Legions’ Effects on Five Color – Thirty-Five Cards That Might See Serious Play

I have no clue why people are talking excitingly about Planar Guide. It shifts creatures for a turn. So? You get to Fog for four mana. Or maybe kill a token or two. Maybe abuse a 187 effect here and there, or flip over a morph creature. Dodge a Wrath effect. Still, considering that this cleric is all of a mighty 1/1 and requires a lot of mana kept open to use it, it just doesn’t thrill me that much. Break the Guide and prove me wrong.

There are so many Legions reviews that my head sometimes hurts. “On a five-point scale, here is how Random McRandom rates some card in limited before the set is even released.” Type Two has just had its card pool increased by almost ten percent; how, then, does a person know whether a card is good or not in Type Two until playtesting takes place? Why do people always want to compare cards to previous versions? So you get this set review that ends up being more subjective than a survey on a people’s favorite colors.

And does every review need to remind the reader that Legions is an all-creature set and wow, isn’t that something?

Now, for some formats, you can do a review early and with little playtesting. Multiplayer, Type One, Extended, Five Color, Peasant Magic – all formats that have such a sheer volume of cards that you can easily tell where the new ones fit in.

Here then, is a quick analysis of those cards in Legions that could easily make the jump to Five Color. I will not list every card for the obvious reasons that any card can be used in Five Color. These cards listed below, however, are ones that I won’t be surprised to see someone slap down. We will start with some quick philosophies and then move into cards themselves:


Colorless cycling is very useful to dig early and find mana or quick plays; that is why Expunge is such a valuable card in Five Color. Take the top thirty cards of a well-shuffled deck and you cannot be guaranteed that every color of mana will be represented. As such, cards that can pitch themselves are quite valuable. Therefore, creatures in Legions with a colorless cycling cost might be more apt to be playable.


A cute theme, the added Slivers are mostly white noise; the good Slivers were printed long ago. Take a look at some of the rare Slivers for some innovative ideas, however. Still, Tribal themes depend on getting out as many creatures of a particular type as possible – and in the more random environment of Five Color, even Slivers can be hard to some across.

Morph Triggers:

Previously, Hystrodon, Exalted Angel, and maybe Dwarven Blastminer were the only decent morph creatures in Five Color, allowing opponents to get a good idea of what was under the veil. As such, players knew to go after morph creatures hard, because no one would waste a slot on a poor creature. Now, however, you have the Morph Triggers added to the mix. A 2/1 Terror or Shock, 1/1 mini-Overrun, 4/3 Mutilate, and so forth all seem possible. You can always play them, regardless of colored mana, which increases their value. I do not know if these cards will get played or not, but they may have added the diversity necessary to start playing many morph cards in a deck.


I came away from the Prerelease thinking that Provoke was a pretty useful ability… For Limited. No way it carries weight in Five Color.


Of all of the abilities ever printed, Amplify has to be the most useless in Five Color. I’ve seen phasing played in Teferi’s Honor Guard, Rainbow Efreet and Frenetic Efreet; Snow Covered Lands may be almost as bad.

Everything Else:

Double strike is nothing big or particularly useful.

Now we have come to the part where a review of each card recalls every other article on the ‘net. We’ll go alphabetically through the cards by color. We’ll start with the least abusable of colors, then head around the color wheel to the most abusable. (Which is to say, White through Blue):

Akroma, Angel of Wrath:

The newest Swiss army knife of the game has a big butt and a bigger attitude. Definitely expect to see her as a target for reanimation decks. She will never replace her Angel Legend friend Reya Dawnbringer, but she can replace Spirit of the Night or other big nasties. She doesn’t cost that much, and I will hardly be surprised the first time she gets hard cast.

Planar Guide:

I have no clue why people are talking excitingly about this card. It shifts creatures for a turn. So? You get to fog for four mana. Or maybe kill a token or two. Maybe abuse a 187 effect here and there, or flip over a morph creature. Dodge a Wrath effect. Still, considering that this cleric is all of a mighty 1/1 and requires a lot of mana kept open to use it, it just doesn’t thrill me that much. Break the Guide and prove me wrong.

