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M12 Set Review – White

A new set means a new set review! While this is a Core Set (which means a bunch of reprints from just a year ago), I still am going to go over all the cards, since both the Constructed and Limited formats have changed significantly.

Since this bears repeating from my last review, I’ll go ahead and say it again:

As usual, I’m going to use the same ratings scales as previous reviews, though I’d like to talk about the Limited section a little. Since I decided to use the pointing system used by Wizards’ R&D, I do have to explain how our approaches differ. Where the ratings scale says “I’ll always play this” or “I’ll play this as the only card of this color”, don’t take that too strictly. While you might always play Prismatic Lens or Ichor Wellspring, they certainly aren’t 5.0’s. I like the numerical values, and will explain for every card why I gave it a certain rating, so don’t just look at the number and move on. Alright, let’s get to some cards!

Constructed

5.0: Multi-format All-Star (and undoubtedly worth too much money). [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card]. [card]Tarmogoyf[/card].

4.0: Format staple. [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card]. [card]Preordain[/card].

3.5: Good in multiple archetypes, but not a format staple. [card]Raging Ravine[/card]. [card]Lotus Cobra[/card].

3.0: Archetype staple. [card]Spell Pierce[/card]. [card]Goblin Guide[/card].

2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. [card]Rampant Growth[/card]. [card]Khalni Heart Expedition[/card].

2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. [card]Celestial Purge[/card]. (Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although explanation of why is obviously important)

1.0 It has seen play once. [card]One with Nothing[/card]. (I believe it was tech vs Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)

Limited

5.0: I will always play this card. Period.

4.5: I will almost always play this card, regardless of what else I get.

4.0: I will strongly consider playing this as the only card of its color.

3.5: I feel a strong pull into this card’s color.

3.0: This card makes me want to play this color. (Given that I’m playing that color, I will play this card 100% of the time.)

2.5: Several cards of this power level start to pull me into this color. If playing that color, I essentially always play these. (Given that I’m playing that color, I will play this card 90% of the time.)

2.0: If I’m playing this color, I usually play these. (70%)

1.5: This card will make the cut into the main deck about half the times I play this color. (50%)

1.0: I feel bad when this card is in my main deck. (30%)

0.5: There are situations where I might sideboard this into my deck, but I’ll never start it. (10%)

0.0: I will never put this card into my deck (main deck or after sideboarding). (0%).

[draft]Aegis Angel[/draft]

Aegis Angel

Constructed: 1.0

The Titan cycle strikes again! While [card]Sun Titan[/card] is in the format, Standard is pretty much shielded from ever having to deal with Aegis Angel, since a 5/5 that can’t protect itself and has no lasting effect is a joke compared to a Titan.

Limited: 4.0

The text isn’t all that relevant, but the pair of 5’s in the bottom right corner sure are. I’ve seen this played a few times, and not once was the ability important. I doubt you are going to pass this very often, but it isn’t a legitimate bomb.

[draft]Alabaster Mage[/draft]

Alabaster Mage

Constructed: 1.0

As exciting as this cycle of Mages is for Limited, I can’t imagein ever playing any of them in Constructed.

Limited: 3.0

This format is pretty aggressive, and as such, I don’t see how you can ever leave this guy in your sideboard if you are playing white. I wouldn’t slam him over an evasive guy or a removal spell, but he is a pretty solid pick.

[draft]Angelic Destiny[/draft]

Angelic Destiny

Constructed: 1.0

A power-boosting Aura? Yeah, this is destined to see no play, especially when you realize Equipment is still in the format if you absolutely must enhance your creatures. This taking up a Mythic slot seems odd to me, but what do I know?

Limited: 4.0

There are plenty of things that can go wrong with this plan (Unsummon, Pacifism, Oblivion Ring, Mind Control, Aether Adept, enchantment removal), but if they don’t have one of those specific cards, they will be seeing (different) angels soon enough.

[draft]Angel’s Mercy[/draft]

Angel’s Mercy

Constructed: 1.0

I wish they would have mercy on me and stop reprinting this so I wouldn’t have to review it every year.

Limited: 0.5

Even if this format is as aggressive as it seems (and I’m pretty sure it is), this is no solution. I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being a solid sideboard card against the [card]Lava Axe[/card] deck, but maindecking it can never be right.

[draft]Arbalest Elite[/draft]

Arbalest Elite

Constructed: 1.0

Between his small size and heavy activation cost, this guy just isn’t equipped for Constructed play. Maybe they should have acquired lighter arbalests.

Limited: 3.5

Compare this to [card]Heavy Ballista[/card] if you want to see a real joke. That’s what used to be deemed acceptable for Limited play, and was even reprinted in a Core Set. Thankfully, they have wised up by know, and we get Arbalest Elite instead. While much worse, it is still pretty sweet, and is a potent tool both on offense and defense.

