I feel really bad about leaving everyone hanging and not getting the set reviews done before the paper release events. I feel like I've let everyone down and I want to applogize. I mean these set reviews are really important because every three months our game gets a complete over-haul with the the new cards, and as the local Examiner it's my job to share my ideas with everyone. Don't worry, I've got some plans in place to help me be able to bounce back into the swing of being able to travel and make more events in the near future. Also I have some ideas about how I can do more for the Magic community.
With that said, I'm still running behind on these reviews. I promise I plan to have the last two articles done before I have to go make coffee at work tonight. Yeah, getting a job has really put me off my stride lately. Not am I covering the shifts during all the prime Magic events I'm also going to be giving up a lot of my time to grind the MTGO release events for Gatecrash.
Let's dive right into the green cards.
Adaptive Snapjaw – 4G – Creature – Lizard Beast – Evolve (Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, if that creature has greater power or toughness than this creature, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature.) 6/2 So it's a big dumb beater for Limited, but it also have evolve so it gets even bigger and dumb as well as making the other evolve creatures bigger.
Alpha Authority – 1G – Enchantment – Aura – Enchant creature. Enchanted creature has hexproof and can't be blocked by more than one creature. Yeah, that's a great buff to put on a big dump beater in Limited. Says no to removal and allows you to get past blockers. Awesome.
Burst of Strength – G – Instant – Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature and untap it. So much potential in a combat trick. Basically it can great a surprize blocker, allow you to keep a beater open for defense, or counter a combat trade. The other good thing is that it can active some of the cooler abilities on your evolve creatures. This is going to be an awesome Limited card.
Crocanura – 2G – Creature – Crocodile Frog – Reach. Evolve. 1/3. Only thing odder would be a Gator Toad. Still this is the staple of Limited design mechanics where they take the new green mechanic and slap it on a reach creature.
Crowned Ceratok – 3G – Creature – Rhino – Trample. Each creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it has trample. 4/3 Wait, that's an uncommon. This makes Evolve even better in Limited.
Disciple of the Old Ways – 1G – Creature – Human Warrior – R: Disciple of the Old Ways gains first strike until end of turn. 2/2 So your playing Gruul in Limited, here have a 2/2 dork with a built in combat trick.
Experiment One – G – Creature – Human Ooze – Evolve. Remove two +1/+1 counters from Experiment One: Regenerate Experiment One. 1/1 The Evolve one-drop that every Limited deck needs. If there does end up being an Evolve deck in block this is going to be the one-drop in that deck as well.
Forced Adaptation – G - Enchantment – Aura – Enchant creature. At the beginning of your upkeep, put a +1/+1 counter on enchanted creature. Yeah, this is going to be a card used in Limited and Block to break Evolve creatures that have triggered abilities that happen when they get counters.
Giant Adephage – 5GG – Creature – Insect – Trample. Whenever Giant Adephage deals combat damage to a player, put a token onto the battlefield that's a copy of Giant Adephage. 7/7
Goof thing this is mythic because it's a bomb in Limited. Without an answer it's just “Good Game” in a few attacks. Still, this is jank in the other formats so it's a bulk mythic.
Greenside Watcher – 1G – Creature – Elf Druid – Tap: Untap target gate. 2/1. Check it out, we found the janky mana elf that works with the gate mechanic. Honestly, why did this have to be a two-drop 2/1 instead of just a one-drop 1/1 dork. Outside of Limited this elf is never going to see play because gates are just the necessary evil of this block so that Block and Limited have the needed mana fixing.
Gyre Sage – 1G – Creature – Elf Druid – Evolve. Tap: Add G to your mana pool for each +1/+1 counter on Gyre Sage. ½ Oh, yeah. This is only meant to be the mana ramp in the Evolve deck for Limited and Block. Outside of that you just can't rely on this having a counter on it all the time. Still with Forced Adaptation this might get more powerful.
Hindervines – 2G – Instant – Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn by creatures with no +1/+1 counter on them. Is this going to be the thing from now on? Every set we get a one-sided fog effect that works with the blocks green mechanic. Don't get me wrong, this is awesome in Limited and might be useful if there is an Evolve deck.
Ivy Lane Denizen – 3G – Creature – Elf Warrior – Whenever another green creature enters the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature. 2/3 The deeper we get into the green cards the more I can see an Evolve deck in Block. Granted this card makes that Evolve deck want to be mono-green or just use green/x colored cards.
Miming Slime – 2G – Sorcery – Put an X/X green Ooze creature token onto the battlefield, where X is the greatest power among creatures you control. Yup just another way to make big creatures for combat in Limited.
Naturalize – 1G – Instant – Destroy target artifact or enchantment. This keeps getting printed in ever Limited format so that we have answers for artifacts and enchantments.
