What’s scary about this card is that it’s so potentially bad in Limited that you would practically want to target your opponent with it. Sure, look at his top five cards, and give him the worst of them while dumping whatever else. That’s awful – and it’s even worse when you’re willingly casting it on yourself. Pay five mana to get a Goblin Taskmaster! Oh, poor Rorix and Sparksmith, into the graveyard with you!
A pretty ho-hum creature, this is little more than a Durkwood Boars with cycling attached to it. The normal, Urza’s-style cycling, to boot. Remember when mana screwed or when you have access to a decent reanimation effect (like Patriarch’s Bidding) that you can cycle it. It’s a more useful ability than you’d think.
What’s nice about the Birchlore Rangers is pretty obvious – but sometimes, it’s really good to play morph creatures you don’t care about in the early game. Want to draw out Swats, Shocks and so on? Just tap out to play this guy and watch the removal fly to him. I’ve seen it happen. Heck I’ve done it myself. Other than that, the Rangers will sometimes fix mana – and very rarely, they’ll actually accelerate your mana. You could play a Taunting Elf on turn 1, this on turn 2, and then tap them and your 2nd land to play a Wellwisher. Woo hoo? But still, not outright horrible – just kinda bad.
The Shaman is at times pretty good, and at times extremely good. While you must accept the fact you’re betting poorly that you’ll draw extra cards when you use her with an untribal deck, even then she’s not all that bad. She’s also a Wizard.
In a deck with a lot of Beasts or Elves, where 20-30% of the deck is one creature type, then you’re looking at a fairly consistent way to draw extra cards or just cycle through land on top of your library. Occasionally, you will hit a spell you want – and with few ways to reuse lost spells, it’s gone for good. But the resulting card advantage might get around it. Of course, with Information Dealer, Fateshaper Aven or whatever else, she can easily become a simple”draw two cards a turn.” Occasionally, you might just filter off a land, but the Shaman is pretty good in G/U or G/R when combo’d up.
Too bad there aren’t a lot of decent creature enchantments in Onslaught, because if there was, this card would become a heck of a lot stronger. The Broodhatch is easy to underestimate due to being a cheap 1/1, but he does a lot. In the early game, a lone Broodhatch dropped on turn 2 will probably block. It might not trade – but the larger the blocked creature, the more time he buys you. Wretched Anurid crashing into Broodhatch is some bad times, larger creature are even worse for stalling the game.
While one of the sets less synergistic cards, the Glade defines the table the minute it lands and begins to control the board. Hordes of angry, Mirari-enhanced Centaurs swarm to your side. When you hit eight mana, you begin throwing a wurmload of force down every turn. Even if your opponent deals with the Glade, just being able to hold so much in your hand because you’ve been producing card-free threats with the Glade will often let you win. Stuff like Crown of Fury, Tribal Unity and Shared Triumph could all work with the Glade’s tokens, but really it doesn’t care.
Chain of Acid
A card which is little more than a reprint of Creeping Mold with a drawback, Chain of Acid is a sideboard card through and through. You should only see a need to play it if they’re playing a good enough enchantment or artifact.
Crown of Vigor
The Crowns are a varying lot, with the Crown of Fury serving up lots of quick or hard-to-deal-with damage, Crown of Suspicion acting as kill or enhancement on fliers, Crown of Awe and Crown of Ascension both sorts of evasion. Vigor is simply an undersized bonus to your creatures. It’s not bad for making a Mistform bigger and then sneaking a bonus onto all other creatures when it counts, but the combat math altered by getting +1/+1 isn’t too rough on your opponent.
3/3 evasion creatures generally come out as playable at five mana. Mistform Shrieker and Aven Soulgazer are the same rarity and the same power, toughness. The Riders are about as good, or bad, depending on your opponent, as they are. They are pretty bad if you’re looking to block fliers, of course – but they can’t be nailed by Venomprout Brackus or Silklash Spider, either.
Oi, not playable. There isn’t exactly a wealth of x spells to power up even if you did have tons of mana coming out of the Guidance – which you really won’t anyways unless something weird is going on.
Unblockable Elves for God-awful amounts of mana! No one cares! A horrible card.
