A while ago I posted a set review of sorts for Ravnica. This is a bit of a follow up. Now that the set has been out a while I have more data to work with as far as experience playing with the cards goes. I also think I’ve figured out what a few of the set’s sleepers are. Once again I’ll be ignoring insignificant or limited only cards and very obvious cards. You don’t need me to tell you that Birds of Paradise is good, Watchwolf is very aggressivly costed, and Caregiver is bad. Also if I have nothing new to say since the last review I will leave it out here.
Bathe in Light
This has turned out to be quite a nice little trick. While nothing amazing it is certainly playable in casual, especially multiplayer. It does have a bit of tournament value as well. One of its major bonus’ is that it can make Auras fall off your creatures. Since cards like Threads of Disloyalty and Faith’s Fetters are seeing play this is significant. It also can be a nice Falter for breaking through stalemates.
This has been a bit disappointing in testing. While on paper I thought it looked like a solid engine for a casual deck after testing it I have decided it is in fact a piece of crap. I’ve had better experiences with Disturbed Burial. It will see a lot of casual play anyway.
This was seeing play for about a week. Then people realized this is just a bad Shining Shoal. Even casual players are generally better off with something like Kor Chant which can actually kill things.
Boros Garrison / Dimir Aqueduct / Golgari Rot Farm / Selesnya Sanctuary
I dismissed these as mediocre until I actually played with them. My opinion then became that they are decent. After playing even more with them I think they might actually be amazing. They are even seeing heavy tournament play as they take a lot of the sting out of cards like Suppression Field and Hokori. They will likely also keep Weathered Wayfarer from seeing much use.
Boros Signet / Dimir Signet / Golgari Signet / Selesnya Signet
These also wound up much better than I thought they would be. While not amazing by any means after testing them I’ve decided they are slightly better than the Talismans.
Most definitely good but a good portion of the aggro decks rely on small flyers like Suntail Hawk, Leonin Skyhunter, and Hypnotic Specter. As long as they do this wont be living up to its full potential. Will likely have more success in Extended especially since Wall of Blossoms just left.
This is seeing quite a bit of play in the Boros decks. The argument is generally between this and Shock. The smaller spell is better in the mirror and against Birds of Paradise and Hypnotic Specter but Char is better against control where it can go to the dome for extra reach. The fact that it kills Meloku is very significant.
Circu, Dimir Lobotomist
This has proven to be a casual play only card. While it still looks like fun it is very unreliable and too easy to kill to be competitive.
I had figured out this combo with this and 2 Kobolds to pump the storm count and finish with Brain Freeze or Tendrils and was happy that I had thought of something original. The very next day there was a list for that same deck on Brainburst. The day after that Starcity Games posted a different version. So much for me being original.
Casual players were hyping this up quite a bit. It is crap though so don’t buy into it.
This guy popped up in quite a few decks at States. He is dangerous but extremely powerful. We’ll see how well those black decks do from here on. I did see him in decks with expensive cards like Ink-Eyes and Kokusho which I would be too afraid to try. Then again I’m afraid of Flesh Reaver and Phyrexian Negator. I think it would be good in a deck like Machine Head.
This is actually quite good. It is a great reanimator engine and also has potential to do a lot of other wacky things like Volrath’s Shapeshifter did. I imagine this will see a lot of casual play and was also in a few reanimator decks in States.
I still like this card and haven’t tried it yet. A lot of other causal players are though and it seems to be a nice casual staple. Don’t expect it to see any tournament play though.
Drift of Phantasms
This is seeing a lot of play even in decks without many things to transmute into. It is great at blocking small flyers which is a nice thing to do right now. It also finds Threads of Disloyalty.
Eye of the Storm
This was originally thought to be a casual only card. Then was going to be the engine for the next Heartbeat of Spring combo deck. Then people realized the Heartbeat decks kill without this and just left it out. Back to casual only.
This is a sleeper hit. It looks quite bad. Four mana for 4 life and a Pacifism doesn’t look good but this is probably the best answer to Jitte in the environment. It not only renders it useless but leaving it in play is quite significant. If you had just killed it with Terashi’s Grasp they would likely just drop a new one and continue beating. With the old one still there the legend rule would prevent them from easily replacing it. It essentially nullifies two Jittes with one Aura. Gaining 4 life against WW doesn’t hurt either.
I didn’t think this was very good on paper. Six mana for a 4/3 Flying First Striker doesn’t seem very exciting. The reanimation ability is so expensive that it will only be relevant once every three games or so. However It is still probably one of the best finishers the R/W control deck has right now. I would have liked an extra toughness to bring it out of Lightning Helix range though.
