Time Spiral in Constructed — Green

It was all going so well… and then the Green cards came along. Ted takes a long look at the red-headed stepchild of the Magic color pie, and finds it lacking. There are, however, some diamonds hidden deep in the mossy effluvia. Mr Card Game tells us where to dig for gold… plus, a bonus section by Ben “Ridiculous Hat” Goodman!

[Part I: White][Part II: Blue][Part III: Black][Part IV: Red]

As we close the books on week 1 of the largest set review ever, I want to thank you, the reader, for taking time out of your valuable World of Warcraft raiding schedule to waste time with me here at StarCityGames.com. The journey thus far has been a tough one, but we’ve had a few laughs along the way and been introduced to some excellent cards. Sadly, the fun stops today. Not because the review is over, or because I’m not up for it. No, the reason why the fun stops here is because this time around, the Green cards suck. Don’t blame me — I’m just the messenger. I didn’t want the Green cards to suck. In fact, I went into this section with a particularly open mind. I wanted to be nice to the mean little Greens, but they just wouldn’t let me. Therefore, I felt it important to warn you ahead of time that what you see before you is not pretty.

As a consolation prize for your undying patience, you will also receive a ridiculous review from Magic’s favorite leprechaun, RidiculousHat. Ben and I disagree on many things when it comes to card evaluation (I’m not lying to you when I say he thinks Affinity did not need to be banned in Standard), so I thought it would behoove me to give you an alternate point of view. Anyway, enough introductory blathering, here’s the system and what it means:

**** – A card I consider “list worthy” for inclusion in my top ten cards in the set. (Purples get their own list.)

*** – A good Constructed card that offers something you want at a reasonable price

** – This card isn’t that great a deal, but it’s worth playing in the right situation or when there are few alternatives.

* – This card is unworthy of Constructed play. It might be a first pick Limited card, but that is beside the point.

There are no halves, and the system is intentionally approximate. If it’s close, I’ll chose one side or the other. If you want the real answer, be careful of anyone or thing that describes themselves as “fair and balanced.”

Aether Web – 1G
Enchantment – Aura (C)
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.)
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1, can block as though it had flying, and can block creatures with shadow as though they didn’t have shadow.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Green gets a card with the word Aether, which means this has a chance to be pretty cool, but all you get is an instant enchantment that makes you a little better and helps you block. That’s not going to get it done in Constructed.

Rating: *

Ashcoat Bear – 1G
Creature – Bear (C)
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.)

Time Spiral Green - Offically a load of bullocks

There’s nothing wrong with having flash, but there are many far spicier options available if you’re looking for a Green two-drop. Just make sure you remember when you’re playing Limited that this card is out there.

Rating: *

Aspect of Mongoose – 1G
Enchantment – Aura (U)
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature can’t be the target of spells or abilities.
When Aspect of Mongoose is put into a graveyard from play, return Aspect of Mongoose to its owner’s hand.

The first two cards had flash, and now that we have a card that both could justify it in terms of flavor and could very much use instant speed we find a card that doesn’t have it. Without the ability to respond to a spell or ability that goes after the creature, there’s not much point.

Rating: *

Chameleon Blur – 3G
Instant (C)
Prevent all damage that creatures would deal to players this turn.
“Sometimes the best plan is neither fighting nor running.” —Freyalise

Did someone say fog? If they did, I can’t see them. Which is both fitting and for the best, given the price you’re being asked to pay.

Rating: *

Durkwood Baloth – 4GG
Creature – Beast (C)
Suspend 5 – {G} (Rather than play this card from your hand, you may pay {G} and remove it from the game with five time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter. When you remove the last, play it without paying its mana cost. It has haste.)

Is Green finally ready to break out and show us a card that is worth looking at after the draft is over? Alas, that time has not yet arrived. This has more potential than the cards that come before it, but five turns is a long time to wait for a creature. With no evasion, no unsolvability, and no resistance to counters there isn’t a problem that Durkwood Baloth is the best answer for. You’ll end up agonizing on turn 4 over whether to have a turn 9 creature you could have hardcast at that point anyway, or waiting to overpay for green fat.

Rating: *

Durkwood Tracker – 4G
Creature – Giant (U)
{1}{G}, {T}: If Durkwood Tracker is in play, it deals damage equal to its power to target attacking creature. That creature deals damage equal to its power to Durkwood Tracker.
These days, trackers must follow their quarry over years as well as miles.

Coldsnap showed us tracking done right, as did Contested Cliffs. This is tracking done clunky. Even if this card was dangerous to a deck, they have a ton of time to deal with the problem. Vulnerability to common removal spells like Lightning Helix and Last Gasp despite costing five mana is just the beating of a dead horse.

Rating: *

Fungus Sliver – 3G
Creature – Fungus Sliver (R)
All Slivers have “Whenever this creature is dealt damage, put a +1/+1 counter on it.” (The damage is dealt before the counter is put on.)
“When a sliver of this breed enters the hive, the others claw each other in frenzied fits, thereby ensuring their rapid growth.” -Rukarumel, field journal

This is good fun, especially with Psionic Sliver, but it isn’t good Magic. Let the sliver lovers have their fun, but any viable Sliver deck is going to have to use more efficient components than this.