[draft]Archon of Justice[/draft]

Archon of Justice

Constructed: 2.0

This still doesn’t match up very well against Titans, and both Splinter Twin and Valakut just ignore it. That being said, it is still a solid card, and perhaps Standard might eventually be interested in a little justice. I had some fun at the prerelease with a Standard [card]Birthing Pod[/card] deck; turning Archons into Titans while eating a permanent is pretty sweet.

Limited: 4.0

Classic [card]Air Elemental[/card]s that [card]Vindicate[/card] when they die. Apparently Truth both bears a blade and is the blade nowadays.

[draft]Armored Warhorse[/draft]

Armored Warhorse

Constructed: 1.0

Unless you are playing Horse-only Constructed (which everyone knows has degenerated into a [card]Thundermare[/card]-dominated metagame), I’d vote neigh on this one.

Limited: 2.5

I’m actually reasonably impressed with this beast. Unlike Garruk’s Companion, it doesn’t die very easily, so you are actually rewarded for playing enough of the appropriate land to cast it on turn two. It’s not the most exciting card ever, but it pulls its weight, and if you can afford 10-11 Plains, it is definitely a card you can ride to victory.

[draft]Assault Griffin[/draft]

Assault Griffin

Constructed: 1.0

Zero points to Griffindor.

Limited: 3.0

Much like before, Assault Griffin is still the baseline good beatdown guy, and a mix of him and [card]Stormfront Pegasus[/card] is what you are looking for.

[draft]Auramancer[/draft]

Auramancer

Constructed: 1.0

What would you rather have in your Constructed deck? A good card Auramancer?

Limited: 2.5-3.5

I love the recent trend of there being actual decisions in Core Set Limited, and Auramancer is definitely an example of that. At [card]Grey Ogre[/card] status, the card is horrible, but once it turns into a second helping on a sweet Aura it becomes quite good. I doubt you will have much competition for them, but any time you have 3+ enchantments I’d probably gun it. It is especially sick with [card]Mind Control,[/card] since if [card]Mind Control[/card] lives you win anyway, and getting it back has to be unbeatable. For those of us not blessed enough to always have a Mind Control, I still like Auramancer with actual Auras, since bad things will happen to your creatures, and cards like [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] and [card]Pacifism[/card] rarely die.

[draft]Benalish Veteran[/draft]

Benalish Veteran

Constructed: 4.0

Why did they go to the trouble of banning Stoneforge if they were just going to print this guy? I guess I know what to feature on the next Running the Gauntlet now: Benalish Veteran Control.

Limited: 3.0

If we are talking veterans, I’d still rather have [card infantry veteran]Infantry[/card] than Benalish, but that doesn’t make this guy any less a beating. It feels like most white decks are going to be aggressive, making him exactly what you are looking for.

[draft]Celestial Purge[/draft]

Celestial Purge

Constructed: 2.0

Not much has changed since last year; Purge is still a reasonable sideboard card, killing Splinter Twin, Vampires, and Koth all with the same slot. It still is pretty miserable against Valakut and UB Control, but isn’t a bad choice for white control decks.

Limited: 1.0

I take the color hosers fairly aggressively in draft, though I wouldn’t maindeck them unless I had multiple [card]Merfolk Looter[/card]s. Purge especially is worth taking over mediocre maindeck cards, since it often becomes equivalent to a first-pick removal spell postboard.

[draft]Day of Judgment[/draft]

Day of Judgment

Constructed: 2.5

Every time I think about putting this in a deck I am saddened by how bad Wraths are. I guess their day has passed, in a large part thanks to Planeswalkers.

Limited: 3.5

Every time I review Day of Judgment in Limited, I talk about how overrated it is. The fact that I still am saying it just means people haven’t gotten it yet, so I’ll say it again: Wraths aren’t insane in Limited. I like Wraths, and I’ll pick Day of Judgment in the vast majority of packs I see it, but I’d much rather have a real bomb or a Mind Control or a Fireball. It is just hard to really put yourself in a position to crush them with Wrath, and it fits very poorly in aggressive decks (though I’d never cut it).

[draft]Demystify[/draft]

Demystify

Constructed: 2.0

I like Dismember more in most decks, but Demystify is a legitimate answer to Splinter Twin. It doesn’t get Spellskited and is pretty cheap, so it should pop up in sideboards from time to time.

Limited: 1.0

Another solid sideboard card, Demystify can definitely lead to some sick blowouts when killing [card]Spirit Mantle[/card] midcomat. It sadly doesn’t own [card]Trollhide[/card] that badly, though it is still needed to stop the otherwise-unbeatable [card]Sacred Wolf[/card] plus [card]Trollhide[/card] combo.

[draft]Divine Favor[/draft]

Divine Favor

Constructed: 1.0

I do love me some incidental lifegain, but Auras are definitely not something I favor in Constructed. [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] this is not.

