The Only Good Fifth Dawn Review

Longtime Pro Tour vagabond Noah Weil is back with a set review that only a Pro could write. Noah even takes time out of his busy schedule to provide some possible decklists for upcoming Nationals competitors. If you want a real insider’s take on all the goodies present in Magic’s newest set, look no further!

I’ve been reading lots and lots of Fifth Dawn reviews and I’m constantly amazed at what people have been including, and more incredibly, what’s been missing. I’ve been playing Magic for over fourteen years now, so I think I got a pretty decent handle on the way games play out. As such, here’s the real list of Fifth Dawn cards that will have impact, be it Limited or Constructed. I’ve listed the top 10 from each color, except for artifacts of course, since they have so much more. Enjoy!


Abuna’s Chant

This is a very interesting card. Keep in mind you don’t have to Entwine it, although I can’t imagine not wanting to. It’s great tempo. For example, if they spend twelve mana to Fireball you and your Eviscerator for five, you can spend six mana to block the whole effect. Furthermore, with Eyes of the Watcher in play, it has scry: 2!

Auriok Salvagers

Everyone knows this is infinite mana with Black Lotus. It’s also infinite life with Sunbeam Spellbomb, infinite damage with Pyrite Spellbomb, etc. This card is very solid, and it’s got a sweet ass.

Auriok Windwalker

It kind of looks like Leonin Shikari, but there are some key positives it has over it. For one, it flies. If you’re going to have Equips, you may as well have them on a guy that’s going to get through. Type Two right now is basically a gigantic stall factory, and Windwalker punches through pretty hard. Plus with Lightning Greaves, it has haste, which lets you throw the Greaves wherever you want. And it flies!

Bringer of the White Dawn

Well I’m not going to lie, if you get this thing in play, you cannot lose. Recursing Platinum Angels, Mindslavers, Sunbeam Spellbombs, or Pyrite Spellbombs will lock up wins in short order. I love the art on that guy too; it looks like he’s gazing at wreckage (your opponent?) wondering what artifact he’s going to bring back next. That kind of emotion is pretty powerful. Bringer of the White Dawn has trample.

Raksha Golden Cub

People have been dismissing this guy, and I’m not seeing why. Let’s assume the most likely scenario of getting him in play on turn 6 with an equipped Loxodon Warhammer. Not that many people know this, but double strike gets you double life with the Warhammer. The second Raksha doesn’t even need to be equipped, although another Loxodon Warhammer couldn’t hurt! Prepare for this guy, or he will wreck you.

Roar of Reclamation

This card looks like Replenish, but it’s not nearly as good. For one thing, it costs seven, Two Of Which Must Be White, ala having a lot of Plains in play. As the Scottish say, it’s an”I win moor card” and aside from Tommi Hovi, Scotsmen don’t win Pro Tours.

Stand Firm

First Uktabi Orangutan and now this. Someone inside Wizards has a pretty juvenile mind. On the plus side, this has super-scry (scry: 4) with Eyes of the Watcher out.

Stasis Cocoon

This was a card that needed making. Shuts down lands, and more importantly, shuts down Raksha decks. Between maindeck and side, I’d expect every deck that can find a way to cast this should run four. And every deck should find a way to cast this.


Into Thin Air

Another card getting blasted and I’m not seeing it. Here’s a typical scenario. You’re playing the Affinity mirror. You have four Arcbound Ravagers and four Skullclamps out. You want to punch through, but mana’s getting tight. Regress sucks and Echoing Truth is a double-edged sword. Poof! Into Thin Air. Just like their chances of winning. GG.

Plasma Elemental

At first I thought this card was on the weak side. But as usual, I kept dismissing potential. Aside from the obvious Skullclamp and Shield of Kaldra, Whispersilk Cloak is probably the best equipment out there right now. It’s an open debate whether being unblockable is better than being untargetable (metagame I suppose), but why not slip a Greaves on this thing and have the best of it all? One toughness doesn’t matter when it can’t die!


Like the board game, it’s pretty good. If Mycosynth Lattice is in play, you can take any card from their deck at all, which is fairly exciting. Be careful though, cause if they Disenchant the Lattice, the Acquired card goes back to their hand.

Blinkmoth Infusion

I was pretty pissed when I saw fourteen mana until I saw it had affinity too. I mean, if you’ve got fourteen mana, why haven’t you played Darksteel Colossus and slapped Warhammer on it? But the affinity makes it interesting. All you need out is four Gilded Lotus (five with Sculpting Steel [mise!]) and some artifact lands to bring this thing down to like five mana, making it better than any other card that untaps artifacts ever made. If you can’t win with like eighteen mana of any color (I recommend Door to Nothingness, which now that I think about it, untaps with the Infusion, making it excellent), then maybe you should take up Chess or some other kids game. And by the way, with one extra paltry mana, this beauty has scry 2! Mana and card advantage? Sign me up!

