Well it's that time of year again. Theros becomes legal for all formats on September 20th as it pushes out the Innistrad block out of Standard. This means that Magic is completely refreshing once again. Seeing as we are all going to be drafting the set for the next five months, and the fact that it's Sealed PTQ season means that we are going to have to take a cold hard look at the set. Join me now as I go card by card in my reviews.
Akroan Hoplite – RW – Creature – Human Soldier – U – Whenever Akroan Hoplite attacks, it gets +X/+0 until end of turn, where X is the number of attacking creatures you control. ½. This was made for Boros in Standard. Just get combat medic out and swing with this and some more dudes and watch your opponent just bleed out as they run out of blockers. In Limited this seems to be a great beater as it just gets more powerful the more dudes you get to throw at your opponent.
Anax and Cymede – 1RW – Legendary Creature – Human Soldier – R – First strike, vigilance. Herioc – Whenever you cast a spell that targets Anax and Cumede, creatures you control get +1/+1 and gain trample until end of turn. 3/2. Honestly, if flashback was still in Standard this would be very cool, but as it stands it's just a bomb in Limited where the combat tricks live.
Ashen Rider – 4WWBB – Creature – Archon – M – Flying. When Ashen Rider enters the battlefield or dies, exile target permanent. 5/5. Angel of Despair just got an upgrade. This will see playing in Legacy but I don't think it's going to get any Standard love without a good reanimation spell. That said, this will see some Modern love .
Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver – 1UB – Planeswalker – Ashiok – M - +2: Exile the top three cards of target opponent's library. -X: Put a creature card with converted maan cost X exiled with Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver onto the battlefield under your control. That creature is a nightmare in addition to its other types. -10: Exile all cards from all opponents' hands and graveyards. Starting Loyalty 3. Wow, so this is what a mill walker looks like. The bad thing is that it doesn't work with the rest of the Mill cards in Standard. The mill matters creatures of House Dimir don't get anything out of this. Still that -X ability does seem like it could work as all the good Standard dorks do cost 5 mana or less. Granted this guy can't really defend himself as soon as he hits the board. I'm going to leave this one for the brewers to judge. I just think it's cool for Limited, but not going to make the cut in Constructed.
Battlewise Hoplite – WU – Creature – Human Soldier – U – Heroic – Whenever you cast a spell that targets Battlewise Hoplite, put a +1/+1 counter on Battlewise Hoplite, then scry 1. 2/2. Now I feel bad by bashing on White so much. This is awesome but is more the kind of card that will make you want to draft White in Limited.
Chronicler of Heroes – 1GW – Creature – Centaur Wizard – U – When Chronicler of Heroes enter sthe battlefield, draw a card if you control a creature with a +1/+1 counter on it. You know with Evolve and this you might see some action in Standard. In Limited we have a bunch of +1/+1 counters floating around to make this good.
Daxos of Meletis – 1WU – Legendary Creature – Human Soldier – R – Daxos of Meletis can't be blocked by creature with power 3 or greater. Whenever Daxos of Meletis deals combat damage to a player, exile the top card of that players library. You gain live equal to that card's converted mana cost. Until end of turn, you may cast that card and you may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast it. 2/2. I totally want to make this my new Commander deck. Just think of all the crazy over the top heavy mana spells I could cast out of my opponents decks. Even better is to cast cards that make you opponent put there awesome cards right on top so you know that you are getting something good when you use this.
Destructive Revelry – RG – Instant – U – Destroy target artifact or enchantment. Destructive Revelry deals 2 damage to that permanent's controller. Not bad removal in Limited. Kills Nyx creatures and shocks their controller. I'd play it in my sideboard if I'm drafting RG.
Fleecemane Lion – GW – Creature – Cat – R – 3GW: Monstrosity 1. As long as Fleecemane Lion is monstrous, it has hexproof and indestructible. 3/3. Yeah, that's going to be an issue this next year. Standard players are already drooling over this as an answer to wrath effects. In Limited this is a bomb that will finish games all day long.
