Recommend
14 
 Thumb up
 Hide
31 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Magic: The Gathering» Forums » General

Subject: Innistrad Limited Set Review rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Tommy Occhipinti
United States
Decorah
Iowa
flag msg tools
Magic Fanboy
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is a card by card review of the contents of the newest Magic set, Innistrad. It should be noted that I am by no measure a pro Magic player, and as such you should not take my word here as gospel. Indeed, the biggest reason I am writing this is to practice my card evaluation skills before I look at the "real" Magic players' reviews of Innistrad. I will be particularly interested in the reviews by LSV and Limited Resources.

Anywho, this set review entirely concerns the value of the cards herein in limited, that is sealed and draft. I will not speculate about their value in constructed, as that really does not interest me. As such, I will use the following scale to rate each card. I believe this scale originates in Magic R&D, but my description is lifted from LSV's set review (and tweaked slightly). I've lifted the descriptions of the cards from MTGSalvation's spoilers. Thank you MTGS. Apologies in advance for the undoubtedly numerous typos present below!

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: If I open this in pack 3 and I'm not in this color, I might still take it.

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%).

???: The value of this card depends so wildly on what is in your deck that rather than giving it a numeric rating I have just described when it should be played and when it shouldn't, perhaps giving it ratings in various cases.

Name: Abbey Griffin
Cost: 3{W}
Type: Creature - Griffin
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: Flying, vigilance
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- I'm a big fan of Vigilance, but a two toughness creature is not the place for it. The vigilance may prove relevant if there are a lot of 4/2's or 5/1's in the set, as this could bash every turn, and stop them from attacking in. Ultimately, a 2 power flier for 4 that doesn't block well is not exciting, but you could do worse.


Name: Angel of Flight Alabaster
Cost: 4W
Type: Creature - Angel
Pow/Tgh: 4/4
Rules Text: Flying
At the beginning of your upkeep, return target Spirit card from your graveyard to your hand.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.0 -- A 4/4 flier for 5 at one color depth? I'm sold. As the Limited Resources gang likes to say, this already passes the "Vanilla test" because even without the fancy ability, this is already easily first pickable. The ability is also pretty awesome as long as you pick this early enough, because then you can look to build around this (by prioritizing Spirits).


Name: Angelic Overseer
Cost: 3{W}{W}
Type: Creature - Angel
Pow/Tgh: 5/3
Rules Text: Flying
As long as you control a Human, Angelic Overseer has hexproof and is indestructible.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 3.5 -- Another creature that immediately passes the Vanilla test, a 5/3 flier for 5 is excellent value. The upside here is even highly relevant, as humans are centered in white, so just by playing white you are quite likely to have a large number of them. Thus, I expect this to almost always be a 5/3 hexproof indestructible flier for 5, which is just absurd. I'm quite frightened to play against this card, as it seems there are very few answers to it.


Name: Avacynian Priest
Cost: 1{W}
Type: Creature - Human Cleric
Pow/Tgh: 1/2
Rules Text: {1}, {T}: Tap target non-Human creature.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.0 -- Another card in the long lineage of Master Decoy. Unfortunately, the restriction that it can't tap humans, combined with its 1 power, make it one of the less impressive members of the family. Even so, this should rarely be a total blank, and in many circumstances it will be amazing. Note, in particular, that werewolves are only human on their day side, so this can deal with the scary side. At the end of the day, bad Master Decoy is probably still a first pick quality card. There is the nice bonus that you don't need colored mana to activate it.


Name: Bonds of Faith
Cost: 1{W}
Type: Enchantment - Aura
Rules Text: Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 as long as it's a Human. Otherwise, it can't attack or block.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.5 -- Immediately after a twist on Master Decoy, we get a twist on another classic white common removal spell, Pacifism. It is worded to make it seem like this variation is an improvement, since, hey, you can also play it on your creatures, but if I try to think of times I'd rather have Goblin War Paint over Pacifism, I can't really think of any where I'm not already crushing the game. As mentioned, the day side of werewolves is human, so if you are trying to deal with your opponent's wolves this is a terrible card to do it with, since if they flip them back to the day side suddenly you are helping your opponent beat you down, and that is just awful. Still, this will work as removal on an awful lot of creatures, and one-for-one removal is usually awesome. One thing to keep an eye on in that department is that there is a lot of token generation surrounding the zombie theme, and 1-1 removal is awful against tokens.


Name: Champion of the Parish
Cost: {W}
Type: Creature - Human Soldier
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Whenever another Human enters the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on Champion of the Parish.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 1.5 -- This card clearly wants to be in a deck with a lot of humans. If I have a lot of humans, I'll be tempted to pick this, and run it. The worst case scenario of this card, though, is a 1/1 for 1, which is just unacceptably awful. In that same department, this card makes an abysmal topdeck late in the game, providing at most a chump blocker. On the other hand, the best case scenario, where you play it turn one and then follow it up with a human each turn, is good but not terribly exciting either. As such, I couldn't be convinced that I should draft more humans because I had this card. I think, though, that a good chunk of the time you are in white you will have the amount of humans you need to make running this card worth it.


Name: Chapel Geist
Cost: 1{W}{W}
Type: Creature - Spirit
Pow/Tgh: 2/3
Rules Text: Flying
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- Two power fliers are good, and being a 2/3 is a significant bump over a 2/2. Still, the WW in the cost will prevent some decks from running this, as it will be tough to play while it is still relevant. This is solid curve filler for the decks that want it, but it isn't the most exciting creature ever.


Name: Cloistered Youth // Unholy Fiend
Cost: 1{W}
Type: Creature - Human // Creature - Horror
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: At the beginning of your upkeep, you may transform Cloistered Youth.//
At the beginning of your end step, you lose 1 life.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.0 -- This is a very cheap Hill Giant with a very minor downside. If you are interested in human tribal, you can even leave it face up, though I suspect that will rarely be the play. If your deck is going to want to be on the slower side, you might want to leave this one on the sideline.


Name: Dearly Departed
Cost: 4{W}{W}
Type: Creature - Spirit
Pow/Tgh: 5/5
Rules Text: Flying
As long as Dearly Departed is in your graveyard, each Human creature you control enters the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on it.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.0 -- I see this as a 5/5 flier for 6, and I'm sold on those grounds alone on playing this. Which is good, because the upside for this card is very minor, unless you get it in multiples, which will only happen in constructed. Still, a 5/5 flier for 6 will make me happy every day.


Name: Divine Reckoning
Cost: 2{W}{W}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Each player chooses a creature he or she controls. Destroy the rest.
Flashback {5}{W}{W}
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 1.0 -- We continue the theme of bad versions of famous white cards with a bad Day of Judgement / Wrath of God. In order for this effect to be good, you really need to expect that your best creature will be better than their best creature, which is hard to plan around, and I can only imagine that most of the time I draw this it will be a let down. The key role I see for this card is that it will be an excellent sideboard card against a deck that is producing a lot of tokens, and it seems quite possible those will exist.


Name: Doomed Traveler
Cost: {W}
Type: Creature - Human Soldier
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: When Doomed Traveler dies, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- A 1/1 for 1 is bad, a 1/1 flier for 1 is sometimes tolerable, so what if you stable both together? You get this guy, who, at a minimum gets you two chump blockers, and might also be able to do some of that human tribly stuff for you. For example, he can pick up some of the equipment that is better on humans, and be decent. He's not strong, but at least he is serviceable, and probably won't be a bad 23rd.


Name: Elder Cathar
Cost: 2{W}
Type: Creature - Human Soldier
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: When Elder Cathar dies, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control. If that creature is a Human, put two +1/+1 counters on it instead.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- As long as you have more humans, this is a pretty good deal. Even if you don't have many more humans, it is hard to imagine cutting this, as you always need more dudes, and this one does his job pretty well.

Name: Elite Inquisitor
Cost: {W}{W}
Type: Creature - Human Soldier
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: First strike, vigilance
Protection from Vampires, from Werewolves, and from Zombies.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 2.0 -- If I'm playing the sort of mana base where I can likely get this down on turn 2, I'm very happy to play this card, as if he hits on turn 2 he'll get to swing in at least a few times as an attacker. He wears the human equipment quite well, and his upside is very relevant. Even in decks where you can't get him out early, he will still make an excellent blocker against many decks, and will probably be worth running even if you likely won't see him until turn 4.


Name: Feeling of Dread
Cost: 1{W}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Tap up to two target creatures.
Flashback {1}{U}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- This is almost certainly unplayable if you don't have access to both white and blue, and even if you do this is much less impressive than the (not ultra appealing) Frost Breath from M12. I imagine this being a sideboard card used primarily to manipulate your opponent's werewolves (by keeping a spell cast every turn, or doing it twice quickly to turn them face down) rather than as something that is often main decked. If your deck is aggressive enough you could use this to punch through the last few points of damage, but it doesn't seem that likely you are trying to do that in a blue white deck. If you are, tapping down four opposing creatures at once won't be too shabby.


Name: Fiend Hunter
Cost: 1{W}{W}
Type: Creature - Human Cleric
Pow/Tgh: 1/3
Rules Text: When Fiend Hunter enters the battlefield, you may exile another target creature.
When Fiend Hunter leaves the battlefield, return the exiled card to the battlefield under its owner's control.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.5 -- Journey to Nowhere is good. Creatures are good. So Journey to Nowhere stapled to a creature must be good, right? Well, sadly, I think the answer is not as good as you'd hope. Here's the most likely scenario. They play some beastly horrible creature, you Fiend Hunter it, and you are excited because you have removed one of their toys. Unfortunately, now attacking for you is incredibly awkward. If they use instant speed removal to kill your fiend hunter, you are in bad shape because suddenly they have an extra scary blocker, and likely you get 2 for 1ed or worse. Plus, if you have some scary creature under the Fiend Hunter, are you really going to want to attack or block with it? That just seems way too risky most of the time. The time I see this card performing best is when it is exiling a werewolf. That way, when the creature comes back after they kill your fiend hunter it will be on the day side and hence hopefully easier to deal with. Still, even in the worst case where you play this and they use a removal spell to kill it, you're still getting a removal spell out of their hand and getting their creature out of the way for a little while, and you could do much worse than that. I'll note that the double color in the mana cost of this guy makes me think that Wizards thinks he is much better than I do. Time will tell, they did the same thing with Leonin Relic Warder.


Name: Gallows Warden
Cost: 4{W}
Type: Creature - Spirit
Pow/Tgh: 3/3
Rules Text: Flying
Other Spirit creatures you control get +0/+1.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.5 -- A 3/3 flier should probably cost 4, so we might hope to have a significant upside here, but this just isn't one. If you are playing a lot of spirits it won't be totally irrelevant, but it is certainly far less exciting than increasing their power. Still, I can't imagine cutting this very often, since 3 power evasive creatures still end games.


Name: Geist-Honored Monk
Cost: 3{W}{W}
Type: Creature - Human Monk
Pow/Tgh: */*
Rules Text: Vigilance
Geist-Honored Monk's power and toughness are each equal to the number of creatures you control.
When Geist-Honored Monk enters the battlefield, put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.

Rating: 3.0 -- This guy is the new Cloudgoat Ranger. In general I am always happy when creatures come into play with friends, because that way I come out ahead if they have one for one removal. In this case you come out way ahead because you're left with two 1/1 fliers, making this feel a bit like Spectral Procession. In any event, this guy is, at worst, a 3/3 with Vigilance, but is likely to be much better. Watch out for some really complicated combat acrobatics with this guy, since if he attacks as a 5/5, is blocked by a 4/4, but then they also trade with one of your other creatures he dies.


Name: Ghostly Possession
Cost: 2{W}
Type: Enchantment - Aura
Rules Text: Enchant creature
Enchanted creature has flying.
Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt to and dealt by enchanted creature.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- This seems like a Pacifism, except that your opponent still gets to block. Well, if that were true, this card would be Guard Duty, but this card is no where near as good as Guard Duty because you give them an incredibly potent blocker, especially given that many white decks will be trying to win through the air. You can also play this on your own creature, of course, but then you're spending two cards to get your own Fog Bank, which also seems awful. Temporal Isolation this is not.


Name: Intangible Virtue
Cost: 1{W}
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: Creature tokens you control get +1/+1 and have vigilance.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: ??? -- So, 99% of the time this is a 0.0. You would need a TON of creature tokens to make this worth a card. If, though, you are able to pick up a critical mass of Moan of the Unhalloweds you could just make this work. Even in the best case, though, I think this is still probably a 1.5. That means the few decks that want it will always be able to pick it up really late, which could be good for them. If you get two of these on the table you could get really abusive with it.


Name: Mausoleum Guard
Cost: 3{W}
Type: Creature - Human Scout
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: When Mausoleum Guard dies, put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.75 -- This is oodles of card advantage, 3 creatures for one card, but has the problem that none of the creatures are especially impressive for the four mana you invest in it. Basically, this gives you an awful lot of chump blockers, and possibly lets you push a bit of damage through. You'll probably run this more than half the time, but if you need to cut a four drop, this one will likely not mind leaving too badly. If you have things that love tokens, or love Spirits, this goes way up in value.


Name: Mentor of the Meek
Cost: 2W
Type: Creature - Human Soldier
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: Whenever another creature with power 2 or less enters the battlefield under your control, you may pay {1}. If you do, draw a card.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.0 -- If you trigger this even once you are happy, and with the abundance of tokens you are quite likely to be able to trigger it multiple times. Like many other utility creatures, this is likely to quickly draw out some of their best removal, which is quite fantastic value for a 3 drop. I see myself first picking this card a lot, but I don't think I would go through a lot of effort to build around it. I think most decks will run enough 2 or less power creatures on their own to make this card awesome.


Name: Mikaeus, the Lunarch
Cost: X{W}
Type: Legendary Creature - Human Cleric
Pow/Tgh: 0/0
Rules Text: Mikaeus, the Lunarch enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it.
{T}: Put a +1/+1 counter on Mikaeus.
{T}, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Mikaeus: Put a +1/+1 counter on each other creature you control.

