fbpx

Alara Reborn Set Review – Naya

 

by Zaiem Beg

Alara Reborn is here and I’ll be going over the Naya cards. For reference, this is the rating system we are using.

Constructed:
5- Multi-format All-Star. Bitterblossom. Tarmogoyf.

4- Format staple. Mutavault.
3- Archetype staple. Mulldrifter. Scion of Oona.
2- Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. Fracturing Gust. (Bear in mind that many cards fall into this “maybe” category, although explanation of why is obviously important)
1- It has seen play once. One with Nothing. (I believe it was “tech” vs Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)

Limited:
5- Windmill slam bomb. Broodmate Dragon, Banefire.
4- Not embarrassing first pick. Agony Warp.
3- Archetype staple. Mosstodon.
2- Low end playable or archetype dependant card. Glaze Fiend. Incurable Ogre. Sideboard staples. Naturalize.
1- Someone somewhere used this card once. Mindlock Orb.

Let’s get to it:

Behemoth Sledge

Constructed – 3
It’s Armadillo Cloak! It’s Loxodon Warhammer! It’s Superman!

If a deck can cast this, the sledge is a pretty good answer to aggro decks. Armadillo Cloak was good for the aggro mirror, and that went away when the creature died. This? It’s even better. It also gives Doran an equipment to wear, as Loxodon Warhammer was a bit of a nombo with him in play. This is one of several really strong cards G/W got from this set.

Limited – 5
It’s pack three, so you might not be able to play it with your Grixis deck, but if you can at all splash for it, splash for it. Over the weekend, I saw several unloseable games get lost because the opponent dropped a Behemoth Sledge and beat them to death with it. This is one of those “you better have an answer for this or you lose” cards.

Blitz Hellion

Constructed – 2
Might see play as a finisher in G/R, and it getting shuffled back in rather than dying EOT is interesting card design. Blistering Firecat saw play and this should too in some decks, but frankly, I’m not particularly excited.

Limited – 2
I’d probably play him in a G/R deck, but I don’t think I’ll be particularly excited about it. I like cards that are good topdecks whether I’m ahead or not, and Blitz Hellion doesn’t work if you’re behind (unless you can surprise your opponent with seven points of damage out of nowhere for the win).

Bloodbraid Elf

Constructed – 3
It’s as high a 3 as I can make it without making it a 4. The red Blightning decks and the G/B Elf decks are converging into a middle archetype mostly because of Bloodbraid Elf. The mana bases are getting stretched for her, but they seem worth it, as the card is absolutely punishing. Cascade does set up some non-synergistic interactions, however. You can’t cascade a Bloodbraid Elf into a Wren’s Run Vanquisher unless you can pay the additional cost of 3 mana or revealing an Elf. Cascading Bloodbraid Elf on an empty board into a Giant Growth effect is similarly non-synergistic, as the cascaded spell resolves before the original, so there are no good targets.

Still, free spells are free, and it’s a 3/2 with haste that says “smash target nose.” I approve.

Limited – 4
In Sealed, it’s a card that will make me think about pulling into its colors or splashing for it. In Draft, I’ll happily splash for it, provided I’m not playing a million Obelisks and/or Borderposts. Even then, it’s a hasty Hill Giant that gets you a free spell and is probably worth the cost. At the Prerelease, I lived the dream of hitting a Woolly Thoctar off Bloodbraid Elf, which made me feel all sorts of warm inside.

Cerodon Yearling

Adorableness – 4
He’s so cute! He’s a baby Cerodon! I wanted one as a pet until I read the flavor text.

Constructed – 1
This is a pretty unexciting two drop in Constructed, even in Block. Maybe a couple of years ago it would have been fine in Boros Deck Wins, but a hasty bear with vigilance is sadly not good enough for 60-card formats.

Limited – 2
He’s a baby Cerodon in every sense, and a hasty vigilant bear is going to be just fine. I downgraded him to a 2 instead of a 3 because his RW casting cost puts him squarely in Naya and Bant decks splashing red or Jund decks splashing white still aren’t going to play this card despite their splashes.

Colossal Might

Constructed – 2
I’ve been trying this in a double strike aggro haste deck in Block, with good results. [Thanks for testing my janky idea. –Riki] Colossal Mighting a Marisi’s Twinclaws or Viashino Slaughtermaster has led to some spectacular results. The +4/+2 is reasonable, but the trample is the cherry on the sundae.

Limited – 3
It’s a reasonable pump spell for decks that can cast it. Naya decks that are mostly GW with a splash of R could play Sigil Blessing, but decks that were GR splashing W really couldn’t easily. If I don’t get Resounding Roar pack one, I can still pick up a reasonable combat trick pack three for the GRw Naya archetypes. The same goes for GRb Jund decks.

