Feature Article from Conley Woods

Theros Set Review: Gold, Artifacts, and Lands

Conley Woods

9/30/2013 10:01:00 AM

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Theros Set Review: Multicolor, Artifacts, and Wrap Up

Welcome back to the final day in our full Theros set review! Today we will be going over all of the cards that we have not already talked about. That means all of the multicolor, artifact, and land cards will be rated for both constructed and limited. In addition to that, we will be going over my Top 8 cards for constructed as well as briefly talking about the direction Standard might go with Theros pushing out Innistrad. But first, we have some cards to talk about.

To help us out, we have two scales. One is for Limited and is the same scaled we have always used, straight from WotC themselves. The other is for Constructed and has been modified from past reviews to help with clarity, so check it out:

Constructed

5: Fives are ever-present cards that heavily warp a format or see heavy play across multiple formats. Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Deathrite Shaman, and Tarmogoyf are good examples of fives.

4: These cards tend to have support roles across multiple formats or be tier one cards in at least one. Spell Pierce is an example of the former while Thragtusk is an example of the latter. I expect to rate a lot of things as fours that are actually fives and vice versa while I feel out this new system but in both cases, these are going to be highly desired cards.

3: These are the bread and butter cards of a set, usually doing all of the essential things needed for a format, but doing them at a good rate. Cards like Oblivion Ring, Izzet Charm, or Diregraf Ghoul would be found here.

2: These cards are generally much more restrictive in use and application than a three, but they serve a similar purpose. You will see more sideboard or niche cards, like Skullcrack, Heartless Summoning, or Gladecover Scout.

1: These are not going to see much play, but they have an outside chance. These tend to be weak or narrow sideboard options or extremely narrow main deck cards. Most ones will not ever make it into a winning list, but they have potential to do so.

0: These are unplayable in constructed regardless of context. These tend to be the cards designed to balance limited, like Grizzly Bear or Siege Mastodon or are narrow with a poor output, like Artificer's Hex.

*Any card that gets an X.5 rating just means I can see it falling to either side of the equation given the right metagame or environment.

Limited

5.0: I will always play this card. Period.

4.5: I will almost always play this card, regardless of what else I get.

4.0: I will strongly consider playing this as the only card of its color.

3.5: I feel a strong pull into this card's color.

3.0: This card makes me want to play this color. (Given that I'm playing that color, I will play this card 100% of the time.)

2.5: Several cards of this power level start to pull me into this color. If playing that color, I essentially always play these. (Given that I'm playing that color, I will play this card 90% of the time.)

2.0: If I'm playing this color, I usually play these. (70%)

1.5: This card will make the cut into the main deck about half the times I play this color. (50%)

1.0: I feel bad when this card is in my main deck. (30%)

0.5: There are situations where I might sideboard this into my deck, but I'll never start it. (10%)

0.0: I will never put this card into my deck (main deck or after sideboarding). (0%)

And with that, let's move on to the cards!

Mid
Low
 Akroan Hoplite
$0.23
$0.01
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True Color Gaming 7 $0.03
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BaT Comics Games 4 $0.03
Karns Cards 1 $0.03
TomeNDie 3 $0.03
DarkConfidant 3 $0.04
Silver Stock 1 $0.04
DukesCardShop STL 1 $0.04
Cards On Consignment 16 $0.04
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Akroan Hoplite Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Akroan Hoplite

Constructed: 1

This lacks natural evasion or a way to protect itself, but it can get very large, very quickly. On the one hand, there is likely some “win more” going on here, but a two mana creature that can reach four or five power relatively easy still needs to be looked at.

Limited: 1.5-2.0

This guy is a tough one to take early because he commits you to two colors and then commits you to a strategy (aggro). He is difficult to take late because he doesn't fit many other archetypes beyond that either. I think at his best, he is quite strong, but getting him to be his best is difficult.

Mid
Low
 Anax and Cymede
$0.35
$0.10
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Sorrows Path 1 $0.10
BaT Comics Games 4 $0.10
TownofThien 1 $0.10
RIW Hobbies 3 $0.12
OldSchoolGaming 1 $0.13
Magic Mana Vault 1 $0.13
Tier Zero Gaming 9 $0.14
Annex Gaming 1 $0.15
TomeNDie 1 $0.15
Grimmus 1 $0.15
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Anax and Cymede Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Anax and Cymede

Constructed: 2

This is a pretty neat card that reminds me a lot of Glissa the Traitor. You get a reasonable body for the stats with multiple upsides on top of that. The static abilities are both strong, and while heroic can be tough to trigger, so was Glissa and yet I found her strong enough to work for it.