Limited: 1.5

While I don’t love the idea of playing this, I really don’t think it’s that bad. In a race it can be awesome, gaining you some life while letting another guy punch through, and if they don’t have the removal you do end up with a pretty big guy. Even if you don’t maindeck it, it is a pretty sweet sideboard card against most red decks, since both sides of the card are pretty tough for them.

[draft]Elite Vanguard[/draft]

Elite Vanguard

Constructed: 1.0

I’m pretty sure the last year has shown us just how Elite this guy really is, his inclusion in metagame powerhouse War of Attrition aside.

Limited: 2.5

If you want him, he does his job, though you should be pretty sure this is what you are doing before picking him. In the average deck, a [card]Savannah Lions[/card] just isn’t going to cut it, so don’t think he is a good card; he is just a card most white decks want.

[draft]Gideon Jura[/draft]

Gideon Jura

Constructed: 3.5

I like the swap they did here; despite playing with [card]Ajani Goldmane[/card] in the finals of a Pro Tour, I’m under no illusions that the card is really that good. Gideon, on the other hand, is that good, and I expect him to continue to see widespread play. He has been close to his worst in the last few months, what with Twin, Caw-Blade with Batterskull, and Valakut running around, but he is definitely poised to make a comeback soon. He is just about the best card possible against aggro, and even aggro decks have been known to sideboard him for the mirror.

Limited: 4.5

Step 1: See you opened a Planeswalker.
Step 2: Slam it and toss the rest of the pack without looking.
Step 3: Check which ridiculous card you get to win with during the draft.

Seriously, all the Planeswalkers in this set are absurd. Chandra is the worst of the bunch, and that’s saying something. I can’t imagine ever passing any of the others, and even in pack three I’d have to seriously re-evaluate both of my colors if I opened an off-color one (in pack two I’d almost always just slam the ‘Walker regardless).

[draft]Gideon’s Avenger[/draft]

Gideon’s Avenger

Constructed: 1.0

“Gideon, I shall avenge you! Oh no, another [card]Lightning Bolt[/card][card]Incinerate[/card]!”

Between the fact that this a 2/2 do-nothing if they don’t have dudes and a 4/4 do-nothing (at best) if they do, I think Gideon is going to have to get better help. At least it can trade for a [card]Grave Titan[/card] after a couple of swings…

Limited: 3.5

If they can’t kill this, it makes attacks pretty awkward for them, and once you pair it with a tapper, it just gets filthy. It does lead to some nice stalemates, where it can’t attack because it’s a 2/2 and they can’t attack so as to not grow it, but presumably you can figure out something to do with that time.

[draft]Gideon’s Lawkeeper[/draft]

Gideon’s Lawkeeper

Constructed: 1.0

I AM THE LAW!

Limited: 4.0

This is like the perfect tapper. No frills, no extra mana for useless toughness, just straight up one for one. Regardless of what deck you are drafting, you can never go wrong with the Lawkeeper.

[draft]Grand Abolisher[/draft]

Grand Abolisher

Constructed: 2.0

The newest addition to the hate bear pantheon, Grand Abolisher might just do enough different things to make a sideboard every now and then. Counterspells are at a pretty historic low, so I don’t see it being that great, but it does at least make them play their [card]Deceiver Exarch[/card] on their turn. I’m not entirely sure how that helps a deck that can make WW, but there you have it. It would be pretty grand if there was a true draw-go deck still around, though it’s a few years late on that.

Limited: 2.0

If the casting cost isn’t a huge issue, this guy is a pretty sweet addition to most decks. He should be able to get decent value against most decks, since he shuts down a whole range of cards. Counters are negated, combat tricks can no longer be used defensively, Gideon’s Lawkeepers are kept on the offense, and even something like Trollhide is much less good. I wouldn’t start this in a control deck though, since if you aren’t attacking much he loses a ton of his value.

[draft]Griffin Rider[/draft]

Griffin Rider

Constructed: 1.0

If you control a Griffin in Constructed you should probably make sure you didn’t bring your draft deck to the table by accident.

Limited: 2.0

It isn’t hard to make this guy work, and as long as you try to avoid getting completely wrecked by instant speed removal, you should be fine. It makes a mockery of them using Pacifism on your Griffins, and the multiple common Griffins are all cards you want as many of as possible anyway.

[draft]Griffin Sentinel[/draft]

Griffin Sentinel

Constructed: 1.0

I have to be pretty vigilant in making sure I don’t recycle puns from last year’s reviews, because that would just be a Gruesome Encore, and nobody wants that. Well, except me.

Limited: 3.0

I used to like this guy more than I should, but now I feel that he’s actually very good. The addition of Bloodthirst as a mechanic is huge for Griffin Sentinel, since now pinging them for one is very relevant, and this guy was always good in aggressive matchups to begin with. [card]Greatsword[/card] also is a consideration, and overall I think that all the changes made to the Core Set worked out well for the Sentinel here.

