Hour of Devastation First Impressions: Rares & Uncommons

Last time, I took a close look at the mythics of Hour of Devastation. Today I’ll share my thoughts on the cards that might have potential in Standard and Modern.

Hour of Promise

I love a good ramp deck, and this card seems like it might be good enough to make ramp a viable strategy. With Deserts, this card can put a couple of Zombies onto the battlefield to relieve some of the pressure that is typically an issue when you spend a turn casting a ramp spell. Nissa’s Renewal was an example of this, gaining a huge chunk of life and buying time to cast a high impact spell like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger on the following turn.

Deserts aren’t really what interest me with this card, however, Shrine of the Forsaken Gods is. This card alone can generate up to 4 mana by putting 2 copies of Shrine into play, representing a curve-out of a turn-6 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger just by making land drops and casting this card. It’s worth keeping an eye on this synergy, and if you can include Deserts in your deck as well to get some chump blocking Zombies, there could be room to explore with Hour of Promise.

Bontu’s Last Reckoning

Bontu’s Last Reckoning gives black a reliable sweeper but it also comes at a huge cost. 3 mana for a sweeper is nice and all, but the fact that not being able to untap lands prevents you from having some effective double-spell turns makes this card much worse than it looks. While I’ll only highlight this specific card, I don’t think any of the “Last” cards are going to be good in practice.

Nimble Obstructionist

Nimble Obstructionist is an awesome card design. Adding a cycling Stifle effect to a flash 3/1 flyer at a reasonable rate, I suspect this card might see some play in decks also featuring Spell Queller. Normally, blue decks might want Disallow for this effect, but a deck with Spell Queller is usually looking to leverage tempo, and these are just the kind of decks that want a 3/1 flash flyer.

Being able to leave up both Nimble Obstructionist and Spell Queller is potent, and could allow for some tight squeezes. I could see Nimble Obstructionist being effective against decks featuring Ishkanah, Grafwidow as it can counter both the triggered ability of Ishkanah, and counter the effect of a card like Vessel of Nascency to prevent the opponent from even achieving delirium.

I don’t think Nimble Obstructionist is sure to see play, but it’s certainly going to be a card I test extensively before the Pro Tour.

Hour of Glory

Another card in the Hour cycle, Hour of Glory is definitely going to see play if Gods make their way into decks. While this is an inefficient removal spell, it has utility against the Gods, making it likely to pop into sideboards if a card like Rhonas the Indomitable starts rising in popularity.

Interesting to note is that this card can also interact favorably with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, so maybe we’ll see a couple of Hour of Glory pop into main decks under the right circumstances.

Hour of Revelation

Finally! I asked for a card like Planar Cleansing, and it’s finally here. Hour of Revelation is a sweeper that can favorably interact against Vehicles decks that attack from several different angles. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Heart of Kiran, and Scrapheap Scrounger all make sweepers pretty bad against a Mardu Vehicles deck. Hour of Revelation may not get rid of Scrapheap Scrounger for good, but sweeping up Gideon and Heart of Kiran along with any creatures in play gives this card potential.

One problem with Hour of Revelation is that at 6 mana, it lines up poorly against Archangel Avacyn. Imagine trying to sweep up a battlefield of Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, a token, and a Heart of Kiran, and then Archangel Avacyn comes into play, protecting everything but the Gideon, and leaving your opponent with as much as 10 power in play.

Hour of Revelation also interacts unfavorably with cards like Stasis Snare and Cast Out if you’re playing those in your deck so it will require some deckbuilding concessions.

Hour of Revelation may look good on paper, but it’s got some hurdles to jump if it wants to become a premium sweeper in the format.

Supreme Will

I am actually pretty excited about this card. Supreme Will is a Mana Leak or an Impulse “split card” with an additional mana attached to each spell. With Censor and Supreme Will in the format, players will often be put in a spot where they may not cast a spell on curve, and with Supreme Will you can simply cast Impulse end step and dig deeper into your deck to either make land drops or to find that Torrential Gearhulk you need to take over the game.

With 3 mana being the going rate for most counterspells these days, Supreme Will seems like an excellent addition to blue control decks and I would be surprised if this card doesn’t see any Standard play.


Another interesting “split card,” Doomfall is tough to evaluate. This card could see play in sideboards against decks where a Coercion is effective, as is the ability to deal with an opponent’s lone creature. A Reanimator-type deck is the style of deck I think most fits that description, so unless we see that, we probably won’t see much of Doomfall any time soon, but there are some scenarios in which it could see play.


Abrade is another in the cycle of what I’m calling “split cards” as it gives you the option to cast either a Shatter or deal a creature 3 damage. This card seems like it is primed to see play as long as Heart of Kiran is a player in the format.

This card does compete with Harnessed Lightning, which I think is a better card if you can produce energy, so you may see fewer copies of this card than you’d think. But for decks without much energy, this seems like an excellent option.

Abrade will definitely see Standard play.

Claim // Fame

I don’t see Claim // Fame being much of player in Standard, but didn’t want to ignore how effective this card could be out of Grixis Death’s Shadow in Modern. Bringing back a Death’s Shadow with haste to kill out of nowhere, or a Snapcaster Mage for value, seems like enough utility to at least give this card a try.

Scavenger Grounds

This is just an excellent utility land for decks that can afford a colorless land. I’m sad this came a little too late for Emrakul, the Promised End to still be in the format, as it would have been sweet to see if this kind of card was enough to keep Emrakul at bay.

Scavenger Grounds can most effectively be used in Standard to shut off delirium and prevent Torrential Gearhulk from flashing back something in the graveyard, so you may see some copies played.

I see Scavenger Grounds as a land you’ll likely see in Modern out of decks like Eldrazi Tron as a utility land you can tutor up with Expedition Map, but it may also find its way into the main deck or sideboard of Affinity as a colorless land with a disruptive element.

Hostile Desert

This card seems like it might be too tough to play in a deck that can use a creatureland, but again, if the cost of having a colorless land in your deck isn’t too high, this card can do some serious work on threat of activation alone.

Imagine cycling a land on turn 2 and then putting this into play against 1 or 2 Toolcraft Exemplars. In this instance you can either kill a creature essentially for free, or prevent up to 6 damage and get to use your mana to cast a spell that turn.

You can also cycle a land from your hand and activate Hostile Desert out of nowhere to block, and the threat of something like that makes for some pretty interesting decisions from an opponent with a creature that gets outsized by a Hostile Desert.

While Hostile Desert is no Mutavault, the cost of including a colorless land in a deck can be low enough that you may see some copies of it, as it’s likely one of the best utility lands you can play if you have the ability to put lands into your graveyard.

Overall, Hour of Devastation seems like it has a low power level compared to the rest of Standard. I suspect this was part of an effort not to create any more busted cards like Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Emrakul, the Promised End, or Aetherworks Marvel. For the first time this season, I’m actually really excited about the upcoming Pro Tour because I think Standard will finally be in a pretty good place.

Hour of Devastation does have some awesome cards I’m excited to play with even if I think the set does seem underpowered. I’m specifically excited about trying out the Gods and Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh.

What are you excited to try out? Is there a card you disagree with me about? Let me know down below!

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