Ooze Flux – 3G – Enchantment – 1G, remove one or more +1/+1 counters from among creatures you control: Put an X/X green Ooze creature token onto the battlefield, where X is the number of +1/+1 counters removed this way. Great way to keep the Evolve triggers coming in Limited and Block. If you have a bunch of Evolve dudes in play and a ton of mana you can make one heck of an army. Hmm, with the lack of enchantment removal in Standard this might be the card that could push Evolve into the big boy realm.
Predator's Rapport – 2G – Instant – Choose target creature you control. You gain Life equal to that creature's power plus its toughness. Yup, it's the green life gain cards that works with the green mechanic, moving on.
Rust Scarab – 4G – Creature – Insect – Whenever Rust Scarab becomes blocked, you may destroy target artifact or enchantment defending player controls. 4/5 Yup, it's just another artifact/enchantment removal trick for Limited.
Scab-Clan Charger – 3G – Creature – Centaur Warrior – Bloodrush – 1G, discard Scab-Clan Charger: target attacking creature gets +2/+4 until end of turn. 2/4 Yeah, not really feeling this one. I mean most of the Bloodrush creatures in red have been awesome for offense combat tricks but this is more for baiting a bad block in Limited.
Serene Remembrance – G – Sorcery – Shuffle Serene Remembrance and up to three target cards from a single graveyard into their owners' libraries. Looks like we found the anti-mill card for Limited. If only we had some kind of Eggs like deck in Standard to break this.
Skarrg Goliath – 6GG – Creature – Beast – Trample. Bloodrush – 5GG, discard Skarrg Goliath: Target attacking creature gets +9/+9 and gains trample until end of turn. 9/9 Yup, Limited bomb only, moving on.
Slaughterhorn – 2G – Creature – Beast – Bloodrush – G, discard Sluaghterhorn: Target attacking creature gets +3/+2 until end of turn. 3/2 Okay, that might just be one of my favorite non-rare bloodrush cards in the set. When I draft Gruul I'll be looking to get a bunch of these.
Spire Tracer – G – Creature – Elf Scout – Spire Tracer can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach. 1/1 Yeah, that's the one drop I want for my Gruul Limited decks. Just take the flier removal and all the cheap Bloodrush cards and beat face all day long.
Sylvan Primordial – 5GG – Creature – Avatar – Reach. When Sylvan Primordial enters the battlefield, for each opponent, destroy target non-creature permanet that player controls. For each permanent destroyted this way, search your library for a Forest card and put that card onto the battlefield tapped. Then shuffle your library. 6/8 WTF!? I'm so building an Archenemy deck around the Primordials. Turn two flip a copy of Introductions Are in Order clear everyone's lands off the board and ramp me up a number of lands equal to the number of opponents as long as I have this in hand, epic win.
Tower Defense – 1G – Instant – Creatures you control get +0/+5 and gain reach until end of turn. Nice defensive combat trick for Limited.
Verdant Haven – 2G – Enchantment – Aura – Enchant land. When Verdant Haven enters the battlefield, you gain 2 life. Whenever enchanted land is tapped for mana, its controller adds one mana of any color to his or her mana pool (in addition to the mana the land produces). Not bad, but I think this is going to stay as a Limited only card. I mean in constructed decks you just want to be doing more than gaining life and ramping on turn three.
Wasteland Viper – G – Creature – Snake – Deathtouch. Bloodrush – G, discard Wasteland Viper: Target attacking creature gets +1/+2 and gains deathtouch until end of turn. ½ I Love cheap deathtouch dorks I can drop on turn one in Limited. They just make combat so odd. Also with the more powerful Bloddrush cards in this set it makes you opponent have to decided if they are going to throw a dude under this to block or if they are going to risk you having something nasty to pump this with.
Wildwood Rebirth – 1G – Instant – Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand. I like that for limited this has become a green ability instead of a black one. Also with the Bloodrush mechanic this might just make it broken in Limited. This is just makes me want to play Gruul even more in Limited.
Alright, time for the last guild of the review. Well, Gruul is my favorite for Limited formats I think I have to state that Simic is my favorite for the up coming Block format. Simic just has this strong theme with its mechanic that makes each card part of the collective instead of just having a few strong pieces of just one machine.
Biovisionary – 1GU – Creature – Human Wizard – At the beginning of the end step, if you control four or more creatures named Biovisionary, you win the game. 2/3 I love when they make the alt-win cards utter jank in Limited. I'm going to love being able to late pick these and get to keep them as bonus rares from the draft just like I did to get my playset of Battle of Wits in M13 drafts. I plan to build a version of Human reanimator that uses this as the sideboard alt-win.
Drakewing Krasis – 1GU – Creature – Lizard Drake – Flying, trample. 3/1 Not all Lizards are drakes, and not all drakes are lizards, but then again people always forget about male ducks. Still flying plsu trample on a 3/1 for three mana makes for an awesome beater in Limited.
Elusive Krasis – 1GU – Creature – Fish Mutant – Elusive Krasis is unblockable. Evolve. 0/4 Hmm, that's a great beater for the Evolve deck in any format. Just keeps getting bigger and you can't block it. Also if you splash it in to a Dimir deck you get to have all the Encode abilities on it in Limited.