Rating: *

Gemhide Sliver – 1G
Creature – Sliver (C)
All Slivers have “{T}: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.”
“The land is weary. Even Skyshroud is depleted. We must find another source of mana-one that is growing despite our withering world.” -Freyalise

Having to pay two mana for your mana guy instead of one is a huge drawback, but there is strong compensation for that if you are playing a Sliver deck. You get to draw your Slivers from all colors, maximizing the synergy and effectiveness of the hive, and when you are done there is a good chance that Gemhide Sliver can prove useful for more than just paying the costs for more of its brethren. It can also lead to scarily fast multiplicity when an entire army is used to bring down a second army, and all those cards work together in multiplicative fashion. However, this tends to be both a win more type of strategy and force you to overcommit to the board. The less Slivers you need at once to pose a threat, the better off you are.

Rating: **

Glass Asp – 1GG
Creature – Snake (C)
Whenever Glass Asp deals combat damage to a player, that player loses 2 life at the beginning of his or her next draw step unless he or she pays {2} before that step.
Its venom induces a fever that causes its victims to relive the attack in recurring, haunting visions.

This is a lot worse than having a 4/1 creature, and that would be a bad deal for 1GG.

Rating: *

Greenseeker – G
Creature – Elf Spellshaper (C)
{G}, {T}, Discard a card: Search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
“A rumor passes among the snakes, whispered by the rushes, inspiring the seekers: the goddess Freyalise is alive in Skyshroud.”

If this let you search for non-basic land, we’d have something to talk about. Without that, this becomes only a source of mana and potentially deck thinning. Cards that help you get mana but don’t provide the mana themselves effectively force a mulligan on you, so they need to be highly effective to justify such an expense. This doesn’t come close.

Rating: *

Havenwood Wurm – 6G
Creature – Wurm (C)
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.)
Time rifts bring tunneling beasts of old into the hard, dry earth of the present. Most die there, trapped, but the mightiest burst through the surface.

Big and dumb, paging big and dumb. There’s no way out of the fact that this costs seven mana, and this is a lot less effective than at least one six-drop in every color.

Rating: *

Herd Gnarr – 3G
Creature – Beast (C)
Whenever another creature comes into play under your control, Herd Gnarr gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
Long ago, the solitary gnarr was a sign of good luck. Now they have become wild pack hunters, a sign of impending danger.

This was tried before back in Kamigawa block, and this is in no way offering us a stronger twist on the idea. Yes, there are some interesting token generators out there right now, but nothing that could make this even close to worthwhile.

Rating: *

Sorcery (R)
Hypergenesis is green.
Suspend 3 – {1}{G}{G}
Starting with you, each player may put an artifact, creature, enchantment, or land card from his or her hand into play. Repeat this process until no one puts a card into play.

This is far more interesting. It’s relatively easy to get this suspended on turn 2 and then go for it on your fifth turn’s upkeep. Is that worth it? In the perfect scenario it’s a powerful effect, but this gives them three turns to prepare for the worst. That’s three turns to find a counter, search for big cards, go after you with discard or do just about anything else. Any deck with this has to make this a game winner, but also prepare to function if this is countered or otherwise stopped. I highly doubt anyone will be able to do anything at the tournament level with this card, but it could have some corner uses and will be fun in casual play.

Rating: **

Krosan Grip – 2G
Instant (U)
Split second (As long as this spell is on the stack, players can’t play spells or activated abilities that aren’t mana abilities.)
Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
“Give up these unnatural weapons, these scrolls. Heart and mind and fist are enough.” -Zyd, Kamahlite druid

This is a valuable place to put split second, so much so that the extra mana it costs will frequently be worth it. The mana cost of such spells is important, but is often not the limiting factor, and often an artifact or enchantment will be the focal point of a decks’ game. This prevents them from protecting it. While I would stick with Naturalize in the default case, there are plenty of times I would gladly reach for this instead.

Rating: ***

Magus of the Candelabra – G
Creature – Human Wizard (R)
{X}, {T}: Untap X target lands.
“What would Urza think, I wonder, if he could hear how the nature mages still snarl at his name, but venerate the work of his apprentice?” -Teferi, to Jhoira

For those of you playing the home game, that was fourteen cards before we found a true playable in Green. I’m not being mean in these reviews, I’m just telling you what my pea-sized brain can comes up with, and right now it says that in spite of having gone through one-third of the cards in the color, Green is bad.

Luckily, we have a few playables in a row here, so there’s still hope. For those of you who are really old, Candelabra of Tawnos was a very hot artifact back in the day. Uses included mana filtering, getting three times the mana with a Mana Flare on the board, and truly degenerate things like getting to use your Library of Alexandria twice in a turn. As you may have noticed, Library and Mana Flare are not in the current format, but you still get to filter mana through this, and silly things like the Urzatron are floating around, waiting to be abused. One more (good) combo piece waiting for enterprising Johnnies to get to work.

Rating: ***

Might of Old Krosa – G
Instant (U)
Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn. If you played this spell during your main phase, that creature gets +4/+4 until end of turn instead.
Sometimes even humble forest creatures were gifted with mighty emanations from the past.

I can’t think of a time where I want to play my pump spells as sorceries in Constructed unless my opponent is just standing there, completely with his pants down, which doesn’t happen much. That makes this generally a downgraded Giant Growth, but one that could see play in block.

