Ravnica Constructed Set Review Part VI: Multicolored Cards

Mike Flores Reviews Ravnica: City of Guilds!

StarCityGames.com is proud to have one of the hottest deckbuilders around and best Magic writers in history give you the lowdown on every card in Ravnica. There’s Gold in them thar hills! A bounty of beautiful Gold cards this pretty hasn’t been seen since the days of IPA, but which ones will make the cut in Constructed decks? Mike Flores knows…

[Black ]
[Red ]

So finally we come to Ravnica’s multicolored cards. In all our minds, these multicolored cards are the ones that define the set. These are the cards that make the phrase “Invasion Two” come up in our heads despite the fact that we’ve never seen the cards yet. Okay, by now we’ve all seen at least some of the cards, but you know what I mean. The important thing to remember is that Ravnica is a Guild-based system, so we won’t see a lot of Yavimaya Barbarians or Gerrard’s Verdicts… All the cards are going to be centered around Boros, Dimir, Golgari, and Selesnya Guilds only.

Multicolored cards in general make regular spells look like garbage; just compare Lightning Helix to my beloved Vicious Hunger. Lightning Helix is better than that deck-defining and underrated card in every way: Lightning Helix is faster, deals more damage, and gains more life than Vicious Hungerand Vicious Hunger was a very good card. For the most part, multicolored cards are unspectacular, but look so good because they are also undercosted. You might only get a “very good” out of the typical multicolored card… but because you don’t pay very much total mana for it, you can’t complain. Look at Meddling Mage; it’s a bear. In fact, it’s not even the best bear. All it does is… ruin people’s decks while attacking for two. And really, what do you want out of a two-drop besides the old bashbash? Again consider Lightning Helix… it’s good, but it isn’t Time Spiral.

For the multicolored cards, our measuring stick is going to be an aggressive one, but balanced by how intensive the color requirements for any card may be at a specific drop. Conveniently for Ravnica, the Guild system actually makes our job easier: if a card is good enough, 99% of the time, we’re going to know what deck it goes in. To make a long story short, constructed quality multicolored cards should be better at any given mana cost than single color cards… and are generally pretty obvious about it.

The rating system:

Constructed Unplayable

This card should not be played in Constructed under any normal circumstances and will never generally be found in a competitive Constructed deck. In the case of multicolored cards, the effect may be a powerful one, but not justified by its cost. Example: Aether Rift, Coalition Victory

Playable – Role Player

This card is either unspectacular and competing with cards that do the same thing more efficiently or useful in only a limited number of decks. For whatever reason (redundancy, lack of better alternatives), the card is good enough to fill a role in a reasonable Constructed deck. Example: Cavern Harpy, Heroes’ Reunion

Playable – Staple

This card is played in whatever decks and strategies where it would be appropriate, almost without question. When the card is absent, that is when we start asking questions. Example: Anurid Brushopper, Pernicious Deed

Playable – Flagship

This card has a powerful or unique effect, so much so that we build decks around it rather than fitting it into decks. Quite often the presence of this card allows for new archetypes to be explored. In some cases, those archetypes are not very good (but without their flagships, we would never even ask the question). Example: Fires of Yavimaya, Psychatog

The cards:

Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran

This card is very clunky. If it were a straight up 5/5 for five, that would be one thing, but Agrus Kos is unfortunately a 3/3 for five with a conditionally busty ability. Because of this, he is likely to be busted, on the wrong end of a Lightning Helix more often than you would like. That said, I could see some versions of Boros playing one or so copies at the top end… Just don’t look for this guy to occupy the same amount of space as automatic beaters like Boros Swiftblade.

Playable – Role Player

No, I don't know what Autochthon means either.

Autochthon Wurm

When we say “Constructed Unplayable,” we don’t necessarily mean “you can’t pray that it’s on top of your deck for an Erratic Explosion,” merely that no one would ever want to play the card under normal circumstances. Is this thing even worth reanimating? I mean 9/14 is big, but it requires the same amount of successful connections as a seven-power creature… and you can easily cast even eight power creatures in Ravnica. At least Automatically-overlooked Wurm has Trample.

