Welcome back to day four of our week long Origins set review here on TCGplayer.com! This week we are taking a look at every single card from Magic Origins and breaking it down for both Constructed and Limited purposes. Thus far we have taken a look at blue, black, red, multicolor, and half of the artifacts from Origins and it has truly been an impressive set, with a lot of interesting designs. Standard looks like it will be getting quite the facelift from this so-called "core" set.
Today we will first be finishing up our look at the artifacts from the set and then we will be moving on to the green offerings from Origins. Each card will be receiving a rating for Constructed, a rating for Draft, and a rating for Sealed, accompanied by a brief discussion and reasoning. The meaning behind those ratings can be found in the following two scales.
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, 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 Bears 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.
The Limited scale used language such as "I draft this over..." but it applies to Sealed in a very similar manner. Essentially, for Sealed you would read it as "I play this over..." instead. So for a five in Sealed, you would play that card in your deck 100% of the time.
5: I will take and play this card over everything. Always. Examples: Umezawa's Jitte, Library of Alexandria.
4.: I will take and play this over everything in its same colors and will heavily consider splashing it or switching colors as a result of drafting this or having it in my pool. Incredibly powerful cards that are more difficult to cast will generally get a four or 4.5. Examples: Fireball, Gideon Jura.
3: I will first pick this and take it over most commons/uncommons in its color. These are generally the baseline best commons in a set for each color, like removal, looters, and efficient creatures. Examples: Lightning Strike, Merfolk Looter.
2: I will draft and play these but do not value them highly. These are the typical fifth through eighth picks that generally are the backbone of decks but do not do anything fancy. Inefficient removal and combat tricks tend to hover in the 2.5 area as well. Examples: Hill Giant, Divine Verdict.
1: I generally do not want to pick these highly or play them in my maindeck. These cards are either bad or very niche and only go in specific strategies. In either case there is a good chance these cards wheel when seen anywhere near the front end of a pack and very little value should be placed on these cards early. Reasonable sideboard cards can be found here, so you should not discount these entirely Examples: Demolish, Merfolk Spy.
0: These are cards that have no value and should not be played in 99.9% of situations. If you take one of these, you had better know what you are getting yourself into. Examples: Progenitus, Sway of the Stars.
Artifacts, Part 2
I like that this design was brought into the modern age a bit and got quite the power boost. Unfortunately, few decks are going to want to jump through these hoops just to get an Inferno Titan-ish creature. Maybe cheating him out with a way to untap it is the way to go?
Draft: 3Sealed: 3.5
If your deck can support a seven mana play, you should be casting this. Even if it only attacks one time, it created a two-for-one and you can probably just spend some mana to do it all over again. Of course, many decks won't want to touch a seven mana creature, which is why this got docked a few points.
A cool card but not worth the five mana you put into it. Even if it were, you generally need your mana acceleration online earlier than turn six.
Draft: 2.5Sealed: 3.5
A five mana Shock is better than it might seem, especially if you are in the need for any kind of mana fixing. Sealed is a slower environment so this has a better chance to get online there, but any deck can dip into this if they are light on removal, so be sure to remain flexible when you see it.
Orbs of Warding
We currently lack an Ivory Mask type of effect in Standard so this will see play based solely on that fact. This effect is powerful and does not cost too much, so people will play it, especially against burn decks as a nail in the coffin. The Urza's Armor ability helps to make sure you survive after tapping out for this and is obviously good against tokens or aggro decks.
Draft: 1Sealed: 1
I don't think you want to run this most of the time as it only prevents damage to you, not your creatures, and Ivory Mask is not as valuable in a format where very few things target a player.
This could pretty easily be the next Dragon's Claw for decks to fight burn with. At only one mana, you can reasonably gain six or more life off of this which can make all the difference when your opponent is throwing Lightning Strikes at your head.
Draft: 0.5Sealed: 0.5
If you really need some artifacts for your deck, you will be able to pick this up late. The issue is that you won't even gain a ton of life because you are running artifacts. Beyond that though, I would only board this in during some rare matchups against hyper aggro.