Rating: **

Might Sliver – 4G
Creature – Sliver (U)
All Slivers get +2/+2.
“The colossal thing rumbled over the ridge, tree husks crumbling before it. The ones we were already fighting howled as it came, their muscles suddenly surging, and we knew it was time to flee.” -Llanach, Skyshroud ranger

With Muscle Sliver as our guide, we know you can get +1/+1 for 1G. Unfortunately, the bounce up to +2/+2 is going to cost you an extra mana, which means you get a 4/4 for five mana, or you get a double Glorious Anthem for your alien-looking guys with a big bonus. I’m on the fence as to whether this is too expensive or not — it certainly doesn’t feel pushed, like Sedge Sliver or the two with monster abilities in Blue.

Rating: **

Molder – XG
Instant (C)
Destroy target artifact or enchantment with converted mana cost X. It can’t be regenerated. You gain X life.
“The forests have succumbed to ruin, but the spirit of Krosa remains alive and vital in these devouring spores.” -Zyd, Kamahlite druid

Molder isn’t particularly efficient, but it does give you two perks. First, you gain life, and who doesn’t love to gain life? Second, whatever you want to destroy can’t be regenerated. Both are solid, but there are better options around, and how many artifacts are regenerating?

Rating: *

Mwonvuli Acid-Moss – 2GG
Sorcery (C)
Destroy target land. Search your library for a Forest card and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
“Life gives way to death, and death to new life. Nature feeds upon her own decay.” -Ezrith, druid of the Dark Hours

Alright, so after all the preaching about heavy land destruction being bad for the game, this set delivers yet another excellent piece of land destruction. A little LD is good for the game for any number of reasons, but I think critical mass was already reached and this is the whipped cream on top. Note that it doesn’t say “Basic” Forest that you’ll be fetching. I feel some Angry Hermit coming on…

Rating: ***

Nantuko Shaman – 2G
Creature – Insect Shaman (C)
When Nantuko Shaman comes into play, if you control no tapped lands, draw a card.
Suspend 1 – {2}{G}{G} (Rather than play this card from your hand, you may pay {2}{G}{G} and remove it from the game with a time counter on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter. When you remove the last, play it without paying its mana cost. It has haste.)

This is funky — if you suspend the Shaman, you have to pay one extra mana and wait a turn, but you basically get to draw a card in the process. Neat card — not Constructed playable, but neat card.

Rating: *

Pendelhaven Elder – 1G
Creature – Elf Shaman (U)
{T}: Each 1/1 creature you control gets +1/+2 until end of turn.
The elder who carries the ancestral mantle of Jacques le Vert is tasked with his ancient mission: to protect the creatures of Pendelhaven.

Rating: *

Penumbra Spider – 2GG
Creature – Spider (C)
Penumbra Spider can block as though it had flying.
When Penumbra Spider is put into a graveyard from play, put a 2/4 black Spider creature token into play that can block as though it had flying.
When it snared a passing cockatrice, its own soul darkly doubled.

I’m pretty sure Jon Becker soiled his pants when he saw this card. It might even be good enough to see some sideboard play in Block.

Rating: **

Phantom Wurm – 4GG
Creature – Wurm Spirit (U)
Phantom Wurm comes into play with four +1/+1 counters on it.
If damage would be dealt to Phantom Wurm, prevent that damage. Remove a +1/+1 counter from Phantom Wurm.
It died with the forest, yet both linger on in twisted form.

The only member of the phantom cycle that saw serious play was Phantom Centaur, who dodged Black removal, blocked non-flying Psychatogs indefinitely, and smashed for five. He cost four mana. If this was a 6/4 for five, I might consider it worth my time to test. As it is, it will just be miserable to deal with in draft.

Rating: *

Primal Forcemage – 2G
Creature – Elf Shaman (U)
Whenever another creature comes into play under your control, that creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn.
Their calls unheeded by the withered forests, nature shamans channeled the life force of their brethren.

Is there a haste deck around that wants to make use of this? The effect is quite powerful if there is, but you have to protect a 2/2 and jump through hoops to make it work.

Rating: **

Savage Thallid – 3GG
Creature – Fungus (C)
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a spore counter on Savage Thallid.
Remove three spore counters from Savage Thallid: Put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token into play.
Sacrifice a Saproling: Regenerate target Fungus.

Under ideal circumstances, Savage Thallid is a 5/2 regenerator. Ideal circumstances for this thallid will be rare.

Rating: *

Scarwood Treefolk – 3G
Creature – Treefolk (C)
Scarwood Treefolk comes into play tapped.
To treefolk’s sense of time, ages pass as hours. They stood as witnesses to the apocalypse, the years of which they saw as one cacophonous, ultra-destructive moment.

Rating: *

Scryb Ranger – 1G
Creature – Faerie (U)
Flash (You may play this spell any time you could play an instant.)
Flying, protection from blue
Return a Forest you control to its owner’s hand: Untap target creature. Play this ability only once each turn.

Flying, protection from Blue, Flash, and a useful ability. I don’t know what you’ll use Scryb Ranger for just yet, but he’s a healthy dose of abilities in a very reasonably priced package.

Rating: **

Search for Tomorrow – 2G
Sorcery (C)
Search your library for a basic land card and put it into play. Then shuffle your library.
Suspend 2 – {G} (Rather than play this card from your hand, you may pay {G} and remove it from the game with two time counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a time counter. When you remove the last, play it without paying its mana cost.)

