M15 Set Review - White Cards
Has it really been a year already? Wow, how time flies. I guess we had better dive into the new set then. I mean after all this is going to be the current draft format set between August and October so we better get an idea of what decks we should be drafting. Also this is going to be one of the five sets that make up the first five months of Standard post rotation. So now that my editor knows that these articles are going to be relevant to us players for the next year let's get started.
Ajani Steadfast (4) Planeswalker — Ajani (4) +1: Until end of turn, up to one target creature gets +1/+1 and gains first strike, vigilance, and lifelink.−2: Put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control and a loyalty counter on each other planeswalker you control. −7: You get an emblem with "If a source would deal damage to you or a planeswalker you control, prevent all but 1 of that damage." Seems that after the death of Elsepth that Ajani is more about protecting others than himself. Once you get that -7 online this should be GG, but with both Dreadbore and Hero's Downfall in Standard for the next three months this is going to be a sleeper card till rotation.
Ajani's Pridemate (2) Creature — Cat Soldier (2/2) Whenever you gain life, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Ajani's Pridemate. Just a limited card for life gain decks. With Erebos hating on life gain in Standard this is an even worse card now. Still having tons of life in Limited is very nice.
Avacyn, Guardian Angel (5) Legendary Creature — Angel (5/4) Flying, vigilance : Prevent all damage that would be dealt to another target creature this turn by sources of the color of your choice. : Prevent all damage that would be dealt to target player this turn by sources of the color of your choice. Okay, so she doesn't grant indestructible to all your dudes anymore, but still she's a bomb in Limited. That is if she isn't outright killed before you get to use her.
Battle Mastery (3) Enchantment — Aura - Enchant creature. Enchanted creature has double strike. (It deals both first-strike and regular combat damage.) Okay, so it's a great aura for Limited. Still would rather use it's Bestow counter part in any constructed format.
Boonweaver Giant (7) Creature — Giant Monk (4/4) When Boonweaver Giant enters the battlefield, you may search your graveyard, hand, and/or library for an Aura card and put it onto the battlefield attached to Boonweaver Giant. If you search your library this way, shuffle it. An awesome tutor for auras but witht the high CMC this is going to stay a Limited bomb. IF you cube has some bomb auras in it you'll want to add a copy of this to it.
Congregate (4) Instant - Target player gains 2 life for each creature on the battlefield. Just more life gain for your Limited decks. I Like how this is also a combat trick when you cast it to surive an alpha strike just to swing back for the win.
Constricting Sliver (6) Creature — Sliver (3/3) Sliver creatures you control have "When this creature enters the battlefield, you may exile target creature an opponent controls until this creature leaves the battlefield." Okay, the effect is awesome but the casting cost is way too high. Yes, this will be played in every Sliver commander deck and even with out the critical mass of slivers in this set it will be a limited bomb. Yet, I feel that it is far too slow for Standard play.
Dauntless River Marshal (2) Creature — Human Soldier (2/1) Dauntless River Marshal gets +1/+1 as long as you control an Island. : Tap target creature. The new cycle of allied colors matter creatures are here. Nice to have this be a 2/3 for 2 that can tap down your opponent's dorks. Still just a card for Limited.
Devouring Light (3) Instant - Convoke (Your creatures can help cast this spell. Each creature you tap while casting this spell pays for or one mana of that creature's color.) Exile target attacking or blocking creature. Best removal spell I have seen in white since Path to Exile. This will see play in Standard and I'll be drafting this hardcore.
Divine Favor (2) Enchantment — Aura - Enchant creature. When Divine Favor enters the battlefield, you gain 3 life. Enchanted creature gets +1/+3. Been saying this for a while, that this is hust Limited filler. Still, with the tutor effects for auras this can be some needed life gain at a key moment in Limited.
Ephemeral Shields (2) Instant - Convoke (Your creatures can help cast this spell. Each creature you tap while casting this spell pays for or one mana of that creature's color.) Target creature gains indestructible until end of turn. (Damage and effects that say "destroy" don't destroy it.) Nice combat trick for Limited. When used correctly this might just be free everytime you cast it causing blowouts verse other decks. After all in Limited most decks run very small removal packages and forcing them to waste a kill spell is a very big edge. This might even see play in Standard in a token making deck so that you'll have the white dudes to tap to cast this for zero mana.
First Response (4) Enchantment - At the beginning of each upkeep, if you lost life last turn, put a 1/1 white Soldier creature token onto the battlefield. Speaking of token makers. This is very nice and I have to say might just see a short run in Standard with Underworld Connections in some kind of budget brew. Still in Limited this is going to be a bomb as your opponent has to keep wagering if the damage is worth giving you an extra creature to attack or defend with. IF you get two or more of these in draft you should be doing very well in the tournament.
Geist of the Moors (3) Creature — Spirit (3/1) Flying Just a 3/1 flying beater for Limtied. Put some pump enchantments on him and go to town on your opponents face.
