Welcome back to day three of our four day set review for Born of the Gods. All week we have been looking at the new cards and seeing just where they might fit in. So far we have been through black and green, so it was time for a pick-me-up as we move to white today. We will be discussing each card in how it might play out for both constructed and limited. Along with that will come a rating that gives the card some relative value amongst the other cards. Most set reviews from various players and writers use different scales, so keep that in mind when comparing.
To go into a little more detail on those scales, here is how they break down:Constructed
5: Fives are ever-present cards that heavily warp a format or see heavy play across multiple formats. Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Deathrite Shaman, and Tarmogoyf are good examples of fives.
4: These cards tend to have support roles across multiple formats or be tier one cards in at least one. Spell Pierce is an example of the former while Thragtusk is an example of the latter. I expect to rate a lot of things as fours that are actually fives and vice versa while I feel out this new system but in both cases, these are going to be highly desired cards.
3: These are the bread and butter cards of a set, usually doing all of the essential things needed for a format, but doing them at a good rate. Cards like Oblivion Ring, Izzet Charm, or Diregraf Ghoul would be found here.
2: These cards are generally much more restrictive in use and application than a three, but they serve a similar purpose. You will see more sideboard or niche cards, like Skullcrack, Heartless Summoning, or Gladecover Scout.
1: These are not going to see much play, but they have an outside chance. These tend to be weak or narrow sideboard options or extremely narrow main deck cards. Most ones will not ever make it into a winning list, but they have potential to do so.
0: These are unplayable in constructed regardless of context. These tend to be the cards designed to balance limited, like Grizzly Bear or Siege Mastodon or are narrow with a poor output, like Artificer's Hex.
*Any card that gets an X.5 rating just means I can see it falling to either side of the equation given the right metagame or environment.Limited
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%)
And with that, let's move on to the cards!
This is an interesting payout for monowhite decks to consider. I still don't see this being as good as Gray Merchant of Asphodel or Fanatic of Mogis, but maybe it is constructed worthy. Awkwardly, this only prevents damage done to a creature, so don't try to build your monowhite Fog decks just yet.
As with all of the devotion cards, this is going to hinge on what you have going on in terms of white permanents. This triggers heroic though, which is a good start and can potentially blow a combat out, so it is certainly worth playing at its best. Finding a good deck for it is a different story.
If this was a 4/4 and its ability cost two mana to activate, it would probably be a real contender for constructed. As is though, he can rule the land of limited and not much else.
I am not sure exactly how strong this is, but I know it is very strong. The body is already quite good on its own, especially once it can scale its own power up. Then, globally pumping your team is something that an aggressive RW deck will love having access to.
This is cheap enough that it could see play in an aggressive white deck, but I feel like the work you need to put into it is not worth the payout of a +1/+1 counter, unlike some other heroic cards that might draw you a card or whatnot.
A fairly nonthreatening 1/1 at first, this can quickly get to be a 3/3 or bigger within the first few turns and you have a real problem on your hand. Wingsteed Rider might not need help to be reasonable, but it does come at an awkward place on the curve where many of your best cards seem to roam. Two mana is a much friendlier territory for a card like this.
Archetype of Courage
This seems just out of reach of playability, but I could see it being a valuable sideboard card if white weenie mirrors ever become a thing in the future.
All of the archetypes are pretty strong, but this comes at only a three mana price tag, which excites me even more. Beyond that, this is a good target for auras and is an all-around decent man even before being a lord.
Brimaz, King of Oreskos
In a history of mythic 3/4 awesome creatures, comes Brimaz. This guy is clearly a great rate and a no brainer for many different aggressive white decks. This should probably extend back to Modern in some fringe instances but mostly will be relevant in Standard and Block. Traditional aggro decks and token decks alike will be trying to take advantage of this guy's rate.
This is but a creature that dies like the rest the first few turns it is out, but if left unchecked for too long, the advantage it generates will still haunt you, multiple turns later. This is not the greatest late game card, but if cast on curve, it can cause a lot of problems fast.
Dawn to Dusk
This seems like it is probably a bit too expensive to be a consideration for constructed. Then again, maybe a control deck will want to win Detention Sphere battles enough that he gives this a shot. As an instant, this might have been good enough.
