Arashi, the Sky Asunder: 1st pick
Unless you are playing against a Blue or White deck, this dude is just a five-mana 5/5 which is still insanely cost efficient and will rule the table none the less. Where he really shines is against the two colors listed above, as they have almost no removal for him, and even if getting him into play and activating him would be too slow vs. a quick Blue/White draw, then you can just hurricane them all away.
Ayumi, the Last Visitor: 2-4th pick
Possibly not as high a pick as I have placed him on his own. However if you can combo him with say a Phantom Wings or Serpent Skin, then he is a machine. I guess even if you just have a pump spell the first time they try to block him, then he will get you a two-for-one the next time he attacks or maybe just go unchecked. His problem comes with him only having three defense, so he is vulnerable the turn he comes into play and might just trade with any random five-drop.
Bounteous Kirin: 1-3rd pick
When he is in play, he is one of the biggest fliers in the format, but the problem is just getting to that stage of the game. This is hopefully not too hard in a Green deck with all the mana accelerators available, and when you finally get there he does go a long way to winning you the game.
Endless Swarm: 5-7th pick
I’ve never played this card and I’m not too sure if it’s even playable. At eight mana you will have almost no cards left in your hand and I don’t think a 1/1 then two and so on will be good enough. If however you are U/G and have some Soratamis to power it up after you cast it, then it could become a powerhouse. On average though I think you need three cards in your hand to actually make it game winning.
Masumaro, First to Live: 1-3rd pick
He gets really big really quickly and soon becomes unstoppable. He is just about the biggest banish target in the whole of Saviors, as combat damage or burn spells may well not be enough to finish him off by the time he starts swinging. He can be chump raced I guess, if you have the resources to do it and some evasion, but in a Green mirror match only a regenerator will help.
Reki, the History of Kamigawa: 7-9th pick
As he is only a 1/2 for three mana, I wouldn’t really count him as a card himself, so you need to draw once off of him to get back to even card parity. Even if you draw twice off him, that makes up for the loss of tempo for casting a 1/2 on turn 3, so a third time is when he gets good. But seriously – three legends is way too many to expect to cast in one game no matter how long it goes on for.
Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant: 4-6th pick
A three-mana 2/3 is pretty good and that’s all this is. His secondary ability is useless, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that he is a cost efficient monster that is slightly awkward to cast.
Seed the Land: 8-10th pick
No reason to ever want to put this into your deck as far as I can see. The only combo with it in the whole block that I could find was Ornate Kanazashi and it really isn’t very good.
Sekki, Seasons’ Guide: 3-5th pick
For an investment of eight mana, you do get a ridiculous creature. He is another guy that has to be banished very quickly or you will just lose to him within very few turns. This might not be such a high pick, as he costs eight and doesn’t affect the board right away, but he is a fatty fatty boom boom.
Briarknit Kami: 2-4th pick
This guy is really good and I could see first picking him in a solid spirit deck with 12-15 spirit or arcanes. He means you don’t have to play lots of six-drops in your deck as this guy can push through in the late game all on his own, and if you can combo him with a ninja or an evasion creature then that is…
Dense Canopy: 9-11th pick
A bad sideboard card at best, as my opponent would need to literally have not a single creature that didn’t fly and it does nothing for your own fliers either.
Descendant of Masumaro: 6-8th pick
A little bit too random for my liking. I would much prefer to have a good mana curve and cast a monster every turn rather than just go all-in on this dude and stop playing spells hoping that he survives. I might be being a bit critical, as there are many times and decks where he will be fine such as a Blue deck with Soratami and card advantage spells.
Ghost-Lit Nourisher: 1-3rd pick
He is almost better as a four-mana +4/+4 spell than he is in play, because he is very slow to cast and activate on another creature that is getting into combat, and I think he is alone in this respect amongst this cycle of Ghost-Lits. Not to say that with an aggressive draw he isn’t really good – he kind of makes all your guys unblockable without even activating him.
Haru-Onna: 3-5th pick
When I first saw this card I wasn’t to impressed with him, but I had undervalued how good drawing an additional card was, even though it is one of my favorite things to do. He just has two-for-one written all over him and his return effect is surprisingly achievable without losing you too much tempo. Something very amusing happens when you have two of them running with each other.
Kami of the Tended Garden: 1-3rd pick
So big for its mana cost that it is just as good as rares like Kodama of the South Tree most of the time, and he even has soulshift tacked on to make him extra retarded. The fourth point of toughness is very important I find, as it makes him very hard to double block on turn 5 without netting you a two-for-one, and God forbid if you have a trick or a guy to soulshift back…
Kashi-Tribe Elite: 3-5th pick
Another three-mana, 2/3 but he has two useful abilities. He will always make the cut in any deck with the mana to support him, even if you don’t have any legendary snakes.
