5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage. Judge’s Familar)
4.0: Format staple. (Sphinx’s Revelation. Supreme Verdict. Thoughtseize. Pack Rat)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Geist of Saint Traft. Nightveil Specter)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Underworld Connections. Thassa, God of the Sea)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Rapid Hybridization. Divination)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. Naturalize. (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.)
My assumption is that this costs at least one mana too many, but a sweeper that gains you life does combine two things that go very well together. Add that to the ability to have your creatures survive, and you may have a niche sideboard card. There are worse fates.
A 2/2 for two that gets giant and regenerates is a deal indeed. If there is a green/black beatdown or low-curve midrange deck, this offers a good beater that scales well into the lategame, and it may succeed where Lotleth Troll failed.
I’m a little more skeptical of this Cat than the last, but a way to grow incredibly large at no mana is worth taking into account. With delve, this is basically a 9/9 or so for five, and sometimes more, and that’s at least an impressively large size. Having no evasion probably dooms this, but it’s close enough that it will likely sit in purrrgatory.
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
While I wouldn’t go so far as to call Sidisi a Grave Titan (actually, never mind, that’s what I’m calling her), she is exactly half if you hit. That, plus the ability to fill up your graveyard for delving and reanimating purposes makes me think she will have a good chance of finding a number of decks that are very interested in her. An efficient rate plus good combo potential is what good cards are made of, as she is fine on her own and she works very well to enable powerful synergies.
I appreciate the desire to fill up your graveyard and improve your draws, but my initial reaction is to look at Sidisi for that effect rather than a 3-mana enchantment that doesn’t give you a card back.
With two good modes and one very solid situational mode, Sultai Charm lives up to the standards of the cycle. Charms in this set are all pretty much great in any deck that fits their three colors, and Sultai Charm is no exception. It is on the controllish side, but so are these three colors, and killing many of the permanents you might face while filling your graveyard and cycling through your deck is a very strong set of options. If there are too many gold cards running around, Sultai Charm may not do what it needs to do, because the removal option is the most valuable, but if that hits often enough targets the rest of the abilities complement it well.
This is almost there, and I think if it were a 4-mana 2/4 it would be a very interesting card to consider. At 5, you really need to want milling and already be maxed out on Sidisi, which makes this very unlikely to see play.
Genesis Wave ended up being a pretty awesome card in Standard, and found a good amount of niche success. Villainous Wealth is worse in one way, because you can’t rely on your opponent to have powerful cards in their deck, but hitting spells as well as permanents is a pretty big upgrade. How good this is will depend on how many ways there are to generate a ton of mana and how many good cards with cost 4 or less see play in the format. If this does good work at 7 mana, I can see it being great, but if it needs to cost 8+ to have a good enough effect, I don’t think it does the trick. It’s a longshot, but it would be incredible if this was a viable card in Standard.
Once Read the Bones rotates out, this could be the card draw that delve decks look to, but the bitter truth is that it isn’t good enough right now.
This is the Bloodghast that aggro decks both need and deserve. It’s a one-mana 2/1, nothing can stop it from attacking, and it helps you reload after a sweeper. It doesn’t come back by itself, and it would be insane with something like Mutavault, but it lets you add another creature to the board even if they could have a wrath, and it means any threat you draw will come with a friend. It’s also a great card to sacrifice for value, if such a deck exists.
I like Dead Drop, but think Murderous Cut is likely the go-to delve card in this format. I don’t think this is completely dead in the water (unlike its victims), as it could be a sick answer to hexproof cards like Sagu Mauler out of a deck that doesn’t want any other delve cards. It could even be a sideboard card, and be switched out for said delve cards, or you could just go for the gusto and play this and Murderous Cut in the same deck.
I still despise this card, but am willing to admit there are some matchups where it could be acceptable. If it hits almost all the time, it is a fine solution to planeswalkers and creatures that are hard to deal with, and at one mana at least it is efficient. Still, this card was around before and was unplayable, so I wouldn’t bank too much on it being great. Casting costs have crept up since then, so I do think it’s better, for whatever that’s worth.
Hey, if Yoked Ox was (semi) playable for a few months, there’s no reason this can’t own a few beatdown decks. It blocks early, can make itself big enough to kill attackers, and is a kill condition later. What else do you need for just one mana?
Empty the Cheons
While this looks like it’s costed enough to be conservative, delve is a very dangerous mechanic. It can provide upwards of 10 mana at the cost of emptying your graveyard, and this being an instant makes it much more interesting than it would be otherwise. It is unfortunate that it likely rules out playing some other powerful delve cards, but this could be an excellent finisher for a delve control deck of sorts, or a combo piece in a turbo-delve deck. Now all I need is Cheon tokens and this can truly live up to its name.
There are two ways to go with this card, and both seem like they could be profitable (and both could easily work in the same deck). The first is to build around it, and make a deck with sacrifice outlets and creatures to sacrifice. This provides a draw engine and helps you refill when you go off. The second way is to use this to fight mass removal, as flipping this up in response to an End Hostilities could be a beating. The second use sounds like more of a sideboard card to me, but this could be a good value card in a deck with Bloodsoaked Champions and the like that picks up benefits from both sides, and overall this might offer enough cards at a low enough cost to see play.
Black beatdown decks don’t normally care much about getting card advantage, as stranding your opponent’s expensive cards in hand is already one of their goals, but this is efficient enough that it could easily be worth it. If you are hunting for good 2-drops, this definitely fits the bill.
This is basically Swords to Plowshares in any deck that can reliably fill its graveyard, and even in a deck that isn’t going out of its way to do so, it’s a Doom Blade by the midgame. Those are great cards to be compared to, and the only drawback is that you can’t jam too many of these or they start become Flesh to Dusts, which is a much worse place to be. I’d almost always want the first one or two, and usually would end up cutting the third or fourth unless you have an above-average amount of graveyard enablers. This is an awesome addition to Legacy, Modern, and maybe even Vintage, and I’m excited to try it out.
Competing with Murderous Cut is tough, but this is powerful enough to plausibly do so. It requires a lot more fuel, which makes it more of a build-around, but it’s strong enough to be worth it. It could also easily see play in older formats, as it trades a point of power and costs one mana more than Tombstalker, but has an extremely relevant ability. In a Legacy or Modern deck that can easily fill its graveyard, this might be an awesome 1-2-of finisher. This card is really cool, and rewards you more than most delve cards for good resource management.
If Warriors do come out and play in this Standard environment, this may be one of the cards that enables that. If this deals 2 damage and draws 2 cards the turn it’s played, it already justifies itself, and making your 2/2s attack past Caryatids deals way more than 1 extra damage. It’s one mana more than I’d usually want to pay for an Anthem, but an Anthem that draws cards is a different beast indeed.
Retribution of the Ancients
In the ancient tradition of situational build-arounds, this looks pretty bad but may find a home. Some of these cards always do, and offering a lot of killing power for very little mana is a powerful lure. What it would take is enough creatures that give you free +1/+1 counters, and I don’t think we are there quite yet.
Top 5 Black/Sultai Cards
These cards are awesome. Murderous Cut and Sultai Charm are great removal spells, Bloodsoaked Champion is a great threat, and Sidisi and Necropolis Fiend are both very powerful if you enable them. I like delve a lot as a Constructed mechanic, way more than I like it in Limited, and am enjoying trying to figure out the ways to maximize it.