A really strong two-for-one removal spell in this format, This is more of a late game card than other removal, but it can have a big impact on the game as you kill a bestow dude and Raise Dead your own.
Eidolon of Countless Battles
This thing can pack quite a punch, especially in decks with a lot of auras, such as the hexproof decks we have seen pop up from time to time. As just a creature, this guy can get big too, especially as a three cost. I suspect this will get some amount of play before it rotates.
A very strong vanilla aura or vanilla creature in terms of a lack of evasion, etc. This guy is big enough that he will usually be a threat and/or an actual Abyss, but because the bestow cost is so cheap on this, you probably want to try to deploy this in aura form if possible.
Not quite enough body for the cost as heroic is not a thing that the average aggro deck will be turning on much.
This should be a really strong early game card that goes well in the white aggressive decks. It also has an ability that adds to its relevance as the late game approaches. This also happens to be a great "secondary" hero in that all of your multitarget spells can point at this for free with good value.
If I need to explain this one, I feel like we have not had a good understanding of each other thus far.
Another heroic enabler that also works well with inspired guys. Unfortunately, this does ask you to spend a card and then further mana on a pretty bad effect, but if you are in need of a playable...
Compare this to Gild or Day of Judgment for that matter. Conditional, sorcery speed removal is a rarity in constructed and usually only makes the cut for rate reasons, which this does not have going for it.
White always enjoys removal when it gets it and this is pretty solid. Exiling the guy versus killing it is not a huge deal, but removal is scarce enough in this block that this should receive a warm welcome.
I think this is a pretty exciting card for constructed, although having both it and Sphinx's Revelation in the format is a little scary. Because this is an instant, in the late game, you get to decide if you want to sweep the board, counter a spell, or draw a million cards. This even answers opposing walkers, making it reasonable as a main deck card. And if you ever want to slow things down, you get some card selection for your troubles. This cannot stabilize your deck in the way that Supreme Verdict can, but it is a nice tool to have after the fact.
Instant speed sweepers are especially punishing in limited where you can pass the turn, make some chump blocks (but don't give away too much information of course) and then unload at the end of your opponent's turn, netting an additional turn of your opponent's board progression. Expensive, but it should be worth it.
All of the cheap double strike guys that see print have the chance to see play due to powerful pump spells turning them into explosive win conditions. This guy costs three, which makes that less likely, but it might happen.
This feels like a pretty weak creature on its own, but it also picks up auras and uses them to great effect. Bestowing this on to an evasive creature will probably end the game, making the six mana version likely the most common mode for this guy.
Glimpse the Sun God
These instants that tap things generally are only good when you can tap lands to set up something on your turn without fear of your opponent meddling with open mana. Tapping creatures down is more of a limited function.
I really like this in limited where it can enable every heroic card you have in play while simultaneously offering value elsewhere and then scrying on top of that. Setting up Alpha attacks will be most common with this but expect many heroic triggers and inspired triggers to see this come their way too.
This guy has a strong enough output but once you add three mana to it and then also staple it on to a two mana 1/1, things stop looking up. Too fragile for constructed basically.
This guy is pretty awkward on his own as it is very difficult to get into the red zone with your overcosted 1/1. That said, if you can find other ways to tap this, it can produce a big impact on the game. Maybe a Glimpse the Sun God might help.
Pillarfield Ox has never had so much hart before.
A very anemic defensive creature, but one that you will see across the table often enough. If you compare this to Returned Centaur from Theros, it will likely end up seeing a similar amount of play.
Far too expensive for constructed, especially at only a 1/4 body.
Depending on the count of enchantments in your deck, this can end up being pretty good. While the 1/4 body is not the most exciting thing in the world, it is a good target for any bestow creatures or auras you may have just returned to your hand. As a common, this seems like something you wouldn't mind picking up one or two of.
Hero of Iroas
This is a fringe card, but anyone that remembers Puresteel Paladin knows how strong this effect can potentially be. This is definitely not of the same power level as Puresteel Paladin was, but this helps to enable a deck and does so at an inexpensive cost, so maybe some Boggles deck decides to take this for a spin.
Reducing the cost on Bestow creatures (in their bestow form only) is a valuable thing to have as a game goes on, especially due to the expensive nature of most of those spells. Being a bear with heroic only adds to this guy's repertoire, making him decent in combat as well.