Heliod's Pilgrim (3) Creature — Human Cleric (1/2) When Heliod's Pilgrim enters the battlefield, you may search your library for an Aura card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library. Okay so it's only half the effect of a Stoneforge Mystic and I cost one more mana, but it's still a good aura tutor and with bestow in the same Standard format this will end up in a good deck. After all I've been seeing a number of mono-white aggro decks in the early rounds of tournaments on Twitch.tv.
Hushwing Gryff (3) Creature — Hippogriff (2/1) Flash (You may cast this spell any time you could cast an instant.) Flying. Creatures entering the battlefield don't cause abilities to trigger. Hate dork for both Modern and Legacy. This is an answer for so many decks in those formats which rely heavily on Enters the Battlefield (EtB) effects. Also there are a number of good cards in this set which also have EtB effects which this will be a bomb verses in Draft.
Kinsbaile Skirmisher (2) Creature — Kithkin Soldier (2/2) When Kinsbaile Skirmisher enters the battlefield, target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Speaking of EtB effects. This is a nice sudo-combat trick. As it's a soldier this will combo well with Preeminent Captain. I really do think we will have mono-white soldiers making a comeback this fall.
Marked by Honor (4) Enchantment — Aura - Enchant creature. Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has vigilance. (Attacking doesn't cause it to tap.) With the aura tutors in the set we are going to have this be a target for them in Limited. It's not for sealed or draft, but we have bestow creatures to use in place of straight up auras in other formats now.
Mass Calcify (7) Sorcery - Destroy all nonwhite creatures. So this got reprinted. It's a bomb in Limited and Commander when you are mono-white but way too slow for any competitive format.
Meditation Puzzle (5) Instant - Convoke (Your creatures can help cast this spell. Each creature you tap while casting this spell pays for or one mana of that creature's color.) You gain 8 life. Just a convoke life gain spell for Limited.
Midnight Guard (3) Creature — Human Soldier (2/3) Whenever another creature enters the battlefield, untap Midnight Guard. Another soldier that combos well with Preeminent Captain in Limited. Just being able to untap this by itself when you cast another dude post combat is good. Yup, looking to draft me some white cards this summer.
Oppressive Rays (1) Enchantment — Aura - Enchant creature. Enchanted creature can't attack or block unless its controller pays . Activated abilities of enchanted creature cost more to activate. So much fun to have this in Limited. It's just a tempo edge card in that you make you opponent have to waste mana on being able to use there dude. And this being common means you can get more than one copy in Limited. Yeah, I so want to draft mono-white now.
Oreskos Swiftclaw (2) Creature — Cat Warrior (3/1) In limited you can always use a 3/1 for 2 mana. With the pump auras in the set this gets even better in this format.
Paragon of New Dawns (4) Creature — Human Soldier (2/2) Other white creatures you control get +1/+1. , : Another target white creature you control gains vigilance until end of turn. (Attacking doesn't cause it to tap.) Yup, time to draft all the soldiers! Hmm, we might just see a top teir soldier deck not just in the budget brews. With this in the four-drop slot and Spear of Heliod in the three-drop white is looking very impressive.
Pillar of Light (3) Instant Exile target creature with toughness 4 or greater. With the indestructible cards in this set it looks like we are going to need some straight up exile removal. Still, I think we are going to see this in sideboards of mono-white to hate on mono-black decks.
Preeminent Captain (3) Creature — Kithkin Soldier (2/2) First strike (This creature deals combat damage before creatures without first strike.) Whenever Preeminent Captain attacks, you may put a Soldier creature card from your hand onto the battlefield tapped and attacking. This is going to make mono-white work as a deck. Last time this was in Standard it was so annoying I'm sure that mono-white soldiers is coming back. Also, as if I have to say it, this is a pure bomb in Limited.
Raise the Alarm (2) Instant - Put two 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens onto the battlefield. I want to call this Limited jank but if we are working on a soldier deck in standard this is going to be in that deck. Casting this on turn two and then dropping an Anthem effect on turn three is going to be nuts. As it stands in Limited this is a great way to make sure you have the dudes to be able to convoke all those cool spells you drafted.
Razorfoot Griffin (4) Creature — Griffin (2/2) Flying (This creature can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.) First strike (This creature deals combat damage before creatures without first strike.) Just your stock flying and first strike bird for Limited decks.
Resolute Archangel (7) Creature — Angel (4/4) Flying. When Resolute Archangel enters the battlefield, if your life total is less than your starting life total, it becomes equal to your starting life total. I can see this being a bomb in Limited and Commander to hate on fast aggro decks. Once we lose Sphinx's Revelation this might just be the life gain card that control decks jump to in October.