Limited: 3.5

This is a little more difficult to use than the permanent bonus heroic guys but his effect is so strong that it is almost certainly worth it. Even without heroic, a 3/2 first striker with vigilance is pretty strong.

Mid
Low
 Ashen Rider
$1.96
$0.90
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JBs Shop 1 $1.00
paladins games 1 $1.00
BreakPoint TCG 1 $1.00
MTGpmh 1 $1.02
Dork Den Mankato 1 $1.07
BaT Comics Games 2 $1.08
Auggie's Games 2 $1.16
Comics Plus 1 $1.17
Mountain View Magic 1 $1.19
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Ashen Rider Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Ashen Rider

Constructed: 3

This should replace Angel of Despair in all of the older formats where they were never paying for the Angel in the first place. In Standard, eight mana is quite the task over seven, but this has huge upside should you make it work. I expect this to be tried often.

Limited: 4.0

While difficult to cast, opening this would surely at least start me down a path where I end up BW. This is worth the commitment if you can make it and it should win you just about every game it resolves.

Mid
Low
 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
$6.77
$3.65
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Kingslayer Games 1 $3.99
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Comics Plus 1 $4.20
Bunky Cards 1 $4.31
AmokGames 1 $4.33
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

Constructed: 2.5

This is a bit of a tough card to wrap your head around because it is so different from most walkers we see. First of all, this has no way to protect itself starting with turn one. However, like Jace Beleren, this does jump up to five loyalty right away and once it can snag a creature, at least it is doing something. The ultimate is not too great, but against control it can end a game at least.

Limited: 3.5

While this once again requires you to be two colors, it is probably worth it. Not only will the mill actually add up in limited (six to eight activations should win you the game), but it is much more likely to hit a creature to fuel up his second ability. Once again, the ultimate is a bit lackluster, but just rely on the middle ability and you're good to go!

Mid
Low
 Battlewise Hoplite
$0.24
$0.01
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Wood Tower Gaming 2 $0.02
DarkConfidant 4 $0.03
Karns Cards 2 $0.04
Pauper Pat 2 $0.04
Graham Collectables 17 $0.04
BaT Comics Games 4 $0.05
Atomic Dreams 9 $0.05
Golden Phoenix Games 3 $0.05
Level Up MN 12 $0.05
Ghost and Jester 4 $0.05
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Battlewise Hoplite Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Battlewise Hoplite

Constructed: 1

Without some form of evasion, I am not as big of a fan of this as some of the other heroic creatures. Still, if other heroic guys see some play, this has a decent chance at piggybacking their success.

Limited: 2.0-2.5

This guy is tricky to use because of his colors and cheap cost (meaning splashing him is not as valuable as he will probably come down too late to be effective). If you happen to be UW, you will play this most of the time of course, but it also asks to be enabled, so it is not a hard lock to make your deck.

Mid
Low
 Chronicler of Heroes
$0.22
$0.01
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Graham Collectables 13 $0.01
Chicago Clubhouse 31 $0.03
Chicago Clubhouse 31 $0.03
Adventure Games Osh 8 $0.03
Frankobaby 8 $0.03
Midwest Jedi 14 $0.03
Dogs of War Gaming 19 $0.03
The Gaming Cantina 32 $0.03
The Gaming Cantina 32 $0.03
DukesCardShop STL 2 $0.03
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Chronicler of Heroes Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Chronicler of Heroes

Constructed: 1.5

If you manage to draw a card off of this, the rate is quite strong. 3/3s for three with card advantage are not commonplace. The issue comes down to how difficult this is to trigger. I am not sure of just how many +1/+1 counter guys will be seeing play, but this is a good one to watch.

Limited: 2.5-3.0

You will play this in most GW decks as just a 3/3 for three which is more than reasonable. Of course, if you manage to actually draw a card then this is extremely good. It is very difficult to play this on curve and still trigger it, so don't feel bad if you are holding this until turn five or whatever.