[draft]Guardians’ Pledge[/draft]

Guardians’ Pledge

Constructed: 1.0

As long as that pledge includes the promise not to ever seek to be played in Constructed, I have no problem with this card.

Limited: 2.0

This is an interesting one. As long as you have around eight white creatures that you expect to brawl with (not Gideon’s Lawkeeper, for example), this is a decent 23rd card, and once you start to assemble 12+ guys, it becomes awesome. It should go pretty late, and still be awesome in the decks that want it, a good combination for any card.

[draft]Honor of the Pure[/draft]

Honor of the Pure

Constructed: 2.5

Did they reprint [card]Spectral Procession[/card] yet? No? Well, I guess it’s gonna be another tough year for Honor of the Pure, which has seen smatterings of play here and there but no real successes. I admit that Standard has gotten powered down lately, so the time may be ripe for a comeback, though [card]Tempered Steel[/card] is probably going to swoop in and steal that opportunity.

Limited: 3.0

What I said about Guardian’s Pledge, except that instead of a solid combat trick you get a bonus for the entire game, which is pure value. Building around this card is definitely worth it if you get it early, and I wouldn’t mind snapping it up and trying to go deep.

[draft]Lifelink[/draft]

Lifelink

Constructed: 1.0

I’m trying to get into the right spirit for this, but for the life of me I just can’t link together the right string of words.

[draft]Mesa Enchantress[/draft]

Mesa Enchantress

Constructed: 1.0

If this is the sort of thing you are looking for, may I suggest [card]Puresteel Paladin[/card] (and a course on basic tactics) instead?

Limited: 1.5

Unless you are Matt Nass, you should probably avoid drafting around this. The prevalence of Auras and their ‘Mancer does give me some hope that it will see play from time to time, but looking for that specifically seems very dangerous.

[draft]Mighty Leap[/draft]

Mighty Leap

Constructed: 1.0

This hasn’t made any leaps in the last year, mighty or otherwise, so it remains Constructed unplayable.

Limited: 2.5

As little as I tend to like [card]Giant Growth[/card]s, I really don’t see cutting this in most of my white decks. It is just too versatile to get rid of, and striking for the last four with Mighty Leap is just going to happen way too often.

[draft]Oblivion Ring[/draft]

Oblivion Ring

Constructed: 3.5

A few months late, Oblivion Ring is still greatly appreciated. This is an awesome card to have available, since it is about as fair as imaginable while still being very good. Giving white some great unconditional (albeit sorcery-speed) removal goes a long way towards making the format healthy, and I expect O-Ring to show up in all sorts of decks. The only thing I ask is that you don’t play the hideous new picture. Lorwyn or bust!

Limited: 4.0

White’s version of [card]Doom Blade[/card] not only kills anything, but can even hit stuff like Mind Control or Angelic Destiny. I’ve already splashed for this, and I’ve only done a couple drafts. It does suffer from the fact that enchantment kill is something people are going to have access to, so try and avoid getting blown out by Demystify. Oh, and I used this to attack Owen for 640 damage (exactly), though I’ll leave it up to you to guess what happened.

[draft]Pacifism[/draft]

Pacifism

Constructed: 1.0

It could be said that Oblivion Ring is strictly better than Pacifism (if one wanted to start an inane argument, that is). Either way, we have Oblivion Ring back in Standard! Awesome.

Limited: 4.0

Not all 4’s are created equal. This is better than a 3.5, but worse than most of the other 4’s on the list, though it still just is removal, and you still aren’t passing it very often.

[draft]Peregrine Griffin[/draft]

Peregrine Griffin

Constructed: 1.0

[card gruesome encore]Zero points to Griffindor.[/card]

Limited: 3.0

First strike on a 2/4, eh. Funny joke, Tom.

Aside: Since Tom Lapille is the R&D guy I know best, I blame him for anything that displeases me about Magic sets. When Jace and Stoneforge were ruining Standard, who did I blame? When I lost to [card]Thopter Assembly[/card] three times in the Pro Tour Top 8, who do I assume designed that card (and probably [card]Treasure Mage[/card], to boot)? I basically just like blaming Tom for value, mostly because I get to actually complain directly to him on regular occasion. End Aside.

In any case, while this doesn’t really need first strike, it is certainly welcome, and beating this guy in a fight isn’t the easiest thing. It is a five-drop, so too many is dangerous, but it still deserves a spot on the list of white creatures that you want a mix of. If you got to choose six of [card]Assault Griffin[/card], [card]Peregrine Griffin[/card], [card]Benalish Veteran[/card], and [card]Stormfront Pegasus[/card], well, you would choose six Pegasi. If you took that out, though, you would probably choose something like 3, 2, 1, going from cheapest to most expensive.