Constructed Unplayable

Bloodbond March

You know how every single player in your group at some point talks about making a deck with Myr Servitor, but they never do? Bloodbond March is the new Myr Servitor… in fact, it kind of makes everyone into Myr Servitors.

In all seriousness, this card probably has some virtue. You would never play it main deck unless the format looked really odd, just because you wouldn’t want the opponent to get the benefit. You would probably play it alongside a lot of 187 action, Flametongue Kavu or the equivalent… but even then it might not be good unless you were trying to overwhelm control with must counter threats.

This card doesn’t seem very good to me.

Playable – Role Player

Boros Swiftblade

When they talked in the old days about being a little apprehensive about Double Strike, this was the card that was worrying them. Look for Boros Swiftblade to team up with Umezawa’s Jitte and any number of less utterly broken combat enhancers soon. A mere Loxodon Warhammer makes this guy unbelievable… a Jitte in his hands probably goes lethal in two strikes.

Playable – Staple


This card isn’t nearly as expensive and terrible as it seems at first glance. For six mana, you get a pretty decent Pyroclasm effect, and for purposes of Saproling sweep, you only need five. When you factor in all the life you will be getting back, Brightflame pays for itself in time control.

No one is saying that this card is the second coming of Wrath of God, but it really isn’t horrid, and will serve some kind of double duty in the creature defense and life preservation roles in at least Block Constructed. As with any Radiance card, Brightflame has a built-in disadvantage… if your opponent removes the primary target, you’ve just wasted a ton of mana.

Playable – Role Player

Chorus of the Conclave

First of all, this card costs twice as much mana as a Constructed quality bomb should usually cost. Second of all, its effect is nowhere near good enough for the associated cost. For eight mana, I want more than a 3/8… Traditionally I have settled for a 6/6 Haste, Flying, Trample, Vigilance, but never have I thought about keeping someone around so that I could spend more on the next guy.

Constructed Unplayable

Circu, Dimir Lobotomist

This card has one of the best illustrations in the history of Magic: the Gathering, and for that reason alone I want to summon him in decks. As for his applications, I fear Circu is a tad slow… But if you untap with him in play, a combo deck will almost never be able to deal. Cast a cantrip or two – or better yet, some sort of Duress – and it is basically over for the opponent. Circu is like having multiple Meddling Mages in play… only you don’t quite get to call what card(s) he is chanting over.

That said, Circu is pretty useless against a beatdown deck and too slow to beat most control decks… But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some application against that remaining 1/3 of the overall Magic metagame… the goal is to get him in play quickly enough that he is trump.

He is also small.

Playable – Role Player

Clutch of the Undercity

I understood Undermine. Absorb was UUW for Counterspell (UU) and Healing Salve (W); Undermine was just Absorb’s equal and opposite. I got that. I don’t get Clutch of the Undercity. This card costs one more than Undermine for a significantly less powerful effect. Even if you consider Boomerang exactly as good as Counterspell – which it’s not – then Clutch of the Undercity should be UUB, not 1UUB. How does this card compare to Repulse? Repulse can only target creatures, but it costs less mana, and less specific mana. What is better, dealing three or drawing a card?

For all these reasons, Clutch of the Undercity seems too slow and bad for Constructed play… but somehow I don’t think it is. It has Transmute, which undoubtedly added to its overall cost, and even gives it some different flexibility than a card that required less mana. For instance, you can switch Clutch of the Undercity for Gifts Ungiven on the third turn.

I don’t love this card, but I can see using it, too much mana and all.

