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Rise of the Eldrazi Set Review – White

 

As usual, I get to take a look at what the new set has to offer, and this time White gets more than its fair share. The grading scale is the same as last time, although I did try and update the examples of each rating with more current cards.

Constructed

5.0: Multi-format All-Star. Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf.

4.0: Format staple. Bloodbraid Elf. Baneslayer Angel.

3.5: Good in multiple archetypes, but not a format staple. Raging Ravine. Oblivion Ring.

3.0: Archetype staple. Sprouting Thrinax. Goblin Guide.

2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. Rampant Growth. Divination.

2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. Celestial Purge. (Bear in mind that many cards fall into this “maybe” category, although explanation of why 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.)

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%)

Affa Guard Hound

Constructed: 1.0

Bad dog!

Limited: 1.0

I would give Affa Hound a higher rating in most sets (*cough* Zendikar), but Rise doesn’t really have quite as many 2/2’s bashing into each other, which is where the Hound really earns his pay. Between the level up evasion guys and huge Eldrazi monsters, a little 2/2 with a mediocre combat trick attached just doesn’t have a bone to gnaw on. There are certainly matchups where the Hound will be good, but I would leave him in the doghouse until then. If they have a lot of Red removal, or if the games look like there will be a lot of combat with small guys, feel free to give this dog a whistle. Wow, that was a lot of puns, even for me.

 

Caravan Escort 

Constructed: 1.0

He can team up with Caravan Hurda and make sure that some lucky caravan is REALLY protected.

Limited: 2.5

I’m really impressed by the level-up guys. The only one that seems terrible is Ikiral Outrider; even the kind of slow-looking Black ones are quite good. Caravan Hurda is no exception, and even though it is basically Pearl Unicorn for a while, once it levels up it is a huge threat. As always, cards that are good early and good late are just good.

 

Dawnglare Invoker 

Constructed: 1.0

Cryptic Command on wheels he is not, and I don’t expect to see this guy tapping down armies in any Constructed formats.

Limited: 3.0

The standard two-power flier for three has always been good, and adding a very powerful bonus doesn’t hurt. The Invoker beats down pretty quickly, and late game is almost unbeatable. Even if your board is much worse than theirs, if they can’t get rid of the Invoker than it doesn’t really matter that you aren’t adding more guys; you just tap them down and keep swinging.

 

Deathless Angel 

Constructed: 2.5

Path to Exile, Oblivion Ring and Journey to Nowhere notwithstanding, it isn’t very easy to get rid of a protected Deathless Angel. It beats all the other popular finishers in a fight, and can protect your other guys as well. The downside is of course its cost; eight mana is quite hefty, and you won’t often have the time to wait around for that. Some Blue-White tapout decks play Sphinx of Jwar Isle in addition to Baneslayer, and as a one or two-of I can see Deathless Angel taking that slot. It even doesn’t die to Wrath effects! I don’t think that giving this a 2.5 is a stretch, and it might even edge its way up to a 3.0 eventually.

Limited: 4.5

Ah, it feels good to give bomb rares a high rating again! In the last block, something like Deathless Angel would be fine but not insane; Steppe Lynx, Surrakar Marauder, and Plated Geopede saw to that. Rise has no such limitations, and the Angel is a legitimate windmill slam. Almost unkillable even if you don’t have double-White up, and board dominating when you do, I can’t imagine passing this for anything if you open one pack 1. It doesn’t stop Annihilator (obviously), but you can probably sack a few lands and triple block the Eldrazi, with the Angel stopping you from losing anything. That, or just kill them with your five-power flier before they play an 11-drop.

 

Demystify 

Constructed: 1.0

We have a plethora of good options for enchantment/artifact removal nowadays, and I would by mystified if something as narrow as this was the best option. Even Dredge, a deck that has to kill an enchantment at the cost of one mana, has access to Nature’s Claim now. In Standard you could just get value from Kor Sanctifiers or Oblivion Ring, which leaves Demystify on the sidelines.

Limited: 0.5

Enchantments are not nearly prevalent enough to be able to maindeck this, although it obviously has use as a sideboard card. I would try and pick one up every draft, which really shouldn’t be difficult to do.

 

Eland Umbra 

Constructed: 1.0

While some of the Umbras will see the limelight, giving a creature +0/+4 isn’t nearly good enough. It is cute that if you land this on a Kor Firewalker it shuts down Ball Lightning, Hellspark Elemental, and the rest of the Red deck, while also stopping the first Deathmark or Doom Blade, but then again, Hyena Umbra also does that without being terrible.

Limited: 0.5

Making a guy much harder to kill isn’t that awesome. With +0/+4, it’s doubtful your guy is going Hellspark Elementalto die most of the time anyway, so adding the Umbra protection isn’t really all that relevant. If you have a few guys that are must-kill, then maybe, but in an average deck I would leave this on the sidelines.

 

Emerge Unscathed 

Constructed: 2.0

Brave the Elements does a pretty efficient job of destroying the chances that Emerge Unscathed sees play, but it does have the upside of being able to protect non-White creatures. Whether that little issue matters is what is going to make or break Emerge Unscathed, since Brave stops mass removal like Earthquake, makes all your guys unblockable, and the Rebound on Emerge is not really that exciting.

Limited: 1.5

Rebound on this is much less awesome than on most cards, but it does let you get in for damage. Emerge will mostly counter a removal spell or win a combat, then next turn let you hit with a guy when you normally couldn’t, which is fine, and sometimes it will let you bash with something two turns in a row. Having a large theme of the set be colorless certainly hurts this, and makes it much less reliable, particularly on the aggressive front. It isn’t exactly sick to spend a card in order to make them chump with an Eldrazi spawn, and that is what will happen a good portion of the time. Emerge is a pretty solid sideboard card, since against the removal-heavy decks it will always trade for something, and give you mana advantage to boot. The Rebound will give you some sick value against cards like Narcolepsy, which is enough on its own to make me want this in my sideboard, if not my maindeck.

 

Gideon Jura 

Constructed: 3.5

It looks like 4.5 mana is the Maginot Line of Planeswalkers. Above it, and they are mostly unplayable. Below it, they are Constructed powerhouses. There are a couple notable exceptions (Sarkhan Vol, Tezzeret the Seeker), but for the most part it really holds true. I think Gideon may be yet another exception, since he has some of the traits that the better Planeswalkers tend to share. He protects himself with his –2 ability, he provides card advantage most turns (assuming they have guys you can Lure and/or Assassinate), and he does something on an empty board. He bashes for a fair bit of damage, and can punch other Planeswalkers with impunity. Jace can’t interact with Gideon in any meaningful way, which is definitely important. He does compete with another pretty good card at the same mana cost, but in a Planeswalker-centric deck, he meshes very well with Elspeth and Jace, siphoning attacks off of them and benefiting from the chumps that Elspeth provides. He is pretty hyped, but he will live up to most of that hype, which is impressive.

