Preview season is here again, and the only things coming out faster than new previews are ratings, rankings and evaluations of them. While breakdowns of cards by more experienced players can definitely help you get a sense for where cards may get played or whether they get played at all, it’s also useful to be able to make those judgments yourself. Here’s a series of useful tools to evaluate a card’s playability across multiple formats, hopefully letting you quickly separate the chase rares from the chaff!
The easiest way to evaluate a preview is to just compare it to a similar older card. For example, let’s look at Brotherhood’s End from The Brothers’ War.
The card draws some easy comparisons to effects like Sweltering Suns and Anger of the Gods. In formats where those already see some limited amount of play, such as Pioneer, a side-by-side comparison makes it clear that Brotherhood’s End has some utility over the other two. The cycling aspect of Suns is at best a fringe benefit, since the places you want to bring the card in are rarely matchups in which you’ll need to cycle it. Meanwhile, the artifact destruction on Brotherhood’s End gives the card extra utility in terms of the places you want to bring it in, making it on the whole a better version of Suns.
The Anger comparison is more contextual, since it depends on whether you care about creatures being exiled, and how much you care about hitting artifacts. That’s sufficiently dependent on opposing threats that it’ll vary from deck to deck, so hopefully that’s a judgment you’ll be able to make yourself.