Playable – Role Player

Congregation at Dawn

At first glance, I don’t like this card. Generally speaking, I’d rather have a card in hand – and pay G less for it – than three on top of my deck… and Eladamri’s Call was used to only narrow success. That said, Congregation at Dawn is a triple tutor. Given the right amount of mana, that can be pretty insane. Imagine playing against a Red beatdown deck like the one Chad Ellis posted and just dropping three Loxodon Hierarchs, or perhaps mixing even a single Golgari Brownscale into the three? Surely that’s a tough position to beat for a damage-based deck. There are probably decks in Extended that wouldn’t mind a White splash to drop Basking Rootwalla, Arrogant Wurm, Arrogant Wurm on top with a Thought Courier already out.

Playable – Role Player

Consult the Necrosages

The various overcosted versions of Hymn to Tourach have consistently been playable in various formats. Brian Hacker was famous for siding in Stupor in Extended whenever he didn’t know what else to do against especially resource constrained decks like Pooh Burn. This card is just a more versatile version of Unburden that has a Counsel of the Soratami upside when the opponent is out of cards.

Playable – Role Player

Dark Heart of the Wood

With this card in the Standard and Extended, I think it will be extremely difficult for some versions of beatdown to compete. Combined with Life from the Loam and land acceleration such as Wood Elves and Kodama’s Reach, it should not be difficult to make Dark Heart of the Wood go completely insane. Probably a sideboard card against beatdown or certain versions of combo, this card is nothing less than Zuran Orb on steroids… and they restricted that particular artifact.

Playable – Staple (at least sideboards)

Dimir Cutpurse

This card is nowhere near as good as Shadowmage Infiltrator or Hypnotic Specter. I know, I know… it looks like a combination of both cards, but with twice Jonny Magic’s power on the beatdown. What’s wrong, then? The problem is that unlike the scary Infiltrator and soaring Specter, Dimir Cutpurse lacks any sort of evasion. If you start connecting, sure, this guy is unreal… It’s just that you can’t guarantee that you’ll ever hit, and a 2/2 body is anything but robust. Still, the card is powerful when it comes online; don’t forget it’s in the format… just don’t rely on it overmuch to begin with.

Playable – Role Player

Dimir Doppelganger

This card is conditionally quite strong. It has a lot of applications in formats where the graveyard matters, primarily in Extended, but also in battling the Golgari in Standard or Block. Dimir Doppelganger can take out Wonder, Genesis, or any other incarnation. In a sense, it is a super slow, but incredibly powerful, version of Withered Wretch. It can cost the opponent a card with Gigapede on the stack, or acquire that Deadly Insect reprint’s untouchable nature when a Smother is on the stack. If you can ensure that a creature of great power will be either in your graveyard or the opponent’s, Dimir Doppelganger can play Dragon or Gorgon. It is quite potent, if a little vulnerable to start. Don’t forget that this card is a nice recovery tool if the opponent has a disruptive opening, as well. Lost all your Psychatogs? He won’t know what hit him.

Playable – Role Player

Dimir Infiltrator

This is one of those cards that doesn’t seem very good, but is actually quite worthwhile to have on the team. 1/3 creatures for two mana do exactly one thing well: take down 2/1s. If the opponent is all Hearth Kami happy, introduce him to Dimir Infiltrator… He won’t be happy much longer. Obviously the Transmute is useful to get a two-mana permission spell, but I don’t know if that’s the kind of play you’ll generally want to represent at sorcery speed on your own turn.

Playable – Role Player

Drooling Groodion

The upside of this creature is that it is incredibly powerful. That is, its effect will often have a profound effect on combat, blocking, who gets through, and who lives. The downside is that, like most powerful effects, Drooling Groodion’s is absurdly expensive. A six mana down payment is quite a lot to ask for a mere 4/3, and the continual demand of four mana at a time is similarly taxing. I would typically call this card unplayable, except that I am sure that there will be certain deadlock matchups where Drooling Groodion will actually play a key role. Imagine, for example, a White Weenie deck. Even with Suppression Field out, the typical White Weenie would be hard-pressed to close against a conditional 6/5 while its 1/1 and 2/2 flyers started to fall from the ceiling.