Hold at Bay
This would potentially see play in a Fog control deck except it seems very reasonable for a deck to get more than seven damage in a turn, in which case this stops actually being a Fog. This can counter burn spells though, so if monored becomes a thing, maybe this gets a second look.
Another one of those fringe spells that will often end up in your board but will lead to blow outs when you do occasionally run it. This is particularly good against red as it stops most of their removal as well, so keep that in mind.
If this had no drawback, it would clearly be good. As it is however, the drawback on this is not only real, it fundamentally changes the card. This is not a true one-drop for example, unless you are deploying Memnite in the same turn. While a neat design, aggressive decks need their cards to be good when they show up as they only have a small window to exploit.
This needs some buddies before it can be very good, but in a good aggressive deck, preferably with other evasion, this rate is strong enough to be worth it. A blue/white fliers list seems like something that might enjoy this for example.
Moment of Heroism was a card that saw a very tiny amount of play in some sideboards, usually as a one-of, to help swing aggressive match ups. I don't think this will be needed to do that, although it could fill a similar space if there is a demand.
Any cheap trick is pretty good in this format due to heroic being so important. This also swings the life race in your favor which can be huge in a racing situation. This isn't going to let you win many combats that you otherwise wouldn't have, but solid nonetheless.
A 1/2 creature is not really what constructed is looking for, as Sanctuary Cat could attest to. While bestow is pure upside here, it is not a reasonable option in constructed, making this card just a one mana 1/2, which ain't cutting it.
This cycle is pretty cool in that you very rarely want to actually spend the mana to cast these guys. At only three mana though, this is quite a good heroic enabler that will put a lot of pressure on the opponent early. Not quite an autoplay, but worth picking up in most white decks.
Oreskos Sun Guide
We have discussed bears many times in this set review already, so hopefully I do not need to convince you of how bad of a rate that tends to be for constructed. Compare this inspire ability with that of drawing a card, like Pain Seer, and it isn't difficult to see the power level gap there.
Bears fall off pretty fast in this format as everything tends to outclass them. This can still be a reasonable aggressive card that helps you win races though and pairs nicely with any enablers for inspire that you might have.
Once again, we run into a problem. You see, a 3/3 flier that comes with two other 1/1 buddies is probably constructed playable. Cloudgoat Ranger style armies in a can have a real use in decks with Crusade. However, if you decide you want to play this guy to get that card, you never actually do. At least not when it is beneficial to you. You get a 5/5 flier, something that constructed hasn't been interested in for 15 years.
This is quite a bit better than Air Elemental in either form were you to get the outcome randomly. Unfortunately, you get the worst of the two outcomes each time, assuming the opponent can make such a choice, and as a result, this compares favorably to Air Elemental at the end of the day in terms of power level. A great card and a high pick regardless of how you choose to break it down though.
Plea for Guidance
While I can't really see this being played anytime soon, tutors, especially tutors that generate card advantage, tend to have some use to someone. This may just be too slow and awkward, which is what I am guessing, but I wanted to leave a little wiggle room just in case.
This seems pretty strong in limited due to the sheer number of enchantments. Most decks have a handful of enchantments or so and that is not factoring in that once you draft this, you naturally draft certain enchantments higher. Remember that half of the enchantments are also creatures, so this will help build your board back up late.
This card will always be playable in the same way that Disenchant will always be playable. A solid rate way to deal with problem permanents in a unique way. Should gods get big, expect to see more of this in sideboards.
I feel like main decking Disenchants in this format is fine, but I do think you hit a limit quite quickly. I can have four Doom Blades in my deck and be happy whereas four Revoke Existence is rough. Main deck one copy when you need to and board others as you see fit.
This guy has a lot of hurdles to jump over. He needs to get around the vast majority of the removal in the format because he offers no immediate advantage. If you can attack with this, things can get crazy though, which is why I give it the slimmest of margins.
This format is slow enough that casting this should be feasible in multiple types of decks. Again, you do not get immediate impact from this, so it is susceptible to removal, but if you can untap and get in there with this guy, it provides such an advantage that would be difficult to lose from. Just a single attack is likely to be quite game changing.