Rating: 4.0 -- This is exactly the sort of card you want in limited, because it is good any turn you play it. If you have 5 lands, you get a 4/4, if you have 10 lands, you get a 9/9, if you have 2 lands you get a 1/1 with a suite of awesome abilities. The fact that his abilities don't require mana to activate is just gravy. He is very splashable, but how willing I would be to splash him would depend a lot on what the rest of my deck looked like. If I was short on game enders, or if I intended to have a lot of creature tokens, this would surely make the cut as the only white card.


Name: Midnight Haunting
Cost: 2{W}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.0 -- In Scars block this card would have been amazing, since so many of the creatures had toughness 1. Looking through the creatures in this set, though, there just aren't that many, and so a surprise 1/1 blocker, even one that flies, is not super exciting. If you have any sort of spirit/token tribal, of course, this can go up hugely in value.


Name: Moment of Heroism
Cost: 1{W}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Target creature gets +2/+2 and gains lifelink until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- If I'm playing white and I find a way to cut this, I am probably very happy with the draft overall. +2/+2 is enough to throw off your opponent's combat math easily, and the life gain could easily be enough to throw off their race math (i.e. their calculation of who will win if you both keep attacking full force). I suspect that resolving this will quite often elicit a huge groan from your opponent as their creature dies and you gain 5 life. This would be a great core set card.


Name: Nevermore
Cost: 1{W}{W}
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: As Nevermore enters the battlefield, name a nonland card.
The named card can't be cast.

Rating: 0.0 -- Absolutely not. Never ever. Your opponent would have to be running a deck with 10 copies of some single card to make this worth it, and that just isn't going to happen.


Name: Paraselene
Cost: 2{W}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Destroy all enchantments. You gain 1 life for each enchantment destroyed this way.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 0.5 -- Sideboard only, please. Unfortunately, as the white deck you are quite likely to have Bonds of Faith, so you'll have to be careful not to destroy your own enchantments if you side it in. All in all, I doubt this will be worth sideboarding in very often.


Name: Purify the Grave
Cost: {W}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Exile target card from a graveyard.
Flashback {W}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 0.5 -- Another sideboard card. It can eat two of their flashback cards, or counteract other shenanigans. It will probably take seeing a lot of potential targets to convince me to side this in, since it would be very unfortunate to have this sitting dead in your hand.


Name: Rally the Peasants
Cost: 2{W}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Creatures you control get +2/+0 until end of turn.
Flashback {2}{R}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.0 -- For those that don't know, there is a common cycle of flashback cards with ally color flashback costs and an uncommon cycle of flashback cards with enemy color flashback costs. For the uncommon cycle, I will rate them as though they didn't have flashback (since this is an ally colored set) and then at the end say how good it is if you actually do have access to the second color. As for this particular card, this effect is always way worse than it sounds. Usually, you spend a card so that you can trade your creature for their better one, but in doing so you are 2 - 1ing yourself (or 3 - 2 ing, etc...). The fact that it has flashback is a nice bonus, in the cases where you are playing both white and red. In those cases the value of this card jumps up considerably, as then you can use the threat of activating this to manipulate combat in your favor, or just activate it twice in a row for a total blow out. In WR, this probably goes up to a 2.5.


Name: Rebuke
Cost: 2{W}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Destroy target attacking creature.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.0 -- This is one of the better pieces of removal in this set, which says a lot more about this set than it does about this card. It is still conditional removal, and requires you to leave mana up to use. It will likely be fairly telegraphed, and smart opponents will play around it, making it hard to get maximum value out of. Still, it is significantly better than Dispense Justice since you get to pick the creature!


Name: Selfless Cathar
Cost: {W}
Type: Creature - Human Cleric
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: {1}{W}, Sacrifice Selfless Cathar: Creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- This is not the best on board trick you could hope to have. There will be times when threat of activation gets you a bunch of extra damage through, but that won't happen often because you'll so rarely play it.


Name: Silence of Stone
Cost: 1{W}
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: Activated abilities of artifacts can't be activated.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 0.5 -- I'm being very generous here and imagining that your opponent could have several pieces of good equipment or cards like Cellar Door that you want to shut off. In those rare circumstances I could see sideboarding this in, but I think most of the time it will stay on the sidelines through the whole draft.

Name: Silverchase Fox
Cost: 1{W}
Type: Creature - Fox
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: {1}{W}, Sacrifice Silverchase Fox: Exile target enchantment.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- It doesn't take a lot of extra value to make a bear worth playing, and with all the curses and auras floating around in this set I would be happy to start this. If, after the first game, your opponent doesn't show you any targets you might consider sideboarding it out, but I expect there to be targets most of the time.


Name: Slayer of the Wicked
Cost: 3{W}
Type: Creature - Human Soldier
Pow/Tgh: 3/2
Rules Text: When Slayer of the Wicked enters the battlefield, you may destroy target Vampire, Werewolf, or Zombie.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.75 -- Ahh, a new Flametongue Kavu. It seems very likely this will be able to take out something of your opponent's whenever you cast it, and then it attacks or blocks fairly well. This is the classic high value two for one. I probably wouldn't play this as my only white card, but this would certainly make me look for a couple white cards to splash, and I might side it in as my only white card in the right match up. This is an easy first pick.


Name: Smite the Monstrous
Cost: 3{W}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Destroy target creature with power 4 or greater.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.5 -- Ahh, remember Reprisal? Well, this is not Reprisal. White gets a lot of conditional removal in this set, and this just continues that trend. Again, removal is good, and the restriction that you can only play it on really good creatures is not a deal breaker, though it is certainly a weakness. There may be matchups where you have to sideboard this card out, but I don't expect that to be common.

Name: Spare from Evil
Cost: 1{W}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Creatures you control gain protection from non-Human creatures until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.5 -- This is about the worst imaginable Safe Passage effect possible, since depending on the match up, it might do almost nothing. If, after a game, you find your opponent is playing a lot of non-Human creatures, this could be a good include because the upside is quite high. The issue is that you really want the flexibility to play this on offense or on defense, and those pesky opponents just don't tend to block the way you want them to. I think this is likely to be one of those cards that sees play just rarely enough that people won't play around it like they should, and get totally blown out by it.


Name: Spectral Rider
Cost: {W}{W}
Type: Creature - Spirit Knight
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: Intimidate
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.5 -- In many match ups this will just be an unblockable 2/2 for 2, which is quite good if you can get it down turn 2. Unfortunately, in those matches where your opponent can block this it is an awkward to cast Silvercoat Lion, which is just awful. If your mana base can support getting him down early, though, he is probably worth the risk, and you can sideboard him if they have ample blockers.

Name: Thraben Purebloods
Cost: 4{W}
Type: Creature - Hound
Pow/Tgh: 3/5
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- 3/5's are strong ground cloggers, and I probably value them more than most. That said, most decks don't have room for many 5 drops, and this is the mana range where a lot of the higher rarities really shine, so this will often be outclassed by other things in your pool.


Name: Thraben Sentry // Thraben Militia
Cost: 3{W}
Type: Creature - Human Soldier // Creature - Human Soldier
Pow/Tgh: 2/2 // 5/4
Rules Text: Vigilance
Whenever another creature you control dies, you may transform Thraben Sentry.//
Trample
Rarity: Common
Set Number: #38/264

Rating: 1.75 -- A vigilant 2/2 for 4 is pretty terrible, no doubt about it, but if you can flip him quickly you can get a lot of value out of a 5/4 trampler. Unfortunately, his transform condition, one of your guys dying, is very awkward. If it happens naturally (i.e. you trade one of your guys for one of theirs) then it is clearly an excellent deal, but if you are having to suicide one of your guys into the opponent, or sac a guy for minimal value, then it isn't a great deal. There is clear synergy between this card and the Morbid ability, so there are plenty of decks that would love to have this guy, but I think more often he will be one of the last includes as a curve filler.


Name: Unruly Mob
Cost: 1{W}
Type: Creature - Human
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Whenever another creature you control dies, put a +1/+1 counter on Unruly Mob.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- With lots of tokens, the value of this goes up considerably, but even without them you could do a lot worse than this guy. He won't start off very threatening, but he has the potential to get ridiculous. All that said, he will make a terrible late game draw, so he is not a tier one creature by any means.


Name: Urgent Exorcism
Cost: 1{W}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Destroy target Spirit or enchantment.
Rarity: Common

Rating: ??? -- Time will tell if this is a card you should start and sideboard out if they don't have targets for it, or start in the sideboard and bring in once you see targets. At least every color has spirits and every color has enchantments, and there are a lot of curses floating around, but it is clear not every deck will have targets for this.

Name: Village Bell-Ringer
Cost: 2{W}
Type: Creature - Human Scout
Pow/Tgh: 1/4
Rules Text: Flash
When Village Bell-Ringer enters the battlefield, untap all creatures you control.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.5 -- Even better Deceiver Exarch? Don't mind if I do! This has significant blowout potential, and seems harder to play around than Rebuke, since just not attacking isn't likely to be an option. This will be best in a deck with evasive creatures, so that you can attack and then produce a bunch of surprise blockers. It will do almost nothing in a total stall. Remember this guy now so you're not kicking yourself when you fall into it later!


Name: Voiceless Spirit
Cost: 2{W}
Type: Creature - Spirit
Pow/Tgh: 2/1
Rules Text: Flying, first strike
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- 3 mana for a 2 power flier with upside is right on curve. The first strike seems likely to be relevant if you hold this guy back on defense, or for making him a bad proposition to block. He won't be a high pick, but I expect he'll make great filler for white decks.


Name: Armored Skaab
Cost: 2{U}
Type: Creature - Zombie Warrior
Pow/Tgh: 1/4
Rules Text: When Armored Skaab enters the battlefield, put the top four cards of your library into your graveyard.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- This is a Horned Turtle that fills your graveyard. There are a lot of cards in this set that want to be in your graveyard, the most obvious being ones with flashback, but there are many others, such as green's penchant for counting the number of creatures in your graveyard, and blue's ability to cast super cheap creatures by exiling some number of creatures from the graveyard. A Horned Turtle is playable but not exciting, so how high you value this card will ultimately depend on how much use you can expect out of its coming into play ability, which is exactly how Magic cards should be.


Name: Back from the Brink
Cost: 4{U}{U}
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: Exile a creature card from your graveyard and pay its mana cost: Put a token onto the battlefield that's a copy of that card. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 2.5 -- I see, so the idea is that it gives my creatures flashback. Cute. This might be exactly the late game refill you need to push you through to victory, but it will take a turn before you start to realize that advantage. The biggest problem with this card is that it is blue, and blue has a huge theme of exiling the creatures in its graveyard, so if you are playing those come the time you get this out there won't actually be anything in your graveyard. In other words, the power level is there, but you have to consciously choose cards that don't work against it.


Name: Battleground Geist
Cost: 4{U}
Type: Creature - Spirit
Pow/Tgh: 3/3
Rules Text: Flying
Other Spirit creatures you control get +1/+0.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.5 -- 3 power fliers can end games quickly, and 5 is a reasonable price for a 3/3 flier. As it would happen, we also get a bonus for our other Spirit creatures, so whether this card is merely good or great will depend on how many of those you can pick up. A lot of spirits seem to come in the form of 1/1 flying tokens, which are clearly greatly improved by this guy.


Name: Cackling Counterpart
Cost: 1{U}{U}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Put a token onto the battlefield that's a copy of target creature you control.
Flashback {5}{U}{U}
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 2.5 -- The immediate thing to compare this to is Clone, except it's better, because it has flashback. But then it's worse, because it can only copy your creatures. But then it's better because it only costs 3. But then it's worse because it it gives you a token, and tokens are very vulnerable to bounce. But then it's better because you can do it as an instant speed trick. Ultimately, I think this card is much worse than Clone, but occupies a somewhat different space that still leaves the option for plenty of tricks. If you are playing a lot of creatures with neat comes into play abilities, or with abilities that stack well, this clearly goes up in value. There is a chance you can attack with your huge creature, let your opponent swing back thinking he is safe and then surprise him with a token that is a copy of your huge creature as a blocker, or just put a second huge creature into play at the end of your opponent's turn so that you can swing in with two big creatures instead of one. It's not spectacular, but I can't imagine cutting it in a deck with blue, since even though the color depth is 2 you're not likely to want to cast this turn 3 anyway.


Name: Civilized Scholar // Homicidal Brute
Cost: 2{U}
Type: Creature - Human Advisor // Human Mutant
Pow/Tgh: 0/1 // 5/1
Rules Text: {T}: Draw a card, then discard a card. If a creature card is discarded this way, untap Civilized Scholar, then transform it. //
At the beginning of your end step, if Homicidal Brute didn't attack this turn, tap Homicidal Brute, then transform it.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.5 -- This card is amazing. It is a Merfolk Looter with the potential upside that if your opponent makes the mistake of not leaving up a blocker it can bash for 5. Even better than previous looters with high power, this one can loot and then attack! Value city! Just be careful how you time your looting, since you don't want to loot at the end of your opponent's turn, discard a creature, and be stuck not being able to loot the next turn. Also worth noting is that this is a graveyard set, so where as usually you are sad to be throwing away some of your precious gems with a looter, here you might have cards you want to smuggle to your graveyard, and this is a fantastic way to accomplish that.


Name: Claustrophobia
Cost: 1{U}{U}
Type: Enchantment - Aura
Rules Text: Enchant Creature
When Claustrophobia enters the battlefield, tap enchanted creature.
Enchanted creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.5 -- This is incredibly strong removal for blue, but it requires a commitment to blue to take advantage of. The only creatures this does not work well against are those with annoying static abilities or activated abilities that do not require tapping. There is less blowout potential then with cards like Pacifism because even if they destroy the enchantment midcombat it does not untap the creature. The worst case would be that your opponent plays some Twiddle effect on it, but that seems unlikely.