Playable – Role Player

She's missing her suspenders

Firemane Angel

Six mana is just about as much as I am willing to pay for a Constructed card. There will be times, as with Eternal Dragon, that I will make exceptions, but usually six is it. The question is whether or not I would pay six for this 4/3 flyer. I think I might, but that I would rather have her in my graveyard. Firemane Angel is clunky, doesn’t make enough of an impact to justify her initial cost, and demands a huge price for recursion… but she also has an absolutely annoying special ability that many decks will not be able to ignore. I’m not saying she makes the first string cut, but there will definitely be times when you’re Boros and thinking to yourself “You know who I want right now?”

Playable – Role Player

Flame-kin Zealot

Kavu Runner made the Top 8 of a Pro Tour, a Pro Tour, in fact, where U/W was the winning deck. Flame-kin Zealot is a bit harder to cast, but has a reasonable upside when compared with Kavu Runner. Its mini-Overrun effect is fairly important, and makes for a decent long game strategy, so this creature is not limited to just four-drop status. Still, I don’t see the Zealot as any kind of great shakes… But good enough? Probably. BDM loves him already.

Playable – Role Player

Glare of Subdual

This card is Opposition’s retarded cousin. Will it be good enough? Not good enough to lock everyone out of a game… but probably good enough to lock certain single-minded “strategies” completely out of viability. Glare of Subdual is going to get along famously with a certain signature land – the home base of the Conclave in fact – and pairs perfectly in terms of curve and flavor with Carven Carytid. It will give certain kinds of creature decks headaches if not nightmares.

Playable – Flagship of a very leaky armada

Glimpse the Unthinkable

If decking the opponent becomes a real plan, this card is basically the signature threat. Now taking down ten of the opponent’s cards is, in relative terms, about as good as a single Forge[/author]“]Pulse of the [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] shot, so as good as that might be, a single Glimpse the Unthinkable is going to a little help. Might I suggest Twincast? There are a lot of additional cards that scream “pick me” for the purpose of decking, and all together they might in fact contribute to a viable deck. However, that is not the limit of Glimpse the Unthinkable’s usefulness. Consider this card in any number of graveyard-reliant strategies… It gives instant Threshold. It buries all kinds of Incarnations and Wurms. It is a fine catalyst to the Dredge sequence…

Yeah, yeah yeah, you can kill someone too. How creative.

Playable – Staple

Golgari Germination

Golgari Germination has incredible potential. It is proof against Wrath of God and makes Sakura-Tribe Elder even better. Both beatdown and control decks will have to respect the Germination long game, despite the fact that the card does little or nothing to begin with. That said, I don’t know if you want to include it main deck, unless you plan to force it into centerpiece mode. As a flagship, I’m not sure that this card will give you anything other than huge card advantage, but perhaps that’s enough. It will take some setup, regardless.

Playable – Role Player

Golgari Rotwurm

This card is quite awesome. 5/4 for five mana is extremely reasonable; I have played 5/3 for six mana in Black before and been fine with it. The reason it is so strong is the special ability of course. With any kind of saproling generation, Golgari Rotwum lets you Fireball the opponent out, whether or not he has some kind of Worship protection or no; Golgari Rotwurm actually reminds me of a Disciple of the Vault that can actually win a fight.

Playable – Role Player

Grave-Shell Scarab

Some very smart, charming, and frankly, breathtakingly handsome, reviewer already covered the Grave-Shell Scarab elsewhere. This card is interesting in that it can play Blinking Spirit, and is a natural source of card advantage. The underrated lcdcow, Richard Feldman, is already building decks around it. I like the Scarab, but am a little worried about its ability to play trump. That is, Grave-Shell Scarab is definitely good enough for its cost, but as a five-drop, and as a relative six-drop or later with its Dredge ability, I fear for this creature in the long game against cards like Meloku the Clouded Mirror and Keiga, the Tide Star, proven threats worth more than their weight in Blue mana.

To make a long review short, this card is a strong one, but it’s not necessarily capable of holding a game by itself if you are fighting another deck’s actual trumps.