It’s too bad this guy says”basic land card,” otherwise it would be fun to put cycling lands into play with him. Anyways, if you have a land in hand, the Pioneers are a forum of mana acceleration. Not a very good one, but often enough they’re playable. I can’t believe they watered down an ability as weak as that one, though. It’s like Exploration where you get a 1/1 and it works once! Better give it another drawback! That 1/1 might go out of control and ruin the format!
There aren’t a lot of artifacts in the set, and most of those aren’t all that playable either. On the other hand, both Slate of Ancestry and Riptide Replicator can be considered bombs in some fashion, so it’s probably true that the Scrapper is playable as a sideboard card – except you’d probably rather get Naturalize for that, since Elves in your graveyard don’t count on your Wellwisher’s scorecard and being able to take out enchantments is better to boot. Oh my. Anyways, boring reprint.
I played this guy in Sealed once. He peaked out at 2/2, and reminded me that he’s probably more of a draft card. In draft, where you’ll have seven or more elves, he’s probably about 3/3 after a bit. In sealed, make sure you have a lot of Elves or side him in against someone with a lot of Elves. Even then, the card often spends too much time being vulnerable to be good. If only it had of been a little bit bigger or cheaper…
I’m fond of the Warrior, since he can block morph creatures and the one extra toughness come in handy for that purpose. You need green to be a primary color, obviously, or often he isn’t playable on turn 2. It’s nice to get an Elf who isn’t quite so fragile for less than five mana, anyway.
This is very much a constructed card. While I’ll sing praises for Wirewood Savage later on in this review, that’s a pretty strict difference between the two – namely, one of them draws off a card type that sucks in Limited.
Trample is a great ability to go with a +2/+2 bonus, making the affected Elf quite dangerous or just being useful for getting a few points of damage over while the Elf wins in combat. Using the Everglove on a Elven Riders will probably be able to get through any defender that can block the Riders, which is nice.
I like the Everglove, although – Everglove? Shouldn’t it be”Evergauntlet”? Glove sounds so… It’s looking like it’s gonna be an Elvish Christmas?
I’m a big fan of the Vegetation. Given green as your primary color, the Vegetation will fix your mana up nicely, making sure you can either cast your splash color’s cards effectively, or cast your multiple symbol cards as well. If not, it digs two land out of your deck when you don’t need land, which is better than having to draw them instead of business cards. Given the number of large, but good green creatures, you might even end up using the vegetation as acceleration.
It just doesn’t die. It keeps coming back, over and over again. Dropped down in anything but the absolute worst situation, the Gigapede will slowly turn the tide against your opponent. It’s a simple matter of card quality: Each time the Gigapede kills a creature of his while attacking, you are essentially trading off that extra land or useless Elvish Pioneer off for it.
The ‘pede gets stopped by Mobilization and other token regenerators, and regenerating creatures. Then, you get a recurring 6/1 for five mana that can’t be targetted, which is still really good.
Generally, Doubtless One is my favorite for ability and Soulless One is my favorite for size and synergy with it’s respective couriers. (All but the white one can be targeted by their color’s Courier). Heedless One falls in the middle, Reckless One and Nameless One generally being worse than it. Heedless is just big, or just small, there’s not a lot to be said for an Elf. If you have gotten a lot of Elves, Wirewood Pride is pretty good with the Heedless One, and Improvised Armor is always happy to be played on a trampler.
Speaking of Trampler, this ‘don is a solid card in Limited. If you were to somehow pull off the Pioneer, turn 2 morph, turn 3 flip over ‘don draw, you’d be a happy pirate. Even later on, the ‘don is big enough that it will still matter, and anything to make it larger can really help you out. Anything to make the ‘don roll over its blockers – Fever Charm, Vitality Charm, Crown of Fury or Suspicion, and so on, work with the ‘don to give you more cards.
(You might want to hold the Vitality Charm in favor of regenerating the ‘don, though.)
Remember that while playing it morphed, Hystrodon is like Skirk Commando in that your opponent is less likely to block as a 2/2 – but he will probably be willing to give up a bad trade to kill off an offensive one. Plan accordingly.
The Boon is probably fairly underrated. While the +1/+1 is a small effect, it makes every cycling card in your deck a combat trick that doesn’t leave you when the turn ends. If cycling once gets your ‘don through combat with a Wirewood Mauler, then cycling twice… You get the idea.