Horizon Chimera – 2GU – Creature – Chimera – U – Flash. Flying, trample. Whenever you draw a card, you gain 1 life. 3/2. Not bad, I think there is a Simic creature that draws you cards when it evolves so their might be some combo with that in Standard. Still good in Limited because of all the UG card drawing effects.
Kragma Warcaller – 3BR – Creature – Minotaur Warrior – U – Minotaur creature you control have haste. Whenever a Minotaur you control attacks, it gets +2/+0 until end of turn. 2/3. It's a nice uncommon lord for the Horn Men tribe. Can't wait to play raging bulls in draft.
Medomai the Ageless – 4WU – Legendary Creature – Sphinx – M Flying. Whenever Medomai the Ageless deals combat damage to a player, take an extra turn after this one. Medomai the Ageless cant's attack during extra turns. 4/4. Okay, I need this in play to attack and hit with the following in play: an Auramancer, An Isochron Scepter with a Cloudshift on it, and an Auratog. So During my extra turn, I cast Humility to turn Medomai into a vanilla dork and swing, before blockers I sac Humility to the Auratog. Then I blink Auramancer with the Scepter to return Humility from my graveyard to my hand. Repeat during the extra turns until I win? Now the question is which magical Xmas land am I in Commander or Legacy? Still nice for Limited and maybe in some Standard control decks just to get two turns in a row, but breaking this is going to take some Santa level magic.
Pharika's Mender – 3BG – Creature – Gorgon – U – When Pharika's Mender enter the battlefield, you may return target creature or enchantment card from your graveyard to you hand. 4/3. This is just the kind of beater that Golgari likes to have in Limited. With the heavy aura sub-theme in Limited, getting back some of those Ordeals so you can just recast them on a maxed out dude for fresh value.
Polis Crusher – 2RG – Creature – Cyclops – R – Trample, protection from enchantments. 4RG: Monstrosity 3. Whenever Plois Crusher deals combat damage to a player, if Polis Crusher is monstrous, destroy target enchantment that player controls. 4/4. Totally nuts in Limited. Kills Nyx dudes all day because you know this is going to trample through for damage with some kind of pump, and that monstrosity cost is really not that expensive when you are in the ramp color.
Prophet of Kruphix – 3GU – Creature – Human Wizard – R – Untap all creatures and lands you control during each other player's untap step. You may cast creature cards as though they had flash. 2/3. This is going to be the annoy creature in Limited as basically it give you your opponent turn as well as your own, but it's only going to be a brewers card as stubborn players try to make it work in Standard.
Psychic Intrusion - 3UB – Sorcery – R – Target opponent reveals his or her hand. You choose a nonland card from that player's graveyard or hand and exile it. You may cast that card for as long as it remains exiled, and you may spend mana as though it were of any color to cast that spell. I like this for Limited granted it is also just enough of a D-bag card to make me want to play it in Standard if we get a halfway good mill deck by the end of this block.
Reaper of the Wilds – 2BG – Creature – Gorgon – R – Whenever another creature dies, scry 1. B: Reaper of the Wilds gains deathtouch until end of turn. 1G: Reaper of the Wilds gains hexproof until end of turn. 4/5. I kind of hope that this finds it's way into some kind of Immortal Survitude deck or massive token deck for Standard. Still in Limited it's a beater that is going to change games when he hits the board.
Sentry of the Underworld – 2WB -Creature – Griffin Skeleton – U – Flying, vigilance. WB, pay 3 life” Regenerate Sentry of the Underworld. 3/3. These in Limited are going to be awesome. I will happily trade 3 life for five or six and any of the other monstrosity sized dudes well still being able to fly over for three points on my turn.
Shipwreck Singer – UB – Creature – Siren – U – Flying. 1U: Target creature an opponent controls attacks this turn if able. 1B, tap: Attacking creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn. ½. Nice flavorful siren for Limited. I Like how she can team work with RtR Jace to weaken attackers even more so she might get some love in a UB deck for Standard.