This card is pretty exciting to think about. First, to get the lame stuff out of the way, this does cost five mana, is legendary, and only works on red instants and sorceries, so you can't go too crazy with it. That said, doubling up your Crater's Claws and your Magmatic Insights is pretty dang good. This also helps fight against countermagic if it happens to resolve itself. Some talk of modern play kicking Cruel Ultimatums has come up, but I think this will be a Standard card only, just due to its cost.
Draft: 0.5+0.5 per red instants/sorceriesSealed: 0.5+0.5 per red instants/sorceries
Well, how many red instants and sorceries do you have? Also, how many seven drops? This functions as mana always, which gives you a fallback plan, but realistically, this is only going to be as good as your burn spells and Magmatic Insights allow it to be.
This is technically a 4/3 for three mana in just about every deck it would get played in, so despite the drawback, I am giving it a shred of light to hold on to. Realistically though, vanilla creatures need to be real special to see play and I don't think this gets there.
Draft: 1.5-2.5Sealed: 1.5-2.5
If you have to play this without being an artifact deck or at least having a few others lying around to potentially help this out, it's going to be pretty bad. When turned on though, this will probably get in a hit or two and then trade with something, which is fine. Also, multiple ways to tap artifacts in this set means you might not even need to put this in Harm's Way.
I have played this card in Grand Prix, so it would be pretty hypocritical to call it unplayable While the applications for this are niche, forcing your opponent to draw a card can be a valuable aspect to combo decks, especially those milling the opponent out.
Draft: 2-2.5Sealed: 2-2.5
Do you need a bear in your deck? This fits that role rather well. Its trigger is mostly neutral, so don't feel too bad about this dying. In an artifact deck, this obviously gains a lot more value as it's a 3/3 haste that can Shock things (or something like that).
Sigil of Valor
This effectively gives all the nonattacking creatures exalted, which is neat, but I don't think that is worth a card in Constructed, especially considering how easy it is to foil the attack with a single removal spell.
Draft: 3Sealed: 3
This does a great job of breaking through board stalls or just a single big blocker. This costs so little to both cast and equip that you can almost freely Reap these benefits whenever you want to. Best on a creature with evasion, such as a Thopter Token.
Sword of the Animist
I will admit that I don't quite know the perfect shell for this to work in, but I know I want to brew a bunch with it until I figure that out. This just provides so much value and for a reasonable casting and equip cost at that. Putting this on Courser of Kruphix is probably the best home I can think of in Standard right now.
Draft: 5Sealed: 5
I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure you should just always play this. It improves your draws by removing useless lands and making them useful, all the while providing a small combat boost too. I can't think of a deck I would want to cut this from unless I was really short low on creatures.
A little too clunky for Constructed. I would have actually like to see this just fall off when it dealt two damage rather than being sacrificed, because it makes sense that you could go retrieve your dagger!
Draft: 4Sealed: 4
I feel almost the same about Throwing Knife as I do the sword above it. Because this is relatively low power level (but very versatile) I can see decks where my card quality is so high that I don't want to mess with this. That said, in most decks this is Bonesplitter until you want it to be Shock, so Think Twice before passing it.
Leonin Scimitar was obviously much stronger than this and I don't remember it seeing play. Part of that was Bonesplitter existing though. Maybe the artifacts deck goes deep enough to consider this, but it feels like playing Sword of the Animist is just so much better.
Draft: 1.5-3Sealed: 2
This is a nice value equipment that you can move around at will and try to make combat math line up in your favor. In the artifact deck this is strong not only for being an artifact, but also because it works so well on those tiny fliers that you have plenty of.
This is essentially a colorless anthem which can find plenty of homes. Hall of Triumph was played occasionally and it restricted you to a single color and was legendary. BW Warriors or the artifact deck might love getting that extra combat boost for a change.
Draft: 3Sealed: 2.5
This is a tough one to evaluate as basically every deck could use this. I am going to limit playing this to my aggressive decks, the UR Artifact deck, and possibly any deck I have with a lot of evasion. In all of those homes, you get quite the bang for your buck out of this. Elsewhere, I think you can get away with this, but there are probably better cards to find during the draft portion.
