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.
Battlewise Valor – 1W – Instant – C – Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Scry 1. Normally, I would just call this a good combat trick for Limited and move on. The problem is we have the heroic mechanic so we need cards like this to make that one work. Scry is going to be all over Standard the next two years and so this might just see some love.
Cavalry Pegasus – 1W – Creature – Pegasus – C – Flying. Whenever Cavalry Pegasus attacks each attacking human gains flying until end of turn. 1/1. If this was a 2/2 we might see it played more, but as it stands this is just awesome in Limited. Granted, I wouldn't put to past some brewers to try to get this into a Boros deck for a budget Standard brew.
Celestial Archon – 3WW – Enchantment Creature – Archon – R – Bestow 5WW (If you cast this card for its bestow cost, it's an Aura spell with enchant creature. It becomes a creature again if it's not attached to a creature.) Flying, first strike. Enchanted creature gets +4/+4 and has flying and first strike. 4/4. I'm not a huge fan of bestow simply because I thought that the bestow cost should have been less than the normal casting cost. Granted that would open up the can of worm that having cheap bestow creatures means that you are just one removal spell away form turning one dude into an army of dudes. Still, I think the mechanic is awesome in Limited where pools which be very swingy. Being able to cast this as an enchantment gets you to be able to play around removal well getting some added bonuses.
Chained to the Rocks – W – Enchantment – Aura – R – Enchant Mountain you control. When Chained to the Rocks enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls until Chained to the Rock leaves the battlefield. So it's an O-ring that you need to be at least two colors to use, but it's two turns faster. I'm going to say that this is going to see a lot of cross format love but be a totally jank nine times out of ten in Limited. Still, Turn one R/W dual into this on turn two is going to be a common play for the years to come.
Chosen by Heliod – 1W – Enchantment – Aura – C – Enchant creature. When Chosen of Heliod enters the battlefield, draw a card. Enchanted Creature get +0/+2. Auras have been so pushed in this set. I would rather have an offensive boon instead of a defensive one, but this is still great for Limited as a digger.
Dauntless Onslaught – 2W – Instant – U – Up to two target creatures each geat +2/+2 until end of turn. Another great combat trick that really fuels the Heroic creatures in this set. Still not good enough to jump out of Limited.
Decorated Griffin – 4W – Creature – Griffin – U – Flying. 1W: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to you this turn. 2/3. Limited fodder.
Divine Verdict – 3W – Instant – C – Destroy target attacking or blocking creature. As far as White removal in Limited goes, this is really, really good.
Elspeth, Sun's Champion – 4WW – Planeswalker – Elspeth – M - +1: Put three 1/1 white Soldier creature token onto the battlefield. -3: Destroy all creatures with power 4 or greater. -7: You get an emblem with “Creature you control get +2/+2 and have flying.” Starting Loyalty 4. Now that is what a 6-drop walker is suppose to look like. Totally awesome. Makes dudes and destroys dudes as well as giving you a nice finishing ultimate. Cube and Commander is going to love this and Control decks in Standard just found another walker to rule the day.
Ephara' Warden – 3W – Creature – Human Cleric – C – Tap: tap target creature with power 3 or less. ½. In Limited it's a nice way to tap down a lethal blocker but that is about the only use I see for this.
Evangel of Heliod – 4WW – Creature – Human Cleric – U- When Evangel of Heliod enters the battlefield, put a number of 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens onto the battlefield equal to your devotion to white. 1/3. You know that's not a bad dude for 6 mana. No, I mean it. Sure on his own he's just a 1/3 and two 1/1s, but with the right board state and you can net an army that needs to force a wrath effect. Totally a bomb in Limited and might find some Standard brewer love.
Fabled Hero – 1WW – Creature – Human Soldier – R – Double strike. Heroic – Whenever you cast a spell that targets Fabled Hero, put a +1/+1 counter on Fabled Hero. 2/2. Totally a Standard playable card. Effectively its a 4/4 without tricks that gets even better the more tricks you slap on it. No matter what format you are seeing this from the other side of the table you are going to want to kill it and fast.
Favored Hoplite – W – Creature – Human Soldier – U – Herioc – Whenever you cast a spell that targets Favored Hoplite, put a +1/+1 counter on Favored Hoplite and prevent all damage that would be dealt to it this turn. ½. Damn, Mono-white heroes is starting to look like a deck. Too bad we didn't have any Standard playable auras...
Gift of Immortality – 2W – Enchantment – Aura – R – Enchant creature. When enchanted creature dies, return that card to the battlefield under its owner's control. Return Gift of Immortaluty to the battlefield attached to that creature at the beginning of the next end step. Well, looks like we do have an aura that can see Standard play. Effectively this means that you need two removal spells if you can't answer this when it's cast. Nice. Totally loving this. This is going to be nuts in Limited as you get to nerf so much removal as your bomb fatty dork never stays dead.
Glare of Heresy – 1W – Sorcery – U – Exile target white permanent. Yup, we finally get a cycle of cards that are just hate cards for sideboards when you are playing the mirror match. In Limited these are just nice because they get to be auto-sideboard inclusions.
Gods Willing – W – Instant – C – Target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn. Scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.) Nice combat trick that might get to jump with the heroic cards into Standard.
Heliod, God of the Sun – 3W – Legendary Enchantment Creature – God – M – Indestructible. As long as your devotion to white is less than five, Heliod isn't a creature. (Each W in the mana costs of permanents you control counts towards your devotion to white.) Other creature you control have vigilance. 2WW: Put a 2/1 white Cleric enchantment creature token onto the battlefield. 5/6. I'm a fan of the gods, but this one doesn't seem to be the best of them. Still in Limited this will be a bomb.
