the chosen name. (You can't be targeted, dealt damage, or enchanted by
anything with that name.)

Runed Halo is a card that has some potential to be great, but it is too soon to tell.  At the very least, it will be a useful sideboard card against some matchups.  For limited play, this card will be hard pressed to be useful as the amount of copies of a card in a limited deck are generally very few in a big set, usually 1-2 per card in any given deck.  In constructed, consistency is pushed so this card could prove more useful.  As protection of a player is not something normally seen, it has potential but I can easily see it not being very useful as well.

Limited: 2
Constructed: 3.5 (too soon to tell for sure)

Safehold Sentry 1W
Creature- Elf Warrior
2W, UNTAP: Safehold Sentry gets +0/+2 until end of turn (UNTAP
is the untap symbol)
2/2

Safehold Sentry is an average card for almost any deck.  For limited, this guy will be an easy mid pick for decks using white, his 2/2 body for 2 mana is very useful on it’s own, with the potential of becoming a 2/4 blocker makes him a pretty decent guy to pick up.  For constructed, average generally isn’t used as much as good, as there are many good creatures for aggro decks at the 2 mana slot right now.

Limited: 3
Constructed: 3

Spectral Procession (2/W)(2/W)(2/W)
Sorcery

((2/W)can be paid with any two mana or with W. This card's converted mana cost is 6.)
Put three 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying into play.

Spectral Procession is one of the new mono-color hybrid cards.  This particular one will be a very good support card in white based deck for limited formats.  In constructed, this card could see some use in White Weenie decks that don’t use a specific tribal theme.  

Limited: 3
Constructed: 3

Strip Bare W
Instant
Destroy all Auras and Equipment attached to target creature.

Strip Bare is a card which only has a situational use most of the time.  For limited it could be a card brought in from the sideboard against decks which use a lot of auras and/or equipment.  In constructed, this card will be virtually impossible to use other than on the occasional equipment.  It would be more useful to have something that can destroy more things, such as Disenchant

Limited: 2Constructed: 1 

Twilight Shepherd 3WWW
Creature- Angel
Flying, vigilance
When Twilight Shepherd comes into play, return to your hand all cards in your graveyard put there from play this turn.
Persist (When this creature is put into a graveyard from play, if it had no -1/-1 counters on it, return it to play under its owner's control with a -1/-1 counter on it.)
5/5

Twilight Shepherd is a great card.  First it’s an (Archangel) then when it dies it becomes Serra Angel.   The wrath recovery effect is just icing.  This angel will be a veritable bomb in limited play and will steer you towards playing white.  For constructed, her wrath recovery is very situational as she comes down later than Wrath of God and Damnation and to get full effectiveness from her effect you would want to play a deck that she doesn’t really fit into, aggro.  As a flying, vigilant efficient beater, she’s outclassed by Akroma, Angel of Wrath.

Limited: 4.5
Constructed: 3

 

Windbrisk Raptor 5WW
Creature- Bird
Flying
Attacking Creatures you control have lifelink.
5/7

Windbrisk Raptor seems like a fun card which will be good in limited. If left unimpeded, the swing in life totals will almost certainly end a game quick.  This guy is another great bomb card for limited.  For constructed however, it suffers the same problem as Twilight Shepherd as it costs too much for aggro, which would be the type of deck that would get the most use out of its life gain ability.

Limited: 4
Constructed: 3

Woeleecher 5W
Creature- Elemental
W, TAP: Remove a -1/-1 counter from target creature.
If you do, you gain 2 life.
3/5

Woeleecher is a very interesting card which fits into the -1/-1 counter theme that Shadowmoor has.  Though at a six mana cost it  is somewhat inefficient to use, it’s tap ability provides a very effective way to get rid of -1/-1 counters that might be on your creatures and can use opponent’s -1/-1 counters to net you life in a pinch.  This will be a useful tool in limited formats.  In constructed this guy is plagued by being too costly to play effectively in most decks, and it isn’t a game breaking card for six mana.

Limited: 3
Constructed: 2 

Overall, white seems like it will be a good color to go for limited, but doesn't have any "Wow!" cards that will be important for the upcoming constructed seasons.  There are a few cards from it which could easily see play at least in sideboards, like Runed Halo and Prison Term.  However, there are no cards that jump out as must play material.  As far as limited play, white looks to be a solid support color with a few strong cards which would easily lead you to making a deck with white.  I would look for cards such as: Prison Term, Mass Calcify, and Twilight Shepherd when drafting white.  The best way to describe the state of the color is that the cards here are to support the major themes of the set, and not be in the forefront of everyone's mind.  The cards display both the "color matters" theme and the -1/-1 counter theme very effectively, using abilities which support cards which make those themes shine.

I would like to thank you for reading hope you can use the information I've provided to good use in your drafting and deckbuilding!

Austin Warner

embermage34@gmail.com

embermage34 on Magic online.

0 Comments

?!? by Isotope (Unregistered) 74.39.232.97 (not verified) at Mon, 04/28/2008 - 16:38
Isotope (Unregistered) 74.39.232.97's picture

I stopped reading after you gave Barrenton Medic a 3 in both constructed and limited.

The correct answer is a 1 in both.  Healers are often decent in limited, but only if they're cheap (2-3 mana, max).  If they're cheap, you can drop them early when you have nothing better to do, and they can mess with combat or force your opponent to waste a removal spell on it.  You're not going to want to spend your entire turn 5 to playing a guy who doesn't win the game, and can't protect your guys until turn 6.  Wizards was obviously worried about combos with his untap ability and nerfed him into oblivion.  He'll be a 15th pick in draft and will absolutely, positively, never, ever, ever, ever, ever get played in constructed.  Ever.  Ever.

Limited: 1.  Constructed -1 (Ever)

Barrenton Medic is one of several examples of how Wizards has been hating White in recent sets, as its cards are often the worst out of 5-card cycles.  Other examples would be Kithkin Rabble (Vigilace, when other colors get evasion and untargetability) and Spectral Procession (easily the worst of the 2/C hybrids).

by Faustus (Unregistered) 132.177.43.132 (not verified) at Mon, 04/28/2008 - 03:23
Faustus (Unregistered) 132.177.43.132's picture

I think you value lifegain too highly, as well as one-drops.  The two one-drops above should never be played in a limited deck, as if you care about your one-spot you are probably aggro.  Neither Apothecary Initiate nor Goldenglow Moth are aggressive in any sense of the word.  I think this goes hand-in-hand with overvaluing lifegain.  I know you gave most of these cards bad scores, but none of them should have been above 1.

Other than that, good review.  White seems pretty underpowered, as outside of a couple splashy rares all you really get is one good piece of removal and one decent one.  For me it's going to be open Wrath, a giant flyer, or order of whiteclay (which I think is better than you suspect) or get the Hell away from white.  Of course, the hybrid white cards could (and probably will) change everything.

One last thing:  I don't expect the new pacifism to see play in Block.  Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block is shaping up to be full of extremely powerful, fast creatures and even better removal.  When you said it would be played alongside Oblivion Ring you pretty much made my case: Oblivion Ring is better, and it's going to take the spot.

Looking forward to the rest of your series, thanks for writing!