With Worldwake set to hit the shelves shortly, it’s time for another set review! I had a good time at the prerelease, and got to see plenty of the new cards in action. I also even got to battle a bunch of Standard with Worldwake, which was neat.
As per last time, here are the grading scales I’m going to use, although I did add half-points to the Constructed scale. Too many cards got either “2” or “3”, when in reality they should have been somewhere in between.
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. Fracturing Gust. (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.)
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%)
On to the review!
The “enormous angel that demands a removal spell” slot is already pretty full with Baneslayer Angel, but I could see Admonition Angel making the rounds. This is one of the higher value cards if it survives, but at six mana and without a way to protect itself, I’m not sure that will happen often enough to make it awesome. GW decks with Knight of the Reliquary may play one or two.
This scale is a little off in its descriptions for triple-color cards, but however you interpret the meaning, Admonition Angel is a pretty sick bomb. It might have to survive to do its dirty work, but even if it was a vanilla 6/6 flier for 3WWW, it would be really good. Add in the almost-unbeatable landfall ability, and you have a winner.
One of the signs of an awesome kicker card is when you would be willing to play with it at any point in the curve. Solid as a three mana 2/2 flier or five mana 3/3 flier, the Hawks even have the big upside of being a ridiculous topdeck. Solid early, ridiculous late is a good place to be.
All it would take to redeem this card is to shave a mana off its casting cost, which wouldn’t really even make it too unfair. As is, the Archon is going to have a really hard time competing with Baneslayer Angel (obviously), or even Emeria Angel. Tempest Block Constructed this isn’t.
Even if the Archon didn’t trigger off other flying guys, a flying Staunch Defenders is pretty far above the curve in Limited. I just can’t wait until people post pictures of this with Rite of Replication, because that is undoubtedly going to happen.
I haven’t hurda a deck that would play this (come on, you know I HAD to make that one, even if I did with Caravan Hurda).
Five mana is a lot in this format, and despite a 3/3 first striker being pretty beastly, I can’t rate this higher. The five-drop slot is one that you really can’t afford to overfill, so the value of these guys drops pretty fast as you pick up fives.
Not a terrible card by any means, the Griffin just finds itself outclassed by way too many other 2-drops in Standard right now. Decks that want 2/2 fliers for 2 don’t usually mind paying WW, which puts this way to the back of the line.
As you watch this guard the unplayables box, you can just barely hear Genju of the Fields laughing at it.
Six toughness is plenty, and I foresee Guardian Zendikon holding off many a Geopede in the future. Still, it is a purely defensive card, and worse than something like Makindi Shieldmate against most decks.
There are legions of people waiting to play this guy with Kazandu Blademaster and Ranger of Eos, possibly with Talus Paladin as well. They might even succeed, since it doesn’t take that much to make this or Blademaster good enough, and things can get pretty ugly pretty fast if you draw a bunch of them.
Limited: 1.5 to 3.5
This (even more than most allies) is going to vary quite a bit on the ratings scale. Unplayable if you are short on allies, Hada Freeblade is ridiculous if you have a ton, which is a bit of a departure from how allies were in Zendikar. Pretty much all the original allies were playable by themselves, but now with Hada Freeblade and Halimar Excavator, you have some choices to make. Of course, since you won’t see him until pack 3, you should know how good he will end up being. I can see some drafts where you pass one early and pick up a bunch of allies, all the while thinking “I could of hada freeblade”.
LSV’s judgment is harsh, and exiles this from Constructed.
Brainspoil wasn’t exciting, but you never cut it, and Iona’s Judgment is very similar. Exiling the target is really relevant, especially against Black’s Soul Stair Expeditions and Quest for the Gravelords. Five mana is becoming a choke point in this set, especially with all the multi-kicker cards, so keep that in mind when drafting.
This card is going to join the ranks of Constructed unplayables, along with most of the cards from every set.
Limited: 2.0 to 4.0
Blah blah blah needs allies to be broken. Join the Ranks is playable without other allies, but gets absolutely absurd with the right ones. If there is a Halimar Excavator deck, Join the Ranks is going to play a big part in its success. This card was unbeatable at the Prerelease, but once people actually think about it, I expect it to just be very strong. Another card I predict will lead to many blowout stories.
If you are going to this much trouble, at least play Kor Duelist and get something in return.
Even when it combos, the Apprentice isn’t much to write home about. It definitely can bash at a discounted rate, but most of the time it will be simple cannon fodder.
Bear Claw! In addition to making people want pastry, Kor Firewalker gives White decks a pretty potent weapon against anything remotely Red-colored. This might even be a victim of it’s own success, since it is so good that it might discourage heavy Red decks, thus making itself unneeded. Even if it just ends up as a sideboard card, I expect this to have heavy effect on both Standard and Extended for years to come.
Unlike Devout Lightcaster, Bear Claw has a reasonable color commitment attached. Most decks end up playing their WW bears anyway, and he will randomly beat the crap out of Red decks as a free bonus. I wouldn’t expect to see this very late.
So many Staunch Defenders! I love it, although this obviously won’t be anywhere near 60-card decks.
