Insider Information – Overrated and Underrated Cards in Worldwake

Grand Prix: Oakland!

Friday, January 29th – For Zendikar, Cedric Phillips presented us with his underrated and overrated cards, bursting the bubbles of some extremely hyped cards. For Worldwake, it’s business as usual! Predictably, Ced loves the weenie guys available… but how can he say bad things about Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Read on to find out!


It’s time to put Worldwake underneath my extremely critical magnifying glass. Last time I did an article like this, the general consensus was that ya’ll liked the format I used, so I will be using it yet again.

Before I get started, I’d like to play the game of “See how far off Cedric was on certain cards from Zendikar!” You have to be able to say when you are incorrect on things to become any better, after all.

Cards About Which I Was Correct

1.) Warren Instigator – A card that I felt would have no impact at all, and it sure hasn’t.
2.) Goblin Guide – I predicted this would be the best card in the set (outside of the fetchlands, which was pretty obvious), and would revive Red decks. I honestly don’t think I was that far off, as it brought three archetypes with it into Standard (Boros Bushwhacker, Barely Boros, RDW).
3.) Terra Stomper – Some really thought this card was going to very good. Shame on them!
4.) Journey to Nowhere – A mediocre removal spell that sometimes gets sideboarded in.
5.) Luminarch Ascension – I said it would be a sideboard card at best and I was correct. Self high five.
6.) Lotus Cobra – Impossible for it not to be overrated. I made a mockery out of the card, and rightfully so.

Cards About Which I Was Incorrect

1.) Bloodghast – I felt that the card was pretty overrated, since it could not block and it was being compared to Nether Spirit. Bloodghast has quickly become one of my favorite cards in quite a while. I was way off on this one.
2.) Mindbreak Trap – I thought this had the opportunity to replace Cryptic Command, since it could handle everything Bloodbraid Elf and Bituminous Blast had to offer. It turns out that it just wasn’t fast enough, and it’s now sitting in sideboards of Blue decks in Eternal formats. Whoops!
3.) Day of Judgment – I thought this card was extremely underrated when it was first revealed, because we have all seen Wrath of God before. At this very moment, Day of Judgment is not a very good card, so I was certainly incorrect about how good I thought it was going to be. It still has time to be sweet, though!

Cards I Didn’t Even Mention

1.) Vampire Nighthawk – Not sure how this slipped under the radar. I don’t think I was the only one, but wow, is this card good.
2.) Eldrazi’s Monument – A card I tried my hardest to break for Worlds, I cannot believe this card did not receive more press.
3.) Malakir Bloodwitch – My new Cloudgoat Ranger. I freaking love this card, and didn’t even mention it a few months ago. Shame on me!
4.) Sphinx of Jwar Isle – Everyone missed this one. Who knew it was going to be the best win condition for control decks when Baneslayer Angel was the not-hotness? Certainly not me!

Let’s see if I can get a few more right this go around…

Overrated Card #1: Hada Freeblade

Hada Freeblade
Creature – Human Soldier Ally
Whenever Hada Freeblade or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Hada Freeblade.

I like White Weenie more than anyone, but I just don’t see it with this card. I feel like the ally deck is a little short on allies to fully take advantage of Hada Freeblade, and this won’t really enhance a soldier deck. I think once Rise of the Eldrazi comes out, Hada Freeblade will have a home. It seems like a card that requires a full block to meet expectations. Of course, I would like to be proven wrong, because I like attacking more than anyone, but I just don’t think that’s going to happen.

Underrated Card #1: Kor Firewalker

Kor Firewalker
Creature – Kor Soldier
Protection from red
Whenever a player casts a red spell, you may gain 1 life.

A card after my very own heart. I always hated Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender because you didn’t need it against Red decks to beat them, and it did nothing to stop Firespout if your opponent was the least bit competent. Kor Firewalker, however, is a card that you can proudly shove in a White Weenie deck. Let’s take a look at just the implications this card has on Standard:

1.) The ability to attack through and block Sprouting Thrinax
2.) The ability to attack through and block Bloodbraid Elf
3.) The ability to attack through Broodmate Dragon, a.k.a. the bane of aggressive White decks
4.) Dodges Lighting Bolt while gaining a life
5.) Dodges Terminate while gaining a life
6.) Makes Boros Bushwhacker, Red Decks Wins, and Barely Boros look downright embarrassing.
7.) Extremely difficult for the Grixis Control decks to kill.