I don't think there will be a deck with enough small fliers to warrant this, but imagine this being a card during Faeries and you can understand why I find it playable. If the Thopter deck takes off, this could be a nice defense there.
Draft: 1Sealed: 1.5
This is removal, so if you are stuck playing an iffy card in your deck, pick something like this so that when it works out, it actually works out for you. Otherwise, start this in your board where it belongs and bring it in where appropriate!
This is a card that I feel can do really big things or end up being a dud if people don't love it properly. By that I mean that this is a card that needs a deck built for it to really shine. I wrote about such a deck last week but hopefully there will be more decks to come out featuring this card because I really like it. If nothing else, flipping your Nissa on turn four is a nice dream!
Draft: 1.5Sealed: 1.5
I am actually unsure of this card. On the one hand, it is pretty bad value to cast this in Limited where you probably only have ten or so lands left in your deck. On the other hand, it is kind of a free spin as your other cards stay in your deck. In the right deck, with a bunch of Zendikar's Roil, then sure, give it a spin and have fun!
This is a nice variant on Naturalize. You end up spending one more mana overall but get a 1/1 body out of the deal. That can be a big deal for cards like Ranger of Eos and Proclamation of Rebirth not to mention decks that just want more creatures, like Dredge. We have quite a few strong Naturalizes right now, so I am not sure how much current Standard play this will see, but it's a fine card regardless.
Draft: 1.5Sealed: 1.5
This is a one-drop that does deliver in the late game. Also, because there are both enchantment themed decks and artifact themed decks, this will find a target in your maindeck much more often than you might expect. I still prefer this to start in my board, but its fine when it makes the main.
Well this is awkward, Mr. Caterpillar... In actuality, both of these cards are very playable and just serve different roles. Indrik Stomphowler was a beast (literally) of a card in Standard for quite a while. I would hope this card can get the same level of loving, especially with both artifacts and enchantments being so popular right now.
Draft: 3-3.5Sealed: 3.5
The best possible way to get a Naturalize in your maindeck is this dryad. You get a very reasonable 4/4 body for five mana which is playable in its own right plus you get the versatility of a Naturalize without the risk of a dead card. Pretty high pick overall. I always maindeck these in Sealed when I am green.
Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen
This is a pretty good elf lord when you look at the whole picture. The fact that she can get into combat and just be out of Bolt range are both really nice over your standard Hill Giant lord. There is some awkward tension here in that her keyword of reach only works on defense and her attack ability only works on offense, but still a strong card. Now we need to pay attention to what elves see print in the next few sets.
Draft: 3.5Sealed: 3
On stats, reach, and gaining one life when attacking, this is already a great card to have in your deck. That means green decks without a single elf are going to snatch this up around fourth or fifth pick, making it crucial that, as an elf player, you snatch this up early and draft around it. There are quite a few elves in the set and green/black is a solid Limited color combo as it is.
I would imagine that if elves are a thing in Standard, this is nearly an auto-include. This might even be good enough for Modern as it creates two elves with one card which gets your mana engine going that much faster. Elves have enough quality one-drops that this will often be kicked on curve and that's very strong.
Draft: 3Sealed: 3
These are the kinds of two-drops you want to be running in your deck. Sometimes this will just blow an opponent out by bringing three power to play on turn two. Otherwise, it makes for a fine Bear that later gives you extra value when you top deck it. There are also enough elf synergies in the set that you can find something to do with that extra body.
We have had Temur Ascendancy in Standard for a while, so it is tough to see this being played over that. But, this does see a full power less, which is actually quite a few more creatures and is monogreen which means something like Monogreen Devotion might consider using it as a draw engine to fuel Nykthos. I will definitely be looking at this card many times in the future.
Draft: 2-3Sealed: 2-3
I would say you need six creatures that trigger this at a minimum to consider running it, but at that point it is very likely to replace itself and probably net you a card. If you have a way to repeatedly make three power tokens or something, definitely consider taking this higher.
This is pretty much universal in both Legacy and Modern elves, although those are really the only decks to use the card. Occasionally we may see this pop up in Standard as a value card and it will very likely be included in any elf deck. Consider this with Evolutionary Leap in a sort of Birthing Pod shell.
