As per every new set release I like to list ten of the cards I don't think are getting enough attention, but that I think should be. Sometimes I'm way off and sometimes I'm right on the nose, but either way, the thing I try hardest to accomplish is to provide you guys with a perspective on some cards that you might not have initially had. Maybe you'll see a card in a new light, or discover an application you might not have thought of, and if so, then I consider my work a success. You can see some of my previous efforts here:
If you're looking for simply a list of the Top 10 Born of the Gods cards you're in the wrong place. You will find no Brimaz, King of Oreskos, Kiora, the Crashing Wave, or Xenagos, God of Revels here. Only some of the unsung heroes of the set that I would personally like to brew with based on the merit I see them possessing.
Without further ado...let's begin!
10. Plea for Guidance
This is a weird one. I'm not truly convinced it's going to explode or anything, but I think some of the applications are being overlooked. Yes, it costs six mana; that is the card's biggest downfall. Period. But what we end up getting for six mana is card advantage and something of a selective tutor. Let me show you some of the cards that Plea can get in Standard:- Assemble the Legion - Bident of Thassa - Blind Obedience - Boon Satyr - Bow of Nylea - Burning Earth - Chained to the Rocks - Chromanticore (!) - Collective Blessing - Courser of Kruphix - Crackling Perimeter - Deadbridge Chant - Detention Sphere - Domestication - Ephara, God of the Polis - Erebos, God of the Dead - Gift of Immortality - Gift of Orzhova - Hammer of Purphoros - Havoc Festival - Heliod, God of the Sun - Herald of Torment - Holy Mantle - Illness in the Ranks - Karametra, God of Harvests - Legion's Initiative - Martial Law - Mogis, God of Slaughter - Nylea, God of the Hunt - One Thousand Lashes - Pacifism - Path of Bravery - Phenax, God of Deception - Possibility Storm - Primeval Bounty - Purphoros, God of the Forge - Rest in Peace - Righteous Authority - Sanguine Bond - Soul Ransom - Spear of Heliod - Thassa, God of the Sea - Underworld Connections - Unflinching Courage - Whip of Erebos - Xenagos, God of Revels
Whew! Okay, sorry about that, but I wanted to show how extensive the list of cards you could get with Plea was. And that doesn't even include the other common removal enchantments, like Arrest and Stab Wound; this is mostly just the rares and mythics! Now yes, some of these are obscure and weird, but having a way to only play one of them and search them out of your deck gives them the potential to be slightly less obscure. Another thing to remember is that Plea for Guidance allows us to take two of the same enchantment as well. Need two Detention Spheres? No problem! Again, while I know this is expensive, the versatility it provides is pretty solid, especially right now with so many different options. I can't help but feel like the ability to search up a Purphoros, God of the Forge and an Assemble the Legion, or two different gods, or two Detention Spheres, is pretty powerful.
9. Felhide Spiritbinder
I really like this guy and the only reason he's so far down the list (er, close to number ten rather) is that he has to have a few things going right to really get moving. The first is that he costs four mana. This isn't really a dealbreaker, but for four mana we really want some value. Thankfully we're playing red (and typically either black or white) so that when this guy does come down, we can often remove any troublesome blockers to make sure we can help inspire trigger. The second thing is that we need some quality creatures to copy, but, one thing to remember is that we can copy an opponent's creature as well! Another detail is that we can copy an opponent's creature and then kill it before attacking! (How violent!) The third caveat about this guy was that he's only a 3/4, but to be honest, that's nearly bigger than half the creatures in Standard right now, so I really don't see that being a huge issue.
The other thing to remember is that we get all of the "enters the battlefield" abilities of the creatures we copy. This is incredibly relevant with things like Fanatic of Mogis or Lifebane Zombie or Lyev Skyknight. Not to say that this guy is going to be occupying space in a deck with any of those misfits, but who knows? This is a powerful ability, and the last time we saw something like it, it was attached to something like a Zealous Conscripts and it wasn't repeatable. Can you imagine if the only creature your opponent has on board is a Gray Merchant of Asphodel, and you just get to keep copying it over and over?
8. Herald of Torment
I cannot tell you what it is I love about this guy. He just screams old school. A 3/3 flier for three mana that deals you a damage during your upkeep. (Okay, a life loss, you sticklers.) How Juzam Djinn. How Serendib Efreet. How... Bloodgift Demon? Okay, that guy draws us a card, but whatever. While I'm going to always want to bestow this guy, I'm not too upset if I have to simply cast him. I just love the idea of giving some unsuspecting creature +3/+3 and flying for five mana in the late game. Maybe a Gray Merchant of Asphodel even, making him a formidable 5/7 flier. And if they kill your creature in response, so what? You still get the 3/3 flier when the dust settles! As I said, I really like this guy for some reason, and it doesn't hurt that he adds two black to our devotion count either. (In fact it helps! That's how devotion works!)
7. Hunter's Prowess
I kind of want this card to be higher, but the five mana is really throwing me off here. Nevertheless, this is definitely the card that Momentous Fall was meant to be, and I really liked that card, but even more so I liked its second version when it was Disciple of Bolas. The fact that this gives the creature trample is really what does it for me. If you slap it on a Polukranos, World Eater, let's say, we have a base 8/8 now that comes crashing through. Even if they have a Grey Merchant of Asphodel in play (that guy is getting a lot of use in this article) we're still killing it and drawing four cards if they block, which is huge. Drawing cards is the one thing that tends to keep green decks behind the blue and black and white decks, and if we're able to do that while also dealing damage at the same time we're kind of doing the exact thing we want our green decks to be doing.