[draft]Personal Sanctuary[/draft]

Personal Sanctuary

Constructed: 1.0

Personally, I’d love to be proven wrong here, but I think I’m pretty safe.

Limited: 0.0

I have no idea what sort of monstrosity you could assemble to make this good, so I’m not even going to bother trying.

[draft]Pride Guardian[/draft]

Pride Guardian

Constructed: 1.0

[card]Perimeter Captain[/card] never really made it, and he’s quite a bit better than Pride “I die to Incinerate” Guardian here. It’s a cute idea, but just play [card]Kor Firewalker[/card] if that’s what you really want.

Limited: 1.0

I would never start this in an aggressive deck, but I’m not too proud to play it in the right control deck. Sometimes you just gotta block, and if you want to live to cast some 7-drop, this is the kind of card you need.

[draft]Roc Egg[/draft]

Roc Egg

Constructed: 1.0

Unless [card]Obliterate[/card] snuck its way back into Standard, there is really no reason to try and hatch anything with this, and even if Obliterate were legal, you wouldn’t want to put all your eggs in one basket anyway.

Limited: 2.5

This is still pretty defensive, but unlike Pride Guardian, it actually punishes them for attacking into it. In a close race, this will gain you 3-5 life and put a 3/3 haste into play, which is quite the swing. A mark of a good card is that it is always annoying to see on the other side, and whenever I’m trying to beat down (not often), Roc Egg always gets a huge sigh.

[draft]Serra Angel[/draft]

Serra Angel

Constructed: 4.0 in 1994 Vintage, 1.0 elsewhere

Serra’s days may have passed, but few cards can legitimately claim to be as dominant as she once was (and look at the old art…classic).

Limited: 4.0

Yeah, Serra is still the nuts. At least they put more answers in this time, since now you have [card]Brink of Disaster[/card] as a reasonable sideboard option if they kill you with Serra game one.

[draft]Siege Mastodon[/draft]

Siege Mastodon

Constructed: 1.0

Reviewing this card again makes me feel like I’m under siege, though I guess under siege 2 might be even more accurate (and far worse).

Limited: 2.0

As boring as this is, you still play it more than half the time, and it still does its job. Vanilla at its finest.

[draft]Spirit Mantle[/draft]

Spirit Mantle

Constructed: 1.0

Let me know once they add hexproof to this, since playing this in a field full of [card]Dismember[/card]s and [card]Doom Blade[/card]s is just asking to have your spirit crushed.

Limited: 2.5

While this obviously sets you up for all sorts of card disadvantage, it will end the game rapidly if they don’t have a spell handy. At the very least, you should be able to set it up to get the guy through once, at which point you at least Lava Axed them. This card seems pretty frustrating, since there will be plenty of games where you just flat out lose to it, and there will be nothing you can do about it. Yet another reason Aether Adept is so insane in this format.

[draft]Stave Off[/draft]

Stave Off

Constructed: 1.0

[card]Emerge Unscathed[/card] and [card]Brave the Elements[/card] have both seen a small amount of play, and both are much better than this card. There is an off chance it sees play once they rotate, but for now it is basically a blank.

Limited: 3.0

This is pretty underrated right now. Not only does it save a guy from any removal spell (even Unsummon or Aether Adept), it is a useful combat trick, can make a guy unblockable, and can even knock off enchantments at any point. Also, unlike most versions of this card, you can target their guys. Destroying Spirit Mantle, Trollhide, Mind Control, and any Phantom is sick, and is what really pushes this over the top. I want one or two in every white deck.

[draft]Stonehorn Dignitary[/draft]

Stonehorn Dignitary

Constructed: 1.0

As compelling as it is to make the [card]Stonehorn Dignitary[/card] + [card]Crystal Shard[/card] lock deck, I’m going go ahead and give this a 1.

[draft]Stormfront Pegasus[/draft]

Stormfront Pegasus

Constructed: 1.0

Blocking is rarely a thing in Constructed, so I’d much rather trade the flying for some extra abilities. Even if I did want a 2-power flier, I’d front the extra white mana and just get a Leonin Skyhunter instead.

Limited: 3.5

The combination of power and casting cost, plus evasion, makes this the Commander-in-Chief of all the common white creatures. Well, Gideon’s Lawkeeper is the actual President, so I guess this can be Air Horse One instead.

[draft]Sun Titan[/draft]

Sun Titan

Constructed: 3.0

This has ranged in playablity over the last year, but Titans basically get an automatic 3. I wouldn’t have been sad if they didn’t reprint them, just so we could play with different six-drops, but I guess other things will have to wait for their time in the sun.

Limited: 4.0

It’s a Titan. See: Gideon Jura, and replace “Planeswalker” with “Titan”. Take it, and be happy.