Draft: 1.5-2.5Sealed: 1.5-2.5
This is a free card that I never really feel bad running, although I also rarely feel excited to draft. If you happen to have a bunch of elf tribal cards, this becomes much better. You actually don't even need many synergies to play this just because of how free it feels to run.
I am very intrigued by this card. On the one hand, looking at it compared to Survival of the Fittest or Birthing Pod, this is quite the stinker, on the other hand, both of those cards are extremely powerful and have dominated multiple formats, so there is a lot of room to be worse and still be good. I think that used for value on a bunch of 187 creatures, this makes for an interesting deck. The other direction would be to run only a few creatures and then a bunch of token makers to grab your few threats with. Should be a fun card to brew with!
Draft: 3Sealed: 3
Remember that you can activate this at instant speed which means it blanks opposing removal by replacing your creature. Additionally, there is a ton of token making in the set that you can turn this into card advantage with. Any time you have a few really strong creatures in your deck, this is going to improve the number of times you draw those cards, leading to more wins in that regard as well.
This was a very important sideboard card and had occasional maindeck inclusion the last time it was in Standard and I expect that to be the case again. Getting around the control mages, specifically Counterspells, is such powerful ability to have. Haste means this is killing that planeswalker or your opponent before they get to have a real say in the matter.
Draft: 2.5-3Sealed: 3.5
Another one of those cards that you absolutely should play if you can, but not every deck is going to have the luxury of hitting seven mana with any consistency. Being immune to most removal is still a big deal in Limited, even if the Counterspell protection isn't. I wish this had evasion of some sort, but still a fine creature.
Gather the Pack
YES! I am so happy to see this card as it is an extremely strong variant on Commune with the Gods which just makes Commune with the Gods that much stronger in turn. Dredge decks have needed a little help and gaining a mill card that nets you card advantage and only costs two mana is a big win.
Draft: 2-2.5Sealed: 2.5
I like this as a means to dig a bit and find your stronger creatures. If you are casting this with spell mastery, its power can't be denied, but getting to that point can be tough when you're staring at a creatureless hand and have two mana up. I honestly think that casting this without mastery is fine, but the payoff is a hard thing to argue against.
The Great Aurora
This card obviously reminds one of Warp World which was actually a pretty decent Standard deck at one point. This seems a little harder to abuse, but in a land heavy deck (that might use Animist's Awakening) you can easily break the normal symmetry of this card. Outside of that very niche application, this shouldn't see much play.
Draft: 0Sealed: 0
Don't do it. Even if you can cast this, what do you plan on doing with it? Maybe you run a 30 land deck with this and a few bombs? Seems bad.
Herald of the Pantheon
I actually expect this to be a big role player in Standard and Legacy, with the possibility for that same job in Modern if a new deck is built around it. Cost reduction is a very powerful ability and this tacks on some life gain which helps keep you alive as you run out your hand. Enchantress is a very strong deck in certain metagames and it will be interesting to see how the power level of this weighs against it not being an enchantment itself for such a deck.
Draft: 2-2.5Sealed: 2
Basically just a bear. You might save a mana or two if you are lucky, but there are only 18 total enchantments at common or uncommon in the set and most of those are going to be outside of your colors, so expecting too much out of this is just being greedy.
I really hope we never see the day where this is Constructed playable. As much as I love ole Hitchclaw, of course...
Draft: 1.5-2Sealed: 1.5-2
A nice defensive card but one that is very cuttable as it is so one-dimensional. This doesn't really do anything on offense and serves little utility other than just sitting back and blocking. A fine sideboard card if you do have to cut this though.
I am going to give this guy the benefit of the doubt even though people have been pretty critical. This is certainly not as versatile as a normal mana creature and doesn't even compare with the likes of a Bird of Paradise, but it is still a decent mana creature with the upside of being really good in combat once renowned. This really only shines on turn one, which is where it suffers most because you do want your mana creatures to do something on turn three or four.
Draft: 1Sealed: 1
Another one-drop that is amazing on turn one but loses almost all value beyond that. I think not playing this is more often the correct move, but the huge spike when you do cast this on turn one can be quite tempting.