Name: Curiosity
Cost: {U}
Type: Enchantment - Aura
Rules Text: Enchant creature
Whenever enchanted creature deals damage to an opponent, you may draw a card.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.5 -- Hmm, I think in horror movies usually Curiosity does not go well. Here it will be fine, but often unexciting. As long as you have a creature your opponent can't profitably block, you can slap this on while your opponent is tapped out and get your card back no problem. Unfortunately, to really maximize the use of this card, you need a creature that you can reliably get through to damage your opponent turn after turn, and if you have that you are probably already going to win. Still, as long as you have enough creatures with evasion it is fairly safe to include, and some portion of the time you'll get off two or three cards before your opponent has time to react, and when that happens you're very happy.


Name: Curse of the Bloody Tome
Cost: 2{U}
Type: Enchantment - Aura Curse
Rules Text: Enchant player
At the beginning of enchanted player's upkeep, that player puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
Rarity: Common

Rating: ??? -- First of all, note that you probably don't want to play this on your opponent. There are so many cards floating around that help you by having them in your graveyard, or reward you for having a lot of cards in your graveyard, that this is probably just not the block to try a mill strategy. So, of course, you want to play this on yourself. If your deck has enough cards with flashback and other perks, this is almost like drawing two extra cards per turn. Unfortunately, it will likely be difficult to get that density of cards in draft, and you do run the risk of decking yourself. Even if I thought I was the deck that could get away with playing one of these, I think I would prefer not to play two. There is also the fact that flashback costs tend to be very expensive, and you will likely have decked yourself before you can afford them. All in all, if you know what you're doing, this card will do good things for you, but it will often be worse than useless.


Name: Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration
Cost: {U}
Type: Creature - Human Wizard // Creature - Human Insect
Pow/Tgh: 1/1 // 3/2
Rules Text: At the beginning of your upkeep, look at the top card of your library. You may reveal that card. If an instant or sorcery is revealed this way, transform Delver of Secrets.//
Flying
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- Man, wouldn't a 3/2 flier attacking on turn 2 be sweet? Unfortunately, it is unlikely to happen. You have to play 17 lands, and probably at least 14 creatures (preferably more), which leaves you a meager 9 spots at most for instants and sorceries (and it is very unlikely to even be that many). So in the best case, that you are playing 9 instants and sorceries, and you have this guy in your hand and play it on turn 1, you are expecting that you'll have a 3/2 flier on turn 5. That best case scenario isn't so bad, I'd play a 3/2 flier which had Suspend 4 for U, and some other reasonable cost to cast it normally (like maybe 3UU or something). Unfortunately, this not so bad best case scenario is way better than typical, where you'll draw this card halfway through the game and be playing 4 or 5 instants or sorceries, and then this card is just awful. So, when will I play this? When my draft has gone so catastrophically wrong that I expect to be the underdog in each match, I will play this because it has some small chance of going off early and getting you a quick win, which is better than no chance! Certainly in those cases, though, I will feel very bad about it!


Name: Deranged Assistant
Cost: 1{U}
Type: Creature - Human Wizard
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: {T}, Put the top card of your library into your graveyard: Add {1} to your mana pool.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- We haven't had mana acceleration in blue in a while. As long as your deck can take advantage of the cards this throws in your graveyard, this is doing two nice things for you at once, which makes it a pretty good deal. I like this way better than Curse of the Bloody Tome since I can decide when to use it, and it helps me beyond just filling my graveyard. I think this guy can more or less be treated like a Llanowar Elves that costs a bit more and does a bit more.


Name: Dream Twist
Cost: {U}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Target player puts the top three cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
Flashback {1}{U}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.0 -- Try though I might, I just can't convince myself it is worth a card to put 6 cards in my graveyard, and I'm certainly not going to try milling my opponent in a graveyard set. I'm sure at some point I'll try playing this, but I expect to be disappointed.


Name: Forbidden Alchemy
Cost: 2{U}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Look at the top four cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest into your graveyard.
Flashback {6}{B}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.75 -- Instant speed Impulse that fills my graveyard? Yes please! 4 cards is a HUGE amount to dig, especially to dig at instant speed. I would easily play this even if I was just playing blue (and couldn't flash it back). I could even see splashing for this, but it would depend on my ability to use the three cards I threw in the graveyard. If you happen to be in UB, this just gets nuts.


Name: Fortress Crab
Cost: 3{U}
Type: Creature - Crab
Pow/Tgh: 1/6
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- Horned Turtle, now with 50% more horns? I really don't want to be playing a purely defensive creature most of the time, especially not one that costs 4 mana. If you really, really want the game to go long, you could do worse, but wow, it'd be hard. I can imagine boarding this in against a sufficiently aggressive opponent.


Name: Frightful Delusion
Cost: 2{U}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Counter target spell unless its controller pays {1}. That player discards a card.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- This is a weaker version of Dismal Failure (which is a pretty strong card). Unfortunately, Dismal Failure this is not. Early game this can be pretty backbreaking if your opponent is curving out well, but it will take exactly the right combination of plays (with you leaving 3 mana open early game!) for this perfect 2 for 1 to come true. Worse, once it does come true your opponent will easily play around it in future games and make you sadder. As it is nearly guaranteed to be a one for one, you could do worse, but this is still just not the sort of card I want to be playing.


Name: Grasp of Phantoms
Cost: 3{U}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Put target creature on top of its owner's library.
Flashback {7}{U}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.5 -- Putting a creature on top of your opponent's deck is HUGE. It gets it out of the way for a turn so it can't block, it stops them from drawing a card the next turn, and they likely have to spend all their mana to cast the creature all over again. The magnitude of this effect is quite comparable to Time Walk. Even better, this card doesn't just let you do all that once, it lets you do it TWICE. Late game, when you have gotten into a top deck war and things pushing towards a climax you get to deny your opponent drawing a card and clear out one of his blockers again. All for one card! A lot of people have drastically underestimated this card because of how high the flashback cost is, but I think it will come up quite often. This card does have some weaknesses, though, particularly if your opponent's deck is based around tokens. You really need a card to put on top of their deck, and you don't want that creature to have some potent coming into play ability.


Name: Hysterical Blindness
Cost: 2{U}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Creatures your opponents control get -4/-0 until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- It is really easy to read this card and picture your opponent alpha striking into you, playing it, and then blowing him out totally. Unfortunately, it is just very rare for someone to attack into a board full of blockers, so it is much more likely you'll play this on the offensive. Of course, in order for this to be good on the offensive, your opponent has to actually be blocking your creatures, which means that most of your creatures aren't fliers, which rules out most blue decks. In the right deck, though, this could be just what you need.


Name: Invisible Stalker
Cost: 1{U}
Type: Creature - Human Rogue
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Hexproof
Invisible Stalker is unblockable.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: ??? -- How valuable this card is really depends on your answer to just one question: How much equipment do you have? Naked, the invisible stalker is approximately worthless, but if you put some of the power boosting equipment that is better on humans on him, he will be very threatening. I'm particularly looking at Butcher's Cleaver here, since if you get an Invisible Stalker equipped with one of those I don't see how you could lose.


Name: Laboratory Maniac
Cost: 2{U}
Type: Creature - Human Wizard
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: If you would draw a card while your library has no cards in it, you win the game instead.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 1.0 -- In limited this guy is basically just a vanilla 2/2 for 3, unless you have stocked up on Curses of the Bloody Tome and the like. Blue could do worse than a 2/2 for 3, but you'll never be excited by it. I imagine once in a blue moon the ability will become relevant in a limited game and that will lead to some really amusing stories.

Name: Lantern Spirit
Cost: 2{U}
Type: Creature - Spirit
Pow/Tgh: 2/1
Rules Text: Flying
{U}: Return Lantern Spirit to its owner's hand.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.5 -- Under the pre-M10 combat rules, this guy would be nuts! But that is not the world we live in, so instead we basically have a nearly impossible to kill 2/1 flier that can chump forever, and attack for a moderate amount, if you are willing to sink the mana into him. Ultimately, I think that is still a pretty good bargain, as long you are willing to pay the price of leaving U up. Good filler with the potential to lock down and dominate the board in a long game.


Name: Lost in the Mist
Cost: 3{U}{U}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Counter target spell. Return target permanent to its owner's hand.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- This is an incredibly awkward card, stapling together two effects which really don't have any business being next to each other, and it will likely be very hard to get full value out of the bounce. On top of that, five mana is an awful lot to leave up to counter a spell your opponent might cast, and if they see through your game they may cast nothing, or cast something of little effect forcing you to choose between using this as a 5 mana Unsummon or wasting another turn leaving 5 mana up. Either way, it is just super awkward to find a position where this card is really what you want.


Name: Ludevic's Test Subject // Ludevic's Abomination
Cost: 1{U}
Type: Creature - Lizard // Creature - Lizard Horror
Pow/Tgh: 0/3 // 13/13
Rules Text: Defender
{1}{U}: Put a hatchling counter on Ludevic's Test Subject. Then if there are five or more hatchling counters on it, remove all of them and transform it.//
Trample
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 1.5 -- The effect here is undeniably powerful, but you spend a ton of your mana and give your opponent plenty of time to find an answer. The saving grace of this card is that its ability can be used at instant speed, so I would recommend just leaving it in play, and playing normally, using any mana you have left over at the end of your opponent's turn to put some hatchling counters on this guy. Most of the time, in response to you putting the fifth counter on it a piece of instant speed removal is going to fly out and kill this guy, but as long as you didn't let spending all that mana on him slow you down, you can be happy to have gotten your opponent to sink his premium removal on your two drop. Of course, from time to time, you're gonna get lucky and get to smash your opponent for 13 to the face, and then you'll be happy you went out on a limb for this guy. To summarize, I think this guy is fine, but I think a lot of players will play him poorly and get themselves blown out.


Name: Makeshift Mauler
Cost: 3{U}
Type: Creature - Zombie Horror
Pow/Tgh: 4/5
Rules Text: As an additional cost to cast Makeshift Mauler, exile a creature card from your graveyard.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- Of all the blue "exile a creature from your graveyard as a cost" creatures, this is the least appealing. In a deck with many other blue zombies he's gonna be cutting into your graveyard, and I'd rather save those delicious corpses for things like Stitched Drake. As a result, this guy probably wants to live in the non-Zombie blue decks.


Name: Memory's Journey
Cost: 1{U}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Target player shuffles up to three target cards from his or her graveyard into his or her library.
Flashback {G}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 0.0 -- This is intended as a sideboard card against reanimation / flashback based strategies, I guess. I'm certainly not casting it on myself. But I just can't imagine what my opponent could have that I would consider this an acceptable answer to, even if I could answer it twice!


Name: Mindshrieker
Cost: 1U
Type: Creature - Spirit Bird
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Flying
{2}: Target player puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard. Mindshrieker gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is that card's converted mana cost.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.0 -- This card is terrifying. Do you block it? What if he turns up something big? Do you not block it? What if he turns up something really big? The ability to activate it multiple times is also really frightening. This ability is good early and late game, so this is exactly the sort of card I want in limited. Doesn't it feel red though? These sort of erratic things that scare both players with the possibilities are usually red. Anyway, I'm still taking this pretty high, but I reserve the right to sob uncontrollably when my opponent blocks with with a 2/2 and I turn up three lands in a row.


Name: Mirror-Mad Phantasm
Cost: 3{U}{U}
Type: Creature - Spirit
Pow/Tgh: 5/1
Rules Text: Flying
{1}{U}: Mirror-Mad Phantasm's owner shuffles it into his or her library. If that player does, he or she reveals cards from the top of that library until a card named Mirror-Mad Phantasm is revealed. That player puts that card onto the battlefield and all other cards revealed this way into his or her graveyard.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 2.5 -- A 5/1 flier for 5 is pretty strong, I think, but I'd be really afraid to use the ability except in dire circumstances. Even if the ability is scary, though, it is all upside so it can only make the card better.


Name: Moon Heron
Cost: 3{U}
Type: Creature - Spirit Bird
Pow/Tgh: 3/2
Rules Text: Flying
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.5 -- This is a very efficiently costed beater that certainly wants you to be on the offensive. I expect all but the most control oriented decks will want this.


Name: Murder of Crows
Cost: 3{U}{U}
Type: Creature - Bird
Pow/Tgh: 4/4
Rules Text: Flying
Whenever another creature dies, you may draw a card. If you do, discard a card.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.5 -- This is absolutely amazing for an uncommon. Air Elemental was already incredibly strong, but now, on top of an incredibly strong attacker and blocker we also have an ability that smooths your draws and fills your graveyard. As I noted earlier, looting should be much stronger in this block that usual. I think this card is probably stronger than all but the best removal, and would certainly be worth playing as the only card of its color if it wasn't at two color depth. Easy first pick.


Name: Rooftop Storm
Cost: 5U
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: You may pay {0} rather than pay the mana cost for Zombie creature spells you cast.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 0.0 -- 6 Mana to make some small portion of my spells free? I think not. What if it were a large portion? Well then maybe, but if you look you'll notice many of the blue zombies require exiling creatures from your graveyard and many of the black zombies come attached to instants/sorceries, so you really aren't getting a bargain here any way you slice it.


Name: Runic Repetition
Cost: 2{U}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Return target exiled card with flashback you own to your hand.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 0.0 -- I think this card is probably a trap, since it looks quite appealing to get to cast your card with flashback two more times. Unfortunately, you can't use this until you have already flashbacked your card, and most flashback costs are quite high. As a result, this card probably isn't getting cast until you have more like 8 lands, and I just can't imagine putting something in my deck I can't get any value out of until that late. I also don't really want to be getting down something like Silent Departure...


Name: Selhoff Occultist
Cost: 2{U}
Type: Creature - Human Rogue
Pow/Tgh: 2/3
Rules Text: Whenever Selhoff Occultist or another creature dies, target player puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- This is a nice body for the cost, and the ability has potential to be relevant if you can take advantage out of milling yourself, say if you have some of those blue zombies. Note that this combines very well with Grasp of Phantoms, effectively turning it into hard removal.


