Thursday, February 6, 2014

Born of the Gods Limited Set Review - Green

For me, one of the best ways to make a profit and still enjoy playing Magic is to win events. In Limited events that means knowing what is good in a format and being able to able to accurately assess the value of cards. Everyone puts their own value on certain types of cards. Some favor removal over any creatures, others take any decent creature over removal. Some like expensive or late game cards and others prefer value for early tempo. While I can't adjust for your play style I can tell you what I happen to think of certain cards.

The other color set reviews can be found at the following links:
Multicolored and Colorless

Limited Rating System

Everyone who evaluates cards uses a different system. Mine is 1-10 because I feel like it creates the easiest and most recognizable system. Using grades tends to provide some false associations; B- is a pretty lame grade in school but a pretty good card in magic. I also don't like using the 1-5 system because I'd rather say something is a five than a two point five.
10 - First pick and must play even if you have to splash it.
9 - Game winning card every time it hits the table.
8 - Bombs, top tier removal, and otherwise game defining creatures.
7 - Powerful creatures or amazingly efficient creatures, conditional removal.
6 - Solid creatures, expensive or highly restrictive removal, big play enchantments and artifacts.
5 - Core cards in your deck, on curve creatures, decent cards.
4 - Fallback cards that you'd rather not have in your deck but can fill in if needed. Cards that are too situational to main deck.
3 - Bad cards, cards that have too much risk and little reward.
2 - Really bad cards that barely do anything at all and aren't likely to impact the game in a meaningful way.
1 - A card with zero meaningful impact on Limited games of Magic.
Add-on Ratings
S - Sideboard cards. These will often be brought out of your board and are worth picking up over other things of their level because of their impact against certain match-ups.
+ - Better than the average card in this category but still not worth the step up to the next level.

Green Common/Uncommon

Archetype of Endurance – 4+
Eight mana asks a lot. In a set without other hexproof it really asks too much. Generally the biggest issues with hexproof come from smaller creatures that have been bestowed up. Green doesn’t really have answers to these problems other than bigger creatures. Removing hexproof doesn’t really do anything. Giving all your creatures hexproof is kind of cool but not something that makes a creature with an additional two mana over a Craw Wurm.

Aspect of Hydra – 4+
The biggest problem with this card is that it will occasionally do nothing. When all you have is your one or two drop on the board you’re not getting a very big bonus. However, it can also do amazing things on a developed board. Unfortunately, this means that it is no Giant Growth. Generally I want to use my giant growth on turn three or four for a decent trade up to clear out the biggest problem on their board. I can’t really gurantee that I’ll be able to make use of this that early in the game, especially if my two drop comes from a different color. It seems when I want to use this it doesn’t do much, though it still can neutralize a threat late game, if my board isn’t empty.

Charging Badger – 4
Beware the 1/1 for one. Trample is a good ability but 1/1 just doesn’t cut it without some serious bestowing going on. Just because you can play him on turn one doesn’t really give you any advantage because you probably don’t have anything to bestow him with until turn three to five.

Culling Mark – 2
Removal requires a lot to make it bad. This requires that you have a bigger creature (or one with deathtouch), be attacking, and the target be untapped and not have a quick tap ability. That just feels like too many restrictions. I don’t think this card is terrible and it will solve some problems, but it won’t solve the problems you really want it to.

Graverobber Spider – 6
Oh, Giant Spider, what you been eating? Giant Spiders are fine limited cards. This has the ability of gaining a Rootwalla like bump which is just upside. Again, I think 2/4 is a pretty solid number in this set which may push the value up even higher.

Karametra’s Favor – 5
Did I say I didn’t like this cycle. Well this one hardly counts since it’s a cantrip. It’s also color fixing, something that feels pretty sparse with the exception of Springleaf Drum. Having to have a creature you’re willing to tap for the mana is a little sad but it gives you your card back which is a big bonus. Considering you’re probably going to throw this onto your worst creature it won’t be terrible if your opponent burns removal to get rid of your one or two drop.

