Last week I went over the most underrated cards in Limited. This week, I want to caution you against drafting the following 10 cards too highly.
At first glance, this card looked good—it says destroy and the picture is pretty. The reality is that it’s generally a bad Divine Verdict. Most white decks are aggressive, which means you’ll need to keep 4 mana up and wait for your opponent to attack until it does something, not to mention that gaining life in an aggressive deck isn’t as appealing.
If your white deck ends up in another role—blue/white flyers come to mind—then that’s where you should be playing Silverstrike. You’ll often be in a race against ground creatures rather than a straight-up aggressor. Gaining 3 life in a race is super relevant too.
I have boarded Silverstrike on the draw in matchups where I thought I wouldn’t be the aggressor and that’s how you should evaluate the card as well.
2. Stern Constable
Don’t be fooled, this isn’t your regular Master Decoy. The cost of discarding a card is huge, even in a set where graveyard and madness matters.
This doesn’t mean you should never play the card. Instead, evaluate carefully whether you need it. 3 madness cards and a few delirium cards have been my line so far.
I’ve also sideboarded it in as a poor man’s Expose Evil—sometimes you have a main-deck card that matches up poorly against big guys and you want to get rid of extra lands to tap them down. I don’t recommend doing that too much.
3. Behind the Scenes
This is totally misleading. In the last few years, WotC always introduces a set of five uncommons that rewards you for playing their pushed archetypes. They usually do a good job at making them actually rewarding, except for Behind the Scenes.
Seriously, this is close to a worse Cliffside Lookout, a card that was barely filler.
The problem with Behind the Scenes is how irrelevant the keyword skulk is in a world of such small creatures. This is a sideboard card at best.
4. Pyre Hound
I saw everyone at the prerelease jamming this creature in their red decks as if it were a great 4-drop. This card is reasonable in blue/red decks since you are already incentivized to play a bunch of instants and sorceries—regular Limited decks usually won’t have more than 5 or 6, meaning you’ll see around 2 in an average game that lasts 10 turns.
That’s a lot of work to make this a real 4-drop—often you’ll be left with a 2/3 for 4.
5. Hermit of the Natterknolls
Don’t get me wrong, I think card is good. I brought it up because people seems to think they will actually draw cards with it. You should instead read it as “you are safe to flip your Werewolves during your turn if you’d like.”
Which means, you should reconsider playing this card if you don’t have Werewolves in your deck because it’ll be a 2/3 for 3 that might become a 3/5. Quite underwhelming.
6. Fork in the Road
This is not a good way to splash cards. 2 mana to put one land in your hand at sorcery speed is atrocious. To play this card, you’d better have an insane splash (such as Sorin, Grim Nemesis) and need the delirium enabler (putting a land in the graveyard).
I’ve seen tons of people play this card in their 2-color decks at the prerelease basically just to turn on delirium. Trust me—it’s not worth it.
7. Ethereal Guidance
Comparing this card to Swarm Surge is a dangerous way to live. 1 toughness is nothing compared to first strike. This is one of the worst versions of a mass pump spell I’ve seen for Limited in a while.
I’ve played it a few times already, mostly because I was trying to make my Vessel of Ephemera and/or other bad creatures good. I was still extremely unimpressed.
8. Humble the Brute
For the same reason that skulk is so underwhelming, Humble the Brute rarely ever finds a target. I don’t feel horrible playing 1 main deck if I’m low on removal, but I have to keep in mind that I might play against a deck where I’ll never be able to cast it.
The fact that there are Werewolves in the set at least makes it less suspicious when you pass with 5 mana up. Who knows? You might 2-for-1 an opponent who tries to pump their creature in combat, especially since there are few instant-speed removals.
If possible, leave Humble the Brute in your sideboard at the ready.
9. Unruly Mob
I’ve always hated Unruly Mob because of how awful it is to cast on turn 2. It’s reasonable to cast later in the game if you expect to be trading creatures.
I’ve seen players with a sole 2-drop add 2 Unruly Mob and call their curve good. You shouldn’t expect it to do something until the midgame and your 2-drop slot shouldn’t serve that role.
10. Vessel of Ephemera
Last but not least. Welcome, half-Lingering-Souls. I’m underwhelmed by Vessel of Ephemera because of how inefficient it is to cast on curve (turn 2, then crack turn 3). In the best-case scenario, you would hold off a 2/1 (of which few are even played) or you could trade with a 2/2 by blocking. Clearly you’re a loser there, though, having spent a total of 5 mana for that.
It has been serviceable to set up some late-game scenarios—enabling delirium, providing a little evasion, going wide, or as fodder for cards that ask you to sacrifice permanents. For those reasons, I don’t consider the enchantment a filler by any means. It’s just not as good as it looks.