[draft]Timely Reinforcements[/draft]

Timely Reinforcements

Constructed: 2.0

They keep making this card, but I think this time they may have gotten it right. Against the red deck, getting the full effect is both awesome and fairly doable, especially if they play more guys now. The second one gets a lot worse, so it might just be a 2-of, but I’d at the very least like to try it out, since six life for three mana is a pretty good deal. [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] this might not be, but I suspect we won’t see another Finks in a good long while.

Limited: 3.0

This might be a bad topdeck in the midgame, but it should usually make dudes if it’s in your opener, and you are allowed to play in a manner that will make it active. 1/1’s aren’t going to break a game in the same way a flier would, but they still should clog the board so you can win with all your other cards, among which there should be ample fliers.

Top 5 White Commons

5. [card]Peregrine Griffin[/card]
4. [card]Assault Griffin[/card]
3. [card]Stormfront Pegasus[/card]
2. [card]Pacifism[/card]
1. [card]Gideon’s Lawkeeper[/card]

White has some good commons, and there are still multiple 3’s that didn’t make the Top 5 list. They tend towards the aggressive, but all of them except maybe Benalish Veteran will work quite well in control decks as well. The best common isn’t even a great splash, so it won’t get poached by other colors as often as Pacifism!

I’m getting rid of the Top 5 for Constructed, since each color is basically going to have reprints in that spot, and it’s pretty clear which of the cards I actually like for Constructed.

Tomorrow I move on to blue, though what would an article be without a sample hand, from the sealed deck I had at the prerelease:

[draft]chandra’s outrage
Volcanic dragon
Wring flesh
Jace, memory adept
Cancel
Swamp
Swamp[/draft]

98 thoughts on “M12 Set Review – White”

  1. Aether Adept can’t bounce a creature that’s got a spirit mantle on it since the enchanted creature has protection from creatures.

  2. SpoonSpoonSpoon

    “Air horse one”
    Niiiiiiiice.

    I agree with most of these, ‘though i was somewhat unimpressed with arbalast elite in my sealed pool. It really is very very slow.

  3. Venser’s +2 blinking ability with Stonehorn Dignitary could be very frustrating to play against.

  4. Pure win, epic puns, great review. Keep it coming. I’m looking to some funny comments, which didn’t get the jokes.

  5. I wanted to hear your Limited review of Stonehorn Dignitary. I tried to use multiple copies in combination with two Arbalest Elites in a draft, but didn’t get to see how it worked because my first opponent was mono-Blue mill. Talk about a terrible matchup…

  6. You left limited ratings off of a few of them unfortunately. And why is the Benalish Veteran actually a 4.0 for constructed? Unless that’s some joke, which I’m assuming it is.

  7. LSV I really apreciate the antyhrax reference especially on a great card like that, im just so fond of drafting whit ein m11 and m12 limited , drafted both a combined total of 19 times and never not drafted white

  8. @Moruk: He’s obviously joking, wake up.
    @whatever: You must be missing something, Benalish Veteran is the new face of standard, all the Opens and PTQs for the rest of the season are going to be dominated by Veteran mirrors. :'( The worst thing about him is that they didn’t print him in some kind of pre-con and this set isn’t going to be drafted very much because of the stand alone set being released very soon.

    I’m also obviously joking, before the more dense among you decide to troll.

  9. Mulligan
    Btw what are cancel, Chandra’s outrage and wring flesh doing in the same deck? Splash for wring?

  10. i dont agree with the Benalish Veteran rating, no way he is a 4 in constructed. He is a solid 5/5 in any format, I see players playing this in vintage. Remember how you guys splashed blk and green for deeds, thats so last year, its time to splash white for Benalish Veteran.

  11. LSV, I saw a guy using Personal Sanctuary along with Manabarbs to create the monstrosity you are wondering about. Of course he didn’t win a match, but that’s what you get for monstrosities these days.

  12. Goblingrenadier

    Stave Off – an answer to Twin? Make his dude pro red and be happy.

    Stonehorn Dignitary + Venser = No Attack for you sir.

  13. Stave Off could be a better Sideboard option against Splinter Twin than Demystify. Does the same to stop the combo but can also be used to stop a bolt or into the roil or protect your leathal attack from beeing tapped by Exarch.

  14. “don’t just look at the number and move on”

    who the hell would do that?

    also nice joke on the 2/2 that got 4.0 in constructed. It made me read the card FOUR times 😛

  15. Zero points to Griffindor.

    I’m not even a big Harry Potter Fan and I was dying laughing from this.

    Thanks for the Set Reviews!

  16. At least someone else appreciates the beauty of Lorwyn O-rings over the creepy old guy picture. Great review.

  17. It was pretty clear that you’ve been paying attention to all of the criticism of the lackluster puns of late in the set reviews because you were on your game this time. I guess there really is a correlation between good results on the pro tour and puns

  18. Update: WoTC just updated play rules to include Wedding Crashers etiquette. The most notable of these rules are:

    Rule #32: You don’t commit to a relative unless you’re absolutely positive they have a pulse.