Fathom Mage – 2GU – Creature – Human Wizard – Evolve. Whenever a +1/+1 counter is placed on Fathom Mage, you may draw a card. 1/1 That's a Limited bomb. Let's face it, yes it's a cool ability that generates card advantage, but it dies to so much removal that it's not going to find a home in any constructed decks.
Hydroform – GU – Instant – target land becomes a 3/3 Elemental creature with flying until end of turn. It's still a land. Nice combat trick to make a surprise blocker or attacker.
Master Biomancer – 2GU – Creature – Elf Wizard – each other creature you control enters the battlefield with a number of additional +1/+1 counters on it equal to Master Biomancer's power and is a Mutant in addition to its other types. 2/4 Yeah, that's the card that will make Evolve into a Block and Standard force. Yeah, that will end up dialing Evolve up to eleven in all formats.
Mystic Genesis – 2GUU – Instant – Counter target spell. Put an X/X green Ooze creature token onto the battlefield, where X is that spell's converted mana cost. Normally I would just call a five-drop counter jank and move on from here. Still I think this might just have a home in Limited. Granted you would need to counter a big spell to get the most out of this but after turn five in Limited is when the bid spells start hitting the table.
Prime Speaker Zegana – 2GGUU – Legendary Creature – Merfolk Wizard – Prime Speaker Zegana enter the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it, where X is the greatest power among creatures you control. When Prime Speaker Zegana enters the battlefield, draw cards equal to its power. Yeah, that's a Limited bomb as well as an epic Commander. Not only does she trigger all your Evolve creatures but she draws you a good number of cards to boot. I mean after turn six you should have a good sized beater in play when you are playing Limited.
Shambleshark – GU – Creature – Fish Crab – Flash (you may cast this spell any time you could cast an instant.) Evolve. 2/1 Not bad. Cast this at the end of you opponents turn when they are playing around counters or they have tapped out so you can avoid removal. Then all you need to do is drop soemthing to Evolve it and you get to swing for 3 points on turn three. I think that this is not only good enough for Limited but will see play in Standard at some point as well as be a key card in the Evolve deck for Block.
Simic Charm – GU – Choose one – Target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn: or permanents your control have hexproof until end of turn; or return target creature to its owner's hand. That's Standard levels of good. It's a pump spell, a soft counter, and a bounce spell all at the same time. I'm calling it now, if you are playing Simic in any deck you will want this.
Unexpected Results – 2GU – Sorcery – Shuffle your library, then reveal the top card. If it's a nonland card, you may cast it without paying its mana cost. If it's a land card, you may put it onto the battlefield and return Unexpected Results to its owner's hand. I kind of want to be that guy that makes a modern deck with four of this, four Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, and 52 lands. Just so I could chain four of these in a row then cast one again to top deck the overlord for the win. I know it's sure a janky deck idea, but it would be so funny. Granted, out side of that deck I think this is just going to be some random card that end up in the Simic decks in Limited as a top deck hope card.
Urban Evolution – 3GU – Sorcery – Draw three cards. You may play an additional land this turn. Really? Hmm, that's awesome for Limited as a ramp spells and some digging for next turns bomb. I like it.
Zameck Guildmage – GU – Creature – Elf Wizard – GU: This turn, each creature you control enters the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on it. GU: Remove a +1/+1 counter from a creature you control: Draw a card. That is so cool that it might just be a staple in Simic decks for Block. Both abilities are cheap and work really well with Evolve. I give it two thumbs up for Limited.
Biomass Mutation – XG/uG/u – Instant – Creature you control become X/X until end of turn. Seeing as you are in green with this card, and if you took cards with trample or built around way to give them trample, you might just be looking at a finisher here. If you don't have the trample trick you might have also grinded the game out to the point where you are forcing a block or die event. In the end this is a great end game for Limited.
Bioshift – G/u – Instant – Move any number of +1/+1 counter from target creature onto another target creature with the same controller. I'm thinking that this is suppost to be the anti-Simic card where you get to mess with your opponents counters to make them not be as effective. Such as moving the counters off of a large attack on to the creature you are bouncing to their hand. I think if I see this any place it's going to be sideboard tech some how in Block.
Merfolk of the Depths – 4G/uG/u – Creature – Merfolk Soldier – Flash. 4/2 Yup, just a beater for Limited that you can flash in during you opponents end step to bluff counter magic or removal. Also big enough to trigger most Evolve creatures. Hmm, this might be very interesting to play in Limited.
Well that is all for the green and Simic cards. Over all I think this is my second favorite guild in the set. This is because I love having lots of complex interactions and throwing a bunch of triggers on the stack when I do something. Evolve is my kind of mechanic as it's like skipping stones to create a mess of ripples on a pond. I have one more review to complete and I'll be done with these articles. Seeing as next one is short I might have to add something to the end of it. This has been...
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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