The card requires cycling, and generally, you’ll want the reverse kicker cantrip cycling. Sunfire Balm, Primal Boost, and Death Pulse work nicely to help a creature win in combat, while Slice and Dice with this will save one of your 1/1s. The Boon probably belongs in W/G or G/U, where you can put the counters on fliers and serve for more damage, or push over his defenses. A Soulgazer can’t get through a Spitting Gourna – but it can with just a single +1/+1 counter.
Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
Overrun was broken in Odyssey block. Reusable Overrun is very hard to stop without immediate kill. It’s true that it has less of a shock value – but then again, Overrun by itself wasn’t a 7/6 trampler.
On a side note, the land ability is a little more insidious than you think. With six mana on the table, you can probably activate it on all of your opponent’s lands of one color, and then unleash a Slice and Dice to kill them off. This applies to any mass clearer, used by either player. If your opponent’s using a Starstorm, punish him by killing a pile of his land, and so on. This also lets you kill off your opponent’s”special” lands like Goblin Burrows or Contested Cliffs, which can be somewhat valuable. Or use him with an Embermage Goblin/Sparksmith to slowly pick off your opponent’s lands.
I have to admit I’m unsure on this card. The obvious combo is to use it with a full Aphetto Dredging, giving you at least three creatures – which is probably more than your opponent will get – or just waiting until your opponent’s hand is empty and saving a few weenies in your hand to use with it. You could also follow a Wrath of God-effect up with this, giving you creatures after your opponent has likely dropped whatever is in his hand.
There are two combos with this card that make it auto-playable in your decks. The first is combining this with Astral Slide and lots of cycling cards. This will flip the Colossus over when it comes back into play, giving you a nice big 9/9 to play with. The second, is to use it with Doomed Necromancer: As a morph creature, it’s pretty likely to die. If you want to get really fancy, put it into play a morphed 2/2, sacrifice it to something (Nantuko Husk being the only thing I can think of right now) during combat, then tap the necromancer for a surprise 9/9 blocker. Whee! Fun! Anyways, the Colossus isn’t great, but it is a morph creature that really gives your opponent a shock when it suddenly turns over.
Each color in Onslaught receives an overpriced seven-mana creature, pardoning black (Aphetto Vulture is only six mana!) in its uncommon slot. We have Crowd Favorites, Aven Fateshaper, and Shaleskin Bruiser reviewed before this. None of them have morph, and all of them are”almost” good… Except the Groundshaker.
I know it’s seven mana, and probably not really part of that cycle – but a 6/6 trampling beast that gives the rest of your beasts trample too (after mana, which you have at this point) is frankly good stuff. Not always: Don’t play it in a three-color Sealed deck or in a draft with no acceleration – but often, I think of this as a decent enough card 80% of the time. (Actually I think the card in the cycle is Venomprout Brackus – but it has morph, which confuses me on the issue. It doesn’t matter; no one cares.)
Seven mana for a 6/5 is generally bad. But hey, it cycles too, and it cycles for a really good effect. So basically, it’s not a 6/5 unless you have seven mana, otherwise it’s just card advantage and mana fixing. As a fatty that gets into the graveyard on its own, it works nicely with reanimation tricks, or anything which gets you back the card so you can draw two again. Not much else to say about this, as it’s generally a 6/5. Remember that you draw after you get the land.
One of the more underrated of cards, the Fogbeast’s drawback doesn’t overrule the primary fact behind it: It’s a 4/2 creature for three mana, and it’s a beast. If you opponent has a blocker, it’s not going to attack. Is a 4/2 wall worth three mana if it reads”Whenever your opponent has no untapped creatures, this may attack”? Perhaps.
The main thing is that it’s not useless. A 4/2 for three mana will slow down or absorb at least one creature, and occasionally your opponent will not have any blockers (Taunting Elf and Wave of Indifference are good, I hear?) and the Leery one will swing for four damage. Do it five times and your opponent is dead.
You get the idea. Don’t underrate the card. (I’ve had a lot of luck with these simply because it gives you a lot of beasts, and it’s four power. Wirewood Savaging into more cards and then trading them off for attackers? Ha ha, my bad cards kill your good cards!)