Artificer’s Intuition

Myr Servitor anyone? That might be a touch romantic, but some Timothy will try to work it out.

Disruption Aura

Two words. Early Frost. Exactly.

Eyes of the Watcher

This might be the defining card for Fifth Dawn. It gives broken cards (cough-Blinkmoth Infusion-cough) the ability of phat CA, but it gives the already excellent pre-scry:2 cards super-scry: scry:4 Looking four deep is amazing, but getting it on a permanent basis is tres sexy.

Advanced Hoverguard

This is a 2/2 flier for four with an ability that lets it not be targeted by spells or effects. Keep in mind that you don’t have to make it untargetable before you do something. It can be used in response to your opponent or you foolishly trying to target it. With a Warhammer and Whispersilk Cloak on it, this thing becomes a real monster.

Fold Into Aether

Not all of Blue’s cards can be gems. This is one horrid piece of crap. It’s only good against creatureless decks, and only if they have no creatures in their hand. When will Blue get its day in the suns?

Hoverguard Sweepers

It can be Undo, and that’s pretty good, but it can also be a lot more. You can use one bounce on their creature (the one with the Warhammer on it, natch) and use the other on the Sweepers themselves! This lets you pound away with your remaining forces. Eight might seem like a lot, but remember with Sapphire Medallion in play, it only costs seven.


Cosmic Larva

See my entry for Crucible of Worlds

Magma Jet/Magma Giant

This is a great start to a volcano-themed deck. Some Torrent of Lavas, Volcanic Eruptions, maybe Flame Jet, Volcanic Islands, and perhaps a couple of Gravity Binds.

Mana Geyser

This card is really bad, although with Helm of Awakening out it only costs RR2. Where are you going to put that extra mana? Why not Lightning Cloud?

Rain of Rust

Fissure moves to Red and gets a little juice. If they reach nine mana and are holding cards in their hand, you may want to keep land in yours until the smoke clears

Reversal of Fortune

A lot of authors have said this card should never have seen print and I’m inclined to agree. This is what Wizards refers to as a”swing” card and frankly I’m surprised they made it. Whoever gets theirs first will win, simple as that. I will explain. In the most common instance, the first person to reach six will cast it. Their opponent, who only has five mana, will get their Reversal plucked out of their hand. Then you simply cast their Reversal to get another one, until all four Reversals are out of their hand.

Then you use their last one to get Unburden and knock out their entire hand!

According to Geordie LaForge, that’s 8:1 card advantage (unless they discard Beast Attack of course), all from a little Red sorcery, which has scry:2 if Eyes of the Watcher is in play! Obviously Wizards dropped the ball on this one, since Red shouldn’t even have discard in the first place.

Spark Elemental

This card is just foul. In the best case scenario, you do three damage to them for one mana. That’s fairly poor by any standard, but then you have to keep in mind that for the three damage to matter, it has to be late game and if it is, why does the fact that it costs one matter at all? And that’s assuming they don’t have any kind of blocker or pinger or COP:Red out, or any near infinite reasons of why they don’t have to take three damage if they don’t want to! And if they do take the three, great! You’re out of a card, they’re at fifteen (after you Shock them, obviously) and now they get to play their game.

Some people might think this card is playable in Limited. Pet them and give them cake, for they are the much coveted”walking byes.” Here’s a fun thought experiment. How much life would you be willing to start at so that they will play first turn Spark Elemental? I’d start at least thirteen life, if not less. That’s right, I’m willing to take seven damage before the game even starts just so they can play a card that gets me down to ten. I mean, wouldn’t you start at ten life if you could automatically win? Oh wait! It’s got Trample! Well, Christ in a basket, how did this environment warping card get through R&D? I mean, here we had a nice solid metagame, and then Spark Elemental comes and builds our decks for us. Sorry, all you fools who thought Magic was a skill game. Get ready for Spark Elemental Summer. It’s got trample! Well!

Vulshok Sorcerer

This has haste so it’s locked up to at least one damage. That’s assuming they will kill it as soon as they see it, which is a bit pessimistic, don’t you think? In poker, we call this a freeroll. In Magic, we call this card awesomer.


All Suns’ Dawn

Better bring your SPF 200! Just Kidding. This card is actually quite strong in a five-color deck. I think it’s safe to say, the more cards you can return with it, the better. Ideally, each card you return should win the game on its own, so if the first four get countered, the fifth will be awesomer.