Mid
Low
 Daxos of Meletis
$0.34
$0.05
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Tytanic Games 1 $0.05
Scorched Apple MTG 2 $0.14
Comic Asylum 3 $0.14
Basin Gaming 1 $0.14
BaT Comics Games 3 $0.15
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Pandemic Liquidation 6 $0.15
VnJ Cards 1 $0.15
BTail Games 1 $0.15
Tier Zero Gaming 7 $0.17
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Daxos of Meletis Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Daxos of Meletis

Constructed: 2

While this is no Geist of Saint Traft, it still might have a place in constructed. Augury Adept is the closest thing to this we have seen, but it did not come with any form of evasion. I would think this guy might see some niche play, even without the supporting cast of Delver around to help out.

Limited: 3.0

I think this guy is pretty strong in limited where there are so many ways to make him a 3/3 or bigger that his evasion then becomes huge. Drawing cards and gaining some life seems like a pretty nice payoff for all that work too.

Mid
Low
 Destructive Revelry
$0.30
$0.05
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Tier Zero Gaming 13 $0.10
The Gallows 1 $0.10
DreamDaze CFG 1 $0.10
Great Escape Games 1 $0.10
Golden Phoenix Games 9 $0.10
Lenlock Hobbies 4 $0.10
MTG NW Cards 4 $0.10
Le mode 1 $0.10
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Destructive Revelry Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Destructive Revelry

Constructed: 3

Any deck that can afford to run this over Naturalize probably will. That does not mean all RG decks will play this and not Naturalize, because your mana needs to reliably cast this, not just make this castable. This is a card that will probably have relatively big impacts in every format.

Limited: 2.5

I think this is perfectly fine to main deck every time that you are red and green, but probably is not worth splashing if you are only one of those two colors. If this ends up in your sideboard, that is ok and will leave you with a potent weapon out of the board.

Mid
Low
 Fleecemane Lion
$1.58
$0.49
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Chicagoland Games 1 $0.51
oOOoOphidianMagic 1 $0.51
Heroes Ink Comics 1 $0.62
Card Haven Games 1 $0.80
RnD Collectibles 1 $0.89
Yawgmoths Bargain 1 $0.91
GarthOneEyeMagic 1 $0.99
RnD Collectibles 1 $0.99
Old Man Adventures 6 $0.99
Tier Zero Gaming 5 $0.99
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Fleecemane Lion Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Fleecemane Lion

Constructed: 3.5

Watchwolf, move on over because there is a new cat in town! This guy comes out at a rate that is already acceptable for constructed but then he gets to take that to another level. Once you invest five more mana into this, it gets 33% bigger and is essentially immune to removal. Sweepers and targeted removal alike will be left with a frowny face, making edicts the only real way to answer this.

Limited: 3.0

Hexproof is the big ability you are looking for here as once he gets suited up with that, all of your auras can come down and build an invulnerable Voltron. Of course, getting in some beats early is never a bad thing either.

Mid
Low
 Horizon Chimera
$0.23
$0.01
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DarkConfidant 1 $0.04
Karns Cards 4 $0.04
The Gaming Cantina 18 $0.04
Grind MTG & Games 3 $0.05
antibear 81 $0.05
Level Up MN 19 $0.05
IDeal808 76 $0.05
Ghost and Jester 3 $0.05
Mages Library 12 $0.05
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Horizon Chimera Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Horizon Chimera

Constructed: 1

This has a lot of abilities going on but most of them are much weaker in constructed than in limited. How much does trample or the life gain matter, for example? Flash is perhaps more important here, but this is not a “must deal with” threat, so it is not like they would spend a Counterspell on this anyway.

Limited: 3.0

This is a pretty aggressive flier that wears auras with the best of them. The life gain might seem like something that was just tacked on here, but it definitely comes up and matters more than you might think!

Mid
Low
 Kragma Warcaller
$0.24
$0.01
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Frankobaby 4 $0.03
Wood Tower Gaming 1 $0.03
Graham Collectables 19 $0.04
MTGCCG and More 8 $0.05
Mages Library 13 $0.05
Atomic Dreams 2 $0.05
JAF Comics 2 $0.05
Ghost and Jester 2 $0.06
DarkConfidant 2 $0.06
castledenerds 1 $0.06
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Kragma Warcaller Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Kragma Warcaller

Constructed: 1

While I am a sucker for lords, generally if they cost five mana they need to be crazy good. This one has a couple of nice things going for it, such as hitting for four itself right away, but at the end of the day, this is a five mana 2/3. Maybe it will do something when more Minotaurs come out in this block.

Limited: 1.5-3.0

Obviously in a Minotaur tribal deck this is going to be one of your most important cards to draft however, on its own, this is not very great outside of the four damage spike that it leads off with. I have not seen a Minotaur tribal deck as of yet, but I am sure I will draft one eventually!