Flying, huge toughness, and lifegain? Sign me up! A 2/4 for 4 is quite the showstopper, and tacking on a really good kicker makes this exactly the kind of card I want to play with.
Constructed: 3.0 (more like 3.5 in Extended)
I’d be lion if I said I was a fan of Kird Ape coming back, but it is what it is. This, combined with Wild Nacatl, might make a fast Naya sort of deck more of a reality in Standard, as well as fitting perfectly into Zoo in Extended. I now count 16 absurd one-drops in Extended, which is a frightening amount (this, Kird Ape, Wild Nacatl, Steppe Lynx, even if Lynx probably just gets cut for Lion).
Limited: 3.0 in WG, 0.0 otherwise
Worldwake sure has a lot of cards with variable ratings, and Lion definitely fits the bill. Really good in GW, bad otherwise. At least you don’t see this until pack 3, so you should know if you want it. If you do, you will be the only one, so feel free to try and wheel it.
Like Fledging Griffin, this is marsh worse than all the quality WW 2-drops we currently have in Constructed.
Cliff Threader that is unblockable twice as often! More people play Black than Red, and this is obviously fine against non-Black decks.
I’m actually pretty optimistic about this card. It is fairly pricey, but it is undeniably powerful. The two abilities might not appear to be wanted by the same decks, but there are plenty of cards that work with both (Ranger of Eos, Siege-Gang Commander, Emeria Angel).
This Anthem is just filthy at any point, although I doubt this gets cast without Kicker very often. A sick play at six mana and an almost-unbeatable one at eight, the only thing making this not an auto-first pick is its heavy color commitment.
If this cost one Blue mana to play, I would probably give it a 3.5! That might be a slight exaggeration, but the point remains: White doesn’t really need this, since it has so many anti-aggro cards as is. Still, this is a particularly effective one, and I shudder to think of this against Hellspark Elemental-type decks.
White has plenty of purely defensive guys, even if this is one of the better ones. If pack three rolls around and you don’t have any of this kind of thing, maybe take him a little higher, but most of the time you won’t need as many of these as you can get easily.
I would be very surprised if this saw play, especially considering how much easier it is to utilize Harm’s Way, but the effect is powerful, and if you are playing it to sideboard against Red, you might as well pick this.
It is really easy to get a 2 for 1 with this, and quite difficult to play around. Two for one’s that you don’t have to work for are always nice, and this is really flexible in its usage. I shudder to think of a kicked Burst Lightning met by a Refraction Trap for just one mana; now that is value.
If they want Zektar Shrine Expedition and similarly aggressive cards, siding this in is a real possibility.
This is cheap, and its ability is powerful, so I don’t want to rule it out. Too bad damage stacking isn’t around, since that would make this plus manlands pretty good. Ruin Ghost is too fragile to really build a deck around, but there are some nice EBT abilities on lands nowadays.
This is unplayable without some sweet lands, but it only takes like two lands to make this a good one. This plus Sejiri Steppe is absurd, and even just Teetering Peaks is tough to beat. Like I’ve said before, this being in the third pack means that you probably have some idea of how good it will be (although the Steppe being in the third pack does make that not necessarily true).
This is unlikely to make a splash in Standard, but getting Umezawa’s Jitte in Extended makes this quite interesting. I doubt that it makes something as clunky as Tatsumasa, the Dragon’s Fang worth it, but even if it only can get Jitte, there are decks that are interested.
Limited: 1.0 to 4.0
If you have one good equipment and one mediocre one, this is really good, and it goes downwards from there. If all you have is one target, it is playable but not incredibly exciting, since drawing it afterwards is pretty lame.Tatsumasa, the Dragon’s Fang
As I mentioned under Hada Freeblade, this might be a solid complement to Kazandu Blademaster and Freeblade in a White beatdown deck. Ranger of Eos and Elspeth are tough competition, which makes me doubt that the Paladin will make it, but people will certainly try.
Wow, an Ally in the same vein as the ones from Zendikar. Talus Paladin is fine by his lonesome, and pretty impossible to race if you have any number of other allies. Be aware that you have to verbally mention both the lifelink and the counter, since our team certainly wasn’t at the Prerelease!
The only formats that have mass land destruction also have Sacred Ground, and I really doubt that the Terra Eternal plus Armageddon combo will be good enough in such powerful formats. As for Standard, the obvious manland synergy is way too much of a stretch.
If you are blessed enough to get like four manlands, just be thankful and beat the crap out of everyone with them.
As a bit of a veteran myself, I reflexively am dismissing this one.
A decent little trick, this can be really swingy in a race, since it is impossible to play around like you would a normal Giant Growth (ie, not blocking then swinging back). Obviously, the potential to get 2 for 1ed is there, but such is the fate of all tricks post-M10.
Top 5 White Cards for Constructed
White didn’t get much, but Kor Firewalker makes up for that pretty well. The Firewalker is one of the most effective anti-Red cards to see print in years, and will see all sorts of Constructed play. Loam Lion is also pretty good, but it isn’t particularly exciting, even if it does get played in Zoo.
Join me tomorrow for my Worldwake Blue review!