Wall of Hope:

This is a pretty decent wall all things considering. Play it and don’t worry about creatures for several turns. The basic problem is that it is competing with Walls that yield cards – Jungle Barrier, Wall of Blossoms, and Wall of Mulch. Maybe if you need a white card…. But what defensively oriented deck can’t fill up its white already?

Windborn Muse:

A strong card that duplicates effects that are sometimes seen in Five Color. Propaganda and Collective Restraint are often seen running around, and now we have a cheap supplement for them. The Muse is a pretty good card that can stall and slow down an attack, while also providing a blocker. Pretty useful. Less useful than Blinding Angel, but you may have the room for both. And the Muse is more splashable.

Branchsnap Lorian:

A four-power creature for three mana with trample? This could easily fit in a green based beatdown deck. Plus, you can always morph it up for just one green, making it even more valuable. Definitely one of the better morph cards to come along, and I expect to see it regularly after a while. It’s not the sexiest card in the set, so it may take a few weeks to catch on.

Caller of the Claw:

Cute, but highly unpredictable. Could see use in a heavy creature deck, especially one without many big creatures. Maybe a utility oriented 187 deck or something.

Hundroog: (Hundroog! – The Ferrett)

While colorless cycling costs on cards are good, colorless cycling costs on overcosted vanilla creatures just doesn’t fly. The cycling is expensive, too. However, I’ve already seen a Living Death deck that likes the cycling green/black creatures put in a few, so I can’t disparage it too much.

Krosan Cloudscraper:

For kitsch value alone, I expect to see the 13/13 beast get played. While it may be the poster child for”Baby Got Back,” without any abilities besides morph, 6/6 Akroma is much better. However, it can morph. As such, it may just be seductive enough to tempt people into playing it in a control deck or reanimation.

Nantuko Vigilante:

One of several new morph trigger cards, this one is your classic Disenchant effect. And a 3/2 creature as well… But it’s a little better than that, because you can play it for less or surprise people with its ability. A solid card, but not spectacular.

Seedborn Muse:

If you have the cards to abuse this, then play it. Other than combo-oriented creature decks, like Tradewind Rider abuse, it will probably be more of a sixty-card deck selection.

Goblin Clearcutter:

There really aren’t a whole lot of red creatures running around in this set that are Five worthy. The Clearcutter might be useful where a burst of mana is highly important; however, the classic Orcish Lumberjack might be better at that purpose, because he can also provide an early boost to mana with the same ability for a cheaper cost.

Goblin Goon:

Running a beatdown deck might offer the Goon an automatic inclusion based simply on the sheer number of creatures in the deck. Solid, and he stops the ante as well. Again, the random nature of five could yield a Goon and nothing else, so be careful.

Lavaborn Muse:

If you need more copies of The Rack, here is one carried by a Hill Giant. Which may make it better than a Rack; I don’t know. What may also make it better than a Rack is that fact that players take three for two cards in hand, not one.

Skirk Marauder:

Another of the Morph Trigger creatures. The ability is probably too weak to see play regularly, especially considering all of the other burn this is beside.

Aphetto Exterminator:

Its morph trigger fits nicely into a mana curve, and it can also kill a good creature. With the ability to swing for three, and a low amount of black in the cost, the Exterminator is one of the morph trigger cards I most expect to see.

Bane of the Living:

While the Exterminator is good, the Bane is better. A 4/3 that can Wrath of God? Any game in which a Bane can kill all other creatures for five mana or less will leave it standing and able to swing. A good body combined with a surprise instant-Mutilate effect, combined with the ability to toss it down even when you don’t have black mana makes for a powerful card which could place it among the be best morph cards in Five Color.

Corpse Harvester:

A very good card in a strong black deck. First, it can get a dual land so it can balance out your colors. Secondly, if you play with certain zombies, the Harvester can pull them out. The recent batch of zombies includes several utility creatures and several beatsticks, so you can have a variety of options to play. Depends on the build, but this could be a really useful creature.

Dark Supplicant:

The Scion might be good, but he’s not that good. Clerics are poor, and there is little chance you will get the Supplicant online soon enough to make up for that fact.

