I’m surprised that a lot of people haven’t been giving as much love to Red as they have black. Sure, the set has tons of black cards – but just look at the great stuff red got! Reuseable burn, burn, more burn, decent creatures – and hey, it’s Ray of Command! And then some more burn. Not as good as black by raw numbers, but Red really strikes me as much improved over Odyssey only, especially Red/Black. (Durrrr…)
It’s a straight 1/1 for R unless you’re playing black and have black combatants on the board. It’s hard to imagine a situation where your opponent would be surprised by the usage of the Dwarf, but it does allow you to protect a black creature in combat or trade an inferior creature (the Dwarf) for something more useful.
Final Verdict: Not bad if you’re in black/red.
Although the drawback can be dangerous, Black/Red doesn’t have a lot of muscular two-drops. Filthy Cur and Mad Dog both have more crippling drawbacks, unless your opponent is packing a lot of Petravarks and you can’t draw any more swamps.
Final Verdict: Often enough a simple bear, which is good or bad based on if you need bears.
A tad expensive given that his ability requires a random discard, the Lancer can be a tricky fellow for opponents to overcome. Four power and first strike takes down a fair number of creatures, and the Lancer always has the potential to crank it up a little more if need be.
Final Verdict: It’s not horrible, but it is overpriced and vulnerable. I’d rather run other creatures, but you gotta take what you need sometimes.
I’m not a big fan of getting a 2/2 for four mana unless that 2/2 has evasion abilities. The ?vark is alright for slowing down an opponent – but it’s not so useful, given that Nightmare creatures sit on the sidelines and do nothing.
It should be pointed out that the Petravark is the best way for a red deck to remove opposing enchantments from land, such as Chamber of Manipulation or Squirrel Nest.
Final Verdict: Decent, but often driven into being completely useless. The most tempo-reliant of the Nightmare creatures.
Do you want to do five damage to your opponent? Often enough, no; you’d rather get a creature in play to block or at least soak up some removal. If it was 3/3, it would be a bit better, but frankly, I don’t understand why you need to give Balduvian Barbarians a drawback in exchange for dropping a symbol from the casting cost.
Final Verdict: It’s not hideous and it is worth playing, but don’t rely on it unless you have a lot of creatures.
Haste and a card. Hurray. Not much to see here, folks; it’s generally too expensive to actually use the haste ability and cast a creature on the same turn, so you end up with a cycling card. And hey, it’s two mana. Great.
Final Verdict: If you want Haste, use Reckless Charge. It’s cheaper, and the three extra points of damage is better than drawing a card often enough; not to mention the flashback.
With Madness, it’s Lightning Bolt. I hear Lightning Bolt is a pretty dang good card. Without madness, it’s a three-mana for three-damage burn spell, which is fair priced and it has no targeting restrictions like other burn spells in Odyssey block.
Final Verdict: If you’re in red, you want these.
It’s just too much mana for too little an effect.
Final Verdict: Too expensive to see general usage.
It suffers the drawback of many enchant creature spells in that it requires an opportune moment to be cast – but it does have the advantage of being playable on almost any target and then being sacrificed to poke a smaller opponent’s creature.
Keep in mind that you can attack, assign combat damage, and then sack the club to do an extra one to a blocker or whatever. Works very nicely with all of red’s first strikers.
Final Verdict: I wouldn’t play more than one or two, but you can’t go wrong with a card that both removes and enhances your defense.
Flash of Defiance
While many might say that it’s”cute” that blue and red received anti-ally cards, I find it doesn’t really accomplish what I’d prefer. If this was a serious hoser card, I’d worry about it – but as it stands, it’s nothing more than a bad version of Demoralize.
Final Verdict: Junk, and a waste of the flashback slot.
A Bolt’s a Bolt. It’s tricky to use, but if you’re forced to use it early on, you probably need to desperately remove a creature. If you use it later on, you can discard land, or a madness card and make away fine. At times you actually want to be able to discard stuff anyways, pitching lands towards threshold and whatnot.
Final Verdict: Not bad; a fair card.
Not quite what you’d expect in red, this one fits extremely nicely in blue/red. It’s a tough, tough blocker and survives much of the removal in the set. It can also work in black/red, where I’ve seen my Pitchstone Walls survive my usages of Mutilate. A rock-solid blocker, if you’ll excuse the pun.
Final Verdict: Big, cheap and it has a useable ability. It’s a wall, so don’t draft a lot, but it’s rare you don’t want an earlier 2/5 blocker.