For one Green mana, you get an extra untapped land in play for turn 3, which is more than reasonable. It’s a little boring if you hardcast it, especially coming from the land of Kodama, but it fills a role adequately.

Rating: **

Spectral Force – 3GG
Creature – Spirit (R)
Whenever Spectral Force attacks, if defending player controls no black permanents, it doesn’t untap during your next untap step.
“The spirits of old have not left us unguarded.” -Uros, Pendelhaven elder

Against Black, Spectral Force is a house, even if he doesn’t have any protection. Against other colors he’s a house with issues, but ones that can be worked around reasonably easily. Reasonable 8/8 tramplers for five mana don’t come along that often, and well… thus far Green has been awful. Pandemonium much?

Rating: ***

Spike Tiller – 3GG
Creature-Spike (R)
Spike Tiller comes into play with three +1/+1 counters on it.
{2}, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Spike Tiller: Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.
{2}, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Spike Tiller: Target land becomes a 2/2 creature that’s still a land. Put a +1/+1 counter on it.

A spiky snidd, but one that’s ready to create an army as soon as you untap. Adding counters to creatures is not a big deal, but attacking with 3/3 masses of land is an idea I can really get behind — a particularly efficient use of resources.

Rating: ***

Spinneret Sliver – 1G
Creature – Sliver (C)
All Slivers have “This creature can block as though it had flying.”
Each new generation of slivers evolves to assimilate the strengths of the prey upon which their progenitors fed.

A 2/2 sliver for two mana? I thought I’d never see the day.

Rating: **

Sporesower Thallid – 2GG
Creature – Fungus Warrior (U)
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a spore counter on each Fungus you control.
Remove three spore counters from Sporesower Thallid: Put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token into play.

This could be the best thallid you’ll ever see. The stats are excellent and he doubles fungus production rates, making him like some sort of farming upgrade from Civilization. Your citizens rejoice!

Rating: ***

Sprout – G
Instant (C)
Put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token into play.
Centuries of temporal strife had stripped Dominaria of its natural defenses, but nature fought back with armies constructed of little more than grime and sunlight.

Rating: *

Squall Line – XGG
Instant (R)
Squall Line deals X damage to each creature with flying and each player.
The constant shifting of Dominaria’s shredded timeline played havoc with its atmosphere, combining savage electrical storms from ages past.

With this around, it’s a good thing that Earthquake won the Tenth Edition vote. Er… awkward. Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you though, because I did. Anyway, it’s Hurricane as an instant, meaning Green has a finisher in its bag of tricks even before Tenth Edition rotates in. Typically Green will use other colors to fill this role, but you never know what folks like Jamie Wakefield will come up with.

Rating: **

Stonewood Invocation – 3G
Instant (R)
Split second (As long as this spell is on the stack, players can’t play spells or activated abilities that aren’t mana abilities.)
Target creature gets +5/+5 until end of turn and can’t be the target of spells or abilities this turn.

I’ve heard this compared to Might of Oaks, and that seems about right. You are guaranteed this will resolve without issue and that the creature you cast it on will almost certainly survive the turn. Trample is missed, as it always is on pump spells of this size, and Might of Oaks doesn’t see play in Standard [unless you’re Josh Claytor — Craig], but this could almost certainly act as a Block Constructed finisher.

Alright kids, Green has beat down even my supply of pithy remarks and enthusiasm for the new. From here out you get the short short version, unless the card legitimately merits discussion.

Rating: **

Strength in Numbers – 1G
Instant (C)
Until end of turn, target creature gains trample and gets +X/+X, where X is the number of attacking creatures.
“The hermit dies. The outcast dies. The lone wolf dies. Only those who stick together survive this world.” -Uros, Pendelhaven elder

Rating: *

Thallid Germinator – 2G
Creature – Fungus (C)
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a spore counter on Thallid Germinator.
Remove three spore counters from Thallid Germinator: Put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token into play.
Sacrifice a Saproling: Target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

Rating: *

Thallid Shell-Dweller – 1G
Creature – Fungus (C)
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a spore counter on Thallid Shell-Dweller.
Remove three spore counters from Thallid Shell-Dweller: Put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token into play.

Rating: *

Thelon of Havenwood – GG
Legendary Creature – Elf Druid (R)
Each Fungus gets +1/+1 for each spore counter on it.
{B}{G}, Remove a Fungus card in a graveyard from the game: Put a spore counter on each Fungus in play.
“The sight of my thallids still thriving is a bittersweet welcome to this cold waste.”

Rating: **

Thelonite Hermit – 3G
Creature – Elf Shaman (R)
All Saprolings get +1/+1.
Morph {3}{G}{G} (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for {3}. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
When Thelonite Hermit is turned face up, put four 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play.

Deranged Hermit cost you ten mana over two turns in exchange for nine power worth of creatures, but you didn’t need to pay the echo if you only wanted the squirrels. Thelonite Hermit (which, by the way, is a much more boring name) costs you eight mana for the same deal, but you have to unmorph him first to get the token creatures. Regardless, that seems like a helluva deal.