Drinker of Sorrow:

It may be better than Negator against burn… But it always eats a permanent to attack or block, and it’s vulnerable to Lightning Bolt, Incinerate, and many other burn spells. Still, it only costs three mana, and can easily shore up a beatdown deck. May be one of the better beatdown creatures to come out in a while.

Graveborn Muse:

Tutor for it with your Harvester, I guess. A Phyrexian Arena on a Wild Jhovall. That’s a potent combination of abilities. I definitely expect that some decks will try to take advantage of this creature’s ability.

Havoc Demon:

A big splashy card with a Wrath of God side effect. Sure, it’s a good card, but it is expensive and can bite you as well as your opponent. Great tricks with a Recurring Nightmare, Corpse Dance plus sacrifice effects, and so forth. It will be played for a while as people ohh and ahh, then probably be dropped.

Hollow Specter:

It’s Five Color. You want to play with more Hypnotic Specters? You have lots of choices. Chilling Apparition, Blazing Specter, Doomsday Specter, Abyssal Specter, Silent Specter, and Hollow Specter come to mind quickly as borderline playable. Better than Entropic Specter, at least. What does the Hollow Specter offer? Not much over its compadres, unless you want to double-Propaganda yourself in combat. It does come down on the third turn, if you think that’s important.

Phage the Untouchable:

You know that someone will try to break Phage. And they’ll probably fail.

Scion of Darkness:

Colorless cycling is good. It is also very compatible with reanimation strategies. Don’t worry about playing it via Supplicant, as he is definitely good enough on his own. He lacks all of the cute abilities of many big stupid creatures, but he has two distinct advantages: He is not a legend, and he has cycling. For this environment, colorless cycling is better than practically every ability Akroma has.


Might get played because of the morph trigger, but I’d rather have an Annihilate or Sever Soul than a 2/1 body. And I’d rather have an Expunge, Spite / Malice or Terminate than a Sever Soul or Annihilate.

Withered Wretch:

The zombie’s ability is quite good in an environment full of flashback, Squees, threshold, Yawgmoth’s Will, and the like. However, handling the double black early enough is not an easy feat for many decks. It may not be worth it in beatdown, which is where a 2/2 for two mana would normally fit. Ultimately, he may be a man without a country.


A cute way of getting Krosan Cloudscraper into play, but most good morph creatures use surprise or morph triggers. There are few morph cards that you want glutting up your deck if they aren’t that good by themselves. I’ve heard good about the Dermoplasm, but I just don’t see it.

Dreamborn Muse:

The other Muses are at least marginally useful. This Muse will never be used to deck your opponent or anything. However, it could be used, maybe, to help fill up your own graveyard with goodies, and hope your opponent can’t take advantage of the same. I ‘d rather have Deep Spawn or Tolarian Serpent.

Keeneye Aven:

With more and more creatures printed with cycling: 2, I wonder how close we are to seeing a legitimate Fluctuator deck become a contender?

Mistform Ultimus:

At first he seems rather….boring. Then you realize all of the potential that this little guy has. Before long, I’m back to wondering if he would ever be regularly used. I guess he’s good in a highly-focused deck, like maybe a tribal deck so some such. Outside of that, I’d steer clear.

Primoc Escapee:

See Keeneye Aven, above.

Riptide Director:

If you aren’t playing Wizards, skip him. Otherwise, he is your card advantage engine of doom. Works well with the Ultimus; heh.

Riptide Mangler:

I’d say this is a decent creature that may have a home in a beatdown deck; a two-drop who can take the power of a Negator is pretty imposing. It does take mana to use its ability, but at least it lasts until otherwise changed.

Wall of Deceit:

And now we have come full circle. White started us with a Wall that was pretty good – better than what we normally get. And blue finishes us with the same. Here is a wall that can attack, block, come down quickly, and play a lot of combat tricks. Definitely a worthy card for some decks, but it suffers from the same lack of card advantage. Its ability to attack may make up the differences.

I’ve read about a lot of reviewers disparaging the set for its large array of creatures when sixty-card decks don’t use that many creatures. However, Five Color decks can use a lot, sometimes over a hundred. As such, getting a shot of new critters to play is not a bad deal. I can’t see the set ever being placed in the pantheon of”Best Sets Ever,” but it’s not that bad. Not at all.

Until later,

Abe Sargent