Spirit of the Labyrinth
This is one heck of a hate bear. I actually don't think the disruption ability is that absurd as it does not protect itself in the way that Gaddock Teeg might, for example. That said, it has a definite purpose and there are decks that will not be able to function with this in play. The most important aspect of this, however, is its size. This guy puts a ton of pressure on the opponent's life total while they are struggling to find card advantage. That increases his chances of play by quite a bit. Remember that cards like Think Twice do get around this when used on an opponent's turn.
Basically just a two mana 3/1 that you are looking to get bonuses from. This stops all of the cantrip enchantments for example and is naturally strong against blue.
This is a really neat effect, but I fear it was costed too high to make any lists. At one or two mana though, I would definitely be interested.
You are obviously going to know when to run this and when not to, but don't think highly of it in the average deck. If you managed to get some sicko life gain deck with all kinds of lifelink action, then by all means, have at it.
Vanguard of Brimaz
He is your average 2/2 for two with multiple abilities that white always seems to get and always seems to be playable. This guy is worse than your Knight of the White Orchid or Kor Firewalker, but I can definitely see him in some white weenie list that abuses heroic.
Putting tokens into play is good and this guy fits right into a white aggressive deck. Vigilance means that all of those auras you are tossing on to him will work on defense as well and a few extra cats never hurt anyone, right?
These five color cards rarely get the loving that I would like them to, just because the environment cannot really support a five color deck. I think the mana right now is potentially solid enough to support this, and if it isn't then the last two scry lands might be enough. That said I have no idea where this would actually go. It looks like a control card, but is an aura when it's at its best, so we will have to wait and see.
So, this is basically impossible to rate because in the deck where it belongs, it will be unbelievable, but you should probably not be that deck very often. Going five color anything in any limited format is something you really need practice with because mana bases are so difficult to get right. This does show up in pack one though, so I am sure people will go for it.
Ephara, God of the Polis
So what we do have here, is a god costed at only four mana with a double devotion goal, so that is pretty exciting. The 6/5 body is certainly nothing to scoff at either, but let's be real for a second: if you are running this, it is because you want to take advantage of that sweet triggered effect. This wants to be paired with something like Assemble the Legion or Elspeth to make sure it happens, but whatever you got to do, draw those cards!
While this is a little tough on the mana in terms of what it commits you to, it feels like it's probably worth it, even more so than the first set of gods. This should be easier to trigger in a true two color deck and its ability is much better than scrying one every turn. You should not always snap this up, but I think it's probably worth it.
While this is a pretty neat card that works with heroic really well, I don't think it has enough of a base impact to be constructed playable. Maybe I am wrong on this one, but it feels like the reward is in the work you put into this and not the card itself.
This seems very strong to me for all of the obvious reasons. You get a recurring enchantment that triggers heroic over and over. Your guys keep getting bigger whenever that happens too. Oh and you get to come over with flying every time this stays in play. Seems good to me.
Fanatic of Xenagos
A 4/4 trample for three mana isn't too shabby and neither is a 4/4 haste trampler that then becomes a 3/3 trampler from then on out. These two modes are so similar that you will usually be getting your monies worth in whatever RG aggro deck you build. I would generally expect this to be a 4/4 trampler for three mana, so start there.
In limited, meanwhile, you are much more likely to smack the opponent for four and then be left with a 3/3 trampler, which is still really solid. This guy wears bestow creatures perfectly and is a nice aggressive body with a relevant late game.
Karametra, God of Harvests
I am not even sure if this deserves a two to be honest, as it has one of the less impressive triggered abilities. It feels like if there was going to be a four mana walker, this would have been a good choice. Regardless, some deck will end up playing this for value against control would be my best guess.
You really want this one to become a big indestructible creature or else it does not pay out the way that other gods do. Getting lands is useful, but only if this is cast on curve, which is when it is least likely to be a creature. Still worth playing some of the time though.
Kiora, the Crashing Wave
I really like this card, even if it is just a Solemn Simulacrum wannabe. In that world, this draws you a card, puts a land into play (sort of the same) and then eats up some damage or a removal spell. The first ability will protect this in simple board situations, which is nice as well. The ultimate is definitely not the greatest, but it comes out relatively quick and does give you inevitability.