Spellheart Chimera – 1UR – Creature – Chimera – U – Flying, trample. Spellheart Chimera's power is equal to the number of instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard. */3. I got a funny feeling that this is going to find a home in Modern and Legacy Delver decks. I think that we are also heading into a year were Izzet is going to be a standard deck once we figure out what Izzet playing... get it? What Izzet playing.
Steam Augury – 2UR – Instant – R – Reveal the top five cards of your library and separate them into two piles. An opponent chooses one of those piles. Put that pile into your hand and the other into your graveyard. I want to play a graveyard deck just so I can five-zero with the piles. Still, this is nuts. IF you are good at Jedi Mind tricks you will be a master of this card. Trust me this card is going to be a cross format all-star card. It's going to be the card you hate seeing your opponent cast in any as you try to figure out what which pile is the pile you shouldn't be giving them. This is my favorite card in the set, I would have already ordered a set of them but I just didn't have the cash last paycheck. Also I can't wait to see the card for Keranos the god of punishment and prophecy that this card references in the flavor text.
Triad of Fates – 2WB – Legendary Creature – Human Wizard – R – 1, tap: put a fate counter on another target creature. W, tap: Exile target creature that has a fate counter on it, then return it to the battlefield under its owner's control. B, tap: Exile target creature that has a fate counter on it. Its controller draws two cards. 3/3. I think it's just too slow for any format other than Limited and Commander. Still nice way to abuse “enters the battlefield” triggers. The draw ability is just awkward.
Tymaret, the Murder King – BR – Legendary Creature – Zombie Warrior – R – 1R, sacrifice another creature: Tymaret the Murder King deals 2 damage to target player. 1, sacrifice a creature: Return Tymaret from your graveyard to your hand. 2/2. Jarad is not impress with his Rakdos mini-me. Still, might make the cut in a Jund Servitude deck. What, I bought like ten copies of the cards, and I really want it to be good so I can trade them off. Still if you are going to just chump block with a weenie in Limited you might as well fling it at your opponent's face.
Underworld Cerberus – 3BR – Creature – Hound – M – Underworl Cerberus cant'be blocked except by three or more creatures. Card in graveyards cant' be the targets of spell or abilities. When Underworld Cerberus dies, exile it and each player returns all creature cards from his or her graveyard to his or her hand. 6/6. Oh my god. They printed this?This plus Scavenging Ooze to eat your opponents dead dudes means Jund isn't going away. In limited this should be a good finisher because you just eat blockers if they have the three or you get to bash face if they don't.
Zenagos, the Reveler – 2RG – Planeswalker – Xenagos – M - +1: Add X mana in any combination of R and/or G to your mana pool, where X is the number of creature you control. 0: Put a 2/2 red and green Satyr creature token with haste onto the battlefield. -6: Exile the top seven cards of your library. You may put any number of creature and/or land cards from among them onto the battlefield. Starting loyalty 3. I have this feeling that we are going to have this crazy Gruul all creature aggro deck in Standard that uses this to just ramp up into huge monstrosity creatures and Borborygmos Enraged. As for this in other formats I think it's going right into an Borborygmos Enraged Commander deck and it's going to be a bomb for Limited.
Akroan Horse – 4 – Artifact Creature – Horse – R – Defender. When Akroan Horse enters the battlefield, an opponent gains control of it. At the beginning of your upkeep, each opponent puts a 1/1 white Soldier creature token onto the battlefield. 0/4. Limited bomb! This card is dripping with flavor. Trojan Men, ho! I think this is going to work great in Commander to make you some allies when you play a politics deck. In the right build this plus Assemble the Legion could be lethal for Standard.
Anvilwrought Raptor – 4 – Artifact Creature – Bird – U – Flying first strike. 2/1. Nice bird for Limited.
Bronze Sable – 2 – Artifact Creature – Sable – C – 2/1. Another staple dork for Limited.