Limited: 4.5

As good as he is in Constructed, I don’t see how anyone is beating him in any remotely close game in Limited. Going up to 8 Loyalty right off the bat makes him almost unkillable, and presumably you have at least a few guys to defend him. He crushes board stalls, he crushes them if they only have one or two guys out, and he is only “bad” when you are vastly outnumbered. Even then, he eats a guy and absorbs four points of attacks!

 

Glory Seeker 

Constructed: 1.0

If you are seeking glory, be assured that this guy should be nowhere near your Constructed deck.

Limited: 1.0

A legitimate first-pick in Onslaught draft, a solid playable in Zendikar, and borderline unplayable in Rise. This set is awesome! Before I get too carried away, I do have to mention that draft isn’t quite as glacially slow as sealed, and Glory Seeker is definitely solid in some aggressive decks. Those decks would rather be casting level-up guys, but if you are beating down, a 2-drop is a 2-drop. I know that my decks will not be playing him, but I wouldn’t fault you if you do. Be careful not to run him in a deck that doesn’t want him; much like in M10 Limited, running Glory Seeker in a non-beatdown deck is a sure way to lose yourself some games.

 

Guard Duty 

Constructed: 1.0

“Killing” a guy for one mana is worth looking at, but the competition is way too fierce for Guard Duty to find a home. Aggressive decks don’t want it, and will run Path, control decks will run Oust, and both of them are happy with their Journey to Nowheres and O-Rings.

Limited: 2.0

Guard Duty will be an awesome removal spell in some decks (like UW evasion, Eldrazi ramp that just needs to survive), a necessary evil in others (removal-light White decks that don’t have enough evasion), and unplayable in others (W/x beatdown that has other removal AND no evasion). It gets owned pretty hard by [card warmongers chariot]Warmonger’s Chariot], which I had happen to my team at the Pre-release, and shares the normal Aura vulnerability to enchantment removal and bounce. Attacking into a guy with Guard Duty on it is miserable, and decks that eventually have to do that probably don’t want to play it, although sometimes you just have to stop their 10-drop monster. If your lategame is awesome (possibly involving hardcast Emrakul or something), Guard Duty fits the plan, but I would recommend staying away from most non-beatdown decks that lack removal and evasion, since if that is your deck, what exactly are you doing?

 

Harmless Assault 

Constructed: 1.0

Putting this in your deck will be an assault on your chances, and not a harmless one at that.

Limited: 1.0

This is expensive for a combat trick, but it does both Fog and let you set up good blocks, making it good in a cluttered board or a race. Its inefficiency in the early to mid game makes me hesitant to play it, but late game it becomes a decent trick. Preventing a few damage to yourself while killing one or more of their guys is certainly worth a card, but the cost of leaving four mana up isn’t something you can bear for too many turns in most games.

 

Hedron-Field Purists 

Constructed: 1.0

Expensive levelers that mostly help cluttered boards aren’t exactly Constructed material.

Limited: 3.0

I don’t know how many people still remember playing Limited with [card]Lashknife Barrier[/card] (although IPA drafts on MTGO may have exposed a new generation to it), but it is pretty difficult to come out ahead in combat against one. Add in [card urzas armor]Urza’s Armor[/card] (look at all the old hits!) and it becomes even worse, making Hedron-Field Purists a very attractive card. Granted, it is easier to kill the Purists than Barrier or Armor, which could lead to some pretty awkward combat blowouts, but at least if it dies in combat it still prevents the damage that happens simultaneously. It also buys you the time to level it fully, at which point getting through for damage is going to be pretty miserable barring an Eldrazi incursion.

 

Hyena Umbra 

Constructed: 2.5

I foresee being annoyed by Umbra’ed up Kor Firewalkers or the like, particularly if I’m sitting across from Cedric. Making a guy survive any of Jund’s removal, Wraths, and combat, is pretty potent, and the mana cost is spot on. I am excited myself about casting it on Knight of the Reliquary, since if you slowroll the Knight and they tap out, it puts Jund into a really awkward position.

Limited: 2.0

Sadly for Hyena Umbra, the lean mana cost is not nearly as huge an advantage in Limited. While the effect is fine, paying a little more for a bigger effect is preferable, and Hyena Umbra loses to something like Drake Umbra in that regard. I wouldn’t want to run too many Umbras maindeck, but they are very potent sideboard cards, since some decks have no option but to suck it up and trade a premium removal spell or creature for the Umbra. When you run into trouble is when you play against a deck filled with Narcolepsies, bounce, or other ways around the destroy clause on the Umbra.

 

Ikiral Outrider 

Constructed: 1.0

Surely, Ikiral Outrider will form a crucial part of the Caravan Guard/Hurda conglomerate.

Limited: 0.5

Ikiral Outrider holds the dubious distinction of being one of the few levelers that is just flat out bad. There might be some others that need specific decks to work (Echo Mage), but the Outrider just isn’t a good card at all. Six mana for a 2/6 is not a steal, and adding another twelve mana to make him an awe-inspiring 3/10 Vigilance is not much better. I guess you might sideboard it in against the 5-power deck, but even then probably not. Still, it is very hard for a creature to be absolutely unplayable, though this guy is close.

 

Kabira Vindicator 

Constructed: 1.0

Unless you are building a Kabira deck, where the Evangel meets the Vindicator at the Crossroads, please just cast Honor of the Pure if you are looking for a Crusade.

Limited: 3.0

It would take quite the deck for me to not play this guy, since a 2/4 for 3W isn’t that bad by itself (I’ve played more than my fair share of Pillarfield Oxen in my day). Glorious Anthem is quite the ability, and potentially doubling up is a huge threat. Even if you don’t level him up much, the fact that you can will change how your opponent must play, especially if you have a bunch of Eldrazi spawn lying around.

 

Knight of Cliffhaven 

Constructed: 1.0

If levelers want to see Constructed play, they should consider going back to school and becoming [card student of warfare]students[/card].

Limited: 3.0

Even without the ability to upgrade to a Serra Angel, Knight of Cliffhaven would make the cut by being a 2/3 flier on turn 3. Add that upside in and you have a fine card, one that should be taken early and always played.

 

Kor Line-Slinger 

Constructed: 1.0

I was going to make another pun here, but after that Affa Guard Hound paragraph I thought I would just be crossing the line. If removal wasn’t so good in Standard, this guy could be some sort of tech for White mirrors, but now that White has Journey, Path, and O-Ring, I just don’t see it happening.

Limited: 3.5

Not being able to tap down huge guys is definitely more of a disadvantage in this set than it would be normally, but a tapper that doesn’t cost mana to activate is pretty filthy. Even if you can’t sling down Eldrazi, this guy dominates most boards and costs nothing to do so.

 

Kor Spiritdancer 

Constructed: 1.0

We have come a long way from Rabid Wombat and Verduran Enchantress, but Argothian Enchantress and Enchantress’ Presence are still the gold standard when it comes to Enchantresses. Relying only on Auras is a good way to fill your deck with situational and underpowered cards, and Kor Spiritdancer doesn’t do enough to mitigate that.