Playable – Role Player

Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi

This card would turn heads at five mana, and might interest Constructed designers at six. But eight? Convoke or not, to the Vigilance-enabled Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi, I have only one question: “Who blocks?”

Constructed Unplayable

Lightning Helix

This card makes my beloved Vicious Hunger look like a child’s toy… a very slow and limited child’s toy. Lightning Helix speaks for itself… It is as good as anything ever printed for Red at two mana or less, even without the life gain element.

Playable – Staple

Loxodon Hierarch

“So I’ve been thinking…”


“I don’t think enough players play ‘The Rock and His Millions.'”

“The Rock was the most played deck at the Extended Pro Tour last year, and ended up with perhaps the worst statistical finishes. And the amateur level players somehow didn’t get the memo… Mid-way through the PTQ season, they were all over The Rock. It was more popular than ever and even morphed into aggressive versions. People really want to ‘know their role[s]’ apparently.”



“The problem is Ravenous Baloth… It’s just not good enough.”

“What do you mean it’s not good enough? Baloth is a 4/4 for four mana with a highly relevant ability. It was solid in Beasts and has been a staple in The Rock since Onslaught was released.”

“Well, what if you didn’t have to sacrifice it to gain the 4 life? Do you think people would play The Rock then?”

“What are you talking about? People already play Ravenous Baloth and already play The Rock… The deck isn’t even good.”

“Answer the question.”

“Yes, then. If you made the ‘gain 4 life’ ability ‘comes into play’ or some such, I’m sure people would play it. That’s a significant improvement.”

“I think so too. But…”

“But what?”

“If you take away the sacrifice condition, Ravenous Baloth Version Two Point Oh is less completely absurd with Gleancrawler or some sort of recursion. I’m going to add a sacrifice ability that makes it even better with Penicious Deed… I’ve got it. Here it is.”


“So you think people will play The Rock now?”

“Wrong Guild Sherlock. This card is half-White.”

“Doh! Sol is going to kill me!”

Playable – Staple

Mindleech Mass

Powerful, but in reanimator or some other cheats only.

Playable – Role Player (see “in reanimator or some other cheats only” above)


This card is very nice. With Disrupting Shoal – the worst Force of Will of all time – in the format, I think that Sleight of Hand and Telling Time may make some sort of B/U Xerox deck viable. Such a deck might even make Dimir Cutpurse good.

Playable – Staple


This card is actually considerably worse than you think it is. Now pretty much anyone will play pretty much any counter that you put in front of him, depending on the format, but Perplex has a lot of downsides. First of all, it’s not a hard counter. I know it seems pretty hard, but think about playing this against, say, an Early Harvest when the opponent is holding a Deep Analysis. Think about topdecking it in the middle of a topdeck war.

I know that I have been underrating the various Transmute cards so far, and I certainly think Perplex will see play, but I don’t think this a great card by any means. For an example of a great card, run the ctrl+F for “Lightning Helix”.

Playable – Role Player


If there weren’t such a Guild as the Conclave, this card would be Constructed Unplayable. However, I can’t for the life of me figure out how a straight G/W deck is supposed to get through this card, let alone beat it in the long game. Yes, yes, I know there are ways, but none of them are particularly satisfying, I think you will agree. For the most part, Phytohydra isn’t very good. It’s terrible against Black and Blue and any team with evasion. Its ability is relevant against standard beatdown and burn… but for five mana you can get much bigger bodies.

Playable – Role Player

Pollenbright Wings

Wow! You attach this bad boy and you get Rith! All it costs is… the cost of Rith?

Not even in the Auratouched deck.

Constructed Unplayable

Psychic Drain

I am having great difficulty rating the dedicated Millstone effect cards. Is this a powerful card? Is it good if you can Twincast it? At what mana is the card good, if ever? Generally Drain Life was good, even game turning, at four or five mana. This card at four mana doesn’t do anything… It’s exactly what you would get for a Millstone (minus the life), only you don’t have an operable Millstone any more.