Deadshot Minotaur

Constructed – 1
It’s too slow to be a factor against Faeries (there are better answers, like an evoked Cloudthresher or Volcanic Fallout), and the 3/4 for five mana makes it unplayable for its cost.

Limited – 3
Perhaps I overvalue cards with flexibility, but there are enough flyers in the format that the three damage as it comes into play is relevant, and if you draw it early and need to cycle, then you can cycle. What’s not to like?

Enlisted Wurm

Constructed – 1
In today’s midrange melange that is Standard, a six casting cost creature could possibly see play in some sort of mana ramp deck, but I’m having a hard time coming up with a competitive deck that wants to ramp up to Enlisted Wurm. Cascade is great and all, but cascading into one of the Fertile Grounds or Rampant Growths you would likely need to ramp up to the Wurm isn’t very exciting. It is if you hit Garruk, but if you already have a Garruk in play, then that’s a blank as well. It’s a nice idea, but I don’t see it happening.

Limited – 4
You’re likely to have some pretty solid cards that this will hit, be it a creature or removal spell. Sure, it’s all tears and drizzles if you hit a Borderpost, but that’s the case with most of the cascade spells. Being able to hit a Bituminous Blast or Bloodbraid Elf or other cascade spells is dreamy, but you’re left with a 5/5 at the end of it all no matter what happens. Every time I cast it this weekend, it was a game-changer.

Fight to the Death

Constructed – 1
How often do heavily creature-clogged boards actually come up, and when is this the best card to break open those clogged boards if they do? This is way too situational and isn’t the best card to answer those situations.

Limited – 2
I might be undervaluing this card, but I think it’s similarly too situational to be considered any higher. If it were “destroy all blocking creatures” then obviously it would be different, but as it essentially gives all creatures on the board deathtouch, there are too many situations where it’s not favorable to you to spend a card in this way. Maybe if I had a Necrogenesis in my hand and I just wanted creatures to die so I could give the Necrogenesis food, but that seems a bit like a corner case.

Firewild Borderpost
Constructed – 2
It’s not going to be great in Standard because it requires basic lands, but I could see it seeing play in Block, where you don’t have access to filter lands or pain lands, so the Block mana bases tend to be more basic-centric.

Limited – 3
It’s unfortunate to hit this off a cascade spell, but you’re getting it for free, so stop complaining. It enables the –Blade cards, and is essentially a land for the purposes of counting mana sources (16 lands and a Borderpost instead of 17 lands). It’s a great cycle and I’m happy to take these to fix things up.

Glory of Warfare

Constructed – 2
I could see this as a sideboard card to help break open an aggro mirror. I would have considered this card for the Ranger Zoo mirror in Extended were it a little cheaper, but in slower formats where matchups that play out like the war-of-attrition-with-creatures that was the Ranger Zoo mirror, I would not dismiss this card as a strategy to regain the edge. Though I don’t think any currently existing archetypes set up that situation, it could definitely happen as formats evolve.

Limited – 3
I’m not a fan of “do nothing” cards, but having played this card first-hand, the effect you get is worth it in aggressive decks. It helps on both offense and defense, and is only a bad topdeck if you have no creatures on the board when they do (in which case, you’re probably going to lose anyway). Naya decks are going to want to be aggressive, so usually I’d be on the happy side if I had to play this card, and would actively look for ways to find room for this in my deck.

Gloryscale Viashino

Constructed – 2
I could see this in an Ancient Ziggurat-based deck that plays its colors. Being able to trigger this to a 6/6 by playing a Terminate or any number of strong multi-colored cards in the format is reasonable. Colossal Might on Gloryscale Viashino? Take ten! Probably not good enough in Standard, but could be strong enough to be a player in Block.

Limited – 3
3 might be generous, but if I’m in those colors, I want this guy. He’s going to trigger off every card I play in pack three, and undoubtedly some number of cards in packs 1 and 2. Even playing a Borderpost is going to pump the guy to a 6/6, and I’m happy to keep putting pressure on my opponent.

Intimidation Bolt

Constructed – 2
I would consider this as a potential sideboard card against matchups where I was playing a RW deck playing the role of the control deck, or if I wanted a more versatile answer to Overrun effects. It’s marginally playable in Constructed, but being able to kill a guy while stapled on to a Fog provides enough versatility that I’m not willing to drop this to a 1.

Limited – 4
Dealing three damage to target creature is already going to make this a strong Limited card. Giving them the inability to attack for a turn as a bonus makes this card quite strong. I would happily first pick this.

 

Marisi’s Twinclaws 

Constructed – 2
I’m considering playing this in some sort of Warriors deck, as it gains bonuses from Bramblewood Paragon and Obsidian Battle Axe. It combines well with Colossal Might. The question is whether or not it’s the best thing to do with four mana. In Block, I can definitely see this getting played.