    Rule #16: Give me an up-to-date family tree. That was your mistake. You made me look like an idiot.

    Rule #76: No excuses. Play like a champion!

    Make sure these are implemented at your next FNM.

  19. Brian Grewe doesn’t know what he’s talking about, obviously you want to TRADE HARD for Benalish Veteran. I traded Simulacrum and other jank off for over 3 playsets of veteran.

  20. Very much agree on the Divine Favor as a sideboard card. I boarded it in twice down against aggro and as you said, both sides were really relevant. Giving a Sengir Vampire some holiness along with a Wring Flesh managed to take down an Inferno Titan for me and live.

  21. my guess (about the 640 damage) is that you o-ringed a pacificm on a hydra that you earlier played for 5 counters (or multiples of 5)

  22. I didn’t really think about it, but wow, Stave Off is just way better than Demystify in Limited. I guess you might need to kill an O-Ring or something, but aside from that…

  23. I must say that hand seems about the greediest thing I’ve ever seen. Though looking at the new Jace, (I didn’t keep up with this spoiler season) I’ve got a friend who would sell his soul for that for his casual mill deck (he’s an atheist, so its not as impressive as it sounds).

  24. Auramancer has an old and misleading name – you didn’t notice it can also pick up normal enchantments.

  25. You listed Chandra as the worst planeswalker in the set? I would’ve expected Jace. Well, I look forward to reading what you have to say about the two then.

  26. You O-Ringed a Mind Control on your Uber Hydra that you played for 5 but is now a 640, then used Crimson Mage to give it haste. For value.

  27. Jace is clearly better than Chandra for limited, which is what he was referring to.

    I’m surprised you didn’t go with a “rock this” joke for a certain egg. A bit disappointed.

  28. Zur, The Enchanter

    Before you slam Gideon or any planeswalker without looking at the rest of the pack, shouldn’t you at least check for a Foil planeswalker?

  29. I second the Lorwyn Oblivion Rings. You’d think a classic magic circle could get decent art, but since Lorwyn its been headaches and hula-hoops.
    Now I have to dig out my old set…

  30. I was actually thinking bant turbofog was the ideal place for stonehorn dignitary. Rites of flourishing, venser, mimic vat (for more stonehorn goodness), fog, sundial of the infinite (to keep tokens made by the mimic vat/prevent unfortunate things on your turn/exile stuff permanently with stag or o-ring-venser), phyrexian metamorph, phantasmal image (more stonehorns!), gideon jura (MOAR FOG!), possibly new jace as a win con to mill them out. glimmerpoint stag could also be good, and solemn simulacrum would be AMAZING (I play two-three lands per turn and draw at least twice? fine by me!) preordain and ponder could both be used to find missing lands, mana leak to protect your walkers, dignitaries (memoricide), mimic vats, etc. Even sun titan can bring back killed rites, vats, images, lands, etc. Birthing pod? (Jace’s archivist-dingitary-slime-titan) elixir of immortality to prevent self-millage? there are many possibilities for this kind of deck.

  31. For 640, LSV clearly waited 5 turns so he could hydra for 10 instead of 5 for value. THEN, it got pacifism’d and he o-ringed the pacifism.

  32. CHandra is really the worst Planeswalker, as the ping for 1 damage doesnt kill enough creatures.

    Ofcourse you can hit the nuts against a white deck full of Lawkeeper and Pegasus ; but normally you can kill allmost nothing with the +1 ability.

    Its still a super strong card, as it enables bloodthirst and the -2 ability can be good with Chandras Outrage, Fireball and tons of other good spells // her ultimate wins aswell ofcourse.

    But the other Planeswalker are “more” insane ; you can argue that Sorin is quite expensive, but overall, Chandra is a little worse than the others.

    *Jace is insane simply because he kills in 3 activations , and even if you go for the ultimate you win games without much problem (as you jump block all day long anyway).

    In the end it doesnt matter, Planeswalker and Titans are totally insane ; pick them and be happy.

  33. Why do you always show us great sample hands? Double blue spells, double red spells and two black mana? Sounds like your pool was total crap or maybe you just lost because of your greed as it was the case in Nagoya top 8. Have you ever played a two-color deck? I wonder if you went 0-4 with this deck or if you lucksacked with good mana and ended up going 1-3.

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  35. I like chandra, she’s splashable in any colour and it’s not that outrageous to protect her for a few turns for her ult to wipe their side of the field. She’s at least better than markov.

  36. @ratchet: you can still stop an O-ring targeting a creature by staving off to give pro white in response to the trigger

  37. I lived the dream of Aegis Angel on Grave Titan (foil, of course… they were in the same pack with Mind Control… and I played all three!), and I can say this: even if they somehow manage to make it so that Grave Titan doesn’t wreck their day, INDESTRUCTIBLE Grave Titan still does the trick.