Mischief and Mayhem – 4+
Combat tricks are fantastic when they hit two creatures in heroic -- oh wait. This is not a combat trick. This is a heroic enabler at sorcery speed for five mana. So we’re looking back at overrun here. If you have the guys with evasion this could be a quick 10+ damage to your opponent’s face which can turn the game around. But if all it does is lead to chump blocking you haven’t done much. I might run one if I don’t have any real cards to play but the lack of surprise is disheartening.

Mortal's Resolve – 5
This feels like a slightly more expensive Ranger’s Guile but indestructible does give additional upside. You can prevent a kill spell and still be a quality blocker. It feels like I’d have use for one or two in my deck just to guarantee my threats aren’t taken out but I definitely wouldn’t want more. It also doesn’t stop everything which is always concerning.

Nessian Demolok – 5+
The floor on this guy is still a 3/3 for five that destroys a meaningless land. The upside is taking an enchantment with you. This is one guy that I think frequently won’t see tribute.  Unless your opponent has a game winning enchantment on the board or some big bestow creature he’s going to just take out the biggest bestowed creature or a land. If your opponent has missed a land drop this creature becomes fantastic. They either need a way to deal with a 6/6 or they’re set back a land which will prevent them the chance of finding one. So a great creature on curve and not the worst draw late in the game makes it pretty good.

Noble Quarry – 5+
Lure bestow is pretty interesting. Considering that this ends up getting all of your creatures in to hit two turns in a row it seems like a pretty decent card. Drop it on your weakest creature and swing in full board. Then do it again next turn should end the game. However, lure cost four and had targets like Thicket Basilisk. Paying six is a lot more and I don’t feel like you have fantastic combo targets to throw this on.

Nyxborn Wolf – 5
If Regathan Firecat was playable at 4/1 for three adding bestow and losing a power should also be fine. Giving a creature +3/+1 is pretty significant and still ending up with a decent sacrifice blocker afterwards is solid. Bestow costs are a little higher than ideal but we’ve seen that Boon Satyr is a big card, this is like his little cousin, who may be a little bit slow.

Peregrination – 4
I like ramp cards but by the time I’m playing a four drop I really want more than just ramping. Getting a land onto the battlefield, one in the hand, plus scry is a fair amount of ramp but spending turn 4 doing nothing other than playing lands is a bit concerning. I prefer to see cards that do less on turn one and two or have effects like this attached to a 2/2 creature so at the very least my board can develop while I’m digging for land. I’m also sad that this doesn’t turn creatures into birds.

Pheres-Band Raiders – 6
What I like about this card is that I’m going to be attacking with my 5/5. If they can’t stop it I get another 3/3. Paying six for the 5/5 is fine, the bonus if it just gets chumped is fantastic. I see this as a totally acceptable win condition if your opponent doesn’t have an answer. Sometimes he’ll just run into two creatures and kill them but then your other smaller guys can get in for attacks. The fact that he has to be blocked makes him pretty solid.

Pheres-Band Tromper – 6
A Canyon Minotaur with upside is good by me. I figure he’ll frequently have some trouble growing but if he does he’s likely to continue growing. I’m pretty happy with this as a four drop. If my opponent hasn’t put anything significant down it’ll cause a problem. I’m also happy to bestow onto it because it’ll continue to grow when it is able to attack.

Raised by Wolves – 5
When this card lands, it’s big. Two creatures, heroic activation, +2/+2 on the target. However, if you get blown out by removal, it is a huge loss. Also that +2/+2 probably won’t stick around forever unless you protect mama and papa wolf. I do feel that as an awkward Moan of the Unhallowed on the battlefield it is playable. But the potential downside is so big I’m a little concerned.

Satyr Wayfinder – 4
If I find a way that I want a bunch of cards in my graveyard I’m still not sure what I’d do with this guy. This is a replacement for Mulch, only it is not in a graveyard set. It’s not even ramp and is only sort of fixing. I just don’t see the combos with anything but Graverobber Spider being very good. Where’s my Spider Spawning? However, if it's my only option for mana fixing, it is a card. But I can't verify it's better than a land.