I’m surprised to see this card in red, but it is certainly a good card. The casting cost remains the same as its predecessor, Ray of Command, but it is tempered by the drawback of needing cards in your graveyard to be used successfully. Be wary of an opponent pulling out a power increase to protect from the Insanity. (Or be aware you can increase a creature’s power to protect it from the Insanity.)
Final Verdict: A pretty good pick. Not a first pick, but a high pick.
A Hill Giant that grows a Lightning Bolt when you have threshold. Of the threshold cippers, it’s probably second or third best, I’m not so sure. Still, an excellent card and definitely a high pick, since it gives you a fair-sized creature without a drawback (which isn’t so common in red), and a very useful threshold skill.
Final verdict: High pick.
4/4 for seven mana is how you have to evaluate this card – or maybe a 5/5. Anything past that is highly unlikely, although you could get lucky and end up with a 7/7 or so. But that isn’t very likely – odds on a 7/7 creature is a friendly 12.5%, isn’t it? I rather like how the ability works and find it interesting, but it is seriously overpriced for the fact it’s likely to be a 4/4 half of the time. Couldn’t they have given it haste or some sort of price-reduction ability?
Final Verdict: Playable if you need the fat, but certainly not good.
A 2/2 first-striker has an expected casting cost of 2R in Red. For a single additional colourless mana, you gain access to the Shade ability… And damn if it isn’t worthwhile. The Collaborator is hard, hard to block, with it’s ballooning size and first strike making it intensely difficult to kill in combat. Often enough, it’s harder than its blue cousin to block – and it doesn’t even have an evasion ability!
One of my favourite cards in black/red decks. Just dominating.
Final Verdict: Barring a superior rare, this is a black/red first pick.
While the discard may be random and the effect somewhat small, this card is not as bad as it looks. It’s impossible to ignore the fact that simply put, burn is burn. Once on the table it gives you access to a tricky, risky source of continuous damage to your opponent or his creatures.
Final Verdict: While it may not fit in every deck, it’s often seen as a late pick, where it might be better than scooping up something akin to Accelerate or Flash of Defiance.
It’s hard to really make a judgement call on this card. Basically, when casting it you need to be able to produce enough mana to deal with his highest toughness creature, and not have anything small for the spell to choke on. In that case, which is about as ideal as it gets, you will deal a fair amount of damage to your opponent or removes their best creature.
Such situations generally require a black/red deck, and aren’t necessarily all that common. The card should be looked in the same light as one would a much more expensive Chainer’s Edict. To its favour, though, it is an instant and it does have flashback.
Final Verdict: A hard card to place. It can be very good or very bad. Best in black/red where you can remove a lot of his creatures consistently.
Everything about this card makes it good, if not excellent… Except the casting cost! At four mana for four points of dividable damage, with madness to reduce the cost or gain card advantage and its an instant for when you don’t cast it with madness?. Violent Eruption is one of those nasty cards that you really hope your opponent doesn’t have.
The problem does remain that it requires a solid three red to cast – and red is rarely the ?strong’ colour in draft decks, usually dominated by black or green.
Final Verdict: Regardless of the casting cost, this is one of the best red uncommons in the set. There is just nothing bad about what it does if you can cast it.
Balthor the Stout
“Dwarves! Nothing but dwarves! Every card – a dwarf. Dwarven artifacts, dwarven lands, dwarven spells, dwarven enchantments and, of course, lots and lots of dwarves. Imagine! Dwarves as far as the eye could see!” –Mark Rosewater, Here’s looking at you, Squid.
Although saying something like this might come off as a little offhand, I’m not writing this review just for people who want to discuss strategy. This card seriously baffles me. It’s clear from what Rosewater said – and I miss Dwarves! – that he wanted to put some better Dwarven themes into Odyssey block. Goblins are gone, Dwarves are promoted. Excellent! Dwarf ready!
Then why, in the name of all that’s sacred, does Balthor give a bonus to barbarians?
Hrrrmmph. Anyways, Balthor is a pretty dang nice card. There are a number of barbarians so far in Odyssey/Torment, and a good number of them are decent red creatures. The +1/+1 boost makes them all a lot better. Of special note are Torment’s three first striking Barbarians; you really don’t want to mess with these when he’s around.
Final Verdict: Although you won’t see him a lot, since he’s rare, he’s a rock-solid three drop, right between Barbarian Outcast and Pardic Collaborator in the mana curve. He might sit on the sidelines a bit, but it doesn’t matter.
This is my favourite of the possessed creatures, simply because I find First strike on large creature so delightfully frustrating upon my opponents. At 3/3 for four mana there is nothing wrong with the possessed barbarian, and past threshold he becomes even harder to deal with.
