Friday, February 7, 2014

Born of the Gods Limited Set Review - Multicolored and Colorless

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

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.

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.

Multicolored Uncommons

It’s worth noting that Multicolored cards generally require you to be in the two colors to establish an accurate value. Splashing for them is frequently dangerous and not advised in most circumstances. Also pack 1 pick 1 is a rough time to grab a multi-colored card because it sticks you into a single color pair on your first pick.

Ephara’s Enlightenment – 5
I feel like this is a tricky way to trigger heroic several times, but definitely not a bad one. On the first shot you get heroic and a +1/+1 counter. When you cast another creature you get to put it back on the next turn. The added benefit of flying means that I think this card is playable and will pull its weight. I like that it gives counters because they stick around even if something happens to the enchantment. Plus gaining evasion on a heroic guy is a nice bonus.

Fanatic of Xenagos – 5+
As a 3/3 for three with additional damage the turn you play him or a 4/4 he’s a pretty swanky three drop. A 3/3 with haste would probably cost you more so you’re already getting a bonus. This is just a really solid creature regardless of how the tribute goes. Either way he’s still a guy you want in red green.

Kiora’s Follower – 6+
Already being a bear we know she’s playable. But this card is beyond all accounts amazing. While at first glance this looks like a ramp card, the fact that it stays relevant the entire game makes it incredibly strong. On turn three you’re untapping a land for a four drop, on turn eight you’re untapping your Kraken to block with, or gaining another trigger on your Retraction Helix. My god this does everything.

Ragemonger – 5+
Considering that minotaurs never really did it for me in Theros I’m reluctant to say this guy sounds good. Having more three drop minotaurs will probably help and making your others easier to cast seems pretty nice. If you already have one on the board your next is only a two drop and all further minotaurs only cost colorless mana. This makes for an interesting minotaur ramp. But I still don’t see this as the tribal that is going to carry you through. Most of the minotaurs in this set are either rare or not that impressive.

Reap What is Sown - 5
Hmm. With Travel Preparations I got to do two creatures for one less mana, then I got to do it again to two creatures which were possibly the same for one more mana. This means the creature that it matters for grew twice and maybe I can make an irrelevant card more relevant by putting two 1/1 counters on it. This doesn’t do that. At best it is a bad Glorious Anthem. Instant speed is nice but you’ve really got to line up your blocks perfectly to make it work. I guess it’s playable as a combat trick and heroic enabler.

Siren of the Silent Song – 6
Considering Liliana’s Spectre is a pauper staple I can see this card going far in limited. The repeated discard effect on a flier can decimate an opponent’s hand pretty quickly. Even if you only get two or three discards you’re gaining huge card advantage. Paying three for a 2/1 flier isn’t great but they tend to be able to get in when nothing else can.

Multicolored Rares

Chromanticore – 2
Just no.

Ephara, God of the Polis – 6+
Ephara is actually one of my favorite gods because her ability is just plain useful. She is one of the few gods that actually takes steps to help you reach devotion. If you’re in blue and white you could do far worse than an enchantment that lets you draw a card every time you play a creature. Eventually that leads to turning her back into a creature and that’s pretty nice.

Karametra, God of the Harvests – 5
If I was in white green I’m sure I’d run her, but I can’t really be that happy about ramp starting at five mana. Plus I only get the ramp when I cast a creature after her. I think any god is probably a five regardless if you’re in the colors just because of the large possible upside, but really this one might only be a four.

Kiora, the Crashing Wave – 8
Having had the chance to play with Kiora a bit in constructed I think this card is amazing. Being able to blank their biggest guy while ticking up or simply providing additional ramp is very sweet. If they can’t deal with you quickly you basically get a win the game emblem in a few turns. The fact that she protects herself means that you can blank their biggest threat for as long as she lives. Even when she ends up dying after two or three turns she still feels like she’s done her fair share of work. In order for her to be a blank you need to be getting hit by two creatures you can’t deal with. At that point you’re likely to need more than a planeswalker to save you.