Setessan Oathsworn – 4+
If you’ve got the deck this card is ok, but without significant heroic enablers a 1/1 just isn’t going to cut it. While the other multiple counter heroic cards in Theros could grow to become quite powerful they tended to start from a more significant initial point than 1/1. If you top deck this it doesn’t do anything, If you play it on turn three you need to wait another turn before it can really impact the board. It’s not terrible but you really need the right cards to make it work.

Setessan Starbreaker – 5
Considering the power of bestow in the set this is the card you want to deal with it. If it destroyed an enchantment I’d by super excited but only being able to handle auras limits the uses significantly. But it does rip an arm or a leg off of Voltron and leaves behind a body to help out afterwards.

Skyreaping– 4S
Green needs ways to deal with flying. This deals with some fliers. I’d probably rather have Plummet which I still wouldn’t main deck.

Snake of the Golden Grove – 5
4/4 for five that gives you four life upon entering the battlefield is pretty handy. You’re paying one more mana for the four life and otherwise getting a Rumbling Baloth. I can’t imagine that your opponent would ever pay tribute. If they do I’d be concerned because they’re probably going to kill you next turn.

Swordwise Centaur – 5
This is not Kalonian Tusker, nor is it Garruk’s Companion, but what it is lacking from either of those two cards isn’t enough to make it a bad card. It’s be better at 3/3 or with trample but it is fine as it is. It will run into problems with 2/4s but for a two drop it’s better than bears.

Unravel the Aether – 4S
This solves bestow problems and god problems. As a simple solution to a god it is actually pretty good, but it doesn’t mean you won’t meet the same problem next turn. I don’t think I’d really run this unless I ran into a problem I just didn’t have an answer for. It seems too risky to main deck since I don’t feel like we have as many enchantments as we did in Theros but you're still probably safe with one.

Green Rare

Courser of Kruphix – 6
This is a surprisingly strong card. Getting a 2/4 for three is no small gain but being able to play your top deck lands is pretty awesome. The downside of your opponent seeing every card that goes into your hand is less significant when playing big creatures is your real goal. I like the body and cutting you land draws in more than half late game means you get to keep getting value when a 2/4 isn’t that powerful. He also comes down on turn three and stops all those pesky X/1 and X/2s.

Fated Intervention – 5+
Five mana for 6 total power and toughness is solid, especially if you’re getting it at instant speed. This is actually a lot like Briarpack Alpha with more green and a longer board presence.  The additional advantage of scrying if you just need to drop the card isn’t bad. Triple green scares me a bit in limited in a five drop because all too often I just won’t be able to cast it on turn five.

Hero of Leina Tower - 7
Heroic X is insane. I don't see how you can ever block this card or attack into it when your opponent has mana open. Just the threat of activation on this is insane. That doesn't even take into account what ever you might be pumping it with. Oddly this makes cheaper pump spells way better than expensive ones. But the ability to grow unstoppably makes this the best one drop in the set.

Hunter’s Prowess – 6+
Single target Overrun for five mana sounds bad, but considering that it almost guarantees card draw I’m willing to forgive it. This isn’t the cross the board sweep that Overrun is but it’s hard to imagine the downside of dealing a bunch of damage with your creature and getting some cards in return. You’re still looking at a card that does nothing on an open board which means this isn’t Opportunity, but occasionally it may be better.

Nessian Wilds Ravager – 7
6/6 for six is always ok. ETB that kills another creature always worked well for Shadowborn Demon. Ending up with a 12/12 if they don’t want to lose their best creature is also just fine. The only problem I see here is no evasion. With trample that 12/12 would be a brutal threat but if your opponent can just chump block with 2/1s until they find an answer it’s not as significant. Still, big creatures tend to do well in limited.

Scourge of Skola Vale – 6
2/2 trample for three is acceptable but unimpressive. The ability to eat other creatures is fantastic. Going to have to chump block anyway, go ahead and much up. They can’t really kill this through direct damage because you’ll probably just eat something else. As you munch up dinner you’ve got trample to move along with. Considering the threat the Blood Bairn ended up being in M14 I can’t imagine this being bad. The only difference is that you don’t have the threat of activation on attack since you have to tap to grow him. I think this is a card that will very quickly demand an answer and be a fantastic blocker until then.

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