Burnished Hart – 3 – Artifact Creature – Elk – U – 3, sacrifice Burnished Hart: Search you library for up to two basic land cards, put them onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library. 2/2. Yes, this is perfect for mana fixing in Limited; either you crack it for land ramp or you bash face with it. Heck, bash face then crack it once it either gets blocked or deals the damage.
Colossus of Akros – 8 – Artifact Creature – Golem – R – Defender, indestructible. 10: Monstrosity 10. As long as Colossus of Akros is monstrous, it has trample and can attack as though it didn't have defender. 10/10. So if we get a good enough ramp cards to make Monstrosity work this is going to be a staple of the deck. This one hit killer just screams at the brewer in me to build a deck.
Flamecast Wheel – 1 – Artifact – U – 5, tap, sacrifice Flamecast Wheel: Flamecast Wheel deals 3 damage to target creature. Really narrow removal spell for just about any deck in Limited.
Fleetfeather Sandals – 2 – Artifact – Equipment – C – Equipped creature has flying and haste. Equip 2. It's a great equipment for Limited as you can jump a dude up and over to bash right out of the gates.
Guardians of Meletis – 3 – Artifact Creature – Golem – C – Defender. 0/6. Artifact blocker for Limited.
Opaline Unicorn – 3 – Artifact Creature – Unicorn – C – Tap: Add one mana of any color to your mama pool. ½. I'm enjoying how we have the most of the mana fixing in this set as creatures so that we can use them for combat in Limited.
Prowler's Helm – 2 – Artifact – Equipment – U – Equipped creature can't be blocked except by walls. Equip 2. Wait, is there a wall in this set? Checking, just one and it's blue. Going to say that this is almost a first pick worthy card unless you open a money card. Just take this an you can swing with a dude all day long.
Pyxis of Pandemonium – 1 – Artifact – R – Tap: each player exiles the top card of his or her library face down. 7, tap, sacrifice Pyxis of Pandemonium: Each player turns face up all cards he or she owns exiles with Pyxis of Pandemonium, then puts all permanent cards among them onto the battlefield. This will never be more than a nice flavorful bulk rare and a cool Commander card for those that like to flip coins to win games.
Traveler's Amulet – 1 – Artifact – C – 1, sacrifice Traveler's Amulet: Search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library. Another good artifact for mana fixing in Limited.
Witches' Eye – 1 – Artifact – Equipment – U – Equipped creature has “1, tap: Scry 1.” Equip 1. Yup, this is going to make it into Standard. In any format you can use blockers and vigilance creatures during your opponents end step to scry.
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx – Legendary Land – R – Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool. 2, tap: Choose a color. Add to your mana pool an amount of mana of that color equal to your devotion to that color. I'm having visions of Elf-ball in Modern getting overpowered. It's as close as we can get to a Modern legal Gaea's Cradle in the Elf decks. I think mono-black is going to love this in Standard.
Temple of Abandon, Temple of Deceit, Temple of Mystery, Temple of Silence, Temple of Triumph – Land – R – Enter the battlefield tapped. When it enters the battlefield, scry 1. Tap: Add one mana of it's matching color to your mana pool. Okay here's the thing, scry is super powerful. These are the only Standard duals we have other than the gates and the Rav duals; so we are going to need to use these for the next year. Translation, get these now before they climb in price and jump above the $6 they are currently at.
Unknown Shores – Land – C – Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool. 1, tap: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Just your basic common filter land for Limited.
I have to say that this part of the set is the glue that holds this all together. The Multicolored cards have a good number of Standard worthy cards and the artifacts are all awesome-sauce for Limited. Over all I have to say that this set is very much a flavor set which means we are going to be running into the same issue with Innistrad block for the next year. There are going to be a small pool of known powerhouse cards from the previous block that are going to get influenced by the new cards but we aren't going to see the truly broken interactions until we get some time to brew and test. So I'm going to get to work on that. Well in between Cubing on MTGO to kill time until Theros events start firing. I really can't wait to draft this set.
This has been...
Jeffrey Carmichael II
KDPfenthing on MTGO
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