Return to the Ranks (2) Sorcery - Convoke (Your creatures can help cast this spell. Each creature you tap while casting this spell pays for or one mana of that creature's color.) Return X target creature cards with converted mana cost 2 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. Yes! Standard Eggs is back for another go. I've so missed all the mass reanimating and sacking of my two-drop dorks these last 12 months. Sure without the land spawning the deck is a little odd but I'm sure we can find a way to brew a new breed of the deck. Hmm, I smell an article idea.
Sanctified Charge (5) Instant - Creatures you control get +2/+1 until end of turn. White creatures you control also gain first strike until end of turn. (They deal combat damage before creatures without first strike.) Just a good combat trick for Limited.
Selfless Cathar (1) Creature — Human Cleric (1/1) , Sacrifice Selfless Cathar: Creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn. This plus Athreos might just lead to a new deck. In Limited it's just a good combat trick.
Seraph of the Masses (7) Creature — Angel (*/*) Convoke (Your creatures can help cast this spell. Each creature you tap while casting this spell pays for or one mana of that creature's color.) Flying. Seraph of the Masses's power and toughness are each equal to the number of creatures you control. Without some good token makers this isn't going to be a huge hit which means this might only be good in the right draft deck. Still the convoke ability and flying will make this a Limited bomb.
Solemn Offering (3) Sorcery - Destroy target artifact or enchantment. You gain 4 life. Just some artifact and enchantment removal for Limited.
Soul of Theros (6) Creature — Avatar (6/6) Vigilance. : Creatures you control get +2/+2 and gain first strike and lifelink until end of turn. , Exile Soul of Theros from your graveyard: Creatures you control get +2/+2 and gain first strike and lifelink until end of turn. I'm not a fan of the soul cycle. For a mythic card I feel they should always grant a bonus not only when you can pay for it. Still this will be a bomb in Limited.
Soulmender (1) Creature — Human Cleric (1/1) : You gain 1 life. Works good with Ajani's Pridemate in Limited. Still it ties up a creature to gain the life and is just jank verses faster decks.
Spectra Ward (5) Enchantment — Aura - Enchant creature. Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has protection from all colors. This effect doesn't remove Auras. (It can't be blocked, targeted, or dealt damage by anything that's white, blue, black, red, or green.) Now this is a bomb of an aura spell to have in Limited. Just cast this on your best dude and then watch as you opponent just loses as you grind them to death with it. Yeah, I'm so going to draft mono-white.
Spirit Bonds (2) Enchantment - Whenever a nontoken creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may pay . If you do, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield. , Sacrifice a Spirit: Target non-Spirit creature gains indestructible until end of turn. (Damage and effects that say "destroy" don't destroy it.) Now this is really cool. Pay one more W and you get an extra dork every time you cast a dude. Then you can sack spirit tokens to save dudes from removal or bad blocks. Im sure this is going to fine a home in a competitive deck.
Sungrace Pegasus (2) Creature — Pegasus (1/2) Flying (This creature can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.) Lifelink (Damage dealt by this creature also causes you to gain that much life.) Just another flying dork for Limited with the bonus of life gain.
Tireless Missionaries (5) Creature — Human Cleric (2/3) When Tireless Missionaries enters the battlefield, you gain 3 life. Just more life gain for Limited.
Triplicate Spirits (6) Sorcery - Convoke (Your creatures can help cast this spell. Each creature you tap while casting this spell pays for or one mana of that creature's color.) Put three 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield. (They can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.) Yup, so drafting mono-white. Turn two cast Raise the alarm, turn three cast this, turn four cast Paragon of New Dawns and swing for 12. Yeah, this will be fun in Limited.
Wall of Essence (2) Creature — Wall (0/4) Defender (This creature can't attack.) Whenever Wall of Essence is dealt combat damage, you gain that much life. So this is going to be a sideboard hate card for aggro decks in both Limited and Standard. Heck, I'll play it main deck in sealed all day. Just throw some indestructible effect on it and watch your opponent go deep on the tilt.
Warden of the Beyond (3) Creature — Human Wizard (2/2) Vigilance (Attacking doesn't cause this creature to tap.) Warden of the Beyond gets +2/+2 as long as an opponent owns a card in exile. I'm in love with this card. With all the exile effects in the set this should be a 4/4 in every draft game. Granted this will get even better in Standard decks.
Okay at this point I want to stop and give my talk about a new twist in the structure of this set. This is the first time that we are getting demo decks which have cards that are part of the set but will not be found in booster packs. White has the most of these cards And seeing how they have been printed to death I just want to say that I'm on the fence about them. Sure none of the white cards are Limited bombs but I feel that if they weren't going to be put in packs they should have just not gotten printed at all. Aegis Angel, Divine Verdict, Inspired Charge, and Serra Angel all could have used a year off.
That said I have to say that the power of white in this set is very impressive and I really can't wait to see how the return of one of the best soldiers in Magic is going to have on Standard. White is totally looking awesome both for Limited and Constructed deck building. Now it's time to check out what's going on with blue.
This has been...
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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