As a creature enchantment, this has the drawback that your opponent can get a two-for-one. Oh yeah. Also, swinging with a 10/10 Gustcloak Harrier tends to end games really fast; either he Cruel Revivals or he dies really fast. Do it when he’s tapped out so you can swing once and deal tons of damage anyway.
This is a very hard card to deal with if your opponent doesn’t have a Cruel Revival or Pacifism to get rid of it. Every other removal spell (except for Akroma’s Vengeance) won’t be able to deal with the Mythically-embraced. Playing it on stuff that has combat damage effects can invalidate any resulting card disadvantage if he untaps and Revivals; Hystrodon, Cabal Executioner, Skirk Commando, and so on.
The Instinct interests me, but I’ve never seen it played all that well. The one obvious combo is to use it was Gustcloak Savior, attacking into better creatures and then just retreating afterwards, but still drawing a card. Beyond that, you might find good use with it alongside Mobilization as a sort of sacrificial, slow card drawing, or with Symbiotic creatures.
Need +4/+4? Ok, that’s three mana and a card. Need just an extra +1/+1 to win over that blocking creature? Three mana, and it cycles along. The great thing here is that even if you commit the cycling effect, you’re drawing a card no matter what. Well other than that, it’s a decent Giant Growth effect.
At 4/4 for four, the Baloth is simply quick beats. As a beast with an ability, though, he represents the ability to stall out the game by sacrificing beasts, (hopefully not himself), to keep you alive and into the late game where hopefully your green fat will triumph.
Except that doesn’t make any sense – as he’s a 4/4 and they only get a little fatter than that. But you can have fun with this beast, and it makes sure that a maindeck Thoughtbound Primoc won’t bite you in the ass too hard. 2R for four life is better than nothing, right?
I constantly stare at this card and wonder if it’s any good. It allows you to react to a number of the better removal cards in the set; Slice and Dice, Pinpoint Avalanche, Akroma’s Vengeance, so on. That’s GG for regeneration, and the ability to regenerate again should something come up later on in the turn. As a combat trick, you could turn a situation where a 4/2 blocks a 3/3 into an extra point of damage and a saved creature, but that’s a pretty limited trick for GG. I miss Refresh.
It lacks tribal connections, its morph cost is hideous, it’s 2/3 for four mana otherwise, it’s…
Well, it’s really not that great. I’ve played with them and found them consistently nothing more than a spikey speed bump. They’re not awful, but I really don’t like this card.
Fliers are either a huge problem your deck can’t handle or something you don’t see at all. Sometimes I won’t even see a flying creature for three rounds, and then I’ll get busted up by Mistform creatures.
The Spider is either a vanilla 2/7 for five mana. Not great – but good enough that you’ll play it anyway. On the occasion your opponent has fliers, the Spider will basically lock him out of being able to use them. As for combo potential, slapping down a Crown of Ascension lets you blow all of a creature type into and out of the air, while a Trickery Charm lets you toss one up for the spider to dissect. I’ve already mentioned how the spider works with Elven Riders.
Silvos, Rogue Elemental
Did you ever notice Arcanis was the only Pit Fighter Legend to go into a”tribe”? Yeah. True. Does Silvos care? No. Silvos smash.
Usually, your Morph creatures must have joined battle to have their”flipover” be much of a debut. The Undorak can do this a bit like the others, of course, flipping over for a fair price to become a 3/3 creature. However, the other treat is the ability to make your opponent question all his combat math once you have a morph creature, and the necessary mana on the table, to use the Undorak like that. That doesn’t happen very often, but it’s worth noting.
The Undorak is more or less just a Hill Giant with a pair of interesting abilities. As the game grinds on, the Undorak can enhance other, larger beasts, forcing them past your opponent’s defenses, but it’s not much more than an above-average card.
What am I supposed to write here? Okay, five mana, 3/4, blocks flying creatures! It’s like creativity has me inspired me so far as to poop in my mouth! Remember that if you can’t pay GG, you can play G through the morph cost to flip it over! And you can surprise your opponent’s fliers by morphing it during combat!
Morph creatures… surprising people? That’s never happened before! I swear! It wasn’t the theme of the whole freaking set, now was it?