Limited: 1.0-2.5

If you have no Auras, Kor Spiritdancer is obviously just unplayable, but once you have five or more she gets a little interesting. Threatening to be a 2/4 or bigger base and drawing you a few cards isn’t bad, although you probably don’t want to plan on playing multiple Umbras on her; that’s just asking to get Ousted or whatever.

 

Lightmine Field 

Constructed: 1.0

In my very first Grand Prix, my opponent played a [card]Powerstone Minefield[/card] against me (one that he Enlightened Tutor’ed for no less), and my Rock deck was thoroughly unimpressed. Lightmine Field is going to be mostly worse than Powerstone Minefield, and that is already pretty bad.

Limited: 0.5

It would be quite a brew that wants to play this, although I look forward to constructing it. Even as a sideboard card it is pretty sketchy, although if they are all Valakut Fireboars or the like it could be pretty annoying for them.

 

Linvala, Keeper of Silence 

Constructed: 2.0

A ¾ flier for 4 is reasonable, although obviously not enough to be good in Constructed, and Linvala’s ability might make her useful in some specific matchups. Cursed Totem is a card that has seen play in the past, and now that levelers and mana creatures abound, it might see play again. The plethora of removal available makes it pretty unlikely that she is good, but I could see her as a one or two-of in some matchups.

Limited: 4.0

If her text box was blank, she would rate a 3.5 on base stats alone, and her ability is about as far from blank as it gets. Shutting off both levelers and Eldrazi spawn is a significant advantage, which combines to make Linvala one of the better cards in the set. Sadly, four toughness isn’t what it used to be, what with Flame Slash and all, but she is still no pushover.

 

Lone Missionary 

Constructed: 1.0

The second coming of Kitchen Finks is no such thing, and I would be very surprised if he edges out Kor Firewalker and Wall of Omens as anti-aggro technology. Not providing card advantage or impressive stats isn’t mitigated by the impressive amount of life he gains, so despite being much better than Venerable Monk, Lone Missionary still isn’t good enough.

Limited: 1.5

The comments I made about Glory Seeker apply here, although the 4 life does make this a little better than the Seeker. I still wouldn’t play it in most decks, and unless you are trying to race a ground-based deck, you would have to be pretty aggressive to want the Missionary.

 

Luminous Wake 

Constructed: 1.0

Sadly, the only member of the Wake family to make it to the big time is still Mirari’s Wake.

Limited: 1.0

Luminous Wake is essentially Guard Duty for creatures with four or less power, though there are some important differences. It does grant you a bonus four life when they block with it, but the downfall makes it much worse than Guard Duty. It doesn’t actually stop them from attacking, and does nothing against big guys, both of which are why Guard Duty is good in the first place. I guess you could put it on your guy and start bashing for four life, but that is also pretty weak. I could see playing this card, but I wouldn’t be happy about it (unless I was specifically siding it in).

 

Makindi Griffin 

Constructed: 1.0

Zero points for Gryffindor.

Limited: 3.5

The ever-popular Fighting Drake hasn’t gotten any weaker since Tempest Block, although it has gotten easier to cast.

 

Mammoth Umbra 

Constructed: 1.0

A mammoth casting cost keeps this from any hope of seeing Constructed play.

Limited: 2.0

When I said I would rather pay more for a splashier effect (see Hyena Umbra), Mammoth Umbra isn’t exactly what I had in mind. Don’t get me wrong, it is decent, but five mana is quite a bit to spend. Vigilance does let you dominate most boards, but if I’m paying five mana for an Aura I would certainly hope so. Normal Umbra weaknesses apply, and the mana cost makes it less likely that you can cast this while they are tapped out.

 

Near-Death Experience 

Constructed: 1.0

This card is pretty neat, but I don’t see a feasible way to really harness it. Getting rid of mana burn certainly did open up some design space, since with mana burn this would be quite the win condition.

Limited: 0.0

Trying to play this in Limited is more likely to lead to an Actual-Death Experience than anything else.

 

Nomads Assembly 

Constructed: 1.0

If the Assembly ever gets unruly, [card martial coup]martial law[/card] just gets declared and they all go away, which also stops any rebound shenanigans.

Limited: 1.5-3.0

If only there were a way to make a bunch of tokens and power this card up”¦if you have that deck than this is the perfect card for it, but otherwise it borders on mediocre. Casting this with three guys in play and next turn getting four to six isn’t bad, so I probably play this in most decks, but there are definitely decks where the Assembly isn’t good.

 

Oust 

Constructed: 3.0

Oust looks really awesome. It clearly isn’t that exciting in beatdown decks, since giving them three life is way worse than just giving them a land with Path, but it is a perfect fit for control. In fact, Ousting a turn one Noble Hierarch is probably better than killing it, since by the time they draw it again it is worse than them drawing a random card. Ousting Putrid Leech is also nice, although the Leech is still a relevant play on turn four. I am certainly going to be trying Oust in a variety of White-based control decks during the coming weeks.

Limited: 3.0

Ousting an Umbra’d guy is a blowout, and even just hitting their four-drop and playing a three-drop in the same turn is pretty nice. The lifegain makes that a little less broken, but Oust fits perfectly well in both beatdown and control decks, as well as everything in between. Not killing the guy permanently is a bit rough sometimes, but the mana advantage you will get off Oust (especially when you hit a leveler) makes this a solid pick.

 

Puncturing Light 

Constructed: 1.0

Blah blah blah White has a ton of good removal nowadays blah blah blah.

Limited: 3.0

This might not kill everything, but it kills more than enough, and the price is certainly right, This could be near-dead against some decks, so don’t draft a ton of these, but I doubt I would ever cut the first two from my maindeck.

 

Repel the Darkness 

Constructed: 1.0

It would be a dark day when this is good enough for Standard (or even Block).

Limited: 1.0

This is no Blinding Beam, but the fact that it cycles makes it a reasonable addition to an aggressive deck that is short on cards. Finding room for a card like this is tough, since early to midgame you don’t want to hamper your development by casting this just to get four damage in, and in the late game, tapping two guys isn’t enough to warrant a spot as a finisher. The card draw is nice, but not enough to get it out of the awkward spot it resides in.

 

Smite 

Constructed: 1.0

In smite of my best efforts, I just can’t resist making yet another pun.

Limited: 3.0

While this is spectacularly bad against evasion guys, it handles large idiots rather easily. Despite needing to block before using it, the only way you get 2 for 1ed is if they have a counterspell (though be aware that if you Smite a guy with an Umbra, the Umbra falls off and the creatures still battle each other).

 

Soulbound Guardians 

Constructed: 1.0

Every new White creature is bound to draw the inevitable Baneslayer comparison, and it certainly doesn’t make the Guardians look interesting at all.

Limited: 3.0

The Guardians are aptly named, since it is pretty difficult for the opponent to get through with them in play. Eldrazi monsters can bust through, but past that there aren’t many creatures big enough to do so. If you are fortunate enough to get a Warmonger’s Chariot, the Guardians even get to make short work of the opponent!