Removing the evasion from Overrun and upping its cost by one doesn't excite me for Constructed, especially when the opponent might not even have the creatures to be blocking with and losing in the exchange.
Draft: 3Sealed: 3
This is worse than Overrun, as most variants have been, but it can still lead to complete blowouts that win you the game, it is just less likely to do so. If you cast this while ahead or at parity, the board should clear up and making winning thereafter easy. When behind, this can be tricky to use, but if manage to take out a couple of your opponent's creatures, you can sometimes catch back up. I think this is a hard one to pass, even if you acknowledge how clunky it can be simply because of the best case scenarios it provides.
Two mana Elvish Mystic isn't great, but when Sylvan Caryatid rotates, what were you planning on using to accelerate? Rattleclaw Mystic is clearly better but our options dry up after that. Expect this to see a little utility play and maybe some play in elves.
Draft: 3Sealed: 3
Now this is what I want out of my two-drop! This makes for a fine attacker, sporting two power for two mana, but more importantly, I get to ramp myself whenever that mana matters. This is also an elf, making it a valuable asset for that theme, but honestly, every green player will be looking to snatch these up, so value them accordingly.
This can and often will draw you a card, but I don't think having a 2/2 body around afterward is worth your four mana. Instead, you could just run a better creature in that spot and now are definitely drawing good creatures instead of spinning the wheel and hoping to see one on top.
Draft: 2.5Sealed: 2.5-3
Meanwhile over in 40 card land, digging a few cards deeper toward your bombs is always good and a 2/2 body is much more likely to find something productive to do. This was a decent card in Future Sight, but that block was way overpowered so I expect this to be much better this time around.
I think that this design at one or two mana would be quite strong and would be played in multiple formats. At three mana, this is definitely too slow for Eternal formats, but might be worth a look in Standard or Modern. If you build your deck to abuse this, you can easily have this up to a 4/4 or 5/5 the turn after casting it. It checks both players, so you can expect maybe one or two counters from the opponent and then you can do the rest from there. If this doesn't get answered in about two turns though, it probably has a good 10-12 damage.
Draft: 3.5Sealed: 3.5-4
This grows at a slower rate in Limited but it is also less likely to be answered in a timely fashion. Once this hits 4/4 status though, it is probably the biggest thing out there and threatening to get bigger. Trample helps here a lot as the typical play pattern would be to chump block this while you dig for an answer.
Mantle of Webs
If you are having issues with fliers in Constructed, using something that will definitely answer them is usually better than playing this and hoping you will get the chance to block.
Draft: 1Sealed: 1
In general, when an aura has a small output, I would rather avoid running it as getting two-for-one'd is never fun. This can do some things with prowess and is a fine sideboard card, but if you can start this in the board, do so.
Might of the Masses
This is one of those pumps spells that does nothing until somebody decides to try to abuse it and then all of a sudden you find yourself dead on turn five to an unblocked Saproling.
Draft: 2.5Sealed: 2
While this is typically going to be less reliable than Giant Growth, it does offer the WOW factor that Giant Growth rarely does. Combine this with a double striker, for example, and that might just end the game. Used defensively, this is fine, but it is very tempting to try to maneuver in on offense with this.
Nissa Vastwood, Seer / Nissa, Sage Animist
This is my favorite of the new walkers as it just does everything so well. First of all, the creature side of this is excellent. Borderland Ranger has been played many times in Constructed and Nissa should do the same. Flipping this is also relatively easy assuming you are patient. Playing this on turn seven and immediately flipping it is a fairly consistent play pattern. Once flipped, this protects itself and provides you with card advantage. Unlike Jace or Chandra, I want to use all of Nissa's abilities and that is awesome. Expect to see a lot of both halves of this card for the next year.
Draft: 4.5Sealed: 4.5
So a planeswalker that also helps me hit my land drops when I am in need? Sign me up! You generally want to keep Nissa away from Harm's Way until it can flip, but having the option to grab a land early is still very meaningful. First pick this and enjoy!