Name: Sensory Deprivation
Cost: {U}
Type: Enchantment - Aura
Rules Text: Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets -3/-0.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- This wants to be removal, and it kind of is, but if the creature was at all sizable to start with it is still going to be a substantial blocker in your way for the rest of the game. In the worst case you'll have to use another spell to kill it before you can win, and that would be just awful. If you're the control deck that has a lot of high powered game ending threats, you'll probably be happy to have this. If you're trying to punch through for a quick game, this will probably lose a lot of value.


Name: Silent Departure
Cost: U
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Return target creature to its owner's hand.
Flashback {4}{U}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- Unsummon can be a pretty potent effect, in that it can slow down your opponent's assault or help you get your attackers through a stalled board. If you Unsummon a large creature, it eats up a lot of your opponent's next turn while they replay it. So, of course, being able to do this twice can just end the game if you are aggressive enough. The downside is that ultimately Unsummon effects are card disadvantage, and so every time you use one you are 0 for 1ing yourself. On top of that, this isn't even a true Unsummon effect because it is at sorcery speed instead of instant speed, which is a significant downgrade. Still, the bonus of being able to do it twice is significant, and I imagine quite a few blue decks will want one or two of these.

Name: Skaab Goliath
Cost: 5{U}
Type: Creature - Zombie Giant
Pow/Tgh: 6/9
Rules Text: As an additional cost to cast Skaab Goliath, exile two creature cards from your graveyard.
Trample
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.5 -- A 6/9 trampler is HUGE. Just about impossible to block profitably. It should be too hard to have two creatures in your graveyard come the time you have six mana either. But there is a problem, and the problem is that there are a lot of creatures in blue that require you to exile creatures from your graveyard, and they are all good. The reason this is a problem is that if you run too many of them, you'll never be able to play all of them and they'll be stuck in your hand. Thus, I think the key to these guys will be to either play only a couple, or to ensure you have a way of keeping your graveyard nice and full, like the earlier mentioned Deranged Assistant and Forbidden Alchemy.


Name: Skaab Ruinator
Cost: 1{U}{U}
Type: Creature - Zombie Horror
Pow/Tgh: 5/6
Rules Text: As an additional cost to cast Skaab Ruinator, exile 3 creature cards from your graveyard.
Flying
You may cast Skaab Ruinator from your graveyard.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 2.5 -- There is almost no way you're casting this anywhere near turn 3, which makes the vital part of the cost of this guy the creatures in your graveyard. Getting three creatures there will probably take you a while, but when you do you get quite a beast in a 5/6 flier. The upside that you can cast it from your graveyard will certainly not be irrelevant in long games. I think this card definitely wants to be built around more than the others in the cycle, so if you pick this guy early, look out for ways to make him good.


Name: Snapcaster Mage
Cost: 1{U}
Type: Creature - Human Wizard
Pow/Tgh: 2/1
Rules Text: Flash
When Snapcaster Mage enters the battlefield, target instant or sorcery card in your graveyard gains flashback until end of turn. The flashback cost is equal to its mana cost.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 2.5 -- Okay, lets face it, this is a $25 card, probably you are just going to take it if you open it and not look back. How good is it in draft, though? Well, that depends of course on how many instants/sorceries you have, but at a minimum this is a 2/1 with flash for 1U, which seems quite serviceable as a surprise blocker. On top of that you might also get to reuse an instant/sorcery you otherwise might not have. It is hard to plan in advance what you might use, but once you have, say, 6 mana up you should have a lot of flexibility.


Name: Spectral Flight
Cost: 1{U}
Type: Enchantment - Aura
Rules Text: Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has flying.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- How good does an aura have to be before it is not totally unplayable? The answer continues to be really, really good, and I don't think this card quite gets there, but it gets closer than most of the cards Wizards has printed. I think the ideal aura is a very expensive one that turns some early game creature that no longer has any relevance into a huge beating. Here we have the opposite, with an aura that wants to take up one of your early turns, probably one of the first three, to get you off to an early lead. Sometimes, this will work fabulously and the game will be over before it really begins. Particularly when you're on the other side of this card, that will make it very tempting to think this card is incredibly strong. Quite often, though, a game that starts off with auraing up some creature with this will be answered instantly with removal, giving the opponent a huge tempo boost. Ultimately, this card is high risk, high reward, but I think it falls shy of being worth it.


Name: Stitched Drake
Cost: 1{U}{U}
Type: Creature - Zombie Drake
Pow/Tgh: 3/4
Rules Text: As an addition cost to cast Stitched Drake, exile a creature card from your graveyard.
Flying
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.5 -- This, like the Goliath, is an easy include as a one of, because, lets face it, something is going to die. I can certainly imagine getting stuck with this guy in my hand, but I think it is much less likely than the others. As one would expect, though, less risk, less reward. A 3 power flier is still nothing to scoff at though, and I think at least two of these could go in any blue deck. Best to treat them as four or five drops, though, for curve purposes, since you're unlikely to cast them turn 3.

Name: Stitcher's Apprentice
Cost: 1{U}
Type: Creature - Homunculus
Pow/Tgh: 1/2
Rules Text: {1}{U}, {T}: Put a 2/2 blue Homunculus creature token onto the battlefield, then sacrifice a creature.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- This is a weird card, especially at common. The tokens it makes are just bad enough that they probably aren't a good substitute for the creatures they're replacing, but it does give you an infinite number of turns of chumping one guy, by sacing one chumper for a homunculus, and then next turn chumping with the homunculus and sacing it for a new homunculus. By itself, this is alright but not super impressive, but this enables a few things in the set. For one, if you have one of those zombies that requires you to exile creatures from your graveyard, you can use this to fill up your graveyard at minimal loss. As a second, you can always put the homunculus in play and immediately sacrifice it so that you can always have Morbid active for 1U, which is not a bad deal either. Ultimately, I think this guy is going to do enough little things you'll always want him around, but he won't do anything jaw droppingly awesome.


Name: Sturmgeist
Cost: 3{U}{U}
Type: Creature - Spirit
Pow/Tgh: */*
Rules Text: Flying
Sturmgeist's power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand.
Whenever Sturmgeist deals combat damage to a player, draw a card.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 1.5 -- This is an odd combination of abilities. On the one hand, it draws you cards, which is always a good thing in Magic, but on the other it encourages you not to play the cards in your hand, which is really bad. After all, what are cards for? Still, even if this is only a 2/2 flier that draws you a card when it hits, you could do much worse.


Name: Think Twice
Cost: 1{U}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Draw a card.
Flashback {2}{U}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.5 -- This card was an all star in Time Spiral and will probably be an all star again. The fact that it is an instant is a huge key, because you can play it with your extra mana at the end of your opponent's turn. New to Innistrad, you can easily use this card to manipulate werewolves, by casting it when no spells are cast to keep them on the day side, or by casting it and immediately flashing it back to turn them back to the day side the next turn. This card also works particularly well with any sort of looting effect, since you can discard it with essentially no loss, and then flash it back for the card later. All in all, a super star of a card, mostly thanks to its versatility.

Name: Undead Alchemist
Cost: 3{U}
Type: Creature - Zombie
Pow/Tgh: 4/2
Rules Text: If a Zombie you control would deal combat damage to a player, instead that player puts that many cards from the top of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
Whenever a creature card is put into an opponent's graveyard from his or her library, exile that card and put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token onto the battlefield.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: ??? -- What an awkward effect. I'm not a huge fan of having all the damage I'm doing prevented, but the bonus of milling them and getting you a bunch more zombies to mill them more to get you more zombies is pretty nice. You do run the risk of helping your opponent by flooding his graveyard, but hopefully you are milling him fast enough that he can't overcome it. What really sells me, though, is that if eventually he does kill this, you still got a bunch of zombies out of the deal, so you shouldn't complain too much. This all requires you to have more than just this lone 4/2 to get the job done, though, because if they just block and kill him its not exciting. Really, then, you want to have a small band of zombies, preferably some of the evasive ones, so that when this comes down it hits hard.

Name: Abattoir Ghoul
Cost: 3{B}
Type: Creature - Zombie
Pow/Tgh: 3/2
Rules Text: First strike
Whenever a creature dealt damage by Abattoir Ghoul this turn dies, you gain life equal to that creature's toughness.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.5 -- 3 power of first striker is hard to deal with in combat, particularly if it is a blocker. The life gain is a nice (though awkwardly implemented) bonus. I think this will more often than not want to be on defense, but makes a strong enough attacker that it can go in just about any deck.


Name: Altar's Reap
Cost: 1{B}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: As an additional cost to cast Altar's Reap, sacrifice a creature.
Draw two cards.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- The most obvious comparison to this card is Vivisection, from Mirrodin Besieged, but I think this is actually much better because it is an instant. As such, you can chump block with a creature and sac it to Altar's Reap before damage is dealt. Another relevant feature is that since this only costs 2 you can use it to trigger morbid, and still have the mana up to play the spell you want to trigger morbid on.


Name: Army of the Damned
Cost: 5{B}{B}{B}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Put thirteen 2/2 black Zombie creature tokens onto the battlefield tapped.
Flashback {7}{B}{B}{B}
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 1.5 -- This is clearly an incredibly powerful effect, but the cost of 8 is quite steep, and so if you are going to play this you have to make sure you have a deck capable of surviving until you have 8 lands. If you do resolve this, you pretty much win if you untap your next turn. There is a bit of give, and I'm sure someone will survive the initial onslaught of zombies, but I suspect few will survive two onslaughts of zombies.


Name: Bitterheart Witch
Cost: 4{B}
Type: Creature - Human Shaman
Pow/Tgh: 1/2
Rules Text: Deathtouch
When Bitterheart Witch dies, you may search your library for a Curse card, put it onto the battlefield attached to target player, then shuffle your library.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.5 -- Naturally, this is great if you have a curse card that you want to tutor up, and pretty mediocre if you don't. Unfortunately, most of the good curses seem to be rare, so I think you will need something lucky in your pile for this to shine.


Name: Bloodgift Demon
Cost: 3{B}{B}
Type: Creature - Demon
Pow/Tgh: 5/4
Rules Text: Flying
At the beginning of your upkeep, target player draws a card and loses 1 life.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.5 -- Wow! 5 power in the air and it draws you a card every turn? This is pretty clearly an incredibly powerful card that will just win you the game if it is not answered. Windmill slam first pick.


Name: Bloodline Keeper // Lord of Lineage
Cost: 2{B}{B}
Type: Creature - Vampire
Pow/Tgh: 3/3 // 5/5
Rules Text: Flying
{T}: Put a 2/2 black Vampire creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
{B}: Transform Bloodline Keeper.
Activate this ability only if you control five or more vampires.//
Flying
Other Vampire creatures you control get +2/+2.
{T}: Put a 2/2 black Vampire creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.0 -- This card is good. It is vaguely possible your opponent can weather you getting a 2/2 flier every turn, but if you get this transformed your opponent is going to have a bad day. This is clearly going to happen sooner if you have other vampires, so this card will be by far the best if it isn't on its own.


Name: Brain Weevil
Cost: 3{B}
Type: Creature - Insect
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Intimidate
Sacrifice Brain Weevil: Target player discards two cards. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- I think this is mostly just a worse Mind Rot. 4 mana for a 1/1 with a minor evasion ability is not exciting, and the upside really doesn't seem to be there. I feel like I'm missing something with this card, but I felt the same way about Dementia Bat, and I think this card is far better than that. Still, it is going to be a sad day if I end up maindecking this.


Name: Bump in the Night
Cost: {B}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Target opponent loses 3 life.
Flashback {5}{R}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- First of all, I think this is probably just unplayable if you don't have access to both black and red mana. After that, this is mostly just a slight twist on Lava Axe. Occasionally the 3 damage for one mana will be enough to kill your opponent, but 3 damage is just not enough for a card. Just like Lava Axe I think this card will sometimes be correct (when you plan on doing a lot of damage very quickly, and need reach to ensure your opponent's demise) and usually be bad, since doing direct damage to your opponent doesn't affect the board or game state. Like Lava Axe, these will probably also be better in multiples.


Name: Corpse Lunge
Cost: 2{B}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: As an additional cost to cast Corpse Lunge, exile a creature card from your graveyard.
Corpse Lunge deals damage equal to the exiled card's power to target creature.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.5 -- Again we find the removal in this set not quite doing everything we hope it would, but this should be able to take down a lot of things, particularly if you have any way of filling your graveyard. It is splashable, so you might just find yourself playing this as the only card of its color if you are short on removal, particularly if you have some large creatures. Any deck with green would probably be happy to splash this.


Name: Curse of Death's Hold
Cost: 3BB
Type: Enchantment - Aura Curse
Rules Text: Enchant Player
Creatures enchanted player controls gets -1/-1.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 2.0 -- The effect is clearly a good one, but the mana cost is quite oppressive. Is this THAT much better than Glorious Anthem? I don't think so, but still I think this would make a fine 23rd card. I would like it a lot more if we saw a lot of 1 toughness creatures like in Scars, but they seem few and far between. This card will be particularly effect against tokens.


Name: Curse of Oblivion
Cost: 3{B}
Type: Enchantment - Aura Curse
Rules Text: Enchant player
At the beginning of enchanted player's upkeep, that player exiles two cards from his or her graveyard.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.5 -- This is purely a sideboard card, but at four mana I'm not sure I'm going to be that excited to board it in even when it is relevant. I think I will have to think very carefully after a game before deciding to put this in.


Name: Dead Weight
Cost: {B}
Type: Enchantment - Aura
Rules Text: Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets -2/-2.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.5 -- I've always been happy to play Weakness, and this is strictly better than that! This can outright kill many threats, from utility creatures to medium size fliers, and it effectively neutralizes a lot of larger creatures. The flexibility to play it post combat and use it as a black shock is particularly handy. It is an interesting question whether this is better than Disfigure in the abstract, but as Disfigure isn't in this set, I'll leave that for the philosophers.


Name: Diregraf Ghoul
Cost: {B}
Type: Creature - Zombie
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: Diregraf Ghoul enters the battlefield tapped.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.0 -- A bear is a bear, and that's all this really is. Draft decks probably won't be fast enough to really take advantage of the incredibly efficient cost of this creature, but they'll still play it.