Molting Skin: 2-4th pick
I have only played this card once, but it has been in play versus me several times and each time it felt like I couldn’t win the game. I was never around when Broken Fall was in the current Limited format so I don’t have much to go on, but my roommate said that it was totally insane back then, so there we have it.
Seek the Horizon: 6-8th pick
Playing an 18th land over this card is way better nearly every time and I would even say that a 19th would be correct more often than not. Not to say that it is unplayable – if you are three-colors then it is fine, but in your average two-color deck, not casting a guy on turn 4 is pretty bad and seeing as how this doesn’t give any acceleration, I would prefer not to play it.
Stampeding Serow: 2-4th pick
This may be the first time I really like a creature with a drawback, but that is only because it is quite easy to turn it into a positive. Any time you have a comes-into-play effect such Kami of the Hunt or Elder Pine of Jukai, then you really want to have drawn one of these too. The reason why the Green one is so much more playable than the ones in the other colors is that Green has about 100 triggers for spirits in this block, so every time you draw him he is likely to have some great effect for you. He is especially nice with a Shinen of Life’s Roar that you might have cast early game, which you can now bring back and Lure all your opponent’s dudes away.
Dosan’s Oldest Chant: 6-8th pick
23rd card at best, and only because it says draw a card on it. They have to make a card pretty bad for it to read “draw a card” at the end and still be bad, but I think they’ve managed it. Not to say that it isn’t unplayable, it’s just is very close.
Elder Pine of Jukai: 1st pick
It doesn’t matter what colors I am, if this card is in the pack then I’m not going to pass it unless there is something extremely good in the pack for me. This isn’t hate drafting at an 8-man table, because that it stupid, it is more the fact that if I get passed another one then I will play 3 Forests and 2 of these in my deck. He is so insane I can’t even begin to explain, you always have more cards in hand than your opponent without missing a land drop and if you ever have 2 then you recycle your deck into only spells that you have stacked in order very quickly. He even has soulshift for extra goodness!
Fiddlehead Kami: 5-7th pick
Just an average guy, and that’s all. The fact that he is a spirit himself so he can trigger your other cards is more relevant than his own ability, but that’s alright because there are a high number of Green triggers in this format. On the whole better than cards like Venerable Kumo, but if I had two other five-drops, then I probably wouldn’t want this guy.
Inner Calm, Outer Strength: 2-4th pick
Others I’ve spoken too have raved about this card a bit more than I seem to like it, comparing it to Strength of Cedars. This is fair I suppose, but it isn’t anywhere near that level for me. Mostly it is just a good combat trick that does the same as Kodama’s Might at a bit more of a price.
Matsu-Tribe Birdstalker: 6-8th pick
You don’t really want to be playing this card unless you have strong snake synergy. He is a good sideboard card versus Blue decks but not a game winner like Matsu-Tribe Sniper so not worth main decking. Although White has fliers also, they tend to have 3 toughness, so he isn’t much use there.
Okina Nightwatch: 3-5th pick
I’m not such a big fan of this guy. I generally find that unless I have Elder Pine of Jukais in my Green deck, I usually have fewer cards in hand than my opponent. However, if you do have more cards, he is a bit of a beating for sure.
Promised Kannushi: 7-9th pick
I can’t really envisage a deck that I would want to play this guy in. Sure he can Raise Dead almost any creature even if is a fatty, but this will only happen very late in the game and at that point he won’t be trading with anything himself, he will only be chump blocking. Soulless Revival is infinitely better.
Rending Vines: 6-8th pick
This is probably the best sideboard card in the format, but again not maindeckable. The fact that it draws a card doesn’t make it any more playable maindeck, as you can’t be sure it will have any target – it is just very nice when you do.
Sakura-Tribe Scout: 5-7th pick
I was pleasantly surprised with this guy the one and only time I played him. You have to drop him on turns one or two for him to have any real effect, but when you do he can give you some insane draws. His problem is when you draw him turns 3 onwards, which is why I would prefer not to play him.