That is just what Kor Firewalker is doing right now. The format is always likely to change, but right now, this could reincarnate some form of White Weenie. I’m not sure if it should be soldier based or not, but however it is built, it seems impossible not to include Kor Firewalker.

Underrated Card #2: Loam Lion

Loam Lion
Creature – Cat
Loam Lion gets +1/+2 as long as you control a Forest.

I say this card is underrated for one main reason:

Extended Zoo finally gets to replace Steppe Lynx with a much more stable card.

Owen Turtenwald put it best when he said “Steppe Lynx is amazing in Zoo with your bad draws, and mediocre in your very good ones.” What he means by this is, the games where Zoo floods out is when Steppe Lynx is at its best. The games where Zoo stops at three land and draws all spells (which is what Zoo is realistically trying to do every game) is where it is at its worst. I find Loam Lion to be a card that takes the variance out of a Zoo deck. Instead of your Steppe Lynx sitting there awkwardly sometimes, you now have another 2/3 creature that plays both offense and defense extremely well. I believe Loam Lion is a very welcome addition to 5-Color Zoo.

Underrated (and Frustrating) Card #3: Perimeter Captain

Perimeter Captain
Creature – Human Soldier
Whenever a creature you control with defender blocks, you may gain 2 life.

If this isn’t the bane of my existence, I don’t know what is. Look, everyone knows I like to attack. It’s no secret. Figure of Destiny is one of my favorite creatures in Magic history. Perimeter Captain makes so many creatures look like a joke:

Hellspark Elemental
Goblin Guide
Sprouting Thrinax
Bloodbraid Elf
Literally every creature in White Weenie except for Steppe Lynx + fetchland
Just about every creature in Vampires except for the amazing Malakir Bloodwitch
A ton of the creatures in Eldrazi Green

If this is actually a 0/4, this thing is a monster and is going to make control decks pretty gosh darn good. It stops so many aggressive decks right in their tracks, and the ways they have to go about killing it are going to be card disadvantage. Path to Exile that thing? Your opponent will be pumping the fist! Perimeter Captain in combination with Wall of Denial is something that scares me. A lot…

Not Sure How To Rank Card #1: Talus Paladin

Talus Paladin
Creature – Human Knight Ally
Whenever Talus Paladin or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may have Allies you control gain lifelink until end of turn and you may put a +1/+1 counter on Talus Paladin.

Talus Paladin is interesting because it slides into an ally deck very well. A four-mana 3/4 that grants lifelink and is only going to get bigger is a nice way to top off the curve of an ally deck. As I said with Hada Freeblade, I’m not sure allies has enough actually allies to make it work, but with the addition of the third set, I could see this being a big part of an ally deck.

Underrated Card #4: Dispel


Counter target instant spell

I like this card for the same reason I loved Mindbreak Trap; the elegant design. This card is appropriately costed for what it does. Dispel is narrow, just like Spell Snare, but it does so many powerful things. It is hard to say how great Dispel is going to be, but I see this card winning counterwars across many formats for years to come.

Overrated Card #2: Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Planeswalker – Jace
[+2]: Look at the top card of target player’s library. You may put that card on the bottom of that player’s library.
[0]: Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.
[-1]: Return target creature to its owner’s hand.
[-12]: Exile all cards from target player’s library, then that player shuffles his or her hand into his or
her library.

I don’t think it is possible for Jace, the Mind Sculptor to live up to the hype it has created for itself, but I also don’t think it is as good as everyone else claims. Something about tapping four mana on my own turn to Brainstorm or Unsummon just doesn’t do it for me. I am fully aware of how easily this card can dominate a game, but I just don’t see it happening all that often. I keep comparing this card to Ajani Vengeant, for some reason. Against an aggressive deck, Ajani Vengeant can turn the game around in an instant and against a control deck it demands an answer almost immediately. Maybe I am being unfair comparing Jace, the Mind Sculptor to Ajani Vengeant, but how many four-mana planeswalkers can a control deck play? How much better is Jace, the Mind Sculptor than Ajani Vengeant, or something else at four mana? I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that question. We can speculate and theorize as much as we want, but until actual games are played and we see the card in action, we will never truly know.