    Angel is like a 3.5 and +.5 to target creature bomb.

  38. Air Horse One… Brilliant, Sir, sheer brilliance.

    Also, mulliganing is poor value, obv. keep. Maybe I’ll draw a plains and my splashed pacifism.

  39. My buddies were brewing post-banning Splinter Twin, and they liked Apostle’s Blessing for Combust until they realized the obvious. I know after that, I re-read all the protection cards to see if it could be used prohibitively, as a trick against Splinter Twin.

    Stave Off is the only protection spell in standard that isn’t specific to your own creatures. In this regard, can it be used as a sideboard option to counter Go For The Throats and simultaneously keep Splinter Twin off of Exarchs?

  40. It kind of bothers me that you gave elite vanguard a 1.0…. it’s still a 2/1 for W. How is that not a good creature? It’s savannah lions. The time maybe isn’t right for it(due to no deck) but you constantly underrate beatdown cards and overrate control cards(like archon of justice or vault skirge in nph, which you gave a 1). You need to be more open minded towards beatdown cards in your review even if you hate playing those type of decks because the cards themselves are still playable. I mean really, you gave honor of the pure 2.5 but what do you think is going to be in that deck if it becomes playable?

  41. Luis Scott-Vargas

    Oops, sorry about missing the Limited reviews on Lifelink (0.0) and Stonehorn Dignitary (1.5).

    As for Aether Adept vs pro-creatures…glad I got a few bites at least =)

    Hydra + Pacifism + Oring was in fact the sequence of plays, though the Hydra was even Mind Controlled, which obviously wasn’t going to get guessed (but makes it even sweeter that he died to his own Hydra).

    That sealed was actually very good, but was splashing black for Cemetary Reaper and Wring Flesh off of 2 Manalith, Drowned Catacombs, Dragonskull Summit, and two Swamps, so it led to some nice openers.

  42. “Oh, and I used this to attack Owen for 640 damage (exactly), though I’ll leave it up to you to guess what happened.”

    Did you have a Primordial Hydra out with 640 counters on it that was previously Pacified before you slammed O-Ring? That’s my guess.

  43. sorry if this is a duplicate. The site said I was “posting comments too fast” the first time I tried one.

    (Air Horse One is awesome. I think that is the card’s new name for me.)

    Sad to see the lack of a “Top 5 Constructed” list, but I guess it makes sense because there are only 4 of them and the first two are Mythic Rares. I figure LSV was just being diplomatic, but I still salvaged my chance to bitch.

    Ironically, the lack of BSA is something I’m grumpy about, even though it would have made 3 out of 5 constructed playables as Mythic. I’m grumpy because I just managed to get my BSAs this spring when they finally dropped to $10 or so. Now they’re gone. Whee.

    However, O-ring is great to have back. I agree it’s a number of months too late.

  44. @Neon Unlike Stave Off, Demistify can not be redirected to spellskite (as Luis pointed out)

  45. stave off can be used on enemy creatures so that could be relevant against splinter twin.

  46. I read some of the comments on your post and I completely disagree with them. I dont think you were greedy at all with your sample hand. obviously you are not keeping that hand but why people think playing Grixis is bad? Its exactly what I ran at both of our pre-releases and I crushed in both.

  47. Thanks for ruining Horse-only Constructed for all of us. At least I can still shark my friends at All-Sliver Draft nights.

  48. Well, since the gauntlet was put down with Personal Sanctuary…

    I got one last pick this weekend and later drafted a Manabarbs. Didn’t play the Sanctuary but maybe if I had two more manabarbs I would think for a minute before cutting the sanctuary from my deck.

  49. Too bad you missed the Stonehorn Dignitary + Venser interaction, thought you’d see that one. Otherwise a good review.

  50. man that hand looks like mine at the prerealease just replace red spells with sorins thirst and the wring flesh with fireball

  51. Re: O-Ring: Alara artwork > Lorwyn artwork. So glad they printed the good art.

    Re: Sample hand: It has 2 removal spells and 2 bombs? SNAP KEEP. BTW I’m bad at Magic.

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  53. The set review was great! Also, a big fan of the sample hand thing at the bottom; it is so goooooooooood

  54. Too bad they won’t reprint faith’s fetters.. I think Faith fettering a Planeswalker is GREAT

  55. Yeah, I drafted the 2x Personal Sanctuary 3x Manabarbs deck and it crushed some folks… but then again I got a Flameblast Dragon and a Chandra so they likely did more work.

  56. One guy at our prerelease boarded in Personal Sanctuary against Manabarbs, with much success. I think it should be a 0.5!

  57. I lol’d at Air horse One, as well as that guy in the comments that goes “In before “but Brink of Disaster doesn’t kill Serra”” and immediately has 2-3 guys replying “lsv was joking, wake up”, thinking they’re clever when of course they’re just prooving their inability to read =D

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