Other War of the Spark Reviews
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Retired and inducted into the Limited Hall of Fame: Pack Rat. Umezawa’s Jitte. The Scarab God.
5.0: The best of the best. (Niv-Mizzet, Parun. Skarrgan Hellkite. Ethereal Absolution.)
4.5: Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable. (Thief of Sanity. Judith, the Scourge Diva. Experimental Frenzy.)
4.0: Good rare or top-tier uncommon. (Gate Colossus. Mortify. Biomancer’s Familiar.)
3.5: Top-tier common or solid uncommon. (Blade Juggler. Skewer the Critics. Skyknight Legionnaire.)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Sauroform Hybrid. Watcher in the Mist. Wojek Bodyguard.)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Ornery Goblin. Syndicate Messenger. Plague Wight.)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Radical Idea. Noxious Groodion. Ghor-Clan Wrecker.)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Wall of Mist. Axebane Beast.)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Feral Maaka. Knight of Sorrows. Prying Eyes.)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Expose to Daylight. Persistent Petitioners.)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Font of Agonies. One with Nothing.)
Despite losing to this at the Mythic Championship (turn 2 Trusted Pegasus got me good), I would highly recommend against playing it. An 0/3 and an extra land drop is not worth a card, even with reach, and there’s not much that this can do to make it worth running. Maybe a G/B sacrifice deck that needs more fodder, but that also is a reach.
Arlinn, Voice of the Pack
Arlinn is not only the voice of the pack, she’s the whole pack in one card. She is a little soft to flyers, but unimpeded puts three 3/3 Wolves into play, while pumping any stray Arlinn’s Wolves you also happen to cast. Note that if you use her -2 and she dies, the ensuing Wolf will not get a +1/+1 counter. Arlinn is also awesome with proliferate, as she gets counters and so do all of her Wolves.
I’ve liked Arlinn’s Wolf well enough. Dodging 2/x creatures is surprisingly strong on a 3/2, as this tends to trade up more often than not. It also threatens planeswalkers nicely, and is a fine way to fill out your curve.
Awakening of Vitu-Ghazi
Unchecked, this card wins the game very quickly—a 9/9 haste is a beating. It sadly does lack trample, which means the opponent can sometimes chump, then kill or bounce it, but every time they don’t they lose in a matter of turns. It’s also an instant, so you can ambush opposing attackers if that’s a better use.
Band Together is a fine removal spell, and has a couple of things that make it stand out compared to cards like Pounce. First of all, it’s a sucker punch, not a fight—the enemy creature doesn’t hit back. It also lets you combine forces, which not only lets you kill bigger creatures, but gives you backup in case of removal (if you punch their 3/3 with two of yours, they need two removal spells to get out of it). Note that this works well with deathtouch and lifelink too.
Each color got a pushed common, and green’s is definitely Bloom Hulk. This offers a ton of stats naturally, and pairs very nicely with any sort of counters, of which there are many. I like this in any green deck, and once the proliferate really starts popping, this becomes an easy early pick.
Bond of Flourishing
Bond is a solid bit of card selection, and the 3 life doesn’t hurt. Unless your deck is particularly spell-heavy, I’d always run this, and it’s a great way to use your mana on turn 2 (or any other turn where you’re not curving out).
In the 5-color green deck, Centaur Nurturer rockets up in value, but in a normal 2-color deck that isn’t ramping super hard, this is nothing special. If you want these, you can usually get them.
New Troll here! Challenger Troll is a beating by itself, and it even does something as soon as it comes down by making your other big guns harder to block effectively. This is exactly what you want in most green decks, and can close out games quite well.
Courage in Crisis
At a base level, Courage in Crisis is nothing special. It’s two +1/+1 counters, and at sorcery speed. But this set is made to optimize proliferate, and Courage in Crisis is often worth 4+ counters, making it a huge swing. I take this highly in G/W proliferate, and it has its moments in any color combination once you hit four or five cards that combo with it.
Evolution Sage is a near-bomb, as it gives you a ton of value for very little investment. This snowballs wildly if you can put a counter or two on your creatures, and plays a lot closer to Tireless Tracker than you might think. If you are lucky enough to start with Evolution Sage, you can usually draft a pretty sick proliferate deck.
Finale of Devastation
Despite an early misread of what Finale of Devastation does (Matt Nass lied to me and told me it got a creature from both your deck and graveyard), I now know how this works, and it isn’t good. Paying a 2 mana premium on top of your creature’s cost isn’t worth it, and I’d only play this if I had some nuts creatures and was short on playables.
Forced Landing is perfectly good sideboard material, and you aren’t forced to main deck it in this format.
WAR is not the format for Giant Growth, despite +3/+3 for 1 mana looking like a great deal. It just happens that this doesn’t work in 5-Color Green, isn’t a +1/+1 counter trick for the proliferate decks, and often ends up on the chopping block as a result. If you’re playing an aggressive deck and don’t care about proliferate, Giant Growth is a fine option, but it’s not the all-star it used to be.