Mid
Low
 Medomai the Ageless
$1.52
$0.75
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The coliseum 1 $0.89
The War Zone 3 $0.90
MaxPlaysMTG 5 $0.95
Swovy 1 $0.96
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Six Feet Under Games 25 $0.98
Six Feet Under Games 25 $0.98
Brew City Games 2 $0.99
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Medomai the Ageless Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Medomai the Ageless

Constructed: 1.5

While this has a really sweet effect, I have to wonder how many decks will actually want to use this over something like AEtherling or Angel of Serenity. All three cards do unique things but Medomai really does not have an impact on the board. You cannot really use it as a blocker because all of its power comes in connecting with the opponent. It still might do some cool things, but in general I think this is pretty niche.

Limited: 4.0

This is certainly a reason to be both blue and white as this will win the game the first turn it lands some damage usually. Avoid Nessian Asp and you will be highly rewarded!

Mid
Low
 Pharika's Mender
$0.22
$0.01
Store QTY Price  
The Gaming Cantina 14 $0.03
BaT Comics Games 4 $0.03
Graham Collectables 13 $0.03
Karns Cards 2 $0.03
The Gaming Cantina 14 $0.04
The Upkeep Games 8 $0.04
MagicAid 1 $0.04
The War Zone 1 $0.04
Auggie's Games 4 $0.04
Chicago Clubhouse 17 $0.04
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Pharika's Mender Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Pharika's Mender

Constructed: 1

This is close enough to a decent rate with an added ability on top of Gravedigger that I could see it having some part in a deck like Birthing Pod for example. A long shot, sure, but a shot at least.

Limited: 3.0-3.5

This is certainly a reason to go black/green even though it will often be difficult to pick this early on simply because of the commitment it asks of you. I would splash this on occasion though and if I am seeking some direction this is powerful enough to follow.

Mid
Low
 Polis Crusher
$0.30
$0.04
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Annex Gaming 1 $0.05
Grimmus 2 $0.05
Grimmus 1 $0.05
Deadly Sevens Games 1 $0.05
Comic Asylum 8 $0.05
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Comics Plus 22 $0.06
Sorrows Path 1 $0.07
Lenlock Hobbies 5 $0.07
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Polis Crusher Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Polis Crusher

Constructed: 1.5

If enough people continue to play things like Detention Sphere and Chained to the Rocks while more and more high quality enchantments are released, this guy has a real shot at making some RG sideboards at the very least.

Limited: 3.5-4.0

Protection from enchantments is quite the benefit to have in this block. Trample gives him additional evasion and then having a Demystify on a stick that you did not have to invest a full card in your deck into is wonderful.

Mid
Low
 Prophet of Kruphix
$0.99
$0.45
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The End Games 4 $0.47
Stone Cold Sales 1 $0.50
Rocket City Gaming 5 $0.50
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Cards by Daves 1 $0.55
Common Ground Games 3 $0.55
Labyrinth Game Shop 1 $0.56
Comics Plus 10 $0.58
WuTrain 1 $0.60
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Prophet of Kruphix Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Prophet of Kruphix

Constructed: 2

This guy has a really unique effect and it does not seem to be too overly costed for what you are getting. If you can catch an opponent tapped out or without a removal spell, this basically gives you an immediate effect as you generate a bunch of mana and can play dudes before your opponent gets sorcery time to themselves. What should you be doing with this? I am not sure and that's why it excites me.

Limited: 3.5

Both the mana generation and the combat tricks that this turns all of your cards into is pretty insane. Obviously you are not playing this for the body, as a 2/3 probably won't even get involved in combat, but even as an enchantment, these effects are both really strong.

Mid
Low
 Psychic Intrusion
$0.30
$0.05
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Karns Cards 2 $0.07
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Weird Flex 2 $0.07
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Comics Plus 20 $0.08
Arrowstar Games 16 $0.08
DarkConfidant 1 $0.09
Magic Mana Vault 1 $0.09
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Psychic Intrusion Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Psychic Intrusion

Constructed: 1

While this seems a tad too expensive for the confines of Standard, the effect can be really powerful in certain matchups. Maybe this will show up in a few sideboards every once in a while.

Limited: 3.5

I think this is generally going to be really strong, whether that is on the splash or because you ended up blue/black. Being able to hit graveyards means you have some idea of what you can get and then you can spike off of something good in their hand.