Name: Disciple of Griselbrand
Cost: 1{B}
Type: Creature - Human Cleric
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: {1}, Sacrifice a creature: You gain life equal to the sacrificed creature's toughness.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.0 -- I think this card exists primarily to enable Morbid, since if you keep around you will always have something you can give up to get your Morbid trigger. Of course, if you sacrifice this to itself to get Morbid you've gotten a really bad deal (like using Taste of Blood to enable bloodthirst), so you should probably be sacrificing something else. Once you give in and play this, you can get a lot of random value by sacrificing your creatures before the die in combat so that you can get some incidental lifegain. This will probably be pretty awful more often than not, but if you have a lot of morbid you want to enable, I could see making room for this guy.


Name: Endless Ranks of the Dead
Cost: 2BB
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: At the beginning of your upkeep, put X 2/2 black zombie creature tokens onto the battlefield, where X is half the number of the zombies you control, rounded down.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: ??? -- If you have enough zombies that this will get you even one zombie per turn, it is excellent, because then eventually it will get you even more zombies. Unfortunately, if you don't have at least two zombies, this is just a totally dead card, which is really really terrible. You can make it work, but most of the time this will probably not be playable.


Name: Falkenrath Noble
Cost: 3{B}
Type: Creature - Vampire
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: Flying
Whenever Falkenrath Noble or another creature dies, target player loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.5 -- This is a decent combination of a 2 power flier with some nice reach that will likely add up over the time it stays in play.


Name: Ghoulcaller's Chant
Cost: {B}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Choose one - Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand; or return two target Zombie cards from your graveyard to your hand.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- It is important to realize, before looking at this card, just how much better Morbid Plunder is than Disentomb. For the record, I would probably give Morbid Plunder a 2.5 or 3.0, and Disentomb a 1.25 or so. This card is, of course, better than Disentomb, but only if you have at least two zombies in your graveyard. Even when you do, most of the zombies are pretty weak and small, so you're likely to take one better creature back instead of two zombies. The value of this card will spike when you have some of the better zombies to return, such as Abattoir Ghoul and Ghoulraiser. Do note that there are only 3 black zombies at common, and one of them is unplayable, so don't expect to get the value on this card without trying.


Name: Ghoulraiser
Cost: 1{B}{B}
Type: Creature - Zombie
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: When Ghoulraiser enters the battlefield, return a Zombie card at random from your graveyard to your hand.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- Gravedigger has always been awesome, and this guy is slightly cheaper, but also gives you back something random. Even if the something random you get back is a Diregraf Ghoul, though, you're doing pretty well value wise. The only situation to really avoid is playing this when you don't expect to have any zombies to bring back. As noted above, there are only two playable common black zombies (and this is one of them!) so don't take for granted that this guy is worth including. If you are the UB zombie deck, though, you can use the blue zombies to exile the bad zombies from your graveyard so that you can control which creature you "randomly" get back, which is pretty neat.


Name: Gruesome Deformity
Cost: {B}
Type: Enchantment - Aura
Rules Text: Enchant creature
Enchanted creature has intimidate.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.25 -- This can only be a sideboard card, at best, since often your opponent will overlap colors with you, leaving you very few choices of which creature to put this on. Even when your opponent doesn't overlap colors with you, though, this is still a pretty awful value, since it falls victim to all the usual problems of auras. Worse, in order to be at all good, you have to put this aura on a good creature, which just makes it far too sweet for your opponent to remove. I'd be most inclined to sideboard this in if my deck was loaded with Markov Patricians and Rotting Fensnakes, which I don't expect to happen super often.


Name: Heartless Summoning
Cost: 1{B}
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: Creature spells you cast cost {2} less to cast.
Creatures you control get -1/-1.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 0.0 -- If you could somehow guarantee you'd always have this in your starting hand we'd have something to talk about, but as it stands I just can't imagine the limited deck that runs this.


Name: Liliana of the Veil
Cost: 1{B}{B}
Type: Planeswalker - Liliana
Loyalty: 3
Rules Text: +1: Each player discards a card.
-2: Target player sacrifices a creature.
-6: Separate all permanents target player controls into two piles. That player sacrifices all permanents in the pile of his or her choice.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 3.5 -- This is not as obviously splashy as a lot of planeswalkers have been, but all of her abilities are clearly relevant in draft. The first ability can, if you build your deck around it, be good for you and bad for your opponent. The second ability can be devastating (and you can even do it right away). If you manage to ultimate her it will be pretty hard for your opponent to get back in the game. As always, it is pretty hard to go wrong picking a planeswalker.


Name: Manor Skeleton
Cost: 1{B}
Type: Creature - Skeleton
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Haste
{1}{B}: Regenerate Manor Skeleton
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- If your goal is to stall out the ground, one or two of these won't hurt. Unfortunately, two mana is an awful lot to leave up for regeneration, and so I think most decks will look for a way to cut these guys.


Name: Markov Patrician
Cost: 2{B}
Type: Creature - Vampire
Pow/Tgh: 3/1
Rules Text: Lifelink
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- For one more mana your Child of Night gets one bigger. Sure. This trades fairly well, and gets you 3 life in the process. The downside is it is likely to trade for one of their worse creatures if you attack with it, on account of its 1 toughness. Still its solid filler for your 3 drop slot.


Name: Maw of the Mire
Cost: 4{B}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Destroy target land. You gain 4 life.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.5 -- This is not aggressively costed, and I want nothing to do with spending my fifth turn blowing up one of my opponent's lands (and gaining 4 life). The only reason I gave this a notch above unplayable is that this set has a cycle of rare lands with particularly boardwarping abilities, such as Kessig Wolf Run. I don't expect it to come up often, but this could be a sideboard card against those, as there aren't many ways to interact with lands in limited.


Name: Moan of the Unhallowed
Cost: 2{B}{B}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Put two 2/2 black Zombie creature tokens onto the battlefield.
Flashback {5}{B}{B}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.5 -- Whenever a single card gives you two bodies, it is always worth investigating. This is because if your opponent answers it with one for one removal, you inherit some card advantage. This card does way more than that, because this single card can give you up to 4 bodies, in a two part installment plan. Plus, at 2/2 the bodies are substantial enough to trade with some decent things, making this a pretty good value.


Name: Morkrut Banshee
Cost: 3{B}{B}
Type: Creature - Spirit
Pow/Tgh: 4/4
Rules Text: Morbid - When Morkut Banshee enters the battlefield, if a creature died this turn, target creature gets -4/-4 until end of turn.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.5 -- Flametongue Kavu number two for this set. This sort of two for one is always incredible, and this card will kill almost anything, especially once you factor in that you gan give a creature with damage on it -4/-4 to take down something even bigger. The unfortunate thing about this card is that the morbid trigger is far from automatic, and you might have to sacrifice one of your own creatures to make it work. Still, this will almost always be worth it for the bonus. The days when you play this without the morbid trigger will be sad, indeed.


Name: Night Terrors
Cost: 2{B}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Target player reveals his or her hand. You choose a nonland card from it. Exile that card.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- This is just not the way you really want to be spending you third turn. If your opponent is deploying threats, you will get behind quickly by just doing this sort of thing. There is also the nightmare scenario that you draw this late game and your opponent doesn't have any cards, and this is just a dead draw (or you cast it and they turn out to only have lands). If the format is bomb driven enough, this might be a worthwhile gambit, but it seems considerably worse than Distress, which does not see a ton of play in M12.


Name: Reaper from the Abyss
Cost: 3BBB
Type: Creature - Demon
Pow/Tgh: 6/6
Rules Text: Flying
Morbid - At the beginning of each end step, if a creature died this turn, destroy target non-demon creature.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 4.0 -- It takes a lot of black, but if you have the mana base this is a really powerful effect. Especially nice is the fact that it can kill something the turn it comes into play. All of this stapled to a 6/6 flier for 6 mana puts this guy into the titan territory of goodness. Unfortunately, his mana requirements will make it difficult to cram him in decks with little black, but I'm not sure I'm above trying.


Name: Rotting Fensnake
Cost: 3{B}
Type: Creature - Zombie Snake
Pow/Tgh: 5/1
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- My immediate reaction to this sort of creature is very negative, since they are terrible attackers (dying to any old 1/1) and only get to block once (but at least they get to trade with something). In a lot of ways, then, this card behaves a lot like Typhoid Rats except it is way more expensive. The key thing to note about this card, though, is its type line. That's right, it's a zombie, and there are two commons that bring zombies back: Ghoulcaller's Chant and Ghoulraiser. If you start sending this guy in over and over again, he starts to look like a much better deal. After all, they can only have so many chumpers. This also interacts positively with Corpse Lunge, which is notable since a lot of black decks will be running it. This card certainly can't stand on its own, but if you have enough positive interactions you can justify playing it.


Name: Screeching Bat // Stalking Vampire
Cost: 2{B}
Type: Creature - Bat // Creature - Vampire
Pow/Tgh: 2/2 // 5/5
Rules Text: Flying
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may pay {2}{B}{B}. If you do, transform Screeching Bat.//
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may pay {2}{B}{B}. If you do, transform Stalking Vampire.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.0 -- If Gorehorn Minotaurs have taught us anything, it is that 5/5s on turn 4 are good. This card is pretty impressive, even if it does eat up two turns to get it powered up. Even without the upside that you can turn him into a 5/5 later, a 2/2 flier for 3 is not awful in black. The most mysterious part about this card, to me, is that it can transform back. I think this is probably included largely for flavor, because I think I would almost always rather have a 5/5 than a 2/2 flier, but you can imagine a board with a really really clogged up ground where you would want to transform back.


Name: Sever the Bloodline
Cost: 3{B}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Exile target creature and all other creatures with the same name as that creature.
Flashback {5}{B}{B}
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 4.0 -- Unconditional absolute removal for 4 mana, and I might get to do it twice? At one color depth? Sign me up. This card is clearly designed to hose tokens, but works just fine even without that functionality. If my removal suite wasn't top notch, I would be happy to splash for this. Even without flashback, this would be amazing, and with it, it gets even better.


Name: Skeletal Grimace
Cost: 1{B}
Type: Enchantment - Aura
Rules Text: Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and has "{B}: Regenerate this creature."
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- Oh I get it! You take a creature and staple a Drudge Skeletons to it. Unfortunately, the downside of auras is so great that the upside has to be huge to make them playable, and this (though a valiant effort) just doesn't quite get there. The largest problem with auras (although there are many) is that they are just dead against anyone playing bounce. On top of that, if they kill the creature you get two for oned, and that just isn't on my to do list, so if R&D wants me to play auras they have to be sure the upside is HUGE (or compensate for the downsides). This does a tiny bit of that, in that it does make the creature harder to kill, but does nothing to protect against bounce.


Name: Skirsdag High Priest
Cost: 1B
Type: Creature - Human Cleric
Pow/Tgh: 1/2
Rules Text: Morbid - {T}, tap two untapped creatures you control: Put a 5/5 black Demon creature token with flying onto the battlefield. Activate this ability only if a creature died this turn.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.5 -- This is a hard card to evaluate, because the upside is huge, and the card is very cheap. However, having both a creature die and two other creatures untapped to tap is probably a lot harder of a hoop to jump through than it looks. Or is it? Anyway, I think since limited is so creature focused you'll get to do this eventually, and once you do it once it should get progressively easier to do repeatedly (as you'll have more creatures). This card creates inevitability in board stalls, and in a lot of games that is just what you're looking for. Also, you will sometimes power out a 5/5 demon on turn 4, and from there the game should go your way.


Name: Stromkirk Patrol
Cost: 4{B}
Type: Creature - Vampire
Pow/Tgh: 4/3
Rules Text: Whenever Stromkirk Patrol deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- This is good for a common 5 drop, and I wouldn't feel at all bad about playing it, but as I commented earlier when discussing Thraben Purebloods, you don't have many 5 drop slots in a typical deck, and they quite often go to uncommons and rares. Just like the Purebloods, I expect you'll use this guy as curve filler often, and often he'll get edged out by other cards in this slot.


Name: Tribute to Hunger
Cost: 2{B}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Target opponent sacrifices a creature. You gain life equal to that creature's toughness.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.5 -- A general rule of thumb is that cards that let your opponents make choices are bad. As someone put it, it turns out your opponent's don't have your best interests at heart. In the right circumstances, such as when your opponent has just one creature, this will be back breaking, but other times they will just happily throw away one of the tokens they got off one of the many token generating cards in this set. Still, you get the choice of when you play this spell, so you can wait till a particularly bloody combat where they trade off a lot of their tokens and surprise them with this. It isn't stellar, but most of the removal in this set isn't, so you could do worse than this.


Name: Typhoid Rats
Cost: {B}
Type: Creature - Rat
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Deathtouch
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.5 -- This is what you want in a one drop because it has a significant effect on the board whether you draw it turn 1 or turn 12. Almost no matter what you are going to trade it for something better, and its mere presence will make your opponent's life quite annoying. It's not quite as potent as Deadly Recluse, but I wouldn't feel bad about first picking this guy.


Name: Unbreathing Horde
Cost: 2{B}
Type: Creature - Zombie
Pow/Tgh: 0/0
Rules Text: Unbreathing Horde enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each other Zombie you control and for each Zombie card in your graveyard.
If Unbreathing Horde would be dealt damage, prevent that damage and remove a +1/+1 counter from it.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 0.0 -- I don't see this happening in limited. This really wants you to have a ton of zombies, probably in your graveyard, since if you have a ton of zombies in play you've probably already won. Unfortunately, I don't think there is anyway to reliably dump half your deck into your graveyard and cast this, and even if you did, you wouldn't have nearly enough zombies.


Name: Unburial Rites
Cost: 4{B}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield.
Flashback {3}{W}
Flavor Text: All crave the Blessed Sleep. Few receive it.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.5 -- Rise from the Grave is just this without flashback, and I'm always happy to play that, so I don't see much problem playing this. If you happen to be playing BW the value of this card goes way up, especially since the flashback cost is so low. This effect is good enough that if I was playing it in a black deck with no white I might splash some plains just to have a chance of flashing it back.