Mogis, God of Slaughter – 5+
At least Mogis does something impactful when your board is empty. He’s a four mana clock that says you’re going to die in the next five to ten turns. That isn’t terrible. However, that isn’t really enough. If you have the creatures to get him turned on he’s fine, but he doesn’t do much work on his own. Better than Karametra but only by a hair.

Phenax, God of Deception – 6
As an alternate win condition, Phenax is pretty impressive. With a 40 card deck he can mill through a library pretty quickly. This makes him the king of board stalls but not much else. Even if you get him turned on it’s still probably better to mill away than attack. I’d say this’ll frequently be a three to five turn clock assuming you have some sort of decent blocker on the board, which isn’t bad but it clearly isn’t a direct threat either.

Xenagos, God of Revels - 7
Is Xenagos really that good? Yes, yes he is. Even at five mana doubling the power and toughness of a creature is massive. Your 3/1 becomes a 6/4 when it attacks. You play some big six drop and get to attack with him right away as a 8/6 or something ridiculous. This has an immediate board impact and can turn any race into your favor. If you’re deep in the hole it won’t do much but an otherwise unremarkable creature can quickly become a game ending threat with Xenagos.

Colorless Uncommon

Gorgon’s Head – 5
Repeatable deathtouch is a pretty powerful tool. Considering you can move it around from attackers to blockers it’ll be able to pull some weight. I’m pretty sure I don’t want two of these in any deck but I’m pretty happy with one. Sometimes you just won’t have the creatures to put it on but turning your otherwise unremarkable two drop in to a Sedge Scorpion can save the day.

Pillar of War – 4+
With all the work Returned Phalanx did in Theros I’d expect this to make it into a fair number of decks. A 3/3 wall for three can do some decent blocking and it makes for an automatic target for a bestow. I think I’d rather have a creature that can attack but I can see running a couple of these to shore up my ground game early on if I felt I was lacking in three drops.

Siren Song Lyre – 5+
Tapping down creatures is a really powerful effect. Paying six mana and tapping one of your creatures in order to tap down your first guy is a bit harsh. But there are times where your opponent has a card you just don’t have an answer for and this can be that answer. As an insurance policy it seems decent but I’m still worried about running it in my main deck. Without a creature to stick it on it is worthless and it basically ties up both a creature and two mana for the rest of the game when I could probably just play another creature.

Springleaf Drum – 5
I think this card goes in every deck. With inspired running around this gives the only free trigger for it every turn. Any creature with inspired will trigger whenever you want them to if you have this card. Plus it provides both fixing and ramp at a pretty affordable cost. I think I’d even happily run two because of how quickly it would let me start playing big creatures. As a Modern and Pauper staple card this is something that will do good work in any deck so long as you’re playing, you know, creatures.

Colorless Rare

Astral Cornucopia – 5
Considering that Darksteel Ingot saw play and this is a multicolored set I can’t imagine leaving this card out of a deck just for the ramp effect. It also allows for an additional splash which is nice. But overall it’s just mana fixing and ramp combo which doesn’t do much else. I also don’t ever see casting this for six unless I’m just plain out of things to do.

Hero’s Podium – 2
This is a constructed card and not a very good one at that. Considering this is one of the three rares you’re likely to open and Legendary creatures only come out at Rare or Mythic most of the time the chance you’ll ever be able to use this to positive effect is pretty low. If somehow you get two legendary creatures in your deck you still need to spend five mana to cast plus another five or so mana to dig for a creature. That’s ten mana to possibly get one of your legendary creatures into your hand. It doesn’t even cast it.

Temple of Enlightenment, Temple of Malice, Temple of Plenty – 5+
Considering that we’re seeing temples played in Standard even in mono-colored decks I think that using a temple to replace a Plains is just fine. If it matches your colors I’d definitely pick it up ahead of any generally playable card. Plus it’s sure to be worth between one and two tickets. Even it only matches one color I think it’s still a pretty easy pickup just for the free scry.

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