The Beetle isn’t exactly Constructed worthy, but it does have a nice kick to it in limited where on occasion giant creature battles result in you putting a 9/9 or so beetle into play. It’s unusual for the game to be so lopsided that the Beetle does anything more than crash into your opponent’s defenses and take out a few blockers, but you can simply think of it as an odd kill card. It’s pretty much mathematically impossible for it to be bigger than killable, although the odd Primal Boost might help you out there…
Any token generator, be it Symbiotic, Broodhatch Nantuko, or just a Mobilization, can result in extremely large beetles. Timely killing of your opponent’s Symbiotic/Broodhatch generators can result in a giant beetle.
Like Shared Triumph, this is a card that rewards you for either playing with a lot of stuff you don’t want to die, like Wellwisher, or stuff that can slip under the carve when it matters. When Imagecrafter starts reading”Target creature can’t be the target of spells and abilities ’til end of turn… And oh yeah, it’s an Elf,” you don’t really mind, do you? Keep in mind that the Resolve keeps off your spells, but it will also cover your creatures from Visara, Sparksmith, Dive Bomber, and so on. Good card if he’s playing targeted removal.
At 4/4 for six with no combat related ability, the Symbiotic Beast is simply an average fatty. You’ll play with it since 4/4 for six isn’t outright horrible, it’s just a normal fatty. Four insect tokens isn’t bad, usually resulting in the beast being able to trade with another creature after death.
Here we have another overpriced creature with the Symbiotic ability. Well, it’s an Elf, which is usually better than beast. He’s also probably wearing crunchy pants.
A 7/7 for eight mana. Hoboy. Just tickle me excited with this card. It’s true that the Wurm will likely trade for either a high quality removal spell, and then trade it’s legion of insects for a ton of chump blocking or another creature (or two).
Fun stuff to do with the Symbiotic Creatures? Nantuko Husk comes to mind. An unblocked husk can swing for eighteen points of damage. Further sacrifice stuff is amusing, but you need to do things like turn insects tokens into beasts (to work with Ravenous Baloth) or sacrifice the Wurm before casting Read the Runes to use the tokens for massive gain.
The Elf has more than one purpose, strangely enough. Picture a Primal Boost in your hand, your opponent with two 2/2s on the table, untapped. Swing with Elf, get another attacker through, and then boost the Elf to act as sort of kill card.
An enhanced Elf can tie up your opponent’s ground pounders and slowly tear through his ranks as well. Improvised Armor can be used to neuter his lighter creature or trade the elf / them for a few of the smaller ones, but that situation is unusual. You can also combine the Elf with a Sandskin to keep your opponent’s blockers occupied until he can kill the Elf. That might be after he’s dead though.
Oh yeah, you can also attack with Taunting Elves for the win. THERE IS NO FOG! And Choking Tethers doesn’t count, because you don’t attack if he tapped your dudes.
Is the Tempting One playable? Sometimes, no – but sometimes yes. The problem with the card in standard is that playing it ends up with your opponent being able to drop his whole hand. In limited, waiting until after his hand has one or two cards in it works generally fine, and a 5/5 creature is nothing to sneer at, especially against decks with smaller creatures.
He’s kinda fun with Slice and Dice back up. Your opponent drop his whole hand? Oh well; just Slice and Dice them all off the board. Smarter players won’t overcommit – but hey, it can still work. You can also use Akroma’s Vengeance to get out of a bad spot.
Playable simply as a morph creature combined with the fact that 7/6 for seven mana isn’t all that bad. This is a sort of green splash card, as it’s both a morpher and the morph cost has only one G in it. I would splash this, Brackus, and Lorian no problem, extra fatties are always good in sealed deck.
Well, it’s very much the same as the Baloth. The morph cost is a little high, but you can’t really complain too much about morphing 5/4s, yeah?
As a straight Giant Growth or”x” spell, the Unity is horrible. It’s also pretty bad in mirror matchups – but it’s a great way to do a lot of extra damage whenever possible. This is one of those rare multiplier-style effects that let’s you slam your opponent for hideous amounts of damage on occasion. The unity is generally playable if you follow a consistent them.