Every planeswalker is going to be pretty good in limited, although this one is definitely not an auto-win like others. The defensive ability also prevents damage to the permanent as well, meaning you definitely want to be choosing targets at the right time. Sometimes that will be before combat while others you'll want to wait until after. Spamming the minus ability or going ultimate are both reasonable paths here.
This is basically Voyaging Satyr but with a lot of added utility. Granted, it does come at the cost of being multicolor, but being a merfolk might help that out a bit.
I really like this in limited if you can afford to be these colors (hint: UG was probably the best color pairing in Theros). This acts as a Voyaging Satyr early on, providing you with ramp. Then, as the game slows down, he acts as a combat trick, giving your best creatures vigilance in essence or triggering inspire. All of that and you even get a bear for your troubles!
Mogis, God of Slaughter
I am sort of giving all of these gods a small nod at their playability. Even if they don't end up seeing play, it wasn't by much. Mogis could be a reasonable aggressive god even though his trigger is, once again, not the greatest. Being a seven power four mana creature in an ideal world is pretty sweet.
At least this guy puts a clock on the opponent one way or another. They either lose board presence or they begin dying. Again, four mana gods just seem sweeter in limited and this guy beats down for a ton when he does get active.
Phenax, God of Deception
I don't know why, but I actually like this guy a lot as a potential card in Standard. Whenever something is able to give a free activated ability to creatures, especially ones that were already in play and that free activated ability can win the game if done enough, there is a potential for something awesome there. Keep in mind, this can mill either player.
This is probably the best god for limited because of its immediate impact on the game. You can literally hold this until turn eight, cast it, and instantly win the game by milling your opponent out. Or, you can cast this on turn five and grind the opponent out over multiple turns. Plus, if this ever becomes active, you have a 4/7 that you have to attack through that is milling you for seven a turn. This guy is incredible and worth splashing.
Even though this guy is not really playable at the moment, there is potentially a deck of minotaurs coming with the full block out. Right now, you can piece together something, but it isn't particularly strong. And why the heck can't Mogis also be a minotaur? Please!
Realistically, unless you managed to find the ultimate tribal deck for this guy, you are paying for a 2/3 for three mana that might save you a mana later on in the game; hardly impressive, especially out of a gold card.
Reap What Is Sown
I have mentioned this mythical heroic aggro deck before this point, so it probably doesn't exist. If it ever does though, this card will be involved. Well maybe, if the deck is green/white. And this card is good enough. Alright, maybe it won't make the cut.
While I am not certain how reliably this will lead to a blowout, I know I was blown out by it at the prerelease and the card seemed awesome. Just triggering multiple heroic guys is really strong and this does so much more than that. Sometimes it will be tough to get three creatures out to get maximum value here, but this card is still fine later on.
Siren of the Silent Song
This guy probably requires just too much work for the payout. A 2/1 flier that forced the opponent to discard has been playable before with Shrieking Grotesque back in the day, so I know this could be playable. As it is though, it has to attack and then find the time to untap before you get that first bit of value. I think that is just asking too much and this won't see much play.
If this guy hits on turn three, he can do a lot of damage. While the milling aspect is not all that relevant, you losing your hand and not being able to stash future cards there is. A 2/1 flier is easy enough to deal with, but you had better have your answer ready.
Xenagos, God of Revels
This guy should end up being pretty strong and will likely have entire archetypes supporting his ability to haste things up, as it is just so powerful. Giving red/green a slightly slower and more interesting tool like this might have some big impacts on the metagame. Remember that this works on creatures that started the turn in play, so just one creature will do the trick.
Another ability that is probably worth the cost without considering the body it might leave behind. I might be overrating this a little bit, but it feels like Xenagos quickly turns into The Abyss if he didn't already kill you.Wrap Up
Well, checking out the multicolor cards was certainly a change of pace. White has a few elite rares and mythics that are likely to steal its spotlight, but it actually seems to be relatively deep in Born of the Gods, helping everything from control to aggressive tempo decks. The multicolor cards, headlined by the gods, pose a lot of questions that we will have to see answered as Standard plays itself out.
White appears to remain strong in limited although it seems like the rewards for being aggressive just continue to rain down. The white aggro deck in the format might just be where success lies early on during its lifespan.
Tomorrow we will be back to wrap this whole thing up with both red and blue to take a look at. I will also be going over my Top 8 cards for constructed and then bringing everything home. Until then, thanks for reading!