Clearly this card is much worse than Glimpse the Unthinkable… It’s kind of like stapling Stream of Life to something. All of this tells me the card is more or less unplayable… But like I said, I am having trouble evaluating these cards. Clearly when you are devoting cards to some sort of faux “burn” strategy, then life gain could be relevant (as you don’t have paps). Therefore Psychic Drain may have some redundancy value, but probably won’t be a first stringer.

Playable – Role Player


This card is just straight up superb. It’s probably better than Vindicate.

I don’t particularly like The Rock in Extended, but this card clearly goes straight in. Its main use will be in removing Meddling Mages or Pithing Needles set to Pernicious Deed, but clearly the card can do a lot more, including killing any creature (even Black creatures, even Spirits), and serving an all around flexible slot in a deck that strives for flexibility. Consider that many good versions ran Rend Flesh last year and you will see just how great Putrefy is.

Playable – Staple

Rally the Righteous

This card compares favorably to Army of Allah, which was a staple in the 16 land White Weenie decks of its day. One of the reasons Rally the Righteous is so insane is that Boros has got the Swiftblade, and this card gives an otherwise unenhanced Swiftblade essentially six power… methinks he won’t be alone.

Playable – Role Player

Razia’s Purification

This card is too expensive for any truly insane Cataclysm shenanigans, but should still be more than good enough to hold a lead. If you have any kind of cards in hand advantage, this card should be really strong. It’s probably quite good with something like Pyroclasm or Shard Phoenix in a permanents-poor deck, sort of an anti-Braids look at board control. Obviously Seething Song is this card’s best friend, and they all might live happily together in an Enduring Ideal deck.

Playable – Role Player

Razia, Boros Archangel

The majority of decks – the non-Reanimator decks, that is – that broke Akroma, Angel of Wrath were R/W decks. I don’t know that any of them would particularly want Razia. Razia’s ability is clearly insane once she’s in play… but only against certain opponents. Normally Vigilance is irrelevant because no one blocks, but Razia’s is better and worse than normal. It’s better because she can swing and still have her Tap ability back; it’s worse because she doesn’t have any kind of First Strike or Protection to actually incentivize her to block. I’m not going to say that Razia is completely unplayable because she is a decent reanimation target, especially with Vigor Mortis pumping her to seven power, but I don’t know that anyone would actually want to play her in the old fashioned way.

Playable – Role Player

Savra, Queen of the Golgari

Savra is clearly exciting. She is one of those cards that immediately jumps out at you, asking “how do you break me?” to curious designers. Decks that play, I don’t know, Sakura-Tribe Elder (are there any of those?) have got nice synergy with her, both in terms of curve (straight to four) and game synergy. The problem is that she doesn’t really do very much on her own, and 2/3 with no life preservation is not burly enough for a centerpiece.

This may be the case of a nice character without a deck or a card with a lot of potential but unrealistic aspirations to viability.

Playable – Role Player

Searing Meditation

Don’t worry Dan, this isn’t Lightning Rift. The question is, what cards give you a persistent source of life gain to break Searing Meditation? Oddly, I think there’s an answer. Possibly you can run an Aaron Breider Peace of Crap/Iron Phoenix deck with Peace of Mind and Shard Phoenix. I don’t think you’d lose to any sort of beatdown, but you would probably have to run some sort of main deck anti-Plague Boiler.

Playable – Role Player

Seeds of Strength

This card would be straight up awesome if it didn’t cost two mana. Sadly, it would then be in the realm of White alone, and that wouldn’t quite mesh (it would also be a mess and create an overpowered White Weenie deck that no one wants to see). I have toyed with playing Giant Growth in many an unexpected deck, and this card adds a nice measure of flexibility. Look for the Conclave to win some fights on the back of this spell in the near future… Lightning Helix? You might need some help with that Watchwolf.