Dawn’s Reflection

Fifth Dawn has kind of a solar theme, doesn’t it? This card is fairly sick. The last time a land came out that could produce three mana of any color (Lotus Vale), it was emergency restricted in Type Two. Things are a little faster right now, but keep in mind, with one tap of reflecting land, Warhammer equips on anything. Plus the sunburst cards would love more colors, and the colors would love more lands that make colors! Everyone wins, but especially you. Obviously, you should splash Green for this fixer in your draft decks.

Ferocious Charge

Simple question… Would you pay GG2 to kill any creature blocking or blocked by one of your creatures, and then dig four deep? Me too. With this sweetness and Eyes of the Watcher in play, that’s exactly what you get. Compare this to Vanquish, which only has pitiful scry:2 for W3, and only kills blocking fellows.

Eternal Witness

Wow. Wow. Wow. This thing was made for two things: bringing back cards, killing people dead, and winning games. Eternal is right; it cannot be stopped. It reminds me of every 2/1 Green creature, except by being far better. Pluck back your All Suns’ Dawn to pluck this thing back, repeat ad nauseum. I believe this card was a mistake, but only time will tell. Wurm’s Tooth does put this over the top. Every Green deck should run four.

Rude Awakening

4 Wood Elves

4 Rampant Growth

4 Explosive Vegetation

4 Beacon of creation

4 —Rude Awakening—Insane!

4 Icy Manipulator

1 Sword of Kaldra (Wish I could play more)

1 Helm of Kaldra (But they are)

1 Shield of Kaldra (Legendary)

4 Ravenous Baloth

4 Tornado Elemental

3 Silvos, Rogue Pimp

22 Forest

Good luck at Nationals!

Tangle Asp

Tangle Asp/Nemesis Mask Tangle Asp/Nemesis Mask Tangle Asp/Nemesis Mask Tangle Asp/Nemesis Mask Tangle Asp/Nemesis Mask Tangle Asp/Nemesis Mask.


Tornado Elemental

Gragghhh! Look At Me I’m The Living Incarnation Of A Tornado. I Get Really Dizzy! I Have Many Names, Like Twister And Cyclone. I Kill Fliers Dead. See Me And Tremble! But seriously, not a woman you want to meet in a dark alley.


Blind Creeper

Awful awful awful. It’s the Spark Elemental of the set, but with worse art. If you’re lucky, it’ll do three. More likely, they’ll Blinkmoth Infusion this little dork into oblivion. Stay away!

Cackling Imp

Never a bad draw, this puts your hapless opponent on a serious clock. I believe Cackling Imp and Touch of Vitae were made for each other. For all fifteen of you Type One players, I got a new deck for you.

Bringer of the Black Dawn

First, spend two life to get Vexing Arcanix. Then spend two life to draw whatever card you want out of your deck for the rest of the game, + a free draw! The best part about this combo is that each piece works great on its own. At some point, you may want to spend some life to get some life (Nourish, and probably put it on an Isochron Scepter while you’re at it) or bring it back with Eternal Witness. Assuming you don’t lose, you will win the game. Bringer of the Black Dawn has trample.

Ebon Drake

Good lord, if I want to lose life I can just mana burn. Better have your Worship handy.


With this out plus Vampire Hounds, you can discard a myr and give each +2/+2. That’s not bad, and with Rigger out, it gets +1+1 as well. Perhaps a target for the Black Dawn Bringer?

Lose Hope

Oh look at me, one of my creatures has gotten -1/-1! Oh yes, I’ve lost hope! I’m at the gates of Dis, with my pitiful, weakened creature. What’s the point of going on? He killed a Myr, or perhaps made my Fangren Hunter 3/3. Woe unto me! And no! He is looking at the top two cards in his library! Certainly Atropos has cut my thread, and I will be sliding into the inky abyss. [Sigh, somebody has read the classics. – Knut, in editing purgatory] Yeah, when my opponent plays a card that does nothing, remind me to concede on the spot.

Devour In Shadow

Strictly worse than Terminate. Also, I don’t like it when Black can kill Black creatures, so I don’t play it on general principle. It might be a good card, or it might not, but it’s too out of flavor for my tastes.

Night’s Whisper

Shhh, I spend two to draw two and lose two. Skulltap lets you draw two and only lose one. I’m a really bad card, but don’t tell anyone, shhh.

Nim Grotesque

I think it’s safe to say we’d all be playing Nim decks if it weren’t for that irritating low toughness issue. Mephitic Ooze was a start, and here’s the finisher. With the gigantic ground stalls of Type Two these days, having tons of toughness can only be a good thing. It’s also great because if you haven’t drawn an artifact by turn 7, it’s still a tight little package.