By the way, remember those seven insects tokens you got out of the Symbiotic Wurm? He’s a good time to name Insect.
It’s hard to argue with a card that functions in the echo style of morph, and makes flying almost a drawback. There are not a lot of fliers in the set which will survive a volley from the Brackus. It is 4GGG to morph and fire – but that’s a trick worth remembering. Either way, I really like this plucky fellow.
I’m fond of this charm, but I often find it’s not quite good enough to find it’s way into my decks. The three effects are all fair. Remember that”destroy” is the only way for some decks to kill your creatures. While expending a Vitality Charm to keep a creature around a turn longer after it gets Sparksmithed doesn’t seem like much, when it’s an extra four damage it can be.
Voice of the Woods
If you’re running seven-plus elves, the Voice may become active and you’ll be able to get at least a single 7/7 out of it, if not more. This is a win condition which has immediate, serious effects on the board – making it better than the other lords, except in the situation where you’re being killed by evasive creatures.
While there are no real combos with the Voice, there is the point that Wirewood Herald can find you a Voice once you’ve reached the pre-requisite four other elves (excluding the Herald itself, of course)
Wall of Mulch
It’s 1GG to cantrip, and there’s a total of 2 other walls in Onslaught, as well as the Mistforms, Imagecrafters, blah blah. In Green/Blue, you can use it with an Imagecrafter to off any of your creatures at instant speed in exchange for a card – which isn’t outright horrible. It also blocks morph creatures, and other early critter while your beasts come out to play. In a slow U/G deck with a lot of high end beasts, the Wall of Mulch might not be that bad.
Well, this is basically a G/B card simply because you don’t want your opponent’s bomb to wreck you right after you cast it. You kind of need Cruel Revival here. So all right- where is Weird Harvest good? Weird Harvest can combine with Wirewood Savage for massive card advantage, drawing all the beasts out of your deck and then giving you a pile of cards as you cast them.
This card could have been a lot better if R&D had of made it”Each player names a creature type, then searches their library for up to X creatures of the chosen type” but oh well.
Wellwisher is one of those cards that are either really good, or really bad. A lot of people will tell you tales of going to three-digit life during their games, or just the Wellwisher doing nothing. The main key is to have at least two other elves out along side the Wellwisher, which gives you enough life a turn to generally matter. The more Elves, the better. Be wary of the Green matchup, where you can sideboard Wellwisher in against an Elf deck.
Speaking of Elves, here is the”Llanowar” of the set. Worse than Quirion Elves, worse than Skyshroud Elves, worse than… Well, worse than just about every other Elf before it. But you’ll still often play them simply for mana acceleration. What combo are Llanowar Elves in?
A card that might as well be known as”Elvish Tutor,” the Herald is both good and bad for that. As a self-replacing Elf, Herald can let you dig for the Elves you want with lots of Elves when you need them: Voice of the Woods and Heedless One. The problem is, quite frankly, if the Herald is dying, then you’re actually sort of down an Elf, aren’t you?
You need three Elves on the table for the Pride to do what Giant Growth does, and the whole”need at least one elf to work” thing kind of sucks, too. However, if you and your opponent has a lot of Elves, this can make for a huge bonus to the tune of +7/+7 – which is a lot for a G. You will likely play this in the same decks you would play Heedless One in, and not in decks where you wouldn’t.
Why not just name her”Beastress” and be done with it? I love Wirewood Savage. I love, love Wirewood Savage. Not only is it a 2/2 Elf, which makes it good in other things besides Beast decks, the card drawing is just ridiculous – especially when your opponent is playing beasts! Drafting multiples of these turns things like Leery Fogbeast and Spitting Gourna into amazing cards simply by the number of beasts you’ll be able to fill the table with. Ever had a game where your opponent swings with a Murkdiver, you block with two fogbeasts and laugh because you drew a card for all the creatures about to die? Wirewood Savage is my favorite green common, simply because she makes so much else in a green deck so good. And hey, she sees play in Extended!
Words of Wilding
Well, if you get this and Artifical Evolution, and then drop a Wirewood Savage, you can do funny stuff like making (X) bears each turn. However generally I wouldn’t play this – I’m just saying you could. Oh yeah, good with Slate of Ancestry.