Playable – Staple

Selesnya Evangel

This card is just much cheaper than Vitu-Gazi, the City Tree; in the wrong matchup, i.e. a removal-poor deck like G/W or G/U, Selesnya Evangel is probably good enough to carry the game alone. Mix a little Glare of Subdual action in there and you might just work the other guy. Clearly this card isn’t going to be beating any Red Decks any time soon, and probably isn’t good enough for main deck, but that doesn’t mean the Evangel doesn’t have a potential role.

Playable – Role Player

Selesnya Sagittars

I don’t know if even Jon Becker will want to play this card in Constructed. The main virtue of this card is that it can block more than one creature. Once again – I can’t stress this enough – the ability to block is no great virtue. Vigilance is okay, but I wouldn’t pay extra mana for the ability to block when I swing with a small powered creature. I wouldn’t therefore want to pay extra mana to be able to block additional creatures when I can’t block at all. All that said, G/W creatures should be among the most efficient (just check out Watchwolf)… so a 2/5 for five mana is just not the kind of card that you want under any reasonable circumstances. Compare this card to Carven Caryatid. It’s just not a solid Constructed card.

Playable – Role Player (close to Constructed Unplayable)

Shambling Shell

This guy is a good trader in the early game. He isn’t even that vulnerable to “ping” effects because Shambling Shell can sacrifice – with no mana cost – to boost a buddy. As other writers have already pointed out, he keeps a deck drawing gas – or at least some action – turn after turn.

Playable – Role Player

Sisters of Stone Death

Sisters of Stone Death is super trixy. She (they?) has (have?) several obvious applications… once down. The problem is that the card is so expensive. Eight mana is quite a bit, even for a creature of this power. As with many other expenisve powerhouses, if you can cheat Sisters of Stone Death into play, a 7/5 with three relevant abilities is going to have a significant impact on the game… But you would not want to cast Sisters of Stone Death the regular way.

Constructed Unplayable (possibly can work in reanimator et al)

Skyknight Legionnaire

It is a testament to the continued quality of Constructed creatures that Skyknight Legionnaire doesn’t shoot straight to “staple.” There was a time when Suq’Ata Lancer was good enough for Extended Jank decks, and would be at least considered for Sligh beatdown. Today it is questionable if a 2/2 flying version with just as much haste is good enough to make the cut. My guess is that this card will make the cut in a dedicated Boros deck, but that White Weenie players won’t splash a little Red just for the Legionnaire and, say, Lightning Helix. Like many Boros teammates, the Legionnaire – which probably boasts the best picture in the set – carries a nice Jitte.

Playable – Role Player

Sunhome Enforcer

Once upon a time players would have been wowed by this creature. “It’s out of Bolt range!” they’d proclaim. With a lot of mana, Sunhome Legionnare is a true giant, and can be a significant finisher for the right deck. The problem is that you need maybe six available mana in order to have Sunhome Enforcer keeping pace with other decks’ trumps, and on six, he doesn’t even tangle with Gleancrawler. That said, this card makes a fine wall, and can scare off 3/3s in the early game and mop up later.

Playable – Role Player

Szadek, Lord of Secrets

Szadek is one of those cards that can go in a cheat strategy as one of the borderline inclusions. You can conceivably hit seven in Constructed (look at Eternal Dragon). Once in play Szadek can tangle with Dragons, which is important given his fairly high cost. As for abilities, I should hope that if you start tagging with a seven you can win the game, and Szadek, Lord of Secrets certainly fits the bill on that one. If he didn’t demand so much dedicated Black and Blue mana, I’d almost recommend this card for one of the late game Green decks.

Playable – Role Player

Thundersong Trumpeter

There’s nothing wrong with this guy… He just isn’t good enough. In Constructed, Thundersong Trumpeter is competing with Boros Swiftblade and potentially Goblin Legionnaire at the same cost. Even in a two-drop glutted deck that couldn’t run WW cards like Hand of Honor, I’d expect this card to take a back seat to Kami of the Ancient Law.