Rating: ****

Thrill of the Hunt – G
Instant (C)
Target creature gets +1/+2 until end of turn.
Flashback {W} (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

Rating: *

Tromp the Domains – 5G
Sorcery (U)
Until end of turn, creatures you control gain trample and get +1/+1 for each basic land type among lands you control.
Ground into the footprints of the ravaging herd were clumps of salt from Benalia, moss from Llanowar, dust from Hurloon, and ash from as far as Urborg.

Rating: *

Unyaro Bees – GGG
Creature – Insect (R)
{G}: Unyaro Bees gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
{3}{G}, Sacrifice Unyaro Bees: Unyaro Bees deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
With no jungle left to contain it, the “plague of daggers” spread across Dominaria.

Unyaro Bees are really, really Green. Creatures this Green rarely see play, but both of the abilities are cool ones. Even so, Unyaro Bees feels more like a fun throwback than a playable new card.

Rating: *

Verdant Embrace – 3GG
Enchantment – Aura (R)
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +3/+3 and has “At the beginning of each upkeep, put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token into play under your control.”

Rating: *

Wormwood Dryad – 2G
Creature – Dryad (C)
{G}: Wormwood Dryad gains forestwalk until end of turn and it deals 1 damage to you.
{B}: Wormwood Dryad gains swampwalk until end of turn and it deals 1 damage to you.

Rating *

Wurmcalling – XG
Sorcery (R)
Buyback {2}{G} (You may pay an additional {2}{G} as you play this spell. If you do, put this card into your hand as it resolves.)
Put an X/X green Wurm creature token into play.

Rating: *

Yavimaya Dryad – 1GG
Creature – Dryad (U)
When Yavimaya Dryad comes into play, you may search your library for a Forest card and put it into play tapped under target player’s control. If you do, shuffle your library.
The parched earth still shielded those few souls with the heart to call it home.

After all of that, at least we end on a high note. Yavimaya Dryad hasn’t received much hype, but it’s both card advantage and an evasive beater against decks playing Forests [and against those without… – Craig]. It’s not going to make your head spin with coolness or anything like that; it’s merely a very sound card with Rebecca Guay art to make all the fanboys swoon.

Rating: ***


That’s it, folks, that’s all she wrote. I told you it wasn’t pretty. Thelonite Hermit is a certifiable all-star from the color, and then the fall-off is precipitous and immediate. Spike Tiller, Sporesower Thallid, Magus of the Candelabra, and Yavimaya Dryad are all sound men, but hardly to the degree we’ve seen recently in Green. Mwonvuli Acid-Moss and Krosan Grip are both good spells that give you plenty for what you pay for, and Spectral Force is a heavily undercosted fattie with a workable drawback. That’s eight cards out of more than forty that should see decent amounts of play — not Green’s finest hour.

Anyway, that’s all for me this time around. I’ll return on Monday with the bling of gold and jewelry. Until then, enjoy the musings of Ben Goodman and your weekend.

Teddy Card Game
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The Ridiculous Review with Ridiculous Hat

Cloudchaser Kestrel
Efficiency, thy name is Kestrel. Three-drop 2/2 fliers are nothing to laugh at, and both of the abilities here have the potential to be relevant.

Griffin Guide
Elephant Guide was really good. Some of the guys you’ll be putting this on will already have evasion of some sort, but put it on a Paladin En-Vec, or a Knight of the Holy Nimbus, or a Soltari Priest, and it’s not going to be fun for your opponent.

Magus of the Disk
This guy is… well, right now I’m going with mediocre. Spending your turn suspending a Wrath when you’re under severe beatdown doesn’t seem like the optimal play to me – especially when you’ve got to face Psionic Blast and Char and Sudden Death and Putrefy and Mortify and Faith’s Fetters and attacking for lethal.

Mangara of Corondor
She has combo potential. In Extended, Slide is pretty happy right now.

Sacred Mesa
It’ll see play somewhere, but I doubt it will as much as you think. The game has changed since this was last played.

Serra Avenger
I’ve tested a little bit with this, and I’ve been reasonably impressed. It doesn’t go in Boros, but it can go in Fish or some such. If you’re okay with playing towards the midgame, this is about as good as you can hope for.

Temporal Isolation
Nobody seems to have mentioned this card, and I don’t know why. It’s an instant speed removal spell in White – and it doesn’t just stop combat damage. Throwing this on a Magus of the Scroll or something shuts it off completely. This is the best spot removal W/x control can get, and it’s tested very well for me as a sideboard card.

Ancestral Vision
I don’t really know what to say about this card. It’s really slow, and it’s always insane on turn 1, but pretty mediocre in the midgame. It might be okay in control decks or control mirrors, but Remand and Spell Burst are so good against it. And if you’re playing against aggro, a lot of times it’s a mulligan on turns 3 and onward.

It is what it is and it’ll see consistent play throughout the entirety of its legality.

Careful Consideration
I really, really like this card. Like, remember how Thirst for Knowledge was played in U/W decks with no artifacts? This is like that. It also has the bonus of being an acceptable Compulsive Research, and again, the game has changed – especially with Blue. You need to play towards the midgame, not the lategame, because win conditions are better, threats are better, burn is better, and counters are worse. You do not have the option of countering everything and then sitting back and drawing every possible counter ever. You need to counter spells from turns 1 through 6 or 7, and then drop some large creature and protect it. If you play towards the endgame with decks filled with creatures and Call of the Herd while you’re sitting with your d*ck in your hand and a bunch of Mana Leaks, you’re going to lose.