Limited – 4
An easy to cast 2/4 double striker for four mana in a format with exalted and common pump spells? Yes, please. Double strike is such a strong mechanic and borders on the unfair for Limited. I haven’t played with this card yet, but I have played against it a couple of times and it has been absolutely devastating.

Mayael’s Aria

Constructed – 1
If there was an archetype that develops with a lot of five-power creatures (probably involving Woolly Thoctar) and you were in some sort of mirror where it was an attrition war and you needed to have the larger of the five power creatures, then no, you still probably wouldn’t play this card in the sideboard.

On the other hand, this has “EDH” written all over it.

Limited – 2
If you’ve drafted a Naya deck with a lot of five-power beaters, I could see this being a marginally playable card to make your guys bigger. (I wouldn’t ever plan on the second and third conditions being met.) It would be one of those late picks you get that nobody else wants but fits in your deck. Those decks never seem to happen though, as I think Naya is rather overdrafted.

Mycoid Shepherd

Constructed – 2
The casting cost makes it hard to put into anything but a dedicated G/W deck, but 5/4 for four mana is a reasonable cost. It might hang around and block against aggro deck and soak up damage and gain some life, so I see a role in it, but I doubt that this is the best card for that role.

Limited – 2
If I’m GW splashing R or U, then I’ll play it. I don’t expect much from the life gain aspect; if it happens, then great. If I can’t cast it easily, I’m not going to try to make my mana do terrible things so I can. There are a lot of strong Limited cards in this set, and I don’t think it’s worth the color inconsistency to play this guy if you can’t already easily do so. That said, he’s an efficient creature who attacks and blocks very well, so if I can cast him, then I’m happy to do so.

Naya Hushblade

Constructed – 2

This could be an efficient beater in Naya decks with a turn one Figure of Destiny or Tattermunge Maniac, but the most reliable way to turn this card on in Standard and Block is with a Borderpost or Trace of Abundance (the latter most likely to be a Block card rather than a Standard one). It’s a little slow for Standard, but it’s a reasonable two-drop in Block that may make the cut.

Limited – 3
This entire cycle of cards is good in Limited and can be considered “monogreen” when drafting, as decks with green are going to dip into either white or red (if not both). It’s easy to cast and with an entirely gold set, it’s easy to turn on the Hushblade to make it a 3/2.

Naya Sojourners

Constructed – 1
Five mana for a 5/3 in three colors is not worth it in Constructed, and the cycling/leaves play ability does not provide enough utility to make it worthy of making a 60-card deck. There are better pump effects in Constructed at a cheaper cost.

Limited – 3
If it were one or the other, this would be in the 2 category, but having the option to cycle or play it makes me happy to play this card if I’m in those colors. I’m a huge fan of flexible cards that are good both early and late, and though I’ll never say, “Yeah, I got two Naya Sojourners!” I’ll put them in my 23 playables and move on with my life without much drama.

Pale Recluse

Constructed – 1
Maybe in Extended after the Onslaught fetch lands rotate out, someone might play this card to grab a Temple Garden or Godless Shrine, but I doubt it.

Limited – 3
I’m a big fan of playing my spells, so the color-fixing is nice. I’m also a big fan of having my spells have an effect if I draw them late, so having the 4/5 for 6 is also nice. I’m a fan. That’s a pretty solid bread-and-butter card for its colors.

Predatory Advantage

Constructed – 2
The first thing I thought of when I saw this card was playing it in a control mirror. If you can get it to resolve, the control player should be able to sit back and force their opponent to act while you beat them to death with lizards, which is a pretty great way to win a control mirror. It’s in colors not typically associated with control, but have you seen the spells control decks are playing these days?

Limited – 2
It’s probably not the win-by-itself-no-matter-what card that Necrogenesis is, but as long as you’re not too far behind, it will probably generate a couple of tokens. If it cost 3 or even 4 mana, I’d be more inclined to drop it and try to win the long game, but it’s a little too expensive and a little too situational for my tastes.

Reborn Hope

Constructed – 1
It’s a marginal card that does a lot of things, but none of them excite me enough. You could bring back Ajani Vengeant, but those colors also give you access to Naya Charm, which does what you want it to do but much better. You could bring back Bloodbraid Elf, but again, I’d rather have Naya Charm. Figure of Destiny? Doran? Gaddock Teeg? Cruel Ultimatum? I’m trying to think of a deck that wants to play this card, but it’s not happening.

Limited – 3
I might have made this a 2 were the third set not entirely gold, but getting back your strongest pack-three card or a Branching Bolt/ Esper Charm/ Woolly Thoctar/ Rhox War Monk/ any number of cards is respectable.

Retaliator Griffin

Constructed – 1
It’s a 2/2 for four mana that dies to every removal spell in the format. It’s a nice card in theory against aggro decks, but in practice, far too many things have to go exactly right for it to do what it wants to do.