Mid
Low
 Reaper of the Wilds
$0.31
$0.06
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Grimmus 1 $0.10
Arrowstar Games 3 $0.11
Cards by Daves 4 $0.11
Comics Plus 19 $0.12
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Reaper of the Wilds Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Reaper of the Wilds

Constructed: 1.5

I think this guy has a shot at seeing some substantial play, but it hinges a lot on the supporting cast. This guy is good value, but will generally not be able to win a game on his own. An Elspeth beats him in two different ways for example. That said, this has potential.

Limited: 3.5

A really strong card that just needs some evasion and he will take over a game. A great target for bestow and because of his scry ability, you will find all those bestow creatures a little easier.

Mid
Low
 Sentry of the Underworld
$0.22
$0.01
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Mages Library 4 $0.02
Dark Depths Games 12 $0.02
The Game Knights 1 $0.02
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debras cards 12 $0.02
Karns Cards 2 $0.02
Team Blue Dot 4 $0.02
Midwest Jedi 15 $0.03
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Sentry of the Underworld Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Sentry of the Underworld

Constructed: 0

Some neat abilities to combine on a card but they don't come at a rate that is really worthy of matching up against the likes of AEtherling or Obzedat, Ghost Council

Limited: 3.0

I think this is a pretty strong card and one that you should always play it in black/white. The big issue there is just how often black/white is a thing you want to be drafting. This is a decent incentive though, so perhaps it's fine.

Mid
Low
 Shipwreck Singer
$0.23
$0.01
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Graham Collectables 18 $0.02
Mages Library 7 $0.02
BaT Comics Games 4 $0.02
The Gaming Cantina 22 $0.03
TomeNDie 1 $0.04
DarkConfidant 3 $0.04
Gam3 no 22 $0.04
Viking Bros 1 $0.04
The Gaming Cantina 22 $0.04
debras cards 3 $0.04
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Shipwreck Singer Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Shipwreck Singer

Constructed: 1

This has a really niche purpose of being a one sided Shrivel, which some deck, at some point in time, could want access to. I would generally look for better options, but this is not completely terrible.

Limited: 2.5-3.0

Not really a strong reason to be blue/black but a decent reward once you end up there. This thing does fly, despite everyone forgetting that, so don't hesitate to beatdown when you aren't killing things.

Mid
Low
 Spellheart Chimera
$0.22
$0.02
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Frankobaby 8 $0.03
BaT Comics Games 2 $0.04
Graham Collectables 21 $0.04
Magic Mana Vault 1 $0.05
The Gaming Cantina 7 $0.05
MTGCCG and More 8 $0.05
Mages Library 18 $0.05
Traveling Merchant 16 $0.05
Karns Cards 1 $0.05
The Gaming Cantina 7 $0.06
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Spellheart Chimera Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Spellheart Chimera

Constructed: 2

This is a legitimate build around in my eyes and I would be surprised if it does not get played at some point during its standard rotation. This should have a similar feel to it as something like Delver, being a cheap evasive creature that relies on spells.

Limited: 2.0-3.5

Clearly this is going to scale with the more spells you have but there is also a minimum you should probably be playing before considering this guy. I would not even look this direction with any less than five spells and that is cutting it close.

Mid
Low
 Steam Augury
$0.29
$0.05
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jncmtgcards 2 $0.08
BaT Comics Games 4 $0.08
Dark Depths Games 2 $0.09
DukesCardShop STL 1 $0.09
AE Games 2 $0.09
DarkConfidant 4 $0.09
Grimmus 1 $0.09
Deadly Sevens Games 3 $0.09
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Steam Augury Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Steam Augury

Constructed: 3

While I think this is pretty strong and hope it sees a decent amount of play, it is probably worse than Fact or Fiction most of the time so it is hard to rate it higher than a three. Still, card selection is always big and you have some control over how this turns out, allowing for a lot of bluffing moments and times where you can outplay your opponent, which is nice.

Limited: 2.5

Not a great card in limited but it does provide some card advantage which is always welcome. Again, not worth pushing you into blue/red, but a gift when you are already there.

Mid
Low
 Triad of Fates
$0.31
$0.04
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Karns Cards 3 $0.07
Pandemic Liquidation 7 $0.07
Hall of Heroes 1 $0.09
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Triad of Fates Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Triad of Fates

Constructed: 1

There are a lot of powerful things going on with the Triads here, but constructed is hostile to the set up. Resolving a Hill Giant and having it stick around for a turn is already a chore. With Triads, you need your guy to stick around for at least two full turns before you can regain the card you spent.