Shinen of Life’s Roar: 1-3rd pick
It’s not a joke how highly I rate this card. This is the card that has won me the greatest amount of games thus far in all of my Saviors experience. Having two in your deck is very nice, as you know you only have to do 12-15 damage before you eventually draw one of these and end the game. What I have found works best is channeling it onto a soulshift creature, attacking and then getting him back for next turn, effectively giving you two free attack phases just like Blinding Beam (which was regarded as the best White card in the set by the end of the format). He is even good on turn 2 as he may just sweep up the odd 1/1 that many decks run for soulshift purposes, and he is also insane with Serpent Skin. He is sooo good that just typing this has made me go and draft just to force Green and see how many I can get.
Artifacts, Gold And Land:
Ashes of the Fallen: 8-10th pick
So every creature in your graveyard becomes a spirit to help with your soulshift? That is basically all this card can ever do and that isn’t much. There might be some three-card combo with soulshift or something that lets you have infinite guys, but I can’t be bothered to look for it and will hopefully recognize it while drafting if it ever becomes relevant.
Blood Clock: 8-10th pick
Can’t ever see this one being playable either, as it is a mirrored effect that basically does nothing. One of the ways it might be good is if your opponent has a lot of high casting cost fatties without much of a low end to their curve, but even then they take about four damage to get a big guy into play while you are bouncing your own permanents anyway. The other is if you have loads of triggered effects like Waxmane Baku that give you a reason to want to keep recasting your cheap spirits.
Pithing Needle: 6-8th pick
This is a hard one to judge, and I’m not sure if it’s maindeckable or not. I think it probably is, so maybe it is a higher pick than I gave it credit for, since in most games it will shut down something. It is however, a general answer to almost all of the most unfair cards you could face in Kamigawa Block. Jitte, Meloku and Kumano are all made beatable when this card is down. It seems as though Wizards R&D knew they had made some cards that were too good and this is the answer that they came up with and it does its job well.
Scroll of Origins: Xth pick
Never useful. 7 cards in hand already? C’mon! So if you are on the draw and cast it on turn 2, then turn 3 you can get your card back by drawing a card with it. That is the most horrific loss of tempo, and sadly that is when this card is at its best.
Wine of Blood and Iron: 15th pick
Well, they have to include some utterly unplayable cards I guess and this falls under that heading. This has got to be one of the worst cards in Saviors.
Ebony Owl Netsuke: 7-9th pick
Doesn’t really do enough for me. If you are on the play and they don’t have a two- or a three-drop then they take eight, which might well be enough to win you the game but… I don’t think this will happen very often. So I guess it is a sideboard card versus slow decks for when you are on the play. Good luck with that.
Ivory Crane Netsuke: 6-8th pick
This card looked awful to me at first, but it was surprisingly effective when I faced it. It is better in Blue decks that can refill their hand a lot quicker, as every deck needs to cast spells in the early game, so you would expect to have 2-3 cards left in hand at about turn 6-7. Just waiting around not doing anything for the next four turns will usually cost you the game, but with card drawing this card can be good.
Manriki-Gusari: 3-5th pick
I can hardly ever see leaving this card in the board, although it is not overly powerful. It is not quite a Vulshok Morningstar, but it isn’t too far away either, and the Morningstar was a beating.
O-Naginata: 3-5th pick
They might as well have made the equip cost Green, as it will almost only be playable in a Green deck. I would say that you need about 6-7 guys that it can be equipped to to make this card good, and when it’s good it is soooo good. The cast and equip cost are so cheap that it can come out as a bit of a surprise and swing the race way in your favor.
Soratami-Cloud Chariot: 2-10th pick
I have no idea about this card whatsoever. It might be good, it might be as unplayable as it looks to me now, or I might be totally wrong. It’s probably okay, but I need to play with and against it quite a bit more before I stick my neck out on this one.
Iname as One: 15th pick
Now I love a fatty-fatty-boom-boom just as much as the next guy, but this dude is a bit extreme. Twelve mana is just four too much for Limited.
Mikokoro, Centre of the Sea: 15th pick
Doesn’t tap for colored mana, and you have to spend mana for a mirrored effect. Another unplayable.
Miren, the Moaning Well: 7-9th pick
Not sure if you play this card in your two-color deck. Even if you think that your mana isn’t too bad, I think the chances of it screwing you are just about as high as the chance of this land paying off. I would never play this in a three-color deck ever ever.
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds: 7-9th pick
There are no good reasons not to play this card, as it is strictly better than a basic Island. Still, it is not overly exciting, so pick any card that will be going into your deck over it.
Tomb of Urami: 6-8th pick
I had this card played versus me in the prerelease and I wasn’t remotely scared of it. Maybe it should never be in your deck, as sacrificing all your lands is a pretty high cost for a 5/5 flier and Oh My God, you had better hope that they don’t have an answer for it or you just killed yourself.