Constructed Unplayable

Tolsimir Wolfblood

Tolsimir Wolfblood is a little on the small side for his cost, but the ability to spit out 4/4s makes up nicely. This is one of those creatures that the opponent has to get under control immediately if he wants to avoid losing. Of course for six mana, you’d expect that to be the case.

As an asymmetrical Crusade, Tolsimir Wolfblood is clearly invaluable. Watchwolf in particular likes having him around, though I can’t see Samurai of the Pale Curtain complaining.

The only issue I can think of is that we haven’t seen a constructed Conclave deck yet. I’m not sure if those decks err towards the Birds/Elves model like Fires of Yavimaya or the Red Zone, or if they start on two mana and go the “bears and bigger” route (similar to Invasion Block G/R with no one drops). One deck can accelerate into Tolsimir Wolfblood, gaining a bit more from his Crusade ability, but the other will be tighter on mana, I imagine.

Playable – Role Player

Twisted Justice

This card seems very similar, but slightly superior, to Overwhelming Intellect to me. Twisted Justice is exceedingly slow, but its effect on the board is impossible to ignore. The main difference between this card and the Saviors of Kamigawa predecessor is that where Overwhelming Intellect would force you to play “badly” in order to gain card advantage when pressed by superior tempo, Twisted Justice is the reverse: rather than forcing you to hold mana back in the hopes of reversing an adverse position, you actually use your mana to take down a key threat that is giving the opponent tempo. In matchups that come down to stalled board positions especially, this card is a big winner.

That said, I can’t imagine playing Twisted Justice main deck in any format I am currently familiar with.

Playable – Role Player

Vulturous Zombie

This card is simply phenomenal. Like Birds of Paradise before it, this overcosted Green flyer will draw removal immediately. If the opponent doesn’t do something about it, Vulturous Zombie is just going to win the game by itself. Look at how this Plant Zombie’s high mana cost helps it: in formats with Pernicious Deed, it allows The Rock to destroy 0-4 threats, leaving the Vulturous Zombie – and leaving it with a ton of +1/+1 counters! It is also a nice kick in the jewels when combined with pinpoint or mass hand destruction: I’m disrupting your strategy… but don’t worry, this here Vulturous Zombie is going to put you down but quick.

Playable – Staple


Don’t get too cocky!

I mean, sure, Watchwolf is simply one of the most efficient creatures ever printed for its cost. You can tell that just by looking at it. But it doesn’t walk away from fights with Bushido Samurai and isn’t in the same league as Wild Mongrel or Arcbound Ravager. Play it, sure. Be prepared to see it across the table, yes. But don’t get too cocky.

Playable – Staple

Woodwraith Corrupter

This creature costs about as much as Kamahl, Fist of Krosa and has superior stats. Now Kamahl had upsides that the Woodwraith Corrupter lacks… He could efficiently animate more than one land in a turn, which made him better in conjunction with mass removal, and he had that Overrun ability, but Kamahl was never really a Tier One. Woodwraith Corrupter is different… His spawn are larger, and permanent. No one really laughs at 4/4 creatures, and he can make profitable use of Sakura-Tribe Elder or Kodama’s Reach extras. That said, he’s a tad slow – slower than Kamahl in real implementations – and isn’t going to be much help against combo or control decks. For that matter, he might not be great shakes against creatures… but he should still have some serviceable use, and his toughness, at least, should make him a Constructed consideration if not first stringer.

Playable – Role Player

Woodwraith Strangler

Woodwraith Strangler is kind of like the third or fourth endings in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. We’ve gone through the harrowing Spider bit, clashed with some dark lords, seen some cool new ways to blow stuff up, and then… Yep, it’s Woodwraith Strangler. ntks.

Constructed Unplayable

The multicolored cards do not disappoint in Ravnica. There are strong cards in each color combination, though I think that Green and White got the lion’s share of the goodies. This shouldn’t really be surprising, considering these colors got two Guilds each.

Tomorrow we take a closer look at the Guilds with Guild Mana and Artifacts; Thursday we’ll finish up with Lands and Cycles, and Friday it’s back to usual.