Final Verdict: Not necessarily first-pick material, but there aren’t much better four-drops in red.
At eight mana, the ?don is a little bit too costly for my tastes. If I was playing red/black with a lot of removal where I would expect to reach eight mana, I think I’d be fine with it. Otherwise I’d just pass it on.
It’s worth noting that no, even at eight mana, ripping two lands can still be a severe frustration to your opponent – especially in sealed deck. The 5/6 and Firebreathing means it’s pretty unlikely to get sidelined when it does come around.
Final Verdict: The art looks sorta like a Grey alien from X-Files. Ooo, spooky. Anyways, it’s okay if you think you’ll get to cast it.
I’m a big fan of this guy. He’s not, mind you, a creature I believe sits properly in the rare slot, having abilities which really resemble an uncommon? But still, haste is a really nice thing to have in the early game, and so is first strike.
The discard ability is pretty useless, as white is pretty, um… Bad. And it doesn’t usually target weenies with its removal. But you can use it if you need to. Like I’ve said many times, the ability to discard cards, no matter how or why, is something you like to have just in case.
Final Verdict: Good. But it shouldn’t have been rare.
A lot of people made a lot of noise in my general direction about this card, and even I thought it should go in OBC Sligh. Well, regardless of its”value” in constructed, this card is next to useless in Limited. Early game, it’s four damage – and late game, it’s simply nothing or four damage.
Final verdict: Do you play Scorching Missile in Limited?
This card has a lot of interesting potentials. For example, say your opponent casts Shelter on one of his creatures. Suddenly you bust out the Radiate and draw a card for every creature in play. Not bad!
Joking aside, Radiate is really a”If you’re really losing to Tempo, it’s good” card. If you have few blockers while your opponent is winning with superior numbers, his attempt to clear the last blocker out of the way will likely backfire in his face. Aether Burst turns into Evacuation, Repel turns into a card they haven’t printed yet, Rancid Earth turns into one of the worst plays I’ve ever heard someone make.
Hint: Don’t Radiate Rancid Earth when you’re losing.
Final Verdict: Sideboard, so it’s not a high pick, but it can be an interesting sideboard card in some matches. Watch and consider carefully.
(By the way, Radiate has been successfully coded in Magic Online. I have two now.)
There aren’t exactly a huge number of overwhelmingly powerful counterspells in Odyssey Limited, so this is a sideboard card unless you really, really want to use a one mana cycling card. Sometimes you might very well want that, though.
Final verdict: Still, it’s not a high pick either way.
The discard is random. How are you supposed to play this card effectively when you might very well discard the very card you were trying to play? I mean, Wildfire is cool – but Wildfire doesn’t make discard my hand! I don’t care if I’m saving mana; I would like to cast the stuff in my hand!
This Dreams is meant entirely to play something large and then discard the cards in your hand to fuel a massive Dreams, clearing the board of blockers and land. You then pray your opponent doesn’t draw something cheap to remove the aggressor, because you’ve just discarded your hand and killed all your other permanents.
Final Verdict: I don’t know; draft it with two Mystic Crusaders and some Pilgrims of Justice, then tell me how it is. I’m staying away from it.
For a one-drop, this guy is a serious wow. He doesn’t dominate Limited environments since he’s easily enough disposed of – but that doesn’t matter. He’s a one-drop with the ability to repeatedly cast Shock, for Shock’s mana cost! Dang.
Final Verdict: Not necessarily a first pick, but he can fill in a deck’s burn needs all by himself.
While the White in Torment is rather rancid and stinky, the Torment’s Green is pretty solid. Decent land search, a big squirrel producer, tons of great creatures, and the best disorder and sometimes dreams. Even gets a little more threshold loving.
I’m surprised at the path R&D took. They made White suck, but Green really good? I mean, some of this stuff is really nasty to deal with and even black can have a hard time with Green’s Odyssey + Torment pool. Green wasn’t exactly hurting in Odyssey, was it?
I generally prefer Far Wanderings over this one, but it’s not bad at all. Early game, it’s a creature and an extra mana if you need it. It can help fix your mana costs – and late game, it’s a pretty large increase in mana.
Final Verdict: Decent. Certainly not a high pick, but it does combo with Squirrel Nest/Caustic Tar to its credit, which Wanderings does not.
There are three decent disorders, one okay one, and then one bad one. The Calmer lets you pack enchantment removal for these and other enchantment without really losing a slot. A 2/3 for four mana isn’t bad, and the threshold ability brings it up to what you’d expect if it didn’t have the enchantment kill ability.