Name: Vampire Interloper
Cost: 1{B}
Type: Creature - Vampire Scout
Pow/Tgh: 2/1
Rules Text: Flying
Vampire Interloper can't block.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.75 -- Stormfront Pegasus is a really strong card, and this is very nearly that. Thinking back, though, when I've played with Stormfront Pegasus the reason it has been so good is that it does some damage and then trades with one of their creatures when I hold it back to block something after it has been outclassed by other creatures on the board. Once Vampire Interloper is outclassed, though, he is just a dead draw, making him a considerably worse card. Even so, he is incredibly aggressive and can get a lot of damage in if drawn early, so a lot of decks will want that. In a slower deck, though, this card will be terrible.


Name: Victim of Night
Cost: {B}{B}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Destroy target non-Vampire, non-Werewolf, non-Zombie creature.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.5 -- This is what Tier 1 removal looks like in this set. If they had the cards up on gatherer this is where I would go and find out what percentage of creatures this works on. A quick survey suggests that it works on about half of black creatures, all of white creatures, and somewhere in between those numbers for the other colors. That means that, overall, this deals with a much lower percentage of creatures than Doom Blade, but it is much harder to splash. Even so, removal that deals with more than half the creatures in the set is still pretty solid, and I expect this will be a high pick. If you run this, be sure to pay attention to whether you should side it out between games. I don't expect it will come up often, but it might occasionally.


Name: Village Cannibals
Cost: 2{B}
Type: Creature - Human
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: Whenever another Human creature dies, put a +1/+1 counter on Village Cannibals.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.0 -- This is bizarre in that it is a human tribal card that doesn't care who has the humans. As a result, you'll certainly play this if you have humans, but there are so many humans that I think even if you don't have many humans you will probably start it anyway assuming your opponent is likely to have some. In the best cases you'll both have humans and this card will just explode. In match-ups where neither of you has any humans, you can sideboard this out if you have something else to put in.


Name: Walking Corpse
Cost: 1{B}
Type: Creature - Zombie
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.5 -- My how things have improved since the long lost days of Mindless Null (joke, don't try and comment about power creep or about how there isn't power creep or about...). A 2 cost bear is quite good for black, and it is hard to imagine you have so much filler in the 2 slot better than this that you'll cut it very often. Of course, just because you won't cut it often doesn't make it an enormous bargain, as it isn't too exciting. If you have things that are constantly fishing zombies out of your graveyard, though, this is a top notch card to bring back over and over, and you should pick up a bunch.


Name: Ancient Grudge
Cost: 1{R}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Destroy target artifact.
Flashback {G}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.5 -- There just aren't many artifacts in this set, so you shouldn't start this (except possibly in sealed). If you see multiple artifact targets, this can come in, but I would only expect that against a human tribal deck playing a few pieces of equipment.


Name: Ashmouth Hound
Cost: 1{R}
Type: Creature - Elemental Hound
Pow/Tgh: 2/1
Rules Text: Whenever Ashmouth Hound blocks or becomes blocked by a creature, Ashmouth Hound deals 1 damage to that creature
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.5 -- This ability is very weird, and in various ways makes this creature behave a bit like a 3/2, since it can't be killed by 1/1s and can kill 3 power creatures. Of course, it still does two damage to players, and still dies to Gheistflame, so it isn't exactly a 3/2. Anyway, I think the point is that this creature is incredibly aggressively costed, and we like that.


Name: Balefire Dragon
Cost: 5{R}{R}
Type: Creature - Dragon
Pow/Tgh: 6/6
Rules Text: Flying
Whenever Balefire Dragon deals combat damage to a player, it deals that much damage to each creature that player controls.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 3.5 -- This guy is huge, evasive, and if he hits your opponent once you almost certainly win the game. That said, he doesn't do anything the turn he comes down, and is killed by a great many of the conditional removal spells in the set (particularly Smite the Monstrous and Victim of Night). He is also chumpable by the numerous spirit tokens present in the set, so resolving him is far from winning the game, which is a bit disappointing in a 7 mana dragon.


Name: Blasphemous Act
Cost: 8{R}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Blasphemous Act costs {1} less to cast for each creature on the battlefield.
Blasphemous Act deals 13 damage to each creature.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.5 -- The ability to pull a reset switch when you want is huge in a game of Magic, since things can easily turn against you. At only one color depth, this is a good bargain as long as there are many creatures in play. Note that, unsurprisingly, 13 damage kills every creature in the set.


Name: Bloodcrazed Neonate
Cost: 1{R}
Type: Creature - Vampire
Pow/Tgh: 2/1
Rules Text: Bloodcrazed Neonate attacks each turn if able.
Whenever Bloodcrazed Neonate deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- These will go up in value in multiples, since you want to draw them early and punish your opponent for a slow start. As a late game draw, this will pretty much be dead, so these really belong in a faster deck. If your opponent is afraid you are trying to trigger morbid for a spell you are playing, you might be able to sneak this through a few times when you really shouldn't be able to.


Name: Brimstone Volley
Cost: 2{R}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Brimstone Volley deals 3 damage to target creature or player.
Morbid - Brimstone Volley deals 5 damage to that creature or player instead if a creature died this turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 4.0 -- This is probably the best common removal in the set, and it doubles as a 3 mana instant speed Lava Axe? People in Scars block were first picking Volt Charges, and this card is WAY better than Volt Charge. I would happily splash this card if I was short on removal, and if I was anywhere near red I can't imagine passing this for anything that isn't an over the top rare. Be very aware of letting your life total dip to five if you are playing against a red deck, because they could easily have this. If you're playing this, be sure you check before you cast it to remove a creature that you can't just kill your opponent with it.


Name: Burning Vengeance
Cost: 2{R}
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: Whenever you cast a spell from your graveyard, Burning Vengeance deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: ??? -- This is really a question of how many cards with flashback you can shove in your deck. You can probably play 7 and 2 of these plus 14 creatures and have a deck that is fairly scary. It will be a delicate balancing act to make this work, though, since most flashback cards have a large flashback cost, and you don't want to be getting your first value off of this card on turn 9.


Name: Charmbreaker Devils
Cost: 5{R}
Type: Creature - Devil
Pow/Tgh: 4/4
Rules Text: At the beginning of your upkeep, return an instant or sorcery card at random from your graveyard to your hand.
Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, Charmbreaker Devils gets +4/+0 until end of turn
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 4.0 -- If your opponent lets this live, and you have any sort of decent instant/sorcery in your graveyard, you will just steamroll them. This is a card that they just have to answer, even if you just have mediocre instants/sorceries in your graveyard. If it survives until your next upkeep you haven't lost card advantage, which I consider a big plus in a 6 drop.


Name: Crossway Vampire
Cost: 1{R}{R}
Type: Creature - Vampire
Pow/Tgh: 3/2
Rules Text: When Crossway Vampire enters the battlefield, target creature can't block this turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- I'm a big fan of 3/2s for 3, probably a bigger fan than most. 3 power is usually about the smallest power that will still be relevant as a mid/late game draw. The addition of the Stun effect is relevant, but the two color depth really hurts the card, since you really want to play this on turn 3. At least the "can't block" rider will sometimes be exactly what you need to end the game.


Name: Curse of Stalked Prey
Cost: 1{R}
Type: Enchantment - Aura Curse
Rules Text: Enchant player
Whenever a creature deals combat damage to enchanted player, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 1.0 -- What kind of deck wants this? One that is going to damage to a player with creatures a lot. The problem is that a deck that is already doing damage to a player with creatures a lot doesn't need a card to help it win! Super aggressive decks might want this, but I think almost all decks will much prefer having a creature instead of this.


Name: Curse of the Nightly Hunt
Cost: 2{R}
Type: Enchantment - Aura Curse
Rules Text: Enchant Player
Creatures enchanted player controls attack each turn if able.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 0.0 -- This is like an incredibly off the wall Falter that you get every turn but costs you a bunch of life. Put another way, this forces your opponent to race you, and will be good more or less when you can win by racing. Unfortunately, it requires you to spend a card to set up, and when you're racing you need every card you can get. Even with all the Slith effects floating around in red, I still can't imagine a home for this card.


Name: Curse of the Pierced Heart
Cost: 1{R}
Type: Enchantment - Aura Curse
Rules Text: Enchant Player
At the beginning of enchanted player's upkeep, Curse of the Pierced Heart deals 1 damage to that player.
Rarity: Common

Rating: ??? -- Maybe in M12 with bloodthirst running around this could be playable, but this card is such a dead draw late game I can't imagine playing it. Early game, though, it has the potential to be a cheap Lava Axe, which is not bad. The only way I can imagine to make this work is to play so many of them that you're guaranteed to be getting them out often, at which point they could really start to add up. Since this card is so bad, getting a bunch of them shouldn't be too hard, so go for it, draft 8 of them and see how it goes.


Name: Desperate Ravings
Cost: 1{R}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Draw two cards, then discard a card at random.
Flashback {2}{U}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.0 -- Random discard is one of the worst things that can happen to you in Magic. It feels so bad that they try hard not to print it at anything other than Rare, and even then they do so only occasionally. How do I feel, then, about making myself randomly discard cards? Well, not great. The first time you resolve this you end up with as many cards in your hand as you had before you cast it, which is not an enormous improvement. You've at least pumped up your graveyard a bit, which could be relevant in this set. Once you can afford to play the flashback, this becomes a lot like a Think Twice, except that it also throws two cards in your graveyard. Even then, though, you will often have a card in your hand you don't want to discard and will have to weigh whether it is worth the risk to play this, and that is just not the sort of card I want to play.


Name: Devil's Play
Cost: X{R}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Devil's Play deals X damage to target creature or player.
Flashback {X}{R}{R}{R}
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 4.0 -- Blaze is awesome, since it doubles as (admittedly inefficient) removal and a win condition. Blaze is so good, even, that I'd be happy to splash this in my otherwise non-red deck knowing I would never get to use the flashback. Once you get this into a deck that does have enough red this card starts to get really scary. Imagine the board is stalled and you have 8 lands. You cast this on your opponent for 7 to the dome, and the next turn you flash it back for 5 more. Ridiculous! It is also quite possible you use this to kill two of their creatures over two turns, or one early and one late... Delicious!


Name: Falkenrath Marauders
Cost: 3{R}{R}
Type: Creature - Vampire Warrior
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: Flying, haste
Whenever Falkenrath Marauders deals combat damage to a player, put two +1/+1 counters on it.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.5 -- This is a pretty scary incarnation of the slith ability. You'll pretty much always get to hit for two with it on turn 5, and then it is a 4/4 flier, and if your opponent doesn't answer it the game is over shortly there after.


Name: Feral Ridgewolf
Cost: 2{R}
Type: Creature - Wolf
Pow/Tgh: 1/2
Rules Text: Trample
{1}{R}: Feral Ridgewolf gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- Wow, they're just putting trample on everything these days aren't they? Anyway, this seems much better than Fiery Hellhound. At some point they probably chump it with some 2 power dork, but when they do, you get the option to push through a bunch of damage if you want to, and this ability makes this a far better late game play than many fire breathers. Another thing to keep in mind is that players with werewolves will want to be playing through turns without playing any spells, and mana sinks like this facilitate their doing that, so werewolf decks will love this.


Name: Furor of the Bitten
Cost: {R}
Type: Enchantment - Aura
Rules Text: Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and attacks each turn if able.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- They couldn't have added Haste to this? I think that probably would have pushed this into playability, but, like so many auras before it, this just doesn't quite do enough to justify spending a whole card on it. Worse, it doesn't even turn small tokens into large threats, so you have to play this on something that is already fairly substantial to begin with.


Name: Geistflame
Cost: {R}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Geistflame deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
Flashback {3}{R}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.75 -- 1 damage won't kill much in this set, except for tokens, and you don't want to be spending a card killing a token. Ultimately this card's power level is not very high, but it is incredibly versatile. The primary place I see this card seeing play is as a combat trick, where you block someone's 3/3 with your 2/1 and then, surprise, you Geistflame the 3/3 and both die. The best case scenario is probably that you do this twice in the same turn, since otherwise your opponent will be able to play around the fact that it is in your graveyard. Combat tricks that require you to 2 for 1 yourself to work are usually not good, but with the flashback it is more like 1.5 for 1ing yourself. This card also has the versatility of killing annoying 2 toughness creatures like Avacynian Priest for 5 mana. Even in spite of all the myriad of things this card can do, I think when you are looking to cut something it will be pretty easy to cut this.


Name: Hanweir Watchkeep // Bane of Hanweir
Cost: 2{R}
Type: Creature - Human Warrior Werewolf // Creature Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 1/5 // 5/5
Rules Text: Defender
At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Hanweir Watchkeep. //
Bane of Hanweir attacks each turn if able
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Bane of Hanweir.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.0 -- 5/5's are big, and you can start working on getting this one turn 3. Having to spend turn 4 not playing any spells will hurt a bit, but the reward seems worth it. It is incredibly helpful that when this guy is face down, he is still significantly contributing to your board, as a 1/5 will still block well. Only time will tell how difficult it is to keep your werewolves flipped, but this one seems like a great value.


Name: Harvest Pyre
Cost: 1{R}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: As an additional cost to cast Harvest Pyre, exile X cards from your graveyard.
Harvest Pyre deals X damage to target creature.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- Removal is good, but how highly you value this card will depend a lot on what you are using your graveyard for. If you aren't using it for anything, you will probably always play this, but if you are using your graveyard to fuel your zombies or various other cards you probably won't want to exile them to take out an opponent's creature. These will also get bad in multiples, for obvious reasons.


Name: Heretic's Punishment
Cost: 4{R}
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: {3}{R}: Choose target creature or player, then put the top 3 cards of your library into your graveyard. Heretic's Punishment deals damage to that creature or player equal to the highest converted mana cost among those cards.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 4.0 -- Repeatable removal and graveyard filling, sign me up! Especially given how unlikely your opponent is to be able to remove this, I think this will be an easy first pick.