Heliod's Emissary – 3W – Enchantment Creature – Elk – U – Bestow 6W. Whenever Heliod's Emissary or enchanted creature attacks, tap target creature an opponent controls. Enchanted creature gets +3/+3. 3/3. Out of the white bestow dorks I have to say this is one of the better ones. Still not all that good outside of Limited.
Hopeful Eidolon – W – Enchantment Creature – Spirit – C – Bestow 3W. Lifelink. Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and has lifelink. 1/1. Again, great in Limited.
Hundred-Handed One - 2WW – Creature – Giant – R – Vigilance. 3WWW: Monstrosity 3. (If this creature isn't monstrous, put three +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous.) As long as Hundred-Handed One is monstrous, it has reach and can block an additional ninety-nine creatures each combat. 3/5. Yup another mechanic that would be awesome if it hadn't been for the fact that most of the cards with it are so expensive. Still forming a combo of this and Gift of Immortality is going to be the dream of the brewers and drafters.
Lagonna-Band Elder – 2W – Creature – Centaur Advisor – C – When Lagonna-Band Elder enter the battlefield, if you control and enchantment, you gain 3 life. 3/2. Yup, enchantment matters bait to get you to play the deck.
Last Breath – 1W – C – Exile target creature with power 2 or less. Its controller gains 4 life. Yeah, that's some very Limited removal.
Leonin Snarecaster – 1W – Creature – Cat Soldier – C – When Leonin Snarecaster enters the battlefield, you may tap target creature. 2/1. I like this one. Good combat trick on a creature that is good enough for aggro. Even if this doesn't make it into Standard it's going to be a role player in Limited.
Observant Alseid – 2W – Enchantment Creature – Nymph – C – Bestow 4W. Vigilance. Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has vigilance. 2/2. Yup, still not loving these creatures.
Ordeal of Heliod – 1W – Enchantment – Aura – U – Enchant creature. Whenever enchanted creature attacks, put a +1/+1counter on it. Thes if it has three or more +1/+1 counters on it, sacrifice Ordeal of Heliod. When you sacrifice Ordeal of Heliod, you gain 10 life. More aura bait. While the effect of gaining life is awesome in Limited, I have a strong feeling that this is going to just be bulk jank.
Phalanx Leader – WW – Creature – Human Soldier – U – Heroic – Whenever you cast a spell that targets Phalanx Leader, put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control. 1/1. That's crazy, at uncommon this is just awesome in Limited. I think this might just see some Standard play.
Ray of Dissolution – 2W – Instant – C – Destroy target enchantment. You gain 3 life. Nice removal for Limited with all the enchantment creatures, but that's about all this is.
Scholar of Athreos – 2W – Creature – Human Cleric – C – 2B: Each opponent loses 1 Life. You gain life equal to the life lost this way. ¼. I think we are getting to the point of having enough mass for the B/W Sanguine Bond deck. As for this in Limited it will be a great card if we get a better fixing lands than what we got in this set.
Setessan Battle Priest – 1W – Creature – Human Cleric – C – Heroic – Whenever you cast a spell that targets Setessan Battle Priest, you gain 2 life. 1/3. Yup, so much life gain in the heroic deck for Limited.
Setessan Griffin – 4W – Creature – Griffin – C – Flying. 2GG: Setessan Griffin gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Activate this ability only once a turn. 3/2. Awesome in Limited but just too expensive for constructed.
Silent Artisan – 3WW – Creature – Giant – C – 3/5. Limited beater for combat.
Soldier of the Pantheon – W – Creature – Human Soldier – R – Protection from multicolored. Whenever an opponent cast a multicolored spell, you gain 1 life. 2/1. Seeing as all the good removal in Standard for the time being are all two colors; I think this is going to be a powerhouse for some time to come. As for it in Limited I think it's good that it's rare to keep it form watering down the format.
Spear of Heliod – 1WW – Legendary Enchantment Artifact – R – Creature you control get +1/+1. 1WW, tap: Destroy target creature that dealt damage to you this turn. The downside is that we don't get to have more than one of these on one side of the table at the time, but the upside is that we get reusable removal for white. Yeah, all round this is cool but not over powering.
Traveling Philosopher – 1W – Creature – Human Advisor – C – 2/2. Here's a randomly named vanilla bear for Limited, enjoy.
Vanquish the Foul – 5W – Sorcery – U- Destroy target creature with power 4 of greater. Scry 1. Yup, more janky removal for Limited.
Wingsteed Rider – 1WW – Creature – Human Knight – C – Flying. Heroic – Whenever you cast a spell that targets Wingsteed Rider, put a +1/+1 counter on Wingsteed Rider. 2/2. Yup, great card for Limited.
Yoked Ox – W – Creature – Ox – C – 0/4. Here's a nice blocker that will work great with the two-drop enchantment cycle in Limited.
Overall, I have to say that I'm not that impressed with White. While it might be full of flavor it's lacking in power. Also with it being that part of the color pie that is loaded with Bestow and Heroic this makes it very watered down so I don't think we are going to see much played by way of white spells from this set in Standard. It does seem to be one of the more powerful colors in the set for Limtied. The Heroic mechanic and all the cool combat tricks are going to do well in the 40 card formats.
Well, that's all for white, join me next time for Blue. This has been...
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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