 

Souls Attendant 

Constructed: 2.0

Soul Warden sees some niche play, although this is certainly worse. Changing the trigger to a “may” is just asking for trouble (although I would prefer all triggers be “may”), and while they are both legal I don’t see a reason to play the one that you can forget.

Limited: 1.0

Soul Warden has always been a fine card, but I don’t think it really does what you want it to do in this case. The decks it is theoretically best against (that contain a bunch of Eldrazi spawn) don’t care how much life you gain, since they will just finish you with a 10/10 monster. Now, if you happen to be that deck, Soul’s Attendant does an admirable job of helping you survive, and is worth a spot on the roster. I don’t know how often White will team up with Eldrazi spawn, but if it does, Soul’s Attendant is ready.

 

Stalwart Shield-Bearers 

Constructed: 1.0

The pieces are falling into place for the sick defender deck. Just a few more”¦

Limited: 0.5

I’m not sure what kind of deck I would have to draft where I really wanted this, but if I ended up with no 2-drops and was facing the Glory Seeker deck, maybe I would bring this in. Maybe. Probably not

 

Student of Warfare 

Constructed: 3.0

Now this is a leveler. The second coming of Wren’s Run Vanquisher is not going to disappoint, and I anticipate losing my fair share of games to it. Granted, Wall of Omens is going to hamper its effectiveness somewhat, but the stats on this guy are good enough to make it a centerpiece of aggressive and midrange White decks for the next two years. It even plays nice with Ranger of Eos, which is not insignificant.

Limited: 3.5

It doesn’t take much to bash them with a 3/3 first striker, and the 4/4 double striker isn’t far behind. It is very White-intensive, but I think that is a disadvantage worth putting up with, considering what you are getting out of the deal.

 

Survival Cache 

Constructed: 2.0

I so want this card to be good, but I really don’t think it will quite get there. It is close to the reverse Blightning I’ve been hoping for (1UW, draw 2, gain 3), but the fact that it does nothing once you are at low life makes it too risky for a control deck. It might be decent in an aggro deck, but aggro decks can probably just use Ranger of Eos to refill, and not mess around with this. I’m giving it a 2 just out of hope, but I would be surprised if this actually got there. Oh, and it also should be an instant!

Limited: 1.0

Again, the risk of this not drawing cards is too great for me to want to put this card in my deck. If you are super aggressive and fairly sure you will be ahead on life most of the time, maybe, but that’s a hard thing to guarantee in Limited.

 

Time of Heroes 

Constructed: 1.0

Now is not the time for this. Honestly, not sure if its time will ever come, since the whole thing about leveler guys is that they should be big threats in and of themselves.

Limited: 0.0 to 2.5

I saw this card deliver some sick beatings at the prerelease, although granted this was in Team Sealed. If you have enough levelers, it is quite the threat, and I don’t think that will be an entirely uncommon occurrence. Even though all the levelers are pretty awesome, if you aggressively pick all of them, you will probably end up with the 7+ needed to make Time of Heroes playable.

 

Totem-Guide Hartebeest 

Constructed: 1.0

He has plenty of heart, I’ll give him that.

Limited: 1.5-2.5

If you have a few good targets, the Totem-Guide is pretty reasonable; after all, I love me a two for one. Picking up Guard Duty or some sweet Umbra isn’t bad, even if you are paying a bit more than retail for a 2/5.

 

Transcendent Master 

Constructed: 2.0

It turns out that Student of Warfare isn’t the only leveler in town, even if he is on the top of the list. A Trained Armodon isn’t the worst, and a 6/6 life-linker is quite the upside. I foresee the Master kind of lurking around until the opponent taps out, at which point he bashes for quite the life swing. If you have extra mana, sink it in, and just don’t go all in until you think the coast is clear. Yes, if you blindly spend all your mana you could get wrecked by a timely Bolt, so just be smart about it and I think the Master will be decent.

Limited: 4.0

The Master is pretty unstoppable, and if you can level him to 9/9 he is actually unstoppable. The point about not playing into removal stands, although in Limited there is just way less to worry about to begin with. Being able to pay for a ridiculous lifelinker in chunks is absurd, and this guy can end the game singlehandedly.

 

Umbra Mystic 

Constructed: 1.0

Making all your (crappy) Auras into (less-crappy) Auras is not nearly enough to make the grade in Constructed.

Limited: 0.5

This clearly isn’t designed for Limited, since there are very few Auras in this set that aren’t already Totem Armor, which obviously makes this do nothing.

 

Wall of Omens 

Constructed: 4.0

Obviously, the last card on the list is the card everyone is waiting for. Wall of Omens is absurd, and will greatly impact Standard, Block, and probably Extended. Don’t get me wrong; Jund will still be awesome, but Wall of Omens will play a part on helping curb the RGB menace. UW control is already a solid choice in Standard, and I can’t help but imagine that the Wall will make it even better. Wall also has applications in other decks, since it helps bring back Vengevine and is just a sweet card in general.

Limited: 3.0

While this is a solid 3, and I would never cut it, Wall of Omens isn’t nearly as good in Limited as it is in Constructed. It is a good value card, but it doesn’t exactly dominate games or anything, since after all, it is just a zero-power Wall.

Top 5 Constructed Cards for White

5. Transcendent Master
4. Oust
3. Student of Warfare
2. Gideon Jura
1. Wall of Omens

White made out pretty well here. It got some awesome tools for both beatdown and control, as well as the ever versatile Wall of Omens. The only card on the list that I’m not certain will see a significant amount of play is Transcendent Master; the rest are solid bets. Oust, Wall, and Gideon are certainly a bit better in controlling decks, but Wall and Gideon can easily fit into a more midrange to aggro version of White as well. White seems like it is tending towards a midrange beatdown shell (kind of like Boss Naya’s gameplan), and all these cards really support that. Join me tomorrow when I take a look at Blue, which sadly didn’t get as many awesome cards as White this time around!

LSV

96 thoughts on “<i>Rise of the Eldrazi</i> Set Review – White”

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  2. Missing a limited review for Eland Umbra. Although I’m not holding my breathe waiting for it.

    Thanks for doing this review as always! I always find that it significantly helps, since I only ever do about one draft/sealed deck per new set.

  3. i love wall of omens…
    and 1 drop umbras
    i do think umbras will make path to exile even better
    maybe journey will see real constructed play too
    i think student of warfare will be good, not as good as most people think but good
    get him umbra’ed up on turn three before they have enough mana to deal with it
    jace will be even better cu he can bounce levelers.
    great set

  4. p.s. great article as always….
    thanks for the insight.
    i hope gideon doesnt become a bust

  5. i agree with u on oust and wall,,love these mabey even to make a thopter controll deck good in ext,,2 better ways of dealing with zoo’s first turn nacatl, i always hated pathing there turn 1 nacatl,made me real sad i rampant growthed them turn 1 lol

  6. Jace does interact with Gideon in a great way. Your Jace isn’t going to get attacked while Gideon is there to take the attacks.