Name: Infernal Plunge
Cost: {R}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: As an additional cost to cast Infernal Plunge, sacrifice a creature.
Add {R}{R}{R} to your mana pool.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.0 -- Dark Ritual is way worse in limited than it is in constructed, since so many limited games end up coming down to card advantage. This makes that even worse by making you pay two cards for a small tempo advantage, and I just can't imagine that will ever be worth it.


Name: Instigator Gang // Wildblood Pack
Cost: 3{R}
Type: Creature - Human Werewolf // Creature - Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 2/3 // 5/5
Rules Text: Attacking creatures you control get +1/+0.
At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Instigator Gang.//
Trample
Attacking creatures you control get +3/+0.
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Wildblood Pack.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 4.5 -- If you have even a modest number of creatures it will be hard for your opponent to survive one attack from your forces with this guy. Even the non-flipped side attacks as a Hill Giant, so this is a very good deal.


Name: Into the Maw of Hell
Cost: 4{R}{R}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Destroy target land. Into the Maw of Hell deals 13 damage to target creature.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.5 -- Destroying a land when you already have six lands borders on totally irrelevant, however there is the rare land cycle that has some pretty potent effects, and some of the flashback costs are high enough that your opponent's sixth land might be more valuable than in a typical set. Anyway, this hardly matters because this also destroys a creature, and even at six mana, destroying creatures is something we like to do. Unlike almost all of the removal in the set, this can take down every creature, so that is a big plus, making this a lot like a red Spread the Sickness. At six mana it is certainly a bit clunky, but it is probably worth it to have an answer to your opponent's worst threats.


Name: Kessig Wolf
Cost: 2{R}
Type: Creature - Wolf
Pow/Tgh: 3/1
Rules Text: {1}{R}: Kessig Wolf gains first strike until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- 3 power first strikers can do a lot of work, but this requires you to have mana to get the first strike. This would normally be a dealbreaker, but it is somewhat mitigated by a couple things. One is that a werewolf player will want to have mana sinks on turns when they are trying not to play any spells. The more important is that, for a lot of purposes, the threat of activating the ability will matter more than actually activating it. If you leave the mana up for the ability and then attack, your opponent is likely to just let it through rather than blocking with a bear.


Name: Kruin Outlaw // Terror of Kruin Pass
Cost: 1{R}{R}
Type: Creature - Human Rogue Werewolf // Creature - Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 2/2 // 3/3
Rules Text: First strike
At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Kruin Outlaw.//
Double strike
Each Werewolf you control can't be blocked except by two or more creatures.
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Terror of Kruin Pass.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.5 -- If you have a lot of werewolves than flipping this likely just ends the game, but even if this is your only one it is still quite a threat as a 3/3 double striker that can only be blocked by two or more creatures. While of course it would be nice to play this on turn 3, it maintains its relevance until late game, so even a deck running a 50-50 sort of mana base will be happy to run this.


Name: Night Revelers
Cost: 4{R}
Type: Creature - Vampire
Pow/Tgh: 4/4
Rules Text: Night Revelers has haste as long as an opponent controls a human.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- This is a fine creature for the cost, and most of the time it will probably only be cut if a deck has better things in the 5 drop slot from higher rarities. The haste should be active fairly often, which could be quite a devastating surprise.


Name: Nightbird's Clutches
Cost: 1{R}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Up to two target creatures can't block this turn.
Flashback {3}{R}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- This card will end games quickly if you are aggressive enough, and in a favorable board state. Unfortunately it does next to nothing otherwise, making it a risky include. I do like the super awkward position this places your opponent in if they know you have this in your graveyard ready to flashback. Do they keep back two extra blockers every turn? In any event, I wouldn't run more than one of these, and I would try really hard not to run the first one.

Name: Past in Flames
Cost: 3{R}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Each instant or sorcery card in your graveyard gains flashback until end of turn. The flashback cost is equal to its mana cost.
Flashback {4}{R}
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 0.0 -- This is a combo piece for constructed, and there is no reason to play it in limited.


Name: Pitchburn Devils
Cost: 4{R}
Type: Creature - Devil
Pow/Tgh: 3/3
Rules Text: When Pitchburn Devils dies, it deals 3 damage to target creature or player.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.5 -- This is a pretty nice card that creates a lot of tension for your opponent. They really don't want to kill it, and they really really don't want to trade for it since it will kill another one of their things. Leaving it back as a blocker could also make things quite difficult. Given how poor most of the removal in this set is, I see this getting first picked a lot.


Name: Rage Thrower
Cost: 5{R}
Type: Creature - Human Shaman
Pow/Tgh: 4/2
Rules Text: Whenever another creature dies, Rage Thrower deals 2 damage to target player.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.0 -- This is really expensive, and 4/2 are not great stats for a creature. It makes it very difficult to attack or block protectively, and it can be neutralized by a lot of removal. This would combine well with Stitcher's Apprentice, and I'm sure if you commit to the Rage Thrower deck you can find a variety of other combos, but the fact that it only hits players makes it seem not worth it.


Name: Rakish Heir
Cost: 2{R}
Type: Creature - Vampire
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: Whenever a Vampire you control deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.5 -- Granting the slith ability to your creatures en masse seems much stronger than just putting it on one or two creatures because it makes suicide attacking a much more profitable maneuver (you'll lose some creatures, but your other creatures will get better). Of course all of this requires your deck be loaded with vampires, and that will require a bit of commitment. If you don't have the critical mass of vampires, you'll probably only play this if you're desperate for a three drop.


Name: Reckless Waif // Merciless Predator
Cost: {R}
Type: Creature - Human Rogue Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 1/1 // 3/2
Rules Text: At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Reckless Waif//
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Merciless Predator.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.25 -- This card looks much better than it is, because it is so easy to picture the best case scenario where you play this turn one on the play, your opponent doesn't have a one drop, and turn two you can start attacking for 3. Unfortunately, most of the time you won't be able to play this turn one on the play, and when you are having to skip your own turns to flip this it is going to feel pretty bad, since after all that work it will just be a 3/2 that will trade off with one of their bears.


Name: Riot Devils
Cost: 2{R}
Type: Creature - Devil
Pow/Tgh: 2/3
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- 2/3's are very good early on both offense and defense, as it takes a few turns for creatures with power greater than two to emerge. It isn't exciting, but it will get its job done.


Name: Rolling Temblor
Cost: 2{R}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Rolling Temblor deals 2 damage to each creature without flying.
Flashback {4}{R}{R}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 0.5 -- These effects are always awkward in limited because it is so hard to build a deck where they don't hurt you as badly as your opponent, particularly since red tends to have a lot of little creatures. Still, when this is in your sideboard you can pay attention to the sorts of things your opponent is playing and side it in after game one if it looks like you can blow them out.


Name: Scourge of Geier Reach
Cost: 3{R}{R}
Type: Creature - Elemental
Pow/Tgh: 3/3
Rules Text: Scourge of Geier Reach gets +1/+1 for each creature your opponents control.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.0 -- This is quite solid. If it isn't at least a 5/5 for 5, you're probably very happy already, and it will often be better than that. Beware that it might shrink over the course of a turn (during combat) and die as the damage doesn't blank until the end of the turn.


Name: Skirsdag Cultist
Cost: 2{R}{R}
Type: Creature - Human Shaman
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: {R}, {T}, Sacrifice a creature: Skirsdag Cultist deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.5 -- This will be a giant pain for your opponents, since it will constantly be throwing off their combat math. This will be strongest if your deck can produce a lot of expendable creature tokens (mostly found in W and B). This also, of course, gives you nearly free access to triggering morbid, which is especially relevant for Brimstone Volley. Even if you are only sacrificing chump blockers, you can still get quite a lot of value out of this.


Name: Stromkirk Noble
Cost: R
Type: Creature - Vampire
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Stromkirk Noble can't be blocked by Humans.
When Stromkirk Noble deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 0.5 -- This is just too dependent on being drawn early to see much play in limited. If your opponent happens to be really all in on the humans thing, you can bring this in, but once they have even one blocker this guy gets pretty worthless.


Name: Tormented Pariah // Rampaging Werewolf
Cost: 3{R}
Type: Creature - Human Warrior Werewolf // Creatue - Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 3/2 // 6/4
Rules Text: At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Tormented Pariah. //
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Rampaging Werewolf.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.5 -- Unsurprisingly, Wizards seems to be trying to make the central mechanic of this set good, and this card is very good. A 4 mana 3/2 is only a little below the curve, and the ability to have it turn into a 6/4 is very scary for your opponent.


Name: Traitorous Blood
Cost: 1{R}{R}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap it. It gains trample and haste until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.5 -- Act of Treason has only ever been a high pick in very fast formats, which this is not shaping up to be. Upping the color depth here to add trample must have been a nod to the vast numbers of token chump blockers this format supports, but I can't imagine it will often be worth it. Against a deck with really scary high end stuff, this might be an alright sideboard card to give you some chance late game.

Name: Vampiric Fury
Cost: 1{R}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Vampire creatures you control get +2/+0 and gain first strike until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.25 -- This is an incredibly strong trick if your board is mostly vampires, but if you only have a handful of vampires this is clearly just awful. I think most decks won't have the vampires they need to run this, so I expect that people won't play around this card like they should, meaning it will lead to a lot of total massacres.


Name: Village Ironsmith // Ironfang
Cost: 1{R}
Type: Creature - Human Werewolf // Creature - Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 1/1 // 3/1
Rules Text: First strike
At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Village Ironsmith.//
First strike
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Ironfang.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- This guy probably isn't good enough to play as an only werewolf, since you won't want to spend the mana and a turn just to get a 3/1 first striker. If you have other werewolves, though, and you can flip this guy while you're flipping your other werewolves then this guy is probably well worth the include.


Name: Ambush Viper
Cost: 1{G}
Type: Creature - Snake
Pow/Tgh: 2/1
Rules Text: Flash
Deathtouch
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.5 -- What a nasty surprise! The flash is really what makes this card so amazing, since it makes it quite difficult to play around. Like so much of the other removal in this set, though, this has strong limitations. In this case. the limitation is that this can't deal with creatures with flying or other evasion (which is a bit unusual for green). Still, this is a very welcome inclusion for green, which usually doesn't get any removal anywhere near this good.


Name: Avacyn's Pilgrim
Cost: {G}
Type: Creature - Human Monk
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: {T}: Add {W} to your mana pool.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- Clearly best if you are in GW, it is also a human, helping out with all that human tribal (of which there is a lot). As this format is a little slower than average, the acceleration can be a huge help, aiding you in getting to your really big stuff faster than your opponent.


Name: Boneyard Wurm
Cost: 1{G}
Type: Creature - Wurm
Pow/Tgh: */*
Rules Text: Boneyard Wurm's power and toughness are each equal to the number of creature cards in your graveyard.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.0 -- This probably needs enabling to be worth playing, because graveyards just don't fill up that fast naturally. Unfortunately, most of the sources to fill up graveyards are blue, and UG does not seem like a natural combination here, especially since blue is constantly exiling things from graveyards.


Name: Bramblecrush
Cost: 2{G}{G}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Destroy target noncreature permanent.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.0 -- This kills enchantments (including curses, and the many auras floating around), non-creature artifacts (like the abundant equipment), lands (including that annoying rare cycle), and planeswalkers. That's an awful lot of flexibility for one card, and so this will probably be included most of the time you have it in your pile. If your deck is stuffed, this can always stay in the sideboard waiting to see what sort of juicy targets it will have. At worst you can always blow up one of their lands on turn 4 and set them back a couple turns while imbalancing their colors (particularly if they are in three colors).


Name: Caravan Vigil
Cost: {G}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, put it into your hand then shuffle your library.
Morbid - You may put that card onto the battlefield instead of putting it into your hand if a creature died this turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.5 -- This card is awesome, and I can't imagine I would ever not run it if I was in green, but I'm not sure I would pick it super highly. If I was trying to make a splash, or felt I really needed the ramp, it could go up in value. I expect these will tend to go late, so I'll probably be snapping up a lot of them.


Name: Creeping Renaissance
Cost: 3{G}{G}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Choose a permanent type. Return all cards of the chosen type from your graveyard to your hand.
Flashback {5}{G}{G}
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 1.5 -- This is an interesting card that I initially dismissed as a constructed combo card, but I think it has some potential as an ultra-strength Morbid Plunder. It won't always be right, since you'll need a fair density of low drop creatures to get back. Plus, green has a subtheme of counting the number of creature cards in your graveyard, which would clearly be significantly hurt by returning all of them to your hand.


Name: Darkthicket Wolf
Cost: 1{G}
Type: Creature - Wolf
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: {2}{G}: Darkthicket Wolf gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Activate this ability only once each turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- Threat of activation is big with this guy since you can attack, keep the mana up, and then only pump it if they block with something like a Hill Giant. As such, this guy behaves almost like an unblockable 2/2 that you can pay to make do 4 damage if you don't want to cast any spells that turn (either because you're flipping werewolves or because you don't have any). Add in the fact that he plays similar tricks on defense, and you've got a fairly solid creature.


Name: Daybreak Ranger // Nightfall Predator
Cost: 2{G}
Type: Creature - Human Archer Werewolf // Creature - Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 2/2 // 4/4
Rules Text: {T}: Daybreak Ranger deals 2 damage to target creature with flying.
At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Daybreak Ranger.//
{R}, {T}: Nightfall Predator fights target creature. (Each deals damage equal to its power to the other.)
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Nightfall Predator.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 4.0 -- Clearly, this card wants you to be RG, but if I was only one of R and G, I would probably splash for this. The day side does an admirable job clearing the skies, and the night side will clear out all kinds of things (anything 3/4 or smaller) for the low price of one red mana. Amazing! Repeatable removal like this is very easily first pickable, even if it does put you in two colors off the bat.


