For Constructed, things work slightly differently. First of all, I don’t review every card in the set, just the ones I think have Constructed applications. If I missed a card you think is awesome, feel free to post it in the comments or ask me about it on Twitter. I try to evaluate cards without using best-case-scenario mentality, but I’ve certainly missed cards in the past, and if you can think of a good reason a card could be great, I would like to hear it.
My other reviews:
Limited Resources Reviews
5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Siege Rhino. Courser of Kruphix. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Stormbreath Dragon. Seeker of the Way.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Chained to the Rocks. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Perilous Vault. Heir of the Wilds.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Naturalize. Savage Knuckleblade. Sandstorm.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. One with Nothing. (I believe it was tech vs. Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)
Reclamation Sage steals some of the Survivalist’s thunder, but by no means all of it. Survivalist is still an efficient card, and does at least give you the option to destroy things at instant speed. That plus the ability to cast this on turn two gives this a few advantages, though I do not think this will see much play until Reclamation Sage rotates out. I like the card, there is just a better version of it already available.
As cool as making everything into Doran is, this effect is unlikely to be worth a card in Constructed. Attacking with Sylvan Caryatid isn’t really a great plan, and spending time to make your creatures slightly bigger with the ability to pump them isn’t much better. I don’t blame anyone for thinking this card is sweet, but I also don’t see where exactly it fits into Constructed.
Avatar of the Resolute
This is going to need to enter play as a 4/3 or larger at least some of the time before it becomes worth it, as Garruk’s Companion never really did make it into the big leagues. Given enough decent megamorphs and cheap ways to get counters, this might find a place.
Frank Karsten ran the numbers, and recommends at least 22 creatures to have what he deems an acceptable percentage, and likely more. You do pay real deckbuilding costs by overloading on 3-or-less cost creatures, but there’s nothing stopping you from playing a few more 3s than you normally would to make this work, while still playing good 4s and 5s. I think it will take a few more sets worth of creatures before this truly gets there.
Trained Armodon has a ways to go before it gets into Constructed, but this is a sight more than an Armodon. Deathmist Raptor trades for anything, even a Siege Rhino, shrugs off removal spells that don’t exile, and does so all for 3 mana. It has very nice synergy with Mastery of the Unseen, and really doesn’t take that many other morph/manifest cards before it’s a good addition. Finding the best way to utilize this card is going to be a good way to get an edge in this format, and there are many paths you can potentially take. Playing it in GW Devotion is clearly one way, but this could be viable in a deck with Satyr Wayfinder, assuming there are enough other cards you want to turn face up, and even just a deck with 4 Raptors has a decent amount of value going for it. My only qualm with the card is that I always start typing the name as “Wrapter,” for which Josh Utter-Leyton is clearly at fault.
I’m not in love with the evasion here, just because I don’t think most green decks are looking for aggressive 2-drops, but the effect when turned face up is quite good. Maternal Witness is a good value card that could go in to many decks, and I like that she adds to the shell game of a deck with multiple morphs. Plus, she’s another strong card that enables Deathmist Raptor.
As much of a powerhouse as this was back in 2003, cards that cost this much have to be much more explosive these days. I enjoyed ramping with Explosive Vegetation as much as anyone, and really just have this on the list because of that. For 4 mana, you need to do a lot more than get two lands, even if this does get you to 7.
You can consider this as an anti-red sideboard option out of a green deck that can’t cast Fleecemane Lion, but I really don’t think it’s all that likely that it sees play.
Naturalize may be weaker now than it usually is, just because of the presence of more powerful cards like Reclamation Sage and Back to Nature. It’s nice having access to this sort of effect, but I’d rather play sideboard cards that have a little more impact.
A 3/4 for 2 mana is impressive, and this looks like a huge brick wall against aggro while still being a solid threat against control. You do need to have a Dragon in hand on turn two, which may make it hard to find the Sentinels a home, but if there’s a heavy-green deck that plays lots of Dragons, this has to be on the short list for 2-drops.
Shaman of Forgotten Ways
Double ramping for 3 mana is a lot more interesting than 4, though this does have Courser of Kruphix to contend with. I like that this lets you cast 6-drop monsters on turn four, and there’s definitely merit to trying to build a very creature-heavy deck to abuse this. The Biorhythm ability isn’t going to come up very often, but a free ability that can kill someone is worth something.
Surrak, the Hunt Caller
This is what I call a beatdown. Surrak gives aggressive green decks a lot more gas, and needs very little help before he comes in and smashes for 5. If he survives, your next threat has haste too, and it’s unlikely you will need another turn of beatdowns to close out the game. Surrak being legendary is one of the only things stopping him from appearing as a 4-of, and he is a great addition to any deck looking to attack.
Top 3 Green Cards for Constructed
Surprisingly, green gets some very aggressive creatures in this set. Raptor and Sentinels are good cards on both ends of the field, but Surrak is certainly going to be hanging out in the red zone, and all three can deliver quite the punch. I like that green gets a bit more feisty with Dragons in the mix, and think it balances the Courser–Caryatid strategies we have seen so much of.