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  8. I’m not sure if I agree with the 2 rating on Trans Master. 3CC for a 3/3 isn’t terrible to begin with, and I’ve always got leftover mana (although I always need to hold some back for the new Oust or Path), it’s perfect for pumping into while I wait for the board to flip so I can DOJ and have a monstrous 9/9 LL + Indestructible in play. I pooled 2 of them in Sealed flights this past weekend and they went right into my WW, along with Oust and 4 Wall of Omen. It’s kicking ass so far.

    Otherwise you’re spot on LSV. Love the puns. Looking forward to your G and B reviews.

  9. Stupid as it is, I did win five games in a five-round prerelease (going 4-1 overall) on the back of Near-Death Experience. There just aren’t that many burn spells that go to the face in Sealed (Staggershot, Spawning Breath and Forked Bolt being the only decent ones; maybe you run into the occasional Suffer the Past or other oddball card) and not that many combat pump spells, so it’s not as likely as it would usually be that you go to 1 and they surprise you with the last point. I was playing WG splashing for Staggershot, Magmaw, and Vendetta, and got kills off of Prey’s Vengeance on their dude, Staggershot myself, and (the obvious highlight) Vendetta their 11/11.

    I’m not saying it’s good, but if you have a mediocre to bad sealed deck and need a way to steal some wins…

  10. In the pre-release tournement, i opened up a transcendant master, and yeah, i do believe he would fit quite well in the U/w Tapout deck

  11. So, I gotta disagree with LSV’s analysis of the crappy levellers. Umbra’s make even the crappiest leveller go the distance. Oust and regress being two of the only ways to get rid of stacked umbra creatures in ROE limited.

    Also, if today’s matchups are any indication it’s going to make demystify that much more important. There are some VERY good uncommon umbras that can swing games very quickly, very early, and demystify is as good as a smite against that creature while it’s equipped. In many instances, truly, it’s better than a smite since if there are more than 1 umbra YOU get to choose which one goes.

  12. Time of Heroes was definitely a win-more card in that Team Sealed. I would much rather have had multiple Venerated Teachers. Finally, blue gets a card that can produce 10+ mana on its own in limited.

  13. @ jp

    I said that all the levelers were good except the one that turns into a 3/10, and I think that’s true, even with Umbras.

  14. imo this set could just be the worst set ive ever played. there are maby 4 or five cards i find playable, but other than that i hate the concepts. This set truly inspires me to play yugioh….YEAH THATS RIGHT I WENT THERE!{lawlz}

    slow and steady, losses the race.

  15. Demystify might be a bit underrated here; in Limited, against certain decks, “destroy target enchantment” may as well be “destroy target creature”. If I’m in White, I wouldn’t be unhappy taking Demystify, but probably not until 7-10th pick.

    I think Time of Heroes is also underrated. Or maybe that’s because my round 1 opponent at the prerelease had the nuts leveler deck.

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  17. Makindi Griffin at 3.5, let alone in this format?

    What drugs are you smoking and where can I get some for myself because they must be very powerful

  18. I’m going to put this out there: Dawnglare Invoker should be at least a 3.5, and I think it might even be a 4.0 or 4.5 card. With a decent amount of acceleration, you can reliably get to 8 mana in this format, and when you do basically your opponent doesn’t get to play Magic anymore. Remember attacking and blocking? Sorry bud, no more for you. Throw a totem armor on the Invoker as you are building up to 8 mana for extra insurance, and you get to just win games you truly have no right winning. I sincerely believe that one of the best combos in this format is Dawnglare Invoker + the ability to produce 8 mana every turn.

    To put it another way, Dawnglare Invoker is so good because it allows your late game to beat anyone else’s late game. Your opponent is rocking some fat Eldrazi? They can’t annihilate anything if they can’t attack. Levelers become very expensive bricks with counters on them.

    It’s true that Staggershock hoses the invoker. But with a little bit of protection (Emerge Unscatched, totem armors, etc.) keeping your Invoker alive isn’t very difficult. The cool thing about the Invoker is that even if you don’t want to protect it, you can run it out on turn 3 and lay the beats if you want to just force them to use their removal to take care of it.

    I believe it is the best white common, hands down.

  19. Saw someone win several games with Near Death Experience in draft at the Pre-Re. Vent Sentineling himself down to 1 life with the trigger on the stack… Sick 😀

  20. I like myself some Hound shenanigans.
    Flash-blocking a lvl 1 Null Champion (or any other yet-to-be-powerful leveler) on turn 3 is quite lovely. It also helps combat math here and there and will live to swing for a few points later on.

  21. Eland Umbra + Valakut Fireboar seems pretty good in limited especially with a Goblin Tunnelers.

  22. I think LSV is undervaluing all the totem armors for limited. That +0+4 was instrumental to my winning most games either with a U leveller that flies or Brimstone Mage.

  23. “Saw someone win several games with Near Death Experience in draft at the Pre-Re. Vent Sentineling himself down to 1 life with the trigger on the stack"¦ Sick :D”

    He cheated pretty well then, since if he doesn’t have exactly 1 life when his upkeep begins, the ability doesn’t trigger at all.

  24. Great article and really looking forward to the complete review of this, in my opinion, awesome limited set. I have some questions/comments though:

    First off, why is Wall of Omens against Jund? It doesn’t help against t2 putrid leech, turns on their removal (if you’re going that route in UW) and making them have 2 creatures out does nothing if one is sprouting thrinax. I’m really trying to see it, but I just can’t..

    Secondly, I think Transcendent Master is way underrated. Ever since Kitchen Finks and Spectral rotated I’ve been dying for a 3-drop to play in monowhite. You know, something to follow up your t2 honor of the pure with a bit more ‘oomphf’ than, say, a white knight. Now we have this guy! Definatly think he deserves a 3.0 constructed rating as I’m sure he’ll be played in every_single_white-weenie deck once people realize this.

  25. Is Oust really that good although being a sorcery?

    Isn’t Lightmine Field good against WW /RDW in Combination with Wall Of Omens?

    I don’t know, would like to have a little bit more detailled opinion on this.

  26. “Vent Sentineling himself down to 1 life with the trigger on the stack"¦ Sick”

    This doesn’t work, you have to be on 1 life at the beginning of your upkeep for it to even trigger.

  27. I’ve got to say, I think you’re way overvaluing the Makindi and maybe undervaluing the invoker. A 2/4 flyer for four is not that hot in this format. Cards have to do stuff. If it’s blocking, a toughness of 5 is greatly preferred (I <3 the green 1/5 spider greatly) or it needs to come down a turn sooner. If it’s attacking, it should have some awesome late game ability (like invoker) or come down a turn sooner (like invoker). As is, it’s easy to ignore on both counts.

    From my limited experience, the aggressive Glory Seeker deck has a special term in this format: “Bye.”

    Also, I’m probably the only person in the world who’s going to say this, but I don’t think Gideon is that hot, certainly not up to Elspeth’s power level (though they share a color and price tag). If my opponent can Path or Terminate my planeswalker, doesn’t that, you know, defeat the point? I’ll probably eat those words in standard formats to come, but for now I remain unimpressed with what looks like a somewhat more powerful white Chandra Nalaar. Sell while you can, folks!