Limited: 4.0

While the Triads are still slow in limited, their abilities are so much more effective and game changing here. The removal in this set is a little lackluster as is, meaning this guy may just stick around to dominate.

Mid
Low
 Tymaret, the Murder King
$0.30
$0.06
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Bayside Thrift 1 $0.10
Wood Tower Gaming 1 $0.10
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OldSchoolGaming 2 $0.11
Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Tymaret, the Murder King Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Tymaret, the Murder King

Constructed: 1.5

I would have really liked if this guy could sacrifice himself for value. As is, he might be an interesting addition to black/red aggressive decks as he provides a little additional reach and a recursive threat.

Limited: 3.0

This guy put an impending end on the opponent and is hard to stop. Draft enough creatures and sneak in enough early damage to have this take over a game for you.

Mid
Low
 Underworld Cerberus
$0.75
$0.12
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Magic MTG Card Underworld Cerberus Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Underworld Cerberus

Constructed: 1.5

This is a weird card because it is something you want to build around, but I am not sure how one can best take advantage of the ability. Remember, it does happen to both players so that might be an obstacle. Then again, this is a 6/6 for five mana with evasion so maybe that alone is enough for this to be good.

Limited: 4.0

This can actually be a little scarier to have die later on in the game as your opponent might get the better end of the bonus. That said, while this is in play it is going to run over the opponent or kill all of their guys. The passive bonus of Ground Seal is not all too relevant but it could matter.

Mid
Low
 Xenagos, the Reveler
$6.13
$3.00
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Magic MTG Card Xenagos, the Reveler Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Xenagos, the Reveler

Constructed: 3

This is a really solid walker all around even though I do think Domri is still a little better. This can be a threat on its own through creature production and can snowball you pretty hard with its ritual effect. The ultimate on this can be beaten by a sweeper, so it is not the selling point for the card, but it still is strong.

Limited: 4.0

In limited, that ultimate turns back into a nuke that will win you the game and his other two abilities don't fall off either. A burst of mana is great for monstrous or flooding the board with creatures while his token production is good for, well, flooding the board with creatures.

Mid
Low
 Akroan Horse
$0.33
$0.07
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Magic MTG Card Akroan Horse Magic MTG Card
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Akroan Horse

Constructed: 1

I cannot really wrap my head around what type of deck would want to use this effect. The card does something unique, so maybe it ends up being decent, but at least upon first glance, it doesn't seem very reliable. Do I give this to my monored opponent so that I can get some blockers? How can they punish me with it? Is that effect even worth four mana? Time will tell.

Limited: 4.0

I think most decks should probably play this as it builds up to an insane board advantage on your half of the field while all that you are held back from doing is attacking with four power dudes that might kill this.

Mid
Low
 Anvilwrought Raptor
$0.22
$0.01
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Magic MTG Card Anvilwrought Raptor Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Anvilwrought Raptor

Constructed: 0

This is a heck of a lot better than Millennial Gargoyle, but that is not saying much and does not mean that the Raptor is actually primed for constructed play.

Limited: 2.5

I actually have ended up playing this guy more often than not thus far. Evasion is quite strong in this set and with first strike, this scales up very well with bestow creatures and other auras.

Mid
Low
 Bronze Sable
$0.17
$0.01
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Magic MTG Card Bronze Sable Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Bronze Sable

Constructed: 0

I once owned a silver Sable...a Mercury Sable that is. That baby was definitely constructed worthy.

Limited: 1.0

You really do not want to be the deck playing vanilla 2/1s for two mana in this format. Everything gets so big and fancy so quickly that small cards like this just don't do enough.

Mid
Low
 Burnished Hart
$1.24
$0.20
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Magic MTG Card Burnished Hart Magic MTG Card
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Burnished Hart

Constructed: 1

I really want this card to be good because I love the types of decks that take advantage of this kind of card. That said, it does ask that you play and protect a Grey Ogre for a turn which is not the easiest. In addition you need to invest basically two turns worth of mana before you get paid.

Limited: 4.0

I would think that basically every deck in the format should play this if they end up with it, save a few hyper-aggressive strategies. This just transitions you into the late game so quickly that the opponent has a hard time recovering.