Plunge into Darkness

Do you know how much life this thing gives you? It’s really crazy. For only three mana, you get to turn each one of your little monsters into Bottle Gnomes! And scry: 2! This is a fine answer when your Lord of the Pit goes haywire, or when the inevitable Stasis Cocoons come onto your actual Bottle Gnomes, or even just to gain a little insurance when if you think your opponent might start slapping down Fireballs (better safe than sorry). I’m glad this card is rare, and I’m going to be mighty pissed when those lucksack opponents play it in my leagues.

Relentless Rats

I suggest 33 of these, 4 Incoming, 3 Mass Hysteria, and 20 lands. You get the efficiency of the clean rat kill, or the delicious fun of combing them out (This is the combo set, after all). A fun card, but watch out for those Eradicates!

Vicious Betrayal

Yet another use for those Cocooned Bottle Gnomes, this goes hand in hand with Plunge into Darkness. I read from BethMo that the mark of a good card is one that can gain more life or do more damage than its casting cost. VB does exactly that, and then some. Besides the ease it slips into Eyes of the Watcher decks, the little number can pull off some staggering numbers. After attacking for fifty-two, why not Fling the pumped creature at your”respectable” opponent? Don’t forget to scry!


Baton of Courage

What a great Limited card. Good numbers, good mana cost, and it even sticks around later to help with Affinity or Atog or somesuch. People don’t realize how good this card is yet, but they will.

Chimeric Coils

Fireball on a stick, except it’s easier to cast and blocks. Good early and great late, I think the Coils/Engineer deck will be a force to be reckoned with. The buzz is that Damping Matrix stops the combo, but it specifically says on the card it ignores mana abilities ala”Spend X mana: deadify your opponent.” Learn the rules people!

Clearwater Goblet

If the Clearwater Goblet gives you life, does the Saltwater Goblet give you taffy?

Clock of Omens

Where’s Lion-O when you need him? I fully expect every deck running four Galvanic Key will add these as well. Great with and against modern Stasis builds. This clock gives okay hours and good mins, but great secs.

Conjurer’s Bauble

Just keep putting these on the bottom of your library and you can never be decked. Of course you still need a way to win, but with infinite time I’m sure a player of your caliber can find a way. (Psych!)

Doubling Cube

Now all we need is blot and bar and we can play Magic: The Gammon. But really, this card is fairly amazing. Here’s a sample decklist, which is a tad rough but shows the potential of what should be going on with this card.

4 Doubling Cube

4 Clock of Omens

4 Mana Flare

4 Seething Song

4 Channel the Sun

4 Engineered Explosives (you’ll never use it, but it does let you untap the Cube with the Clock)

4 Dark Ritual

2 Iceberg

4 Fabricate

2 Mycosynth Lattice

26 Lands

62 Cards

Scary, no?

Goblin Cannon

Good God, is thing crap. Compare this to Rod of Ruin, which costs the same to cast, only one more to activate, but can be used more than once. I’m not spending six mana to do a single point of damage, even if I can pay it off over two turns. I know they tend to overcost cards that allow colors to things they can’t normally do, but this is really pushing it.


Helio stems from Helios, the Greek titan of the sun. Again with the sun references. Tiresome. Anyway, compare this to Goblin Cannon, and compare it favorably. This costs seven mana to do five damage to any creature or player. It’s not ideal, since the more colors you spend on it, the more COPs prevent the damage (Rule 203.2), but at least you only need four of these to win the game, as opposed to twenty Goblin Cannons. God, do I hate that card.

Razormane Masticore

Something to do with all those Eon Hubs lying around. Five for a 5/5 is nothing fancy, but another madness outlet is always welcome. It would still be overpriced by about two mana if it didn’t have First Strike. I really like First Strike. It reminds me of cobras.

Summoning Station

Perennial JSS Champ Ben Ashkroft turned me on to this card. Easy win with this combined with Grinding Station, but it’s got lots of other uses as well. Blasting Station is one. Atog is another. Two Skullclamps and this = good times. I thought seven was a bit high in the casting cost, and then I thought it was too low. Then I thought it was just right, although Detonate scares me a little. Still, I expect to see four of these in every deck. Who couldn’t use infinite armies?


Well that’s about it for me. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did in writing it. Maybe you learned a little something along the way. I am so confident in my predictions that I will make an offer to Magic community.

If every single one of my cards is not in the top 8 decks of the US or South African Nationals, I will write ten million words. Stupid promise? I’m not worried.

Any questions, compliments, gratitudes, or big ol’ hugs can be sent to me at [email protected]. I can also be contacted on Magic Online via BestDressedSon. Shalom!