  28. CLEARLY, you have forgotten Wake Thrasher, the second successful member of the Wake Family.

  29. I would play soul’s attendant over soul warden just because there is punishing fire around in the format and that if I can avoid being tricked by this I’d rather avoid it

  30. I’ll have to disagree on the aura cards; they hands down won me games at the prerelease this weekend. A mammoth umbra of your griffin? An eland umbra protecting a transcendent master? With a Hartebeest to grab them (including an Eldrazi Conscription) they became the cornerstone of my deck. The ability to make mediocre creatures into true, hard to kill, fatties is very good in this format.

  31. Flying is really relevant in this format. Winning combat against most of the other fliers is also relevant. So is doing an impression of a wall. Makindi Griffin is the real deal.

  32. I like seeing “Maginot Line” in the article… but I don’t think this was the right use of it.

  33. Repel the Darkness is not that bad. In limited it belongs to the fine pedigree of Falter-effects. And it is pretty good on that scale. It may be “an another Fog” for TurboFog. So maybe in constructed also it has some applications.

  34. I hope those weren’t important games he won.

    From the Rise FAQ:

    * This ability has an “intervening ‘if’ clause.” That means (1) the ability triggers only if you have exactly 1 life as your upkeep begins, and (2) the ability does nothing if your life total is anything other than 1 by the time it resolves.

  35. Eland Umbra IS awful, don’t know why so many people are defending it. Mammoth Umbra is really good though.

  36. great review
    it’s a sad story when the most exciting card in the set is a wall – and a functional reprint in a boring color at that, this is the impact of jund, such is its dominance, that anything that can help to bring it down has to be trumpeted

  37. I agree the Heartbeast is a great 2 for 1 you can fetch up some great enchantments in this format. Evasion is so powerful that’s why I feel the white Invoker is the best of the bunch. A 2/1 for 3 flier that says once you hit 8 mana your opponent no longer gets to attack with creatures is pretty powerful.

  38. What do you mean with Linvala sutting down Eldrazi spawns? is not considered a mana ability and therefore not considered an activated ability?

  39. Wish this came out before the pre-release on the weekend. I know it couldn’t have, but man I totally wouldn’t have played (mostly) mono-white. Thanks for the review LSV.

  40. @Summa: Wall of omens doesn’t hand you the jund matchup, but no one claimed it did either. It does however at worst chump a t2 leech without puting you down a card and at its best it holds back thrinaxes and BBEs a few turns buying you time, something Jund realy doesnt aprove.

    You can argue that it turns on removal but in the early game they still have to sacrifice tempo to remove it and it enables you to go for non shrouded creatures with a much better chance of overloading them.

    The trancendent master suffers from two things. The first is that even if it turns out to be a “3.0: Archetype staple. Sprouting Thrinax. Goblin Guide.” it would still be a WW staple and student or not WW still got a lot to prove. Sprouting thrinax might not be that much superior but it sure got a superior deck to suport its rank. Secondly its ability is a bit situational. It requires your opponent to tap out for it to ever be anything but a 3/3 for 3 and even if they do, bounce and unconditional removal will set you back 3+6 mana which mitigates quite a bit of the tempo gained from the life gained. Im not arguing its bad but I do think the 2.5 rating is fair.

  41. pretty much agree with all the constructed ratings. Limited is always more difficult as the ‘metagame’ of it is so much more difficult to gauge.

  42. I actually believe Lightmine Field would be an interesting SB choice. It also seems to combo pretty well with Gideon Jura. Make them all swing at him, and if they’re lucky enough to have small toughness (BBE), it could easily wipe them out. But, that’s just merely a speculation.

  43. @taro
    Mana abilities ARE activated abilities. It just so happens that basically every card that shuts down an activated ability outside of Null Rod and this angel specifically tell you that they don’t stop mana abilities.

  44. I think you’re missing on some of your evaluations. I drafted a very sick wall deck, with lightmine field, multiple stalwart shield-bearers, various red/artifact walls, and two vent sentinels. I 3-0’d the draft, and it wasn’t even close. I had a few fliers in case my sentinels didn’t show up, and I had a few umbras so I could get through even with my field out. Throw in some heartbeasts to get the umbras and a splashed narcolepsy, and winning was easy.

  45. Jesus, we get it, near-death experience doesn’t trigger if he is not at one, you
    don’t need to keep saying it

    Awesome review, just like all the others you’ve written – you have the kind of humor I can really appreciate :]

  46. Pretty sure “Maginot Line” does not mean what you think it means.

    That said, how do you actually feel about this? There are 40 white cards here, and you’re stretching to find a Top 5 for Constructed. That makes me kinda sad.

  47. This is a great review! Your card by card analysis is greatly appreciated. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the next ones. Applying the principles I’ve learned through your articles and draft videos has had a huge impact on my magic game. Cheers!

  48. I just want to say that EVERY deck I played against at the pre-release was running Soul’s Attendant, and every time they did I happened to have my Awakening Zone in hand. Given the general slowness of the format it pretty much just shut down my ability to play it as I didn’t want to give a bunch of free life to my opponent if I didn’t have an Eldrazi or something else impressive coming soon.

    I think it’s actually quite the card in limited… you don’t necessarily need to create lots of spawns… lots of your opponents probably will be trying to do that, and you can gain life for them at every turn.

  49. As a history grad and an avid baseball fan, I too would say that he meant Mendoza Line rather than Maginot Line.

  50. @Peter:

    It’s rated 2.0 on my screen, but anyway. I think what’s particuarly good about him is that he adds to your arsenal of must-remove creatures. So let’s say you slowly level this guy, then your opponent kills it when you put the last counter on it. Now that’s one less removal spell your emeria angel or baneslayer is going to die to. Not to mention he completely destroys RDW if you have ANY pump effect out (ajani goldmane is viable too!).

  51. @Summa

    My bad, 2.0 then.Thanks for replying and sharing your thoughts. I do agree with you that he seems to have some leverage and Im not sure I think LSVs rating and commentary fits entirely together. Still, I do lean more towards 2.0 than 3.0. The argument that its a 1 for 1 trade doesn’t relay hold in my opinion. At 3 mana it isn’t rely a “must kill”. A 3/3 for 3 is nice but I think you agree that other 3 drops such as KotR or Rhox warmonk is craving a lot more attention (Im aware that those arent mono white but that isnt as much an argument for the master as against WW imo) and, if not killed have a much greater chance of winning the game for you. At 8 mana invested its still a 3/3 and at that point Id much rather have said emeria or bane slayer. So, early he is “just” another dude and late he might as well be a banslayer for 5 instead of 9. I think the gap in levels is what breaks the “good early and good late” idea, this guy is good early and good rely late but pretty mediocre for a while in between. KotR is similar in that it starts out small but presents the opponent with a potential giant. KotR does grow incrementally though, and doesn’t cost any mana to do so either.