Draining Whelk
I really don’t like that this card might be good. It costs six, but if you can survive to the midgame this might be an acceptable win condition. It’s another hard counter, and if you can do what your deck is supposed to do in the early game, this should be able to finish the job.

Magus of the Jar
I want this to see play, but unless we get some other crazy cards to go with it, I don’t think it will. Prove me wrong.

Psionic Blast
I thought this card was worse than it is – like, most decks didn’t splash for Char. But the thing is… not having to splash makes the card that much better. You can keep your mana and strategy consistent and just happen to have a blue card that deals with a lot of stuff or domes people. I don’t like it in controlling strategies that much, but it will see a lot of play.

Spell Burst
If you want inevitability against aggro, this is your option. Not Whispers of the Muse – this card. You can still get screwed by a bunch of instant speed burn if they can afford to sit back and stockpile stuff, but if you get to seven or eight mana and they’re out of cards, you can easily shut down a lot of their topdecks. It’s not a lock unless you get a ton of mana, but it takes them a lot of time to break through it. It’s deceptively good – I think this card will see a lot of play.

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
This is the world’s best Mana Short. If your opponent ever taps out in a control matchup, you fire this in there and they lose. Period.

Think Twice
I hate this card. Hate hate hate. It’ll see play, but it really doesn’t impress me at all. I would rather play Careful Consideration in most decks – I don’t like Inspiration to have echo. Compulsive Research has been played a lot lately, and has been the standard for card draw. Personally, I think the digging (and the discard) is the most important aspect, and like I said, the game has changed. This card doesn’t get you deep enough to consistently get you what you need and you don’t have all the time in the world to do that. Look at the popular counters:

Spell Snare
Rune Snag
Mana Leak

Rewind may deserve a place in there, but still – all your counters are within the first three turns of the game. You don’t have that much time to cycle early, and in the late game, I’d rather pitch an extra land or an extra conditional counter to Careful Con. Try both of them out – I’ve been very impressed with Careful Con and not at all impressed with this.

Unstable Mutation
Fish will be very happy with this one.

Whispers of the Muse
All the things I’ve said about inevitability are present here. I think this card is fine in control mirrors… but remember what I said about Teferi? This card is fine if you can get it going, but if you stabilize at 4 or 5… you just might eat a Char or something. I just don’t think Blue has the time any more and the threats are soooo much better now than they were then.

Avatar of Woe
I think it’ll be played – I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned up somehow. Maybe dredge, maybe just waiting until there are 10 guys in the bin, maybe reanimation. There are a lot of options.

Bad Moon
I know people will try Sui Black or some variant thereof. I don’t think it’ll work, but I am ready to be proven wrong.

Dread Return
This is the best reanimation spell they’ve printed in a while. The casting cost is a negligible change from Zombify (which is already played), and the flashback is absurd. Free reanimation? That’s gotta be good somehow. Expect some deck to play this over the next two years, and expect it to be good. Hell, put it in Ichorid.

Funeral Charm
This card is really good. It’s still as good as it used to be.

Plague Sliver
Meh. It’s okay. It could be played but four mana 5/5s with vanilla abilities don’t excite me any more. And if you draw two of them… well, nice Scourges of Numai.

Overrated. Still will be played… but overrated. It’ll be in some deck somewhere, but as of right now I haven’t seen any good decks with it. It’s not powerful enough as a discard spell, it’s acceptable as an Innocent Blood, and sometimes the Tremble keeps you from being able to play it.

Stronghold Overseer
This card is far too absurd in draft for me to expect that it won’t be played in Standard. If you untap with it and you have four Black mana, you should have a lot of trouble losing to creature damage. It’s tough that you have to spend your turn vulnerable to combat or whatever, but if you have a Twisted Abomination with a couple Black mana up for defense, it should be okay.

It’s the best discard spell they’ve printed in a while. It’ll be the Black disruption spell of choice – random discard has always been very strong. You’ll hear a lot of “don’t hit the land, don’t hit the land, don’t hit the land.”

Sudden Death
God, this card is good. This will probably be the better of the split second removal spells in Standard. Heavy, heavy play.

Tendrils of Corruption
If there’s a heavy Black deck that’s viable, this’ll be one of the reasons why. Instant-speed Corrupt for four mana is a very good effect – I’m okay with Ribbons during your combat step.

Twisted Abomination
I’ve always liked this card – it never dies and it fetches you land when you need it to. In the land of Ravnica mana, that manafixing is even better, and the threat is just as good. It doesn’t die to a lot – I don’t like that it dies to Last Gasp and Sudden Death, but I still like the card.

Ancient Grudge
It’s really efficient. If there are artifacts that need smashing, they will be smashed. Aggro Loam already has good artifact destruction as Burning Wish targets, but I think the deck that’s happiest about this is Ichorid. In Standard, this could very well see play… but I don’t think there are all that many artifacts that really need destroying besides Gauntlet of Might. If a deck can’t play Disenchant or Naturalize, this is acceptable.

It’s not as good as you think. It’s still fine, but there’s enough good card advantage and/or burn in the environment that you don’t need to let your opponent make your decisions.

Someone smarter than me will break this card. Someone probably has already.

