I’m currently in the process of testing for the first ever Mythic Championship. I’m in a hotel with the rest of the members of Team ChannelFireball and Team UltraPRO, and we’ve had our nose to the grindstone for a few days now.
We spent more time than usual drafting in person, and I’ve had interesting discussions about Limited. I’ve also spent a ton of time on my own drafting Ravnica Allegiance, and I’m finally comfortable with the format.
I’ve compiled a list of cards I think are both over- and undervalued by the general population. I’ve tried to stick to mostly uncommons and commons.
Most Underrated Cards
10) Screaming Shield
I wasn’t a believer, but Screaming Shield does a lot in just one card. It’s more of a high value sideboard card than a main deck one, but it can also play the role of closer in decks like Azorius and focus on High Alert with creatures like Concordia Pegasus and Senate Courier. When debating whether you want Screaming Shield, it usually matters much more what you’re playing against than what you’re playing with. When you play against players playing slow control decks, I’d board this in even in the most aggressive decks because it’s so hard for them to beat.
9) Trollbred Guardian
Everyone knows this card is great. I just don’t think they understand how great it. It’s such a huge upgrade to the already solid Rampaging Rendhorn that I think it’s better than a huge percentage of the rares in the set. I’ve seen a bunch of lists of the “best uncommons” in the set, and Trollbred Guardian is criminally underrated in all of them. As far as best uncommons in the set go for pick one pack one, Trollbred Guardian is at the top of my list behind only Gatebreaker Ram.
This is a single color card that doesn’t force you into drafting a certain way, and can even be splashed in a deck like Azorius or Rakdos off of a couple of Gates. It outsizes almost everything in the format, and doesn’t die to a huge percentage of removal spells in the format. On top of that, it gives a lot of other green creatures trample as well.
8) Wilderness Reclamation
This is the type of card you usually get for free in a Draft—you usually get it as late as you possibly can in any given pack, without having to take it over something you’d consider a solid playable. Wilderness Reclamation produces so much mana that it makes Simic decks with a lot of counterspells and adapt creatures run incredibly smoothly. It makes cards like Prying Eyes go from low tier playable to fantastic.
It also never gives your opponent an easy turn, always leaving you with mana open to interact on their turn. While I wouldn’t take this card early and draft around it, it occasionally is just a great value pickup when you have enough cards like Sauroform Hybrid, Frilled Mystic, Skatewing Spy, and Aeromunculus. Wilderness Reclamation makes me include more copies of cards like Scuttlegator, Prying Eyes, and Thought Collapse than I would in normal decks. If your deck has mana sinks, this card is terrific.
7) Dead Revels
I like at least one of these in all of my black decks, and I like a second copy in my sideboard against a lot of these grindy Gates decks. There’s not too much in the way of easy card advantage in this format, and the creatures are quite strong, so Dead Revels is better than previous versions of these types of cards. Spectacle may trick you into thinking this card fits best into Rakdos, but I’ve found that it’s most effective in a deck like Orzhov that’s trying to play a long grindy game without much in the way of card advantage. Bringing back Grasping Thrulls, afterlife creatures, or deathtouch creatures like Twilight Panther is where this card shines.
6) Combine Guildmage
This one came to me because many people I talk to disagree on this one. I’ve been impressed with Combine Guildmage’s ability to make my opponent’s life difficult in combat phases. Moving counters off adapt creatures in combat, then readapting my Aeromunculus or Skitter Eel has come up a lot in board stalls.
In addition, I’ve had a lot of success using Combine Guildmage effectively with Faerie Duelist as a way to not only ambush a bigger creature like a Senate Griffin, but also to make combat math different on a following turn when my opponent doesn’t expect I’ll have an additional counter on a creature that’s already in play. It’s a lot of work for a Stony Strength, but it’s a way to get the small amounts of incremental value that Combine Guildmage provides. I’m not saying this is a great pick one pack one, but it’s a card I look for when I’m drafting Simic and I generally take it over any Simic common outside of Aeromunculus and possibly Sauroform Hybrid.
5) Resolute Watchdog
I always see Resolute Watchdog with three cards in a pack. It blows my mind how people refuse to put this card into their deck. It’s obnoxious to play against, and the threat of activation is a nightmare for opponents. White is very controlling in this format, and having small creatures that can brick off 2-drops for a bit and that also play well in the late game to protect your big flyer is just the type of card these decks want. This card leads me to draw first, just as Dead Weight did in Guilds of Ravnica Limited. Watchdog is better than every purely white common outside of Summary Judgment.
4) Enraged Ceratok
It’s no secret how good Gate Colossus is anymore. Enraged Ceratok is much better than it first appeared to me. One of the most effective ways to deal with big green monsters is to throw two creatures in front of them, or just block and trade with small deathtouch creatures like Twilight Panther, Noxious Groodion, or Orzhov Enforcer. Enraged Ceratok’s evasive ability is surprisingly effective in this format, making it a great uncommon I’d take over any common in the set.
3) Tome of the Guildpact
Okay, so this is the one rare on my list. Tome of the Guildpact looks so clunky and slow, and in addition to that you have to draft around it? There’s enough gold cards that it’s fairly easy to get this into your deck and have it be effective. It’s most effective in a multicolor Gates deck, but it’s also good when you find the open guild and get slammed with the best gold cards of that guild. Sometimes you’re a Simic deck and get four or five Aeromunculus, or a Gruul deck filled with Frenzied Arynx, and Rubblebelt Runners and Savage Smashes. Initially I wasn’t too interested in trying to make the Tome of the Guildpact happen, but now it’s a card I’m taking over any common.
2) Plague Wight
Plague Wight is a premium 2-drop in Rakdos Aggro, and is even underrated in Orzhov. Plague Wight rarely gets bricked when played on turn 2, and often attacks effectively well into the middle of a game. Plague Wight fights through afterlife tokens with ease, and provides a consistent source of damage for Rakdos decks to trigger spectacle. It also gets your opponents into range of Ill-Gotten Inheritance effectively. I see this card in the last few cards of a pack far too often, and one thing I’ve learned drafting Rakdos is that I need to prioritize Plague Wight or I’m going to lose a lot of long games where my deck can’t grind as well as others.
1) Sphinx’s Insight
I’ve said it before—there just aren’t many ways to get ahead on cards in this format. Sphinx’s Insight is one of those ways. Ravnica Allegiance Limited has built in mana sinks with adapt, so extra lands have a lot of value. In addition, Azorius can be built extremely defensively with cards like Summary Judgment, Slimebind, and Senate Courier. It can be difficult to get damage in against Azorius decks early in the game, and then when they start chaining Sphinx’s Insights with these cheap defensive cards, they will eventually start to bury their opponent.
Incidental life gain is also huge when people try to close out against these control decks with a card like Ill-Gotten Inheritance.