Mid
Low
 Colossus of Akros
$1.19
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Magic MTG Card Colossus of Akros Magic MTG Card
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Colossus of Akros

Constructed: 1

I really like the design and impact of this guy. Of course, spending 18 mana on a creature is a lot, but then this basically just kills them. I don't think many decks will even want to consider this, but a few might at the very least.

Limited: 3.0

I actually think this guy is very reasonable in this format as you can play slow cards like this with many different deck types. Of course, some aggressive strategies won't even take a second look at this, but for the control player, this is a really dependable (albeit slow) win condition.

Mid
Low
 Flamecast Wheel
$0.23
$0.01
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Flamecast Wheel

Constructed: 0

No deck, even monored against a Kor Firewalker, is spending six mana for three damage to a creature.

Limited: 2.5

This is not the greatest removal in the world, but some decks will just want any removal they can find because good removal is a little scarce in this set. I would advise against letting this sit in play too long though as artifact removal is more maindecked than usual.

Mid
Low
 Fleetfeather Sandals
$0.19
$0.01
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Magic MTG Card Fleetfeather Sandals Magic MTG Card
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Fleetfeather Sandals

Constructed: 0

Haste is an ability that is oft sought after but you need the ability to come cheap because it is held back by the additional cost of the creature. This requires a total invest of four mana and at least two of that comes on the turn you're getting in there which is probably too much.

Limited: 3.0

Flying is the real winner here for limited where evasion is king. If you can take advantage of haste, by all means do so, but the flying is the main reason you are dipping into this.

Mid
Low
 Guardians of Meletis
$0.16
$0.01
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The Game Knights 1 $0.03
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Magic MTG Card Guardians of Meletis Magic MTG Card
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Guardians of Meletis

Constructed: 0

At two mana, Wall of Tanglecord was actually a pretty reasonable card for constructed. It blocked everything efficiently and could even get reach when it mattered. Losing that bonus and costing an entire mana more is too big of a hit for this to be a real consideration.

Limited: 1.5

While I am not a big fan of purely defensive cards in this format, this one can at least help a really slow deck to get a foothold against something aggressive. I would prefer this to start in my board, but when duty calls, etc.

Mid
Low
 Opaline Unicorn
$0.16
$0.01
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The Gaming Cantina 17 $0.05
castledenerds 1 $0.05
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Commander Sales 18 $0.05
Geek galaxy 1 $0.05
Mages Library 19 $0.05
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Magic MTG Card Opaline Unicorn Magic MTG Card
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Opaline Unicorn

Constructed: 1

We had this card in standard as a 2/2 with a relevant creature type and it never saw play in a world that was probably more friendly to that type of card. I suspect people that want access to this would turn to something like Darksteel Ingot

Limited: 3.0

I really like this card in limited a lot. Fixing is never a bad thing and accelerating your mana is of utmost importance in this format where a turn or two extra of monstrous can be the deciding factor.

Mid
Low
 Prowler's Helm
$0.34
$0.07
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Magic MTG Card Prowler's Helm Magic MTG Card
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Prowler's Helm

Constructed: 0

This is a pretty strange piece of equipment to say the least. While this might basically be unblockable, it is still not efficient enough for constructed play.

Limited: 3.0

This is very close to unblockable in limited as well. Remember, this does not say defender, but rather Walls. While all walls are defenders, many defenders are not walls, so double check!

Mid
Low
 Pyxis of Pandemonium
$0.35
$0.10
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Magic MTG Card Pyxis of Pandemonium Magic MTG Card
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Pyxis of Pandemonium

Constructed: 1

This is an extremely strange card with some huge upside to it if you can jump through the implied hoops. While I don't think this will see heavy play, some brave deck builder out there might figure out how to use this.

Limited: 0

Even if you go through the work of setting this up to score a few five drops or whatever, your opponent could have done the same. This is very inconsistent and swingy, so I would avoid it when you can.

Mid
Low
 Traveler's Amulet
$0.16
$0.01
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Traveling Merchant 21 $0.04
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Magic MTG Card Traveler's Amulet Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Traveler's Amulet

Constructed: 1

This type of effect wants to cost one mana to be constructed playable but this is close and could easily see play in some type of trinket deck.

Limited: 2.0

You probably only want to include this in your deck when you reach into a third color as it is not really worth the investment of a card in most two color decks unless you are shaving a land for it.