6. Eidolon of Countless Battles
Eidolon of Countless Battles is a card that we need to build around. That having been said, last season the Aura deck showed us how powerful a card like Ethereal Armor could be when built around. While Ethereal Armor counts all enchantments, when the Eidolon is "enchanting" something, being able to count both auras and creatures should be pretty similar; especially if we're going for a more traditional white aggro deck over a more focused aura deck. If this card becomes popular I could definitely see Pacifism becoming one of the removal spells of choice for white decks as it ends up pumping our creatures by +1/+1 in the process. And of course he has bestow, which means even if our target gets killed, during or as we're enchanting it, we still get the Eidolon. This card reminds me of a white Nighthowler in a color that knows how to put auras and creatures onto the board efficiently.
5. Whelming Wave
Just like number six, this is card that we kind of want to build around. There's a reason that a lot of times bouncing a creature to someone's hand is considered pseudo-removal; it's because there could be such a huge tempo swing with a play like that, that the opponent may never have time to recast that creature. Or it might prevent him from casting a different creature instead, effectively "getting rid" of that creature. Well, just like Evacuation before it, Whelming Wave does a great job of resetting the board for a mere four mana. This is the same cost as a Supreme Verdict, and in blue decks, we could realistically wait until we have six mana and counter the first creature they attempt to return to the board. This could be as good as Supreme Verdict five through eight in the right decks, especially when those decks are simply looking to buy some time before their huge Sphinx's Revelation. While we don't have many awesome ones available to us just yet, Whelming Wave gets even better if we happen to have an Octopus, Kraken, Leviathan, or Serpent in play.
4. Fated Retribution
I know, I know, this costs seven. It does, you're right. But it doesn't just kill creatures! Okay, you're right again, I am just reading what the card does. But I think that might be what's necessary in order to show you that a card like this could definitely see play, especially after playing an Astral Cornucopia or two. The fact that it also kills planeswalkers is just gravy since it manages to take care of things like Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Xenagos, the Reveler along with all of the creatures they create in one fell swoop. The other huge thing to remember is that this is also an instant, which is an uncommon feature in sweepers. Being able to wipe the board clean of opposing dudes and planeswalkers before untapping and playing our own onto an empty board is just insane. The worst part about sweepers is that you have to cast them on your own turn, giving the opponent the first opportunity to start rebuilding. This is not so with Fated Retribution. I could even see an opponent tapping out, thinking that you're going to Sphinx's Revelation at the end of their turn, only to blow everything up instead.
3. Oracle of Bones
This card is awesome to me. It's either a pseudo Bloodbraid Elf, or it's a 5/3 haste guy. The Bloodbraid part is only half true, of course: we don't get a free card from our deck, but rather from our hand; it has to be an instant or sorcery; and the minotaur has only one toughness as opposed to two. But think about how good Bloodbraid Elf is. If this guy is half a Bloodbraid Elf is, that's usually going to be just fine. In addition, while the card you get isn't "free" per se, you do get to choose which card you cast. Troublesome blocker? Magma Jet that thing. Planeswalker problems? Fated Conflagration it out of existence. Oracle of Bones isn't about card advantage; it's about mana advantage and tempo. And either mode that is selected is going to give you that. The downside is that if they do have removal for this guy, he's going to simply be another Vexing Devil, but the one thing to remember in that situation is that it doesn't matter which creature you play when they have removal...because they have removal.
2. Fated Return
Anyone who has read my articles for any amount of time should know how much I love a reanimation spell. When Unburial Rites was spoiled I about soiled myself. (Okay, not really, but I was real close.) (Please don't tell Melissa.) While Fated Return is expensive, there are two factors that often bump up the value of a reanimation spell. The first is whether it is an instant or a sorcery, and the second is whether you can get a creature from any graveyard or simply your own. Conveniently enough Fated Return falls on the positive side of both of these qualities. However that's not even all! In addition, when you Reanimate the creature it suddenly becomes indestructible. That's kind of huge. And the other benefit is that if you Reanimate it during your own turn, you get to scry two. Everyone loves Solar Flare type decks, and this card as a one or two-of at the high end of a control deck should be just awesome, especially if we're somehow able to Reanimate a god after milling it or giving it some amount of -X/-X.
1. Courser of Kruphix
Yes, I really like this card. Melissa even went so far as to say I was in love with it, but I don't know about all that.
(...just don't tell the Courser I said that…)
Either way, the most obvious comparison being made here is to Oracle of Mul Daya. This isn't the same card as Oracle of Mul Daya. Oracle of Mul Daya was a card that was used to ramp us. It was fragile and it rarely ever tangled in the red zone. Because it couldn't. It was a 2/2 for four mana. Centaur is a much more reasonable 2/4 for three mana. It adds to our green devotion, it can block and attack, it gains us life, and it smoothes our draws. Unlike Oracle of Mul Daya, we can also play it on turn two. While we're not getting any additional land drops from the Courser, this isn't the same card as Oracle of Mul Daya and we need to stop looking at it like it is. This card is going to give red decks fits at times, and it's going to help green decks draw less lands. I'm not sure what more we could ask for from a green three drop that can actually enter combat with other creatures.
And that's it. Another set, another Top 10 Sleepers. Born of the Gods was in somewhat short supply when it came to rares and mythics that could see play. This means that I might not even be stretching it when it comes to these picks; they might just be the only ones worth playing from the set outside of the chase cards. I guess time will tell. I know some of you are going to assuredly disagree with me, and maybe some of you are going think a few of my choices aren't sleepers. After all, we can't always agree, and if we did, what would the point of trying to provide new information? I would never be able to convince you of something since we would already be predisposed to agreeing with one another! But that's a discussion for another time…
Anyway, I hope I've given you some things to think about and maybe you've seen some of these cards in a new light. Maybe comparing them to older cards might have helped, and maybe you think they're all junk! Either way, thanks for reading and hopefully we can discuss some things in the comment section.
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