This is quite the complex common, but it is pretty sweet. Be aware that you only ever play one Forest with this, the spell mastery simply increases the number of drawn Forests by one. In other words, this is Cultivate or Cultivate + one Forest in hand, it is not Explosive Vegetation or whatever the triple version of that would be. Drawing three cards, even when they are all lands, is still a pretty big game for three mana. Ramp decks will use this although I am not sure if it is fast enough for most midrange to consider it.
Draft: 2.5Sealed: 2.5
You almost never want to be spell mastery-ing this, as that means you are probably five or more turns into the game where the ramping and land drops from this matter so much less. On curve though, this is pretty spectacular as it insures you are getting to at least five mana this game, if not more.
It has been awhile since green has had powerful card draw like this, so I am reaching a little bit in assuming it will see play. The thing is, this card probably draws you something on average of four cards and gains you a similar amount of life. If we begin sculpting our deck around this more with Dragonlord Atarka, or in a Monogreen Devotion, now we have Sphinx's Revelation in our green decks. Of course, there are big risks to this as it can occasionally whiff, but scry five is a lot of card manipulation so it seems unlikely. Another card I am excited to brew around.
Draft: 2.5-3Sealed: 3
Another expensive card that you need the proper infrastructure to consider running, but in such decks, this is a huge effect. Kiss of the Amesha was one of my favorite cards in Shards block and this does a much better job in the card advantage department. If you do pick this early, be sure to go heavier on the ramp stuff as you have a way to recover that sunk card disadvantage later on.
Worse than Wind Drake will see less play than Wind Drake, which is to say, none.
Draft: 2.5-3Sealed: 2.5
One of the more solid three-drops you will find in the entire format at common. This can't block flying creatures, but also manages to sneak past Scrapskin Drake, which is quite relevant. But for green, this makes an excellent target for your auras or equipment and tends to be a pretty consistent source of damage.
When compared with Arbor Colossus, this guy doesn't look super exciting, but Arbor Colossus is about to rotate and this guy is still quite the good rate. Letting this connect is not the worst in Constructed, as most of your removal will still kill it, but giving your opponent The Abyss is not exactly the best strategy for winning. Should see scarce play but be a solid option for midrange decks to consider.
Draft: 4Sealed: 4
This is essentially The Abyss the second you can start attacking with it. You can't really let your opponent have a 12/12 while taking six damage to the face, so chump blocking this is basically your only option if you can't cast removal on it. Factor in that much of the removal misses this due to its raw size and you have a pretty strong creature despite it not having evasion or a way to replace itself.
This really serves no purpose in Constructed as you want your removal to be reliable and your creatures to actually do something.
Draft: 2.5Sealed: 3
I think this is actually quite strong as a defensive option that can usually find a way to sneak through for its renown bonus simply because deathtouch is so scary. Great with fight cards and combat tricks so, you know, green stuff.
This card is always fringe playable as there are things that care about the top of your deck such as Nissa's Revelation. Sometimes, just having an instant speed way to "tutor" up something is useful and this does that, especially in decks that mill themselves a bunch.
Draft: 1.5Sealed: 1.5
I generally do not look to have this in my deck unless I have an obvious combo or powerful card that I know I will need to get back at some point. Prowess does change that a bit as this is a pretty free card to cast in a prowess required situation, so I imagine I will probably play this in about a third or half of my green decks.
As much as I can respect a Marauding group of Rhinos, we just looked at Outland Colossus which is just Leaps and bounds better at this same role.
Draft: 2-2.5Sealed: 2.5
A little slow, but this packs quite the punch if you can get even a single point of trample over. Pump spells almost lock you into a 6/6 trample afterward which, as we just discussed with Colossus, is probably the biggest thing in play.
There is a chance that dragons are so popular after Theros rotates that we just need fatties that can deal with them and Arbor Colossus will be gone. I am not going to bet on it, but I could believe it happening.
Draft: 2-2.5Sealed: 3-3.5
When I said a 6/6 would be the biggest thing in play, I obviously meant this 6/6. This shuts down almost all offense an opponent can mount while being big enough to hold off bombs, even those in the air. I expect this to be a big player in Sealed where it is almost a bomb itself.
There is not really enough blocking, especially where this bonus makes a difference, to consider this card in Constructed. Outside of its first ability, its rate is not great and its second ability will usually matter less than its first.