Overrated Card #3: Mysteries of the Deep

Mysteries of the Deep
Draw two cards
Landfall – If you had a land enter the battlefield under your control this turn, draw three cards instead

Some people love this card. Others hate it. I am in the camp of hating it. I think Mysteries of the Deep is much worse than a card like Divination or Treasure Hunt because on turn five, I do not want to be tapping five mana to draw two or three cards. Yes, you can do it at the end of turn, sacrifice a fetchland, and live the dream, but I just don’t see that happening all that often. Maybe I’m just very skeptical today, but with everyone announcing the second coming of blue, I am not the kind of person who just auto agrees. I think this card is fine and all, but it doesn’t do anything to excite me. I’m not looking for Fact or Fiction or anything. My standards aren’t high, but they are higher than this.

Overrated Card #4: Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt
Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a nonland card, then put all cards revealed this way into your hand.

If you think that Jace, the Mind Sculptor cannot possibly live up to the hype it has created for itself, there is no way on earth that Treasure Hunt will. Two separate articles by two of the game’s greatest players have been written about just this card. Are Blue players that desperate that they have to dedicate whole articles to an average card drawing spell? Now don’t get me wrong, I think Treasure Hunt is a good card. It is probably an upgrade in every way over the mediocre Divination, but it just doesn’t get me excited at all. I see Treasure Hunt to be a much better card in a 43-esque land deck, or some sort of combo deck with Seismic Assault and cascade, rather than just your typical draw card spell in a control deck. I’m sure some of the great Blue mages of the world will prove me wrong, but I’m sticking by my guns.

Underrated Card #5: Abyssal Persecutor

Abyssal Persecutor
Creature – Demon
Flying, trample
You can’t win the game and your opponents can’t lose the game.

This card is insanity! For those of you who believe that Abyssal Persecutor has a drawback, learn how to build your Constructed decks a little better, because I see a four-mana 6/6 with a drawback that will come up so infrequently that is might as well not even be on the card. I can just see myself getting my opponent to a negative life total, and just sitting there and blocking with Abyssal Persecutor until I find a removal spell or bounce spell to win me the game. Clearly you are going to have to build your deck with Abyssal Persecutor’s “drawback” in mind, but is it really that difficult putting removal spells in your deck that can kill any creature? I see no reason why this monster cannot be slotted into the often debated four-mana slot in Jund: a deck that contains Maelstrom Pulse and Terminate as ways to kill it. I honestly believe this is one of the best cards in Worldwake, and it’s currently being overshadowed by the hype of overrated blue cards.

Card That Will Not Find A Home #1: Anowon, the Ruin Sage

Anowon, the Ruin Sage
Legendary Creature – Vampire Shaman
At the beginning of your upkeep, each player sacrifices a non-Vampire creature.

I feel sorry for Anowon, the Ruin Sage. This is a card that interacts so well in Vampires, but its mana cost is the same as the best card in the deck; Malakir Bloodwitch. Malakir Bloodwitch is miles better than Anowon, the Ruin Sage, and will prevent an otherwise very good card from probably seeing any competitive play. It’s too bad, since I love the flavor of this card. Maybe this could be a very good answer to the G/W/b Junk decks that float around.

Card That Is As Good As You Think#1: Smother

Destroy target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less. It can’t be regenerated.

There isn’t too much to say here. Good card is good! I’m very glad Smother is back, as it is very good in Extended, very good in Standard, and is a card that Black has needed, since it isn’t overpowered… it’s just a quality removal spell. I hope it has a sweet new picture.

Hard To Rank Card #1: Urge to Feed

Urge to Feed
Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn. You may tap any number of untapped Vampire creatures you control. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on each of those Vampires.

Urge to Feed is a difficult card to rank for one big reason: Is it better than Smother or Disfigure? It does a lot of cool stuff, but is all that cool stuff good enough to play it? My gut tells me no, but it really depends on how the format shapes up. Disfigure is so good because it is so efficient for its mana cost. It can easily kill something like an Elvish Archdruid at the end of turn and then allow you to keep going about your business. And as we all know, two mana is a lot more than one. I don’t see the bonus for Vampires coming up all that often, but when it does it will probably be very relevant (especially in Limited!) so I can’t write that one off right away. One thing that is nice is that Black finally has removal to choose from. Between Disfigure, Tendrils of Corruption, Smother, and Urge to Feed, Black is loaded up with quality removal. And before you ask…


Mono Black Control cannot make a comeback.

That’s it for this week. Next week, I will cover the rest of the set in what I feel is overrated, underrated, and downright crazy.

Have fun at your prereleases this weekend. I will probably be up in Chicago battling at the prerelease held by Pasttimes. Pasttimes runs great events, so if you have the opportunity to go to their large prerelease, you should make some time to come on out!

See everyone next week!

Cedric Phillips

[email protected]