Glare of Subdual
There is a Japanese deck based around this card. If the Japanese are using it that is a good sign that it doesn’t suck. They tend to be ahead of the game at deckbuilding. Will never even be considered in any format Opposition is legal in though.
This can be amazing or just solid. This will see huge amounts of casual play and possibly some tournament play. It has popped up in a States list or two.
Glimpse the Unthinkable
This is finally starting to drop in price but is still not an affordable card. It is seeing the most play now as a reanimator enabler since the mill deck is balls in constructed. I did see a few reanimator decks in the States results so this is the closest the deck has been to viable in Standard in a long time.
Golgari Grave-Troll This hasn’t caught on yet. I’m almost positive it will eventually even if just in causal play. Dredge.dec made some appearances at States but I didn’t see too many running this guy. I think that he’ll start to pop up a bit more eventually. This will likely be a sleeper hit.
This is about as good as it looks. A great engine for a slow beatdown deck like the Rock.
This can be a wrecking ball in casual. The fact that even if you aren’t blowing up lands he is still aggressively costed makes him that much better. These can be great equalizers for all those multicolored lands that are popping up.
This is the only Hunted creature that has proved worth it. It is even quite solid.
This was in a very large numbers of decks when people first started testing for States. Then after playtesting everyone started removing them and ranting about how horrible they were. Turns out a 4/4 isn’t something you want your opponent to have.
This is the best mono-black removal spell in at least 2-3 years. You have to go back to Smother and possibly even Diabolic Edict to find a better one. It doesn’t kill Meloku though so it isn’t perfect.
Life from the Loam
I really like this card. It just does so much. It not only is a nice engine on its own but also combines nicely with cycling lands and the cycle of threshold lands from Odyssey. Still doesn’t make Nomad Stadium playable though. Unfortunately it costs way to much for me to get some. This will be the big sleeper hit of the set. Expect it to be selling for $8-10 in the near future.
This is the main removal spell of the environment. It has been a while since those 3-toughness creatures were in this much trouble.
Overgrown Tomb / Sacred Foundry / Temple Garden / Watery Grave
Just like everyone knew they would these are the most important cards of the set in Standard and Extended. They will likely continue to be as long as they are legal. I would like to see them drop to $15 like a normal chase rare though.
People are still finding out if this is good or not. My testing has shown it to be kinda meh but I haven’t tried it too much.
This is still my favorite card in the set. It is seeing play in every deck that can conceivably cast in and some care splashing for it. One of the best removal spells ever printed and still my vote for best card in the set.
Razia, Boros Archangel
This is extremely expensive, multicolored, and has the creature type, Angel. This all but guarantees it to see large amounts of casual play. This is also popping up in reanimator decks though.
Savra, Queen of the Golgari
I haven’t seen it in action yet but it is seeing a lot of casual play. Casual players love sacrificing their creatures so it was kind of obvious.
This is much better than it looks. You can’t discount cards like this since Lightning Rift proved so amazing. This isn’t as good since its deck doesn’t feed itself but I’ve been working on this one and it has been performing quite well.
Shadow of Doubt
I still love this card. It saw a bit of play but most people were eventually removing them for Remand which actually plays quite similarly but isn’t as narrow. It now really only sees play in sideboards as Remand #5-8.
Sisters of Stone Death
Another reanimator target for a casual deck. This is seeing quite a bit of casual play. I doubt it will see much use even in reanimator when it comes to tournament play though.
Don’t be supprised if this sees tournament play. The dredge mechanic is very powerful if a bit slow and this is one of the better enablers for it. It popped up in a decklist or two at States.
This is seeing a bit of tournament play. I think the Fungus Fire decks that are using it are piles of crap but they supposedly doing quite well on Magic Online and did get a few States top 8s. The card is quite cool though.
This was hyped to be amazing and people were removing Jitte from their WW deck to play this. Then it was shown to be annoying but not impossible to play around. The problem is that is doesn’t make Meloku and Jitte suck. It just makes them balanced. They should have had higher activation costs to begin with so this just makes them fair. You know a card is broken when you can triple the mana you need to spend on it and it is still amazing.
Szadek, Lord of Secrets
Casual players haven’t really used him much yet but I expect that to change over time. He is just a perfect example of a card a casual player would love.
This is seeing a bit of casual play. I think it is decent but there are better things you can do with 5 mana.
This card is AMAZING! The more I test him the better he looks. I’m getting to the point where I think he might be better than Quirion Dryad. It is fun to drop him on turn 2 and attack with a 5/5 on turn 3. Expect this to go up in price.
Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
This is the win condition in the terrible looking Fungus Fire decks. Other than that I haven’t seen much of it. It is pretty expensive to use.