Final Verdict: I feel comfortable using enchantment removal that spends most of its time as fair-sized creature. Not a high pick, but it’s good to have one or two in the deck just in case.
In another, set the snakey would feel a little out of place, given that it’s both over-priced (Anaconda is the same creature and casting cost, with the same ability, with +1/+1) and lacking in any non-hate abilities. But heck, you’re probably going to run into some black decks along the way, and there’s nothing wrong with being able to swampwalk all over them. The tap ability is stupid and useless, though.
Final Verdict: They can be maindeckable, especially in Sealed, but it really depends on the number of creatures you’ve drafted. They aren’t all that good, though.
A 3/3 with trample for six mana doesn’t feel all that right, especially given that it lacks any threshold bonuses or outright strengths. The Veteran’s ability is all right, since Green does have the best Madness cards but I’m left wondering what’s the point? Green has better creatures – heck, you may as well have made it a white card.
Final Verdict: White would play it. That’s sad.
With a madness cost of free this card instantly combines to form great synergy with card after card. Rites of Spring and get a creature, Mongrel to plop an instant blocker down, Last Rites to? You get the idea. It’s hard to dislike a card that has such an attractive madness cost and a fairly useful ability. Even when it’s not cast with madness, the Rootwalla tends to get a few licks in before your opponent can get a blocker strong enough to handle the lizard.
Final Verdict: 1/1s are rarely first picks, but it’s a strong card either way.
A number of people have made unfair comparisons between the Harvest and Chatter of the Squirrel. Yeah, thanks, guys; the cards really don’t function all that much in the same way. Harvest is most useful for presenting sacrificial squirrels, be it chump blockers, hypnotist victims or food for Braids. It gives you a total of four blocks or sacrifices, which is a lot of sacking out of a single card. And please don’t ever say, ?But you can get the same number of squirrels out of two Chatters!’ So what? I can play a Serra’s Embraces on a Knight Errant and make my own Serra Angel; does that make them the same thing?
Final Verdict: Goes in your deck if you have something to do with it. Either that, or Overrun. I pine for a Fallen Angel-sorta creature in Torment.
I’d need something as strong as Congregate to really want to play it in Limited as far as life gain goes. The Falls doesn’t won’t kick out enough life to really matter; either you’re winning or you’re losing, and four to seven points of life isn’t going to really change that.
Final Verdict: Pass. And why is it 2GG? Ugh!
I’m slightly confused why it’s necessary to make the card worse by having the abilities tempered by the land coming into play tapped, but I suppose Wizards fear Far Wanderings could be broken. Okay. Anyways, it’s pretty dang decent. Early game, it’s that extra point of mana you need. Late game, it’s three land pulled from your deck and placed into play, which is a better place to be than your library.
Final Verdict: Wouldn’t run a lot of them or high pick it, but the threshold ability is strong.
Although other players may prefer Gloomdrifter or Pardic Arsonist over this guy, he earns a special place in my heart as the quote, unquote”Overrun with legs.” There isn’t a lot of subtlety to a creature which is either a 3/3 haste or 4/4 trampling haste – but either way, it’s a great card. And unlike Overrun, it has only a single symbol in its casting cost.
Final Verdict: One of the best green cards in the set. And that’s saying a lot.
I’m a pretty big fan of this card. It’s not quite a bear and the lack of the one point of toughness does hurt it a little – but still, the extra power can make it a force before and after threshold. Threshold is easier to get when coupled with specific madness or blue cards, either by tricks or through brute force draw more, discard more style. Either way, the Scout is a good solid weenie in a set where two-drops often seem to slip in a few points before defenses go up.
Final Verdict: Solid. Not a high pick, but a decent creature.
Although an efficient and reasonable creature, the scavenger’s drawback is too difficult to safely manage in Limited, meaning it will likely deny you threshold, need to be played late, or simply die to it’s upkeep. None of these options really make for a very good 3/3 creature, especially since it’s sole ability is not going to be a big deal in all matches. Black may be strong, but you don’t see much mono-coloured black.
Final Verdict: Not very good unless they’re playing mono-black.
Depending on the deck, the Arrogant Wurm can be very good or pretty much baseline. A 4/4 for five mana is not bad; the trample isn’t a big deal unless you’re running a lot of muscle bursts and the like. If you have the instant-speed discard effects, like Mongrel, Hound, or Putrid Imp, the Arrogant Wurm will usually knock off an attacker as an instant-speed block and then attack next turn. If you lack these elements, the card isn’t anything special; Odyssey and Torment both offer better fat.