Fortune Thief
There’s nothing this is actually GG against any more – except maybe GhaziGlare if they don’t have Mangara. Or Unyaro Bees.

Meh. Like I said, there’s a lot of good burn and I don’t think this makes the cut.

Jaya Ballard, Task Mage
I do not really like this card. Like, we’ve had three-mana 2/2s with good abilities before. You can’t put this in a Red aggro deck – it is sloooooooooooow. I wouldn’t mind sideboarding it against Green decks, and I wouldn’t mind sideboarding it against decks with Blue permanents, but I generally I doubt this card will see much play beyond States and Block.

Lightning Axe
It kills Adarkar Valkyrie – that’s a pretty good start. Skred is better in two-color aggro and Gelid Shackles may be better in White aggro decks, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this saw play.

Magus of the Scroll
At first, I thought this card was overrated. Then I played with it in R/B. I had two of them, my opponent tutored for three Hierarchs, I killed them all and then I killed him. If you can get it active, it’s just as stupid as Cursed Scroll used to be, and there’s a Red card in this very set that helps you get it active quickly…

Orcish Librarian
Not sure how good it is, but it’s really cheap library manipulation. That could be relevant.

Infinite with Early Harvest, 7 lands, and 9 mana. Blue is good against that, sure, and I’m not sure if the combo is anywhere near fast enough… but infinite mana/spell two-card combos usually see play somewhere.

Rift Bolt
This is the Red card that I was talking about. I think it’s really good in R/B or R/W aggressive/burn decks. Think about this in Satanic Sligh – if you know that it’s going to the face, you suspend it early, you get Magus active more quickly, and they can’t play a creature on the following turn unless they want it to die. Heavy play.

Sedge Sliver
This is a really efficient body. It helps beat down early in R/B Satanic Sligh variants and in the late game it blocks large things while you assemble the rest of your burn to finish them off. If you get two of them, it also happens to be the stone cold. I expect this to be widely used.

Sudden Shock
In Standard, this is above average. In Extended, this redefines the format. Goodbye Ravager. Goodbye Tog. Goodbye Mongrel. It also enables fantastic slowrolls and at some point people will get in a fistfight over passing priority. It’s really really good.

Undying Rage
In R/W or R/B, this could very well be a Moldervine Cloak. Not quite as good, but it doesn’t hurt that it can be used offensively to push through lethal damage.

Call of the Herd
Remand and Repeal hurt this card a little. But not enough. Repulse/Memory Lapse were around then and it was still good enough to define G/x midrange. Granted, Mongrel and its friends overshadowed it after a little while, but it’s still absurdly efficient.

Gaea’s Blessing
Oh, how I’ve missed you. Three-color control might be able to gain the inevitability that U/x doesn’t really have, thanks to all the lifegain and fat creatures and better counters and such. Be prepared to go to time every round, though. This also happens to kill U/G storm in Extended. Sorry, btape.

Hail Storm
This card will surprise people the entire time it’s around – just like back in 1974 when Adrian Sullivan roamed the Earth. It’s a very strong sideboard card for control decks and midrange Green, against any deck with an onslaught of small White or Red or Black men.

Krosan Grip
I really like this card, and again, it’s great in Extended. I’ve been maindecking it and it’s quite good against all the equipment, Leyline, every card ever in Affinity, Heartbeat, Scepter, Deed, Seismic Assault, etc. We also finally have a way to kill that goddamn Top. Take that, you goddamn annoying piece of… you get the idea.

Mwonvuli Acid-Moss
Frenzied Tilling saw a little play. Creeping Mold saw a lot of play. Stone Rain is presently seeing play. Green has acceleration and wants acceleration. This gets nonbasic forests. I’ll be very surprised if this doesn’t see some play somewhere, and it should see some maindecks if the format develops like I think it will.

Search for Tomorrow
This is insane if you suspend it turn 1, and even if you hardcast it turn 3 it’s still fine. It could very well get the nod over Rampant Growth/Farseek.

Scryb Ranger
This card has potential. I’m not sure how much potential, and I don’t think the pro-Blue really matters, but this effect has historically been very strong. It’s another card that combos with Mangara.

Spectral Force
Biggie McLargehuge. He only costs five, and he tramples – maybe not a maindeck card, but when you need fat, this will satisfy your urges. Every other turn is good enough for me.

Spike Feeder
Yes! He was already awesome… and now there’s graft? Sign me up!

Squall Line
Well, good thing Earthquake was repr – goddammit.

Stonewood Invocation
This is the best Might of Oaks ever. The built in protection from everything ever is nice, and +5/+5 is still a whole lot. This versus Sudden Shock and Sudden Death is what’ll cause fistfights, by the way.

Thallid Shell-Dweller
If it wasn’t for another 1G wall in this set, this one would be played.

Thelonite Hermit
It’s a lot of power… for a lot of mana. If you can get one to resolve against U/W, it’s Wrath or no, and being able to slip it through for three mana could very well make the card work.

Thornscape Battlemage
Love this man. He’s as efficient as you can get for a utility creature, and the body isn’t bad at all.

Wall of Roots
God, this card is so good. So, so good. Every Green deck that isn’t R/G beats will play this.

Yavimaya Dryad
This card is awesome. Wood Elves is played right now and this is a much better version – it still gets nonbasic Forests if you want, it has a relevant body, it has evasion, and in the late game you can grab a Forest and ship it over if you want to beat through.