Mid
Low
 Witches' Eye
$0.23
$0.01
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Ghost and Jester 2 $0.05
Golden Phoenix Games 5 $0.05
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Magic MTG Card Witches' Eye Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Witches' Eye

Constructed: 0

While this has some really cool flavor and a neat top down, the investment of three mana and a tapped creature to get your first scry for one is a bit extreme. The upkeep of one mana and one creature per further scry is not exactly a steal either.

Limited: 2.0

I feel very similar about this in limited as I do in constructed. It is difficult committing so many resources to such a small output. I would generally steer clear of this unless you have some combos with it (such as getting +2/+0 and first strike, wink wink.)

Mid
Low
 Temple of Deceit
$2.12
$0.90
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Magic MTG Card Temple of Deceit Magic MTG Card
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The Temples

(Temple of Abandon, Temple of Deceit, Temple of Mystery, Temple of Silence, Temple of Triumph)

Constructed: 3

These things should be really instrumental in Standard, especially when all 10 color combinations are out. You obviously can't go overboard on these because they do come with a real downside, but they are still excellent source of draw smoothing regardless. I can't imagine these lands having too large of an impact in older formats where the tempo loss from a land that enters the battlefield tapped can be too much to recover from.

Limited: 2.5

I would mostly just be interested in these when I am both colors as scrying one is not really worth the tempo loss. That said if you are monocolored and can afford a spiffy land or two, these work.

Mid
Low
 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
$25.99
$19.29
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Magic MTG Card Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Constructed: 3.5

This card has a lot to prove, but its potential is through the roof. Imagine activating this for five as early as turn two and you can see where this thing may be absurd. Elvish Mystic into two Burning-Tree Emissary, activate Shrine for five, play Kalonian Hydra. That may not be Tendrils of Agony or Emrakul, but a turn two five-drop in Standard is crazy.

Limited: ?

This is 100% dependent on how dedicated to a single color you want to be. At its best, this is going to have you going monstrous on turn five or whatever. At its worst, it is a colorless basic. You need to know the makeup of your deck to determine not only how much mana this can make, but what you can do with all that mana.


Top 8 Constructed Cards

Now that all that rating of cards is done, how about we rank them instead?! Theros has had some really strong cards in it for constructed spanning all five colors. Picking just one card to stand above the rest is a task nearly impossible to overcome, so how about we do just that!

8: The Temples
7: Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
6: Purphoros, God of the Forge
5: Fleecemane Lion
4: Stormbreath Dragon
3: Elspeth, Sun's Champion
2: Sylvan Caryatid
1: Thoughtseize

There were so many close calls to make it on to this list that I wanted to at least give shout outs to all of these all-star cards that should be fun to play with over the next two years:

Xenagos, the Reveler
Whip of Erebos
Magma Jet
Thassa, God of the Sea
Polukranos, World Eater
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Dissolve
Hero's Downfall

Looking Forward

As Innistrad leaves Standard and Theros is ushered in, it is safe to say that some things are going to change. With nearly seven hundred cards leaving the format and three hundred more entering it, we need to turn to the stable core that is not shifting around. That means we are talking about Ravnica block and M14. Ravnica offers some of the best control cards we have seen in a long time and even though aggro is also supported just fine, few things compete with the likes of Sphinx's Revelation, Supreme Verdict, and Jace, Architect of Thought.

So I would argue that Ravnica has a slight control bias to it. Without factoring in what Theros will do then, it would make sense that the format would slow down a little bit and blue would probably become top dog again. I would argue that blue got the overall worst pool of cards from Theros, even though it did get some cool toys. Hopefully this balances things out and helps other colors as well.

For example, almost every color seems to have a two power creature for one mana in this set. While those cards alone cannot get an aggro deck on the map, they can be big incentives toward doing so. Other creature based incentives like Xenagos should fuel that fire as well. Also, with devotion being a central mechanic of the set, permanents are generally of more value right now, which aggressive and midrange decks have easy access to.

Control decks will be looking to use devotion too, just in a different capacity. As a result, I expect a lot of creature permanent versus noncreature permanent battling over the next few months at the very least. One side will looking to mass up an army of devoted creatures while the other will be looking to sweep those creatures away and maintain their enchantments and planeswalkers to help devotion. I would expect this to be the foundation that shapes the format and gives us a jump off point to begin the cycle of countering and counter-countering.

I hope everyone is enjoying the new set as I feel it has a lot of cool cards to explore. Pro Tour Theros is in just a few weeks where we will get a good grasp of what Standard will look like moving forward. Until then, have some fun with the format and as always, thanks for reading!

--Conley Woods--