    In the end I think the rating is fairly on the spot on this guy.

  52. I’m going to have to disagree with the playability of Gideon. The kind of decks that would play him don’t play many removal targets(maybe they will play 4 now with Wall), and preventing damage doesn’t protect from the plethora of creature removal once he becomes a creature. Nearly every deck has multiple answers for him as a creature (Path, Doom Blade, Terminate, Vendetta, etc), and against the control decks that will rise up as Jund becomes less popular in the face of new strategies his +/-2 abilities do almost nothing.

    He may find his way into a deck for now, but I feel slots used on him will always be better filled with Elspeth, Linvala, Baneslayer, or extra counterspells/sweepers.

  53. @Josh G @Riki
    Cool, thanks. I was a little afraid there was something wrong with my history, but it turns out it’s just baseball.

    You know, they give these baseball players nowadays very peculiar names.

  54. Just a note on Lightmine Field… I cracked a pretty good sealed deck which had Gideon Jura as one of my all stars (Umalog as my other) I chose to put a green white deck together that had a bunch of walls to help out the green wall that taps for mana. I opened Lightmine Field and thought it was trash. However, I looked at my deck and thought it could buy me some time if I have a board cluttered with walls and they can still attack profitably. I overlooked the power that Gideon and Lightmine Field had together, effectively making a one sided wrath of god if their board was big enough. Now this is a lot of ifs like opening Gideon, but outside of that, I think in a control deck with walls, it could buy you enough turns to cast those eldrazi cards that just win the game.

    PS I think Lightmine Field would have had a major impact in a Zen, WWK, Rise limited event if it were to happen.

  55. LSV,

    I agree with most of your limited ratings (your constructed ratings are right on imo) but there are some you rated fairly low that will, over the coming months, be shown to be a lot stronger in RoE limited since this format is SO different from what we are used to. I have faith in these cards since they allowed me to take 1st at my pre-release and were huge players in this process. I’m saying this with the utmost respect for your skill, I’m just hoping you will give a second look at these cards and try them out. They can be really good.

    Dawnglare Invoker: I really feel he should be rated 3.5-4.0 in limited, but your 3.0 is fine I guess. He’s an efficient evasive beater in the early turns, and late game he just hard counters their entire team. This is one of the few creatures in the format that MUST be answered. His 8 mana ability won me 2 games, 2 games that were un-winnable with any other card. Tapping down multiple fatties (and Eldrazi) is always fun.

    Eland Umbra: Make no mistake, this card provides offense as well as defense by allowing your creatures to attack without fear of dying. It’s probably not a 4.0 or anything, but it’s definitely a 2.5 or 3.0. Probably one of the most relevant things about the card is It allows you to suit up your best leveler and make him an invincible early game defender as well as able to survive long enough to win you the game.

    Eland also combines insanely well with Dawnglare Invoker above. Btw, Student of Warfare is only so-so without an Umbra since he will be a bulls-eye for their targeted removal. With an Eland Umbra attached he will fairly easily solo the entire game (as I found out in 3 of my games at the pre-release). This card combines well with a lot of other white cards, not even counting it’s broken interactions with levelers and other cards from other colors.

    Survival Cache: this card is pretty strong if you are playing a deck with evasive early drops and/or defensive cards like walls. In fact, with such a deck the probability that you will draw 2 and gain 4 off of this is 100%. You can always side it out if you somehow play that one bad deck that is faster than you (and sucks late game). This card helped me win quite a few games, and was never bad. Gaining 2 in a format this slow is almost always enough to put you ahead on life on turn 3, and you can tell which deck can run it and which can’t. But most white decks can. Probably a 2.5 or 3.0.

  56. @Tokwana
    What makes you think Jund will become less popular???

    I a gre with most of these ratings, based on pure speculation, and to me that griffen seems very good at blocking other flyers and at getting in there when the ground is stalled.

  57. @Peter

    Heh, you’re welcome and thank you as well! All I’m saying is, that if 3.0 is “archetype stable”, and the alternative to casting Transcendent Master on t3 is White Knight or similar, he definatly deserves that rating. If the argument is that monowhite won’t be viable, then goblin guide shouldn’t be 3.0 either, ’cause let’s face it; they’re about as viable! Goblin guide fits a very crucial spot in the curve of red decks and so does Transcendent Master. Now if we start combining that with ajani, honor of the pure and maybe even the new umbra things are looking even better for the master!
    One thing’s for sure: If playing white weenie wasn’t almost as enjoyable as cutting yourself in the kneecaps I would be desperatly trying to get my playset asap!

  58. Well, ousts are really solid in uw control. oust a critter, fateseal it away with jace.Been testing well.. will be very good after Shards rotation methinks..

  59. @lsv: Isn’t Repel The Darkness in most situations a cantrip fog effect? Isn’t that totally awesome?

  60. you’re way low on Soul’s Attendant in Limited, I was a little skeptical and almost cut it from my sealed pool, but with all the Eldrazi Spawn going around, this thing wins games by itself

    Same with Student of Warfare, it should be much higher, the only person I lost to in my regional prerelease flight had it on turn one both games and beat me to a pulp, the two decks competing for first in the flight each played a student

    Lone missionary is also a huge upgrade from the cliff/marsh threader in Zendikar, why don’t the ratings reflect?

  61. The deck for Nomad’s Assembly is red/white. Get a couple red 3/3s who make 3 Spawn when they come into play, the red sorcery that makes 3 more… at the prerelease I attacked my opponent for lethal with 27 1/1s and six other guys. (I held the 9 spawn back as blockers.)

  62. You severely underrate Ikiral Outrider. The format is so weird that a 6 mana 2/6 vigilance is amazing. I would totally agree with unplayable if he became 2/6 at level 2, but at level 1 it’s quite playable and even good. I ran him constantly in all my WU leveler builds and have yet to be unhappy with him. For reference, I’ve drafted UW levelers 4 times and won my prerelease with the archetype (with help from gideon jura and all is dust!)

  63. Yeah, Dawnglare Invoker is probably the best common in the set (albeit in the worst colour). 4.0

  64. Trying to play this in Limited is more likely to lead to an Actual-Death Experience than anything else.

    I had to laugh at that one.

    Anyway, I agree with everything you said on this one. Though I wish Transcendant Master was good in constructed, I doubt I will end up playing him. It’s too bad too, he’s just a blast to play in Limited.

  65. @ RAR

    Zendikar and Rise are not remotely similar, and while a 2/1 for 2 was decent to good in Zendikar, it is pretty miserable in Rise.

    @ six

    From what I saw he looked pretty bad, but I certainly could be wrong.

    @Jim storrie

    Repel is a cantrip fog if they have 2 guys out, but early you don’t really want to spend your turn’s worth of mana on that, and later it won’t necessarily stop all the guys you need to stop.

    @ White Invoker

    Yeah, in retrospect I was a bit low on this one. He seems legitimately insane.