Chromatic Star
Contrary to popular belief, this will not automatically replace Chromatic Sphere in Affinity. It may, but Leyline of the Void is in multiple maindecks. I’m not sure yet, but it’s iffy.

Max Bracht dons his Disco Gloves

Gauntlet of Power
The power glove! I don’t think this is quite up to Fred Savage-level awesome, but it only does basic lands so your opponent is less likely to take advantage of it – especially if you’re in White or Black. Sacred Mesa and Supply / Demand let you obtain that Decree of Justice-style effect. The biggest problem? Disenchant.

Lotus Bloom
I hate this card. It will see some play in some stupid combo decks, and occasionally you’ll get blown out by turn 1 double suspend, but it’s so conditional and such a bad topdeck. I never ever want to play with this card.

The two decks that played it are MBC and Wake. Wake had… Wake, and MBC had Coffers. There’s nothing up to that caliber in Standard, and pairing this with Gauntlet of Power leads you to a deck dependent on five-mana artifacts. I don’t expect much to come of this.

Phyrexian Totem
It can be fast if you drop a few guys before bashing with this man, and late game he’s not so bad either. I’m not sure I would maindeck him, but in some matchups he’s going to wreck your opponent very quickly.

Serrated Arrows
Love this card, too. It’s a great card for all sorts of controlling strategies and there are quite a few small creatures around right now. Take that, Bob.

The Rack
I was hoping they’d reprint Megrim too. I’d like to have some byes at tournaments. Oh wait, it’s in Ninth! Yus! Watch out, FNM.

Tormod’s Crypt
Extended just pissed itself.

Dralnu, Lich Lord
He doesn’t die and he lets you reuse a lot of spells. I’d put him solidly in the “maybe” pile.

Fiery Justice
In beatdown matchups, this card is king. Kill your board, bash with my dudes.

Harmonic Sliver
This guy does trigger when he comes into play off of his own effect… but he’s in the colors of Naturalize and Disenchant.

Mystic Enforcer
YAAAAAAAUS! Bashing for six has always been nice, and if you can thresh him early enough, he is a very potent threat. It’s nice that he’s invulnerable to most of the removal in this format.

Mystic Snake
G/U control has better counters than everything else right now – this and Voidslime give it actual hard counters. This guy has always seen play, and I wouldn’t think that trend would stop now.

Shadowmage Infiltrator
I just don’t know about this guy any more. He could be good in B/U control — U/x mirror matches, mainly. There’s so much more removal in this format than the last one he was in, though. Last Gasp, Sudden Death, and Lightning Helix are the main offenders, but Volcanic Hammer isn’t too bad either. Thank god for Spell Snare. And don’t try to build B/U/G aggro. It’s never been good, and Red is better than ever.

I think this card is really good – versatile. It’ll always kill something and occasionally it’ll be a Hymn. I don’t know if there will be a deck that wants this, but it’s possible that this will be reason enough to create a deck that makes it work.

Assault / Battery
Efficient and versatile – how could you ever go wrong? R/G has a lot of good animals and a lot of good burn, and this card gives you what you need when you need it. This might push R/G over the edge – though every set seems to push R/G over the edge and it just doesn’t seem to get there.

Storage lands
I do not like these cards. I do not like them at all. I will not eat them, Sam I Am. They’re sooooo slow and you don’t need the mana that much anyway. I wouldn’t play more than two.

This card is really, really good. I mean it. Play it in a control deck and see — R/B decks and the like can’t profitably attack you in the first few turns. I’m surprised they brought it back, but it’ll help a lot in two-color control for the next couple years.

Flagstones of Trokair
This is one of the most overrated cards possible. Even Becker likes it. I know that it’s a fetchland and I know that it helps you fetch your mana, but… why do you want to fix your mana with basic Plains? If you’re aggressive, drawing two of these makes you Time Walk yourself. If you’re control, playing two of these makes you lose two mana to use on instants. If you’re using a Plains to fix mana, you’re probably two-color, so if you draw too many duals it doesn’t even help you that much. I don’t like my fetchlands to be conditional, passive, and potentially negative. I tried two of these out in U/W Control, and every time I drew two, I was left vulnerable to anything my opponent wanted to unleash upon me. And the deck thinning it provides is really marginal – over 12 turns, your chance of drawing fewer lands is going to be about 6%. Play one and be done with it.

Gemstone Caverns
I’d put two in my aggro decks. Having a Leyline of the Mox is nice, but you can’t play more than two – you really don’t want to topdeck a colorless land, you really don’t want to lead with a colorless land, and you really don’t want to Wasteland yourself.

Gemstone Mine
This is a fantastic land. Any deck that plans on winning before turn infinite could play this, and three-color aggro decks should.

Any Green deck should play at two of these – maybe more. Making Llanowar Elves or some such into actual threats is an awesome way to give yourself more gas or bash for a lot early on. A very, very strong card.

Urza’s Factory
It’s a good control win condition and gives you some sort of inevitability if you can’t afford to tap low for your threats. It’s a faster Vitu-Ghazi and it puts significantly more pressure on your opponents – and you don’t have to be in G/W. Every two-color control deck should have a couple.

This card is SO TERRIBLE.

Ben Goodman