Now that I’m (mostly) done with Limited Fate Reforged reviews, it’s time to move on to Constructed. You can find the Limited reviews here:
I also did the Limited Resources review of every common and uncommon in the set with Marshall Sutcliffe, which you can listen to here (rares and mythics are coming next week).
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 (I gotta start using LR slang, right?), 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.
Previous Constructed reviews:
The ratings scale I use is also a bit different, with different meanings for each number. That scale looks like so:
5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage. Dack Fayden.)
4.0: Format staple. (Siege Rhino. Courser of Kruphix. Delver of Secrets.)
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.) 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.)
With that, let’s take a look at some cards.
Cloudform gives you as much time as you want to flip whatever you’ve manifested, barring something like End Hostilities. That means that if you do hit an awesome creature, you don’t have to worry about it dying before you can pay for it, making this an intriguing build-around. One particularly interesting line of inquiry involves Phyrexian Dreadnought in Legacy, as you only have to pay 1 mana to flip it up, it’s gigantic, and you have cards like Brainstorm, Ponder, and Sensei’s Divining Top to set it up. Caleb wrote about it earlier this week. I really hope this is a thing, because anything that gets Dreadnought into more decks is something I’m a fan of.
Any time you get 4 power for two mana, investigation is needed. That this dies to a targeted effect isn’t as big a deal as it may seem, as most spells that could target it would kill it anyway. The main drawback is that blue decks aren’t often attacking early, so the most likely way I could see this getting played is out of the sideboard of a control deck against other control decks. That, or some ferocious deck that really wants a way to get a 4-power creature out builds its mana base to accommodate a blue 2-drop.
This is basically just the blue Goblin Rabblemaster. While that’s obviously an exaggeration, if this survives it does get you a nice 2-for-1. Having to pay to flip this up for a second shot is not the most efficient, so you need to get enough value out of the first hit to justify infiltrating. Against decks that have only 3-mana removal spells and up, I like Jeskai Infiltrator, so it goes on my list of possible additions to blue control decks, likely out of the sideboard if anything. I just love sideboarding in creatures against people who side out removal, and this is the kind of card that works in that plan (even if it doesn’t manifest into that many things out of a deck like this).
As I keep saying over on Top Decks, Jeskai Sage very much appeals to me as a roadblock for control decks. These decks rarely do anything on turn two, and using that unused mana goes a long way towards making the decks more efficient. Jeskai Sage could be the card they have been looking for (or maybe just the card I have been looking for), and I am excited to find out. It chumps for no loss of value, is cheap, and the prowess means that it can actually take creatures or even planeswalkers down in combat. All that for 2 mana sounds like a deal to me.
Marang River Prowler
A 2/1 unblockable coward isn’t why you play this card, you play it because you can keep casting it out of your graveyard. Unfortunately, having to pay for it makes it most definitely not Bloodghast, though any deck on the prowl for graveyard synergies might keep it in mind.
This card looks like it may have some decent Modern applications as well as just value in Standard. In Standard, it’s a way for graveyard decks to loot every turn, with the upside of sometimes making you and your creatures more resilient to removal.
In Modern, this looks like a nightmare for black/green-based decks to deal with, as Thoughtseize, Inquisition, and removal spells all get taxed. It goes die to Abrupt Decay, but for 4 mana, and that’s still a fine exchange in both cards and mana.
Yes, it counters Siege Rhino. No, that’s not quite enough. For this to be good, it has to neutralize many more spells than just one, and right now there’s no deck in Standard that is gold enough to make this worth it.
Courser of Kruphix is Reality Shift’s best friend, as it guarantees that your opponent won’t be manifesting anything good. Of course, that’s still a 2-for-1, as your opponent ends up with a free 2/2, but downgrading a giant monster into a 2/2 is the kind of deal some decks are OK with. Thinking this will be good in older formats makes no sense, as Pongify is a card, but for Standard it might be a niche answer in decks that don’t have access to normal removal. It isn’t going to shift any formats greatly, but it’s another addition to the arsenal of situational removal spells, and that isn’t bad.
Once Vial of Dragonfire comes out, this will be the next Stoneforge Mystic. It even taps to cast the cards it searches up for free, providing incontrovertible evidence of such.
Rite of Undoing
It doesn’t seem rite to ignore cards with delve, and this is potentially a 1-mana way to save your own permanent (not just creature) while bouncing something an opponent controls for free. On the other side it’s a somewhat inefficient bounce spell, so if this sees play, it will primarily be in a deck that wants to bounce its own stuff and treats the second effect as a minor upside.
Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest
Shu Yun is cheap and hits for a lot of damage, which piques my attention. Given enough mana, he can even quietly make your whole team hit for double damage, and if there is an aggressive prowess deck, Shu Yun could be a strong part of it.
I still think this card is sweet, though whether it’s sweet enough to pay six mana for is the real question. One funny thing that came up after seeing it get cast at the prerelease a bunch is that if you bounce their creature with an awesome ETB effect, they will later get that effect when recasting it. Of course, you get that effect right away, which is the good part, but you need to have a solution for when they inevitably go to play it.
Where this might be at its best is in a UB or UW control deck where it serves as an instant-speed way to both play a threat and get a threat off the board. These decks are full of counterspells, and can stop the original card from making its way back on to the board. I like the idea of an instant-speed threat/answer, and this can even target your own creatures if you have time to extract max value.
I may be trespassing onto the hopes and dreams of those who want extra turns, but delve Time Walk is actually costed appropriately, unlike delve Ancestral Recall. The effect is powerful, but the cost here makes it a lot of work, and at that point I don’t see why you wouldn’t rather just draw three cards. Treasure Cruise isn’t going anywhere in Standard, and as such, I don’t know where Trespass finds a home. It may be an interesting 1-of in older formats, but again, it competes with other delve cards, and the other delve cards are in another league.
I guess given that you torrent movies if you want to get them for free, it makes sense that you’d torrent an Elemental in the same circumstances. This is a great way to break up board stalls, is effective when Whipped into play with Whip of Erebos, and once exiled, comes back at no cost in cards. It can even be a win condition for decks like UB, as Dig Through Time makes it essentially unkillable. If this didn’t come back tapped it would be an absolute monster, but even as is it plays offense, defense, and the long game well enough to make it an influential card in the upcoming Standard.
Top 5 Blue Cards
Torrent Elemental adds another unkillable threat to blue’s pile, and could do some work to displace Pearl Lake Ancient. It will mainly show up in Whip decks, but for such a niche ability it sure has a lot of applications, thanks to the various exiling effects we have running around. Monastery Siege adds an interesting element of card draw and protection, and the same can be said of Jeskai Sage, though at a lower level and cost. Lastly, blue has some new answers in Supplant Form and Reality Shift, both of which aren’t exactly 1-for-1 removal, but are powerful and interesting. I feel like “powerful and interesting” sums up a lot of the cards blue gets, though it could be worse.
Next up is black, which has some exciting new additions of its own!