  66. Guys, let’s not go crazy about Totem auras here. Granted, they’re better than previous efforts to make auras playable, but they’re still very dangerous and potential 2-for-1s. Cards that laugh at umbras in this format:

    Regress (common)
    Narcolepsy (common)
    Induce Despair (common)
    Dawnglare Invoker (common)
    Demystify (common)
    Guard Duty (common)
    Oust (uncommon)
    Traitorous Instinct (uncommon; yummy, I get to deal you 3 *more* damage)
    Consuming Vapors (rare)
    Any removal spell in response to casting it
    Anything with Annihiilator (and there are quite a few of those, I hear)

    Played a guy at the prerelease who was boasting about all the great auras in his deck. And my one copy of Regress killed him both games.

  67. I probably just don’t know the deck well enough, but it seems to me having a 2/6 vigilant Ikiral Outrider on say turn 3 with a Noble Hierarch is a good way to make jund cry. At least until they side in deathmark. I’m sure there’s better options (wall of omens, Student of Warfare) but I can’t imagine playing Bloodbraid Elf into a 2/6 is a lot of fun.

  68. I’ll take early pick Repels and see how they work out, I guess! It really feels a lot like Kor Hookmaster to me. Looks great for Turbofog, too.

  69. The one thing that I have to disagree with is how you write off highly aggressive strategies as being bad. I played aggressive white twice during the prerelease weekend, and both times I went undefeated. (Granted, both decks paired it with red, which contains the highly valued Defender destroyer).

    Come to think of it, I played 19 matches over the weekend, playing aggressive red decks in all 4 events, and only lost 1 match…

  70. back @ lsv

    disagreed, nomad is ridiculous, at my prerelease I consistently dropped him on turn 2 (i had a pair) and won the game thanks to his 4 life keeping me ahead, and his early beats just getting my opponent before he can find anything he is willing to block with

    In a slow format, the right kind of aggro can be really good.

  71. The best umbra, imo, is snake umbra. Someone at the Pre-Release stuck it on their 2-drop, and used a removal on every creature I played for the rest of the game. Sick

  72. I played G/W at the one prerelease i attended, i was playing a pretty aggressive deck and went undefeated – Although to be fair, it was a small prerelease, my opponents was pretty bad and i got vengevine and transcendent master. The thing is, alot of them where dead long before they ever got to play something big and nasty. When playing with vengevine you’ve pretty much got to play cheaper guys, to actually get it back.

  73. One sort of combo to be mentioned with Lightmine Field is if you play it followed up by Gideon. In some situations it could be outstanding.

  74. In regards to the original ratings, I agree with the few other posters who commented that Ikiral Outrider isn’t as bad as it’s portrayed. I played RW at the pre-release, and he wasn’t too bad for me. I was low on creatures, and compared to harmless assault or luminous wake, he made the deck. I wouldn’t put him over 1.5, but he definitely beat out those 1.0s.

    I had Transcendent Master in my sealed pool, which naturally made me want to go into white. I can say I he wasn’t as great as I expected. Several times I leveled him to 9/9 lifelink and (although I still won generally) it wasn’t as easy as I hoped… one game I solely won because my opponent used Induce Despair on my Valakut Fireboar instead for 11, I guess just not realizing it would kill my master, otherwise I would have lost that game. In another game I had narcolepsy cast on him making him worthless.

    @other random posters: In constructed, he isn’t good. period. I’ve tried. WW is generally the best thought spot, but there isn’t anything worth taking out for him. he ultimately always will get terminated or bolted or pathed or oringed etc after a pointless mana investment. he’s too slow for WW, and I don’t think there is any deck he’s good for. He’s a good card, and a fun card, but he’s not nearly the Baneslayer a lot of people (who haven’t play tested) want him to be.

    My own 2 cents. I really like the concept of Lightmine field, and it does combo excellently with Gideon. More importantly, it combo’s with itself. If you have 2 fields out, in order for 2 creatures to attack they have to have toughness greater than 4. Typically it forces few creatures to attack, and as such a few wall of denials easily has you covered against any assault. The problem with lightmine field is it’s really hard to design a deck that works with it, **but can also survive without it.** If such a deck exists, and I know I’m far for the best at creating decks, I think it could easily make a fun tier 2 deck.

  75. I have to agree with Jim on Repel the darkness. A cantrip psuedo-fog is really good even at 3 mana.

    How many times have you sat with a wrath in hand, but had to play a removal spell so you wouldn’t die? This seems really good in “do nothing” decks that are just trying to “get there” whether that is to wrath or to combo off that don’t have much to do in the early turns (I play it in pyromancers ascension). Also, every few years the fog deck becomes viable again and I’d expect to see this played in such a deck.

    I wouldn’t rate it above a 2 for constructed, but I don’t think it deserves a 1.

  76. LSV,

    To your point on Kor Spiritdancer. I don’t think playing multiple umbra’s on her is really that weak. Since just two umbras will make her formidable before you even add in the umbra bonus, there is significant gain there. There are a few cards (narcolepsy, oust) that can offer you opponent a good deal, but they don’t really get two for ones because you were able to draw for the aura. While in general I want to minimize my risk with aura’s in this set I want to maximize my gain. Splitting umbra’s will create two good creatures when what I need to win is one great creatures. So I will slap my Eel and Drake umbra on(or whatever), and take my chances on my 8 powered beast winning the game. If it they have one of the removals they need I don’t think I am that far behind and if not I should win quickly, since I can set this up crazy fast. Wait for turn 4, play, hold the eel, play the eel end of opponent turn 4, drake turn 5. Even if they oust or narcolepsy I still get a huge swing and two cards. The problem with splitting is I have to play more patiently and no big reward.

  77. Charles Darakdjian

    Hello,

    Good review!

    Although, I feel that Kor Spiritdancer can find a home in a deck…

    With Hyena Umbra, Spider Umbra, Boar Umbra, Canopy Cover, etc. and Aura Gnarlid as backup, I think Kor Spiritdancer deserves some credit. Building an aura deck is *NOT* simple, and I definitely recommend Baneslayer Angel main-deck as a backup. However, with thought and a LOT of practice, I believe an Aura deck can be a TOP-8 contender…
    (of course, I always play off-the-wall decks anyway)

    Once, I have worked on the dancer and secured some Top-8 finishes (hopefully), I will then repost to this forum with a deck-list. If not, then I will admit LSV was right…:-(

    Linvala, Keeper of Silence should be at least a 3 in Constructed. For example, in a whitish control deck, she prevents your opponent from killing you with their Siege-Gang Commander. She also is an interesting sideboard option in extended to stop combination decks potentially using Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker…

    Cheers,
    Charles D.

  78. I think you underestimate the value of Lightmine Field as a sideboard card. Against RDW, one of the worst matchups for UW control, it basically kills every single one of their guys. Want to attack with ball lightning or hellspark elemental? sorry, your out of luck.

    Also, it is solid against allies, and naya allies is one of the most popular decks on MTGO at the moment.

    I’ll be playing 2x lightmine field in the SB of UW control and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people do. It basically turns your worst matchups into an automatic win.

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