Limited – 3
Usually in Limited I’m not a big fan of blocking anyway, especially if I’m in Naya colors. He’s a little small at first, but I’m generally content with swinging for two through the air until something bad happens to me, at which point I can put my opponent on more of a clock. I’d be fairly happy to play this.

Rhox Brute

Constructed – 1
A 4/4 for 4 with no abilities isn’t going to cut it, as he’s outclassed by way too many creatures.

Limited – 3
On the other hand, a 4/4 for four mana with no drawbacks is pretty darn solid, and he’s multicolored to boot, so he turns on the Blade cycle of cards. He does a good job of attacking and blocking, so there’s not much room for complaint.

Sigil of the Nayan Gods

Constructed – 1
A creature aura has to be really, really good before I’ll consider playing it in Constructed, and this is definitely not it. Moldervine Cloak didn’t see that much play, and that was a card you could dredge back. This is screaming “two-for-one me,” and that’s not what I want to do.

Limited – 1
Though it does cycle and does something late, it doesn’t actually do anything relevant. It doesn’t protect the creature from getting killed particularly well, and I don’t want to touch this creature enchantment. It doesn’t break open the game by itself and is going to set you up for card disadvantage more often than not.

Spellbreaker Behemoth

Constructed – 3
The first ability is relevant. A 5/5 for four mana is a very good mana to cost ratio, and knowing it will punch through a Cryptic Command, Broken Ambitions, Remove Soul puts the control decks in a situation where they will need to find some other answer. His second ability to make other five-power creatures uncounterable isn’t likely to be as relevant, as there aren’t a ton of five-power guys who are Constructed playable at the moment (Cloudthresher and Woolly Thoctar being the best exception I can think of).

Limited – 3
He fits in the Naya decks and any Naya deck will be happy to play him. A 5/5 for four with no drawback is pretty good, and I suppose he makes all future Mosstodons and Woolly Thoctars fight through that Spell Snip your opponent was holding all game. Take that, Spell Snip!

(Okay, maybe not. There’s some bad countermagic in this Block.)

Stun Sniper

Constructed – 1
These kind of tapper effects are made for Limited, and generally don’t do well in Constructed. It doesn’t do much that’s relevant, and tapping down just one creature on a body that’s pretty fragile is not going to make the cut in Constructed. Maybe you could bring it in over Vithian Stinger against Faeries, but Stinger has the ability to hit your opponent and is easier to cast. I’m okay with saying this is not going to see Constructed play.

Limited – 4
Pingers are high picks in Limited already, but one that has a tangible effect on creatures with more than one toughness is really, really solid. This card significantly changes the combat landscape and I would take this card highly.

Trace of Abundance

Constructed – 3
I don’t think it’s going to be much (if any) better than Fertile Ground in Standard, but in Block where the fixing is a little rough, Trace is finding its way into a lot of decks, and is a great way to turn on any Blade creatures you might be playing.

Limited – 3
It’s weird to think of a multi-colored card as mana-fixing, but this may even become a 4 by the time it’s all said and done and people have figured out the Limited format. It’s been surprisingly solid for me and is essentially a mono-green card. Being able to accelerate and mana fix is a really strong combination. I’m pretty sure I’m not overrating it, but I may quite possibly be underrating it.

Uril, the Miststalker

Constructed – 1
The semi-shroud effect is nice and all, but what auras are you going to want to attach to it? The only one that I’d really want to attach to it is Shield of the Oversoul, so maybe Little Kid Green splashing red for Uril might be playable, but Little Kid Green wasn’t a very good deck to begin with, so I can sleep at night saying that this isn’t going to be worth it to play in 60 cards. [I disagree, but we’ll do this in the forums because it could get long. –Riki]

Limited – 2
He’s a little hard to cast, but being essentially immune to removal and having a nice body on him makes him appealing if I can cast him. He’s going to be only in the Naya decks, as I don’t think he’s strong enough to consider splashing for, but if I can play him, I’ll be happy to.

Valley Rannet

Constructed – 1
A 6/3 for six isn’t worth casting, and his ability to Mountain/Forestcycle isn’t good enough to see competitive Constructed play. I’m tempted to see if I can turn on Wild Nacatl in Block, but I’d rather have a Panorama.

Limited – 3
He fixes early and he beats late. It’s a late-night infomercial, or it’s Valley Rannet! I know I’ll be looking for him in pack three if I’m GR, and he’s going to always make the cut.

Naya got some powerful spells in this set, and I think green is set to inject some interesting and very powerful archetypes into the current Standard format. On the Limited side, it’ll be interesting to see if Naya continues to be overdrafted. If you can end up being one of only one or two Naya drafters at the table, pack three should really set up nicely for you, as there are some extremely powerful cards in those colors.

Discussion

Scroll to Top