Rhonas doesn’t disappoint. It’s a 5/5 unkillable, deathtouch monster for 5, and makes all of your creatures hit very hard for a turn (though note that it doesn’t help them survive any better). It can also work to trade Rhonas off late game so you get the ETB effect again once you redraw it. The God-Eternals are pretty silly, and even as one of the lesser ones, Rhonas delivers.
Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter
I’m not as high on Jiang as some people. I find him to be a little too vulnerable for my tastes, and once he’s killed, all your bonus mana goes away. Sure, if you curve out and can protect Jiang, he gives you a big advantage, but I’ve had enough games where that doesn’t happen that I’m no longer treating him as a great card.
Kraul Stinger is a better blocker than attacker, and in both cases is rarely a high pick (it definitely stings to take this early). If you need more creatures, this can fill out your curve, but don’t go nuts over it.
KRONCH (Wrangler)! The Wrangler is great in all but the most controlling green decks, as it’s hard not to have 3+ creatures that trigger it, and like the card suggests, it’s excellent in the R/G Kronch archetype. Trample kicks in once this grows, and it even picks up some nice proliferate synergy once it starts getting bigger.
Mowu, Loyal Companion
More like Mowow, amiright? Mowu gets really big, really fast, and all you need is something tons of commons in multiple colors provide. Mowu is worth building around, and doesn’t even take much dedication—a few ways to gain counters and you’re in business.
New Horizons is much better than it initially looked. It provides a +1/+1 counter for proliferate purposes and color fixing in a format where 3+ colors is viable, which makes it a desirable common for most green decks.
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
You can definitely count on Nissa to shake up any game she’s involved in. Making a 3/3 every turn is big, and doubling the mana from your Forests means you will be able to deploy the rest of your cards while using your 3/3s to brawl. You can do some neat stuff by untapping Forests, but regardless of how you use Nissa, you’ll end up ahead.
Nissa’s Triumph costing double-green is pretty awkward, as it means this doesn’t fix colors, just total mana. I’d only play this in a heavy green deck that has a high curve, and it’s generally worse than other options on the table.
Paradise Druid fixes for every color, which is awesome in the 5-color decks and great even in a 2-color deck. You know it’s going to survive, too, and if you really need it for something down the line you can avoid tapping it.
All of the modes on Planewide Celebration are good in different situations, which makes this the ever-desirable combo of powerful and flexible. Getting back a permanent is the most powerful usually, though since it doesn’t affect the board, you usually combine it with making some 2/2s. If the board lends itself, proliferating can be great too, and in a pinch the life gain can keep you alive. I’d look to draft a more controlling deck if I had this, as it closes out games nicely.
Pollenbright Druid looks innocuous, but it’s impressive. It’s a 2/2 for 2 early and can really amp up your board once you’ve gotten some +1/+1 counter action going, making it slot nicely at any point in the curve. This is one of the better green commons, and really rewards you for drafting a proliferate deck.
If you need a 6-drop, Primordial Wurm will get the job done, even if it’s not the most exciting card to include.
Return to Nature
Strict sideboard material, Return to Nature is not a high priority, as this format doesn’t have tons of good targets.
I’ve seen bigger spiders, though Snarespinner wins the efficiency prize for sure. I really like this, as there is a dearth of good 2-drops, and this curves nicely into New Horizons. It’s good in all the defensive green decks, and is especially important for planeswalker protection.
This definitely missed the mark. It doesn’t provide enough power to be worth it, and untapping the creature and giving it reach aren’t enough to salvage the card.
Storm the Citadel
+2/+2 at sorcery speed isn’t impressive, and turning all of your creatures into Trygon Predators for a turn does not make Storm the Citadel all that much more exciting. Overrun this is not, and if these are the tactics used, no wonder Bolas did so well.
Ceratok fits nicely into 4-power matters decks and is just a good deal on stats alone. I tend to be pretty happy playing this, and any additional synergies are a nice bonus.
Vivien, Champion of the Wilds
Vivien gives you a ton of value for 3 mana. She’s got one of the best passive abilities, and reliably draws you cards in a creature-heavy deck. What usually happens is that your opponent is forced to attack into Vivien, at which point you can flash in creatures and get your ambush on. Note that you can play exiled cards even if Vivien dies, so it’s almost impossible not to get something good out of this very cheap investment.
Her Arkbow, on the other hand, is an expensive investment, and not a reliable one. When you hit, you still traded 1-for-1, after spending a card on the bow. That’s fine, but when you miss, you lost so much time and a lot of resources, making this a very bad bet (and leading to some very bad beats).
The Grizzly is a fine mana sink, and a decent way to gum up the ground. I usually want one of these in my slower green decks, and haven’t looked to play multiples.
3 toughness is too low for my tastes, and I tend to sideboard Wardscale Crocodile more than main deck it. It’s just too small and too expensive, and this format isn’t about building a giant hexproof battlecruiser.
Top 5 Green Commons
Besides Bloom Hulk in first, the rest of this top five can easily swap places, depending on what you’re drafting. That’s a decent suite of commons, and green has a lot of solid cards. The proliferate theme is the loudest, though the 4-power matters theme shines through too.