Final Verdict: Fat is fat, but it’s not exactly good fat without madness.
Dwell on the Past
It’s not really my job to evaluate between this and Gaea’s Blessing, even if the two cards do get compared. Dwell on the Past gives you nothing – in fact, it’s an extremely negative resource most of the time. Unless you’re able to grind through most of your deck at high speeds, this card is unlikely to give you anything back and do nothing more than deny you threshold.
Final Verdict: Not playable.
Most likely the strongest of the disorders by a fair margin, Narcissism is an intensely dangerous card both offensively and defensively. The ability to transform every card in your hand into +2/+2 and then add a little more on top is almost downright scary. Given evasion, you can drop a five-card hand and the Narcissism (assuming you had the mana) and swing for fifteen points in a single turn with a Hydromorph Gull. Hot damn!
But beyond that, the card makes toughness/damage reduction removal work much harder, and forces almost every one of your attacking creatures to look very, very scary.
Final Verdict: A first pick.
Not all that great. Even against mono-black decks, I generally find it’s no Crusading Knight, which tends to drift around 4/4 to 6/6, while this is often at best a 4/4 and doesn’t even get the bonus until after threshold. Against splintered decks, it’s not big enough to really matter that much; sure, it’s decent – but it’s a rare and you’d expect better.
Final Verdict: Sideboard and a low pick.
Considering that green creatures make up what are basically the most powerful and aggressive creatures without evasion in Odyssey by a fair strength, the Possessed Centaur has will always have lots of targets in most games you play. As a 3/3 trampler, it’s not a big deal – trample is not all that special on a 3/3 creature. At 4/4 it’s okay, but I prefer the Barbarian and Aven in a one-on-one comparison.
Final Verdict: Not always a first pick, often enough there are more important cards than a 3/3 trampler to pick up.
Although its drawback is akin and worse than Anurid Scavenger, this thing is huge and extremely hard to deal with. Given that most of the removal is toughness-based, the eight toughness has the awful effect of making Gurzi here endure many combats and kill many opponents. Its drawback barely matters; most games you get this down, it either dies quickly or your opponent is dead.
Final Verdict: If you’re playing green, this is seriously likely to be a first pick.
This thing is really weird. I mean, if there was a Rites spell that said”discard any number of land cards from your hand to draw that many cards,” it seems pretty likely I’d play it on occasionally in draft. This is a creature and it gets bigger from each land you discard. Although it’s not often that a person has more than two or three lands in their hand, it’s hard to see this card as anything but a serious way to push towards threshold. Heck, you could probably Rites of Spring, discard most of your hand, then cast this boy and go through a huge chunk of your library with extreme prejudice. Mono-green threshold tricks are hard to come by but undeniably powerful when they work! And hey, you get a beefy monster while you’re at it.
Final Verdict: Most likely a first pick. There are better cards, but this thing can seriously combine with many threshold cards in a scary, scary way.
You’d have to draft a lot of token producers to get the most out of this card… But it presents an interesting set of possibilities if you did. For example, the old”Zombie Infestation into Bearscape” concept doesn’t sound too bad when you’re capable of, after a few turns work, duplicating four cards in hand into sixteen 2/2 creatures. Such things won’t occur often… But be aware of this card if you draft enough token generators to care.
Final verdict: A high pick if you were to draft the necessary cards, but a useless rare if you don’t. Five mana might be expensive, but even the duplication off a single call of the herd or beast attack is quite threatening. Remember – if left uncontested, a single Call + Evolution turns into eight elephants.
Much like Overmaster but in a colour friendlier to threshold.
Final Verdict: If you need a cycler or fear countermagic that much.
As powerful spells go, this one definitely gets the smile on my face. While Vengeful Dreams can remove your opponent’s best stuff, this one lets you trade back without losing motion towards threshold for the creatures and spells you want again. In late game this can turn into a”trade five land into my five best spells,” which is just scary.
Final Verdict: Mind that it’s still not always a first pick. But it’s a solid rare, and not something you’d sneer at opening.
Well, hurray! They’re black-focused and all uncommon.
You’ll obviously want to use these if you’re using the two colours. They’re nothing special and may not even be worth the risk that you won’t have the swamp you need.
Final Verdict: *shrugs*
Why isn’t this card rare? I’m somewhat baffled at how cards like Cephalid Vandal and Hell-bent Raider can be rare, while this is uncommon? What kind of twisted logic is this?
Final Verdict: Um, it requires three swamps before you even break even. At four, you produce a little extra. How many swamps do you plan on getting out? And how many x spells do you plan on casting?
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