Draft: 3.5Sealed: 3.5
This card seems incredible in Limited where it has an impact on combat the very first turn it is card. Giving every blocked creature +1/+1 just invalidates many of your opponent's creatures and the following turn, the threat of trample makes even chump blocking a pretty bad idea. Oh, and four mana for a 3/2 that battles as a 4/3 is perfectly fine by me as well.
If elves are going to see serious Standard or Modern play, this card is very likely to be at the center of that. If you need to see the power of this, reference Goblin Ringleader which is arguably the best card in Legacy Goblins. Sylvan Messenger benefits from having natural mana ramp in its colors, so you can play it out on turn three and refill your hand. Having scry in the format just improves the effectiveness of this, as does something like Courser of Kruphix, if you want to rock that synergy.
Draft: 2-3.5Sealed: 2.5
This can be a fairly generic card similar to Llanowar Empath from before or the best card in your deck depending on just how many elves you pick up. Because this is decent on its own (not great, but playable) you only need a few other elves in your deck to consider playing this and you will occasionally cantrip off of it. Once we get deep and hit 10 or more elves though, now we have a draw two on our hands much of the time which is way more powerful than you get for this mana cost. These also chain into each other, so the value of the second copy is even greater than the first.
These are really only playable while you have two out and even then are really weak to removal. Just play with more consistent two-drops instead.
Draft: 2-3Sealed: 2
If you plan on moving all in on these, have fun, but in every other world, these are just a Bear with a small upside. I can definitely see a deck getting five or six of these and making something out of them, but that is committing to a very risky line as these are just so replaceable in a world where you come up short of that number.
Far too many pump spell alternatives to this that either come in at cheaper costs or greater outputs. If a double strike deck pops up, this might be included, but that is a very big if followed by a bigger might.
Draft: 2.5Sealed: 2.5
Your baseline pump spell of the set. Giant Growth is gone and instead we get a little more bang for a little more buck but certainly not more bang for our buck. Still, this is the combat trick we have and it should be fine at standing in for our precious Giant Growths.
We have been pretty spoiled by strong two-drops in green recently so this might not look appealing, but I think it actually plays rather well. Once you get a hit in with this and see it as a 3/3, it makes perfect sense how strong the card can be. The issue is getting it to that 3/3 status, but regen goes a long way here at least. This won't be Fleecemane Lion or anything, but some decks might give it a shot.
Draft: 3Sealed: 3
Another very strong two-drop. This one goes beast mode if you get it through early but even when drawn late, you have an excellent blocker that holds off most ground creatures.
While renown is not really a Constructed mechanic, this is certainly a strong payoff for building around it and might see a little play as a result. I doubt renown will prove strong enough, but this card at least makes me want to try.
Draft: 3Sealed: 3
If you get a single card back from this, it did its job. Considering that card can come from the Wardens themselves makes me like this even more. You probably want some help with it, but I am excited to draft this pretty highly.
Four mana for your removal spell that opens you up to a two-for-one is not exactly the way to my Constructed heart. But I suppose love is just Wild Instincts when you get down to it...
Draft: 2.5-3Sealed: 3
Generally worse than something like Hunt the Weak as I would rather have a permanent reminder of my awesome fight. That said, +2/+2 does allow for a much wider range of fights to come out in your favor, so this still has good value and should be a common high pick for green drafters.
The nonlegendary clause on this is a pretty big bummer as I really want to grab Nissa with this, but oh well. This is a pretty good rate when you consider that you are getting an entire second creature out of it. After a quick search, some of the better things to grab with this include:
Courser of Kruphix
Invasive Species (going infinite anyone?)
Shaman of Forgotten Ways
Warden of the First Tree
Draft: 3.5Sealed: 3.5
While this seems like the best thing ever, it is not quite the bomb that other cards are. Chances are that you will be getting a 2/2 or 3/3 out of this ability and then you have a giant dude without any kind of evasion. Obviously a big guy is always welcome, but the value this provides can be taken out by a removal spell pretty easily. I say all that but still think you should take this highly, just don't lean on it the way you would a planeswalker or something.