Name: Elder of Laurels
Cost: 2{G}
Type: Creature - Human Advisor
Pow/Tgh: 2/3
Rules Text: {3}{G}: Target creature gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the number of creatures you control.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.5 -- Talk about throwing off your opponent's combat math, this guy can really make blocking a nightmare if you have the mana untapped to activate the ability. Most likely this wants to be in a GW human tribal deck so that you always have ample creatures and tokens in play to get maximal value out of him. Once you get the point where you can activate this ability twice per turn, you should have a hard time losing if they don't remove this.


Name: Essence of the Wild
Cost: 3{G}{G}{G}
Type: Creature - Avatar
Pow/Tgh: 6/6
Rules Text: Creatures you control enter the battlefield as a copy of Essence of the Wild.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 3.0 -- A weird constructed card that probably actually works fairly well as a top end to a white/green human tribal deck, ensuring you draw nothing but gas for the rest of the game, and making your tokens very scary indeed!


Name: Festerhide Boar
Cost: 3{G}
Type: Creature - Boar
Pow/Tgh: 3/3
Rules Text: Trample
Morbid - Festerhide Board enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it if a creature died this turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.0 -- A 3/3 trampler for 4 is already a pretty good deal, nothing to complain about, so this card is great curve wise. Morbid is probably a bit trickier to trigger than bloodthirst, so this guy might be a little worse than his friend Gorehorn Minotaurs from M12, but he will still have quite an impact on the board.


Name: Full Moon's Rise
Cost: 1{G}
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: Werewolf creatures you control get +1/+0 and have trample.
Sacrifice Full Moon's Rise: Regenerate all Werewolf creatures you control.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: ??? -- If you go for the all werewolf deck, this will clearly be quite potent, but it rapidly loses value if you aren't playing a lot of werewolves. It will be a sad day if you have this in play and control no werewolves.


Name: Garruk Relentless // Garruk, the Veil-Cursed
Cost: 3G
Type: Planeswalker - Garruk
Pow/Tgh: 3
Rules Text: When Garruk Relentless has two or fewer loyalty counters on him, transform him.
0: Garruk Relentless deals 3 damage to target creature. That creature deals damage equal to its power to him
0: Put a 2/2 green Wolf creature token onto the battlefield. //
+1 : Put a 1/1 black Wolf creature token with deathtouch onto the battlefield.
-1 : Sacrifice a creature. If you do, search your library for a creature card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.
-3 : Creatures you control gain trample and get +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the number of creature cards in your graveyard.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 4.5 -- Unsurprisingly, Garruk is quite potent, able to remove creatures directly, make endless hordes of wolves and creatures with deathtouch, tutor up whatever creature you want, and make a potent overrun. Be sure you understand how deathtouch and trample interact after the M11 rules change so that you understand how scary a bunch of pumped deathtouchy tramply wolves coming at you is. The only downside to Garruk is that he starts at a precariously low number of loyalty, and needs to be weakened further before he can be flipped to his more powerful side, meaning you should be sure to leave up plenty of blockers to defend him.


Name: Gatstaf Shepherd // Gatstaf Howler
Cost: 1{G}
Type: Creature - Human Werewolf // Creature - Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 2/2 // 3/3
Rules Text: At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Gastaf Shepherd.//
Intimidate
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Gastaf Howler.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.0 -- A 2/2 for 2 is solid, and if you are playing green likely you are at least a little interested in one of humans and werewolves. If you're interested in humans, this is just a nicely costed human that might turn into something much better. If you are playing werewolves, then you intend to flip your army over eventually, and this turns into a rather hard to block 3/3. In both cases you should be pretty happy with this card, if not ecstatic.


Name: Gnaw to the Bone
Cost: 2{G}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: You gain 2 life for each creature card in your graveyard.
Flashback {2}{G}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.5 -- Card that gain you life and do nothing else have historically always been terrible, because you pay a significant tempo loss to play them, and you are only at all interested in life gain if you are losing a tempo war. Thus, playing a lifegain spell tends to worsen the problem that has caused you to need a lifegain spell instead of making it better. There is no denying that this spell can get you a lot of life, so I won't say there are no times when you should play it, but be very careful, because this card is certainly not helping you win the game.


Name: Grave Bramble
Cost: 1{G}{G}
Type: Creature - Plant
Pow/Tgh: 3/4
Rules Text: Defender, protection from Zombies
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- I do love that Wizards made a Plants vs. Zombies joke, but I'm not anxious to play a 3/4 with defender. Most zombies just die to this anyway, so the protection is really irrelevant. If you're facing a super aggressive deck you can side in the 3/4 defender to slow your opponent's start considerably, so it is certainly not totally unplayble.


Name: Grizzled Outcasts // Krallenhorde Wantons
Cost: 4{G}
Type: Creature - Human Werewolf // Creature - Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 4/4 // 7/7
Rules Text: At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Grizzled Outcasts.
---
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Krallenhorde Wantons.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.5 -- Another werewolf which is fairly well costed just for its day side, and gets huge at night. A 7/7 is an awfully scary thing to face down, especially at night!


Name: Gutter Grime
Cost: 4{G}
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: Whenever a nontoken creature you control dies, put a slime counter on Gutter Grime, then put a green Ooze token onto the battlefield with "This creature's power and toughness are each equal to the number of slime counters on Gutter Grime."
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 1.0 -- It is sad to rate this low, because I like the card so much, but it really needs something abusive to make it work for you, and I don't think that is likely to happen in draft. If this were cheaper it would work well just incidentally, but 5 is a lot of mana for something that doesn't do anything for a while, and then only gives you a 1/1. Eventually it builds up of course, but it will take a while for that to happen, and most games probably won't last long enough for it to have its full effect. Anyway, I certainly won't say I'll never run it, because it is cool, and I'd probably rather run this as my 23rd than a lot of other bad cards.


Name: Hamlet Captain
Cost: 1{G}
Type: Creature - Human Warrior
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: Whenever Hamlet Captain attacks or blocks, other Human creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.5 -- This probably looks better than it is because in draft the board is likely to clog quickly, stopping a battle-cry like onslaught of a bunch of humans. This also dies to a bunch of things, so it probably only survives one attack. Still, this could make a good dent early, and even if you don't use its ability it isn't a bad deal, and will probably trade with something better.


Name: Hollowhenge Scavenger
Cost: 3{G}{G}
Type: Creature - Elemental
Pow/Tgh: 4/5
Rules Text: Morbid - When Hollowhenge Scavenger enters the battlefield, if a creature died this turn, you gain 5 life.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.5 -- A 5 mana 4/5 isn't the greatest thing ever in green, but it isn't the worst. This is the classic card you hope not to play, but probably end up playing as often as not. If you can trigger morbid, the 5 life will be a nice bonus, but I doubt I'd ever hold this in my hand so I could get it.


Name: Kessig Cagebreakers
Cost: 4{G}
Type: Creature - Human Rogue
Pow/Tgh: 3/4
Rules Text: Whenever Kessig Cagebreakers attacks, put a 2/2 green Wolf creature token onto the battlefield tapped and attacking for each creature card in your graveyard.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 2.5 -- This is just big enough that it might get to attack multiple times, in which case good things are likely to happen to you. If you have ways of filling your graveyard, or it is late in the game, one swing might be enough to get you the game. I don't see cutting this guy, but he isn't as over the top as some of the rares/mythics, and there will be plenty of times where he makes one wolf token, gets blocked, and dies, and that will be very unimpressive.


Name: Kindercatch
Cost: 3{G}{G}{G}
Type: Creature - Spirit
Pow/Tgh: 6/6
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.25 -- The very definition of unexciting. I would really rather have something much better in my six slot, but if forced to I would run this with only a bit of grumbling. The color depth makes this particularly unattractive, and it is no bargain for its cost, especially with all the larger fatties this set has running around.


Name: Lumberknot
Cost: 2{G}{G}
Type: Creature - Treefolk
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Hexproof
Whenever a creature dies, put a +1/+1 counter on Lumberknot.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.5 -- This will be quite a potent combination with the human tribe, which seems rather inclined towards death. The presence of Hexproof is a huge boon, since your opponent can't just let this build up to the biggest thing he can deal with and then kill it. My inclination would be to play this early, let it build and build while leaving it on defense, and then once it's grown so large my opponent can't deal with it, start attacking for the win.


Name: Make a Wish
Cost: 3{G}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Return two cards at random from your graveyard to your hand.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.0 -- If you have two or more cards in your graveyard, this should be pretty awesome (as long as you're not hoping to count the creatures in your graveyard for some other effect later). Unfortunately that's quite a big if, as games can often develop quite a while without fatalities. Like the other random effects there are many things you can do in this set to manipulate the outcome of this random return, if there is something you want back more than the rest, such as flashing back spells you don't want to get back.


Name: Mayor of Avabruck // Howlpack Alpha
Cost: 1{G}
Type: Creature - Human Advisor Werewolf // Creature - Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 1/1 // 3/3
Rules Text: Other Human creatures you control get +1/+1.
At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Mayor of Avabruck.//
Other Werewolf and Wolf creatures you control get +1/+1.
At the beginning of your end step, put a 2/2 green Wolf creature token onto the battlefield.
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Howlpack Alpha.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 4.0 -- Cards which repeatedly create tokens 2/2 or bigger are very hard to overcome. Even smaller tokens can often be a challenge, but once this guy is flipped he makes a 3/3 for you every turn, all for an investment of a lowly 2 mana. Amazingly good value!


Name: Moldgraf Monstrosity
Cost: 4{G}{G}{G}
Type: Creature - Insect
Pow/Tgh: 8/8
Rules Text: Trample
When Moldgraf Monstrosity dies, exile it, then return two creature cards at random from your graveyard to the battlefield
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.5 -- His cost is certainly an obstacle to overcome, but he seems very worth it since, like Wurmcoil Engine before him, even if your opponent somehow manages to deal with him, you get two more threats immediately. Another easy card to first pick, and then build a deck looking to go long.


Name: Moonmist
Cost: 1{G}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Transform all Humans. Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn by creatures other than Werewolves and Wolves.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- It is easy to imagine everything going just right for this card, but it seems so unlikely. The surprise of playing this as they attack you is exciting, but it will only work well if they are attacking into you with a bunch of creatures and you have many of your werewolves untapped. It just doesn't happen often in Magic that someone attacks an opponent with a bunch of creatures untapped with a large force. I do admire the attempt at a better Fog, but I'm not sure this is better enough. One could also use this just to transform your humans, but as you can do that by not playing any spells, it seems a waste to use a spell to do it. In short, I probably won't play this card, but I'll do my best to remember it's out there so I don't lose to it when I shouldn't.


Name: Mulch
Cost: 1{G}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all land cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest into your graveyard.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- This is a very nice graveyard enabler, since it puts a few cards in the graveyard, and probably gets some land in your hand too. This is not the most efficient card for either effect that it does, but if you have effects that care about your graveyard, this is nearly free to play (since it replaces itself with lands).


Name: Naturalize
Cost: 1{G}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.5 -- There are a lot of enchantments in this set, but they mostly seem to be unplayable. The artifacts are better, but tend to be at uncommon, and there aren't a ton of them. As a result, this is probably something which should wait in the sideboard until you see that it has enough targets to bring in.


Name: Orchard Spirit
Cost: 2{G}
Type: Creature - Spirit
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: Orchard Spirit can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- This is more or less a green Wind Drake, except that it can't block fliers, which is actually a moderately significant drawback. At least it can block nonfliers, so once it has been outclassed in the air it can trade on the ground. It won't be heartbreaking to cut this, but it is decent enough to do some work.


Name: Parallel Lives
Cost: 3{G}
Type: Enchantment
Rules Text: If an effect would put one or more tokens onto the battlefield under your control, it puts twice that many tokens onto the battlefield instead.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: ??? -- I'm very skeptical of someone making this work in draft, but it is not totally impossible. You would need an awful lot of cards that made tokens. As always the problem with this sort of card in limited is that you need to play a lot of cards it works with without making a deck that is terrible if you don't draw the card you've built around. In this case the card that most leaps to mind to play with it is Moan of the Unhallowed, but someone might make it work. Most of the time, though, I think this will go very late.


Name: Prey Upon
Cost: {G}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Target creature you control fights target creature you don't control.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.5 -- This is one of the most daring and new things Wizards has tried with this new set: giving green high quality removal. The trick with this card is being sure you have the creatures to combine with it, meaning creatures with high power and toughness. If you do, you'll be able to take out almost any creature in the set, including utility creatures and evasive creatures. If you lack large creatures, you'll often find you need to let your creature die in the fight, in which case you are two for oneing yourself, which makes the spell considerably worse.


Name: Ranger's Guile
Cost: {G}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Target creature you control gets +1/+1 and gains hexproof until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- The two things this spell does have almost no synergy with each other, and only one will matter in 90% of situations where you play it (the creature doing one extra damage to a player does not count as mattering). The two things it does, though, are to make one of your creatures win a combat it wouldn't (your opponent attacks their 3/3 into your 3/3 offering a trade, and then instead of trading you just kill their token) and counter an effect that targets a creature you control (they play Victim of the Night on your creature and you play this on it in response). This is much worse than Vines of Vastwood, since you can't use it to counter spells your opponent is playing on his own creatures, and it lacks the ability to pump a creature a really large amount. Thus, this is probably a card you will try not to play, but it is fine if you do. When you do play it, be sure to time it correctly: think what will happen if your opponent responds to it... will their creature be unblocked, will your creature die, etc.


Name: Somberwald Spider
Cost: 4{G}
Type: Creature - Spider
Pow/Tgh: 2/4
Rules Text: Reach
Morbid - Somerwald Spider enters the battlefield with two or +1/+1 counters on it if a creature died this turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- Giant Spiders have always been good in limited, and this has the potential to be much bigger than your average giant spider. It is a hair more expensive, but the color depth is still low, meaning I think most green decks will still want to run this to hold off fliers.


Name: Spider Spawning
Cost: 4{G}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Put a 1/2 green Spider creature token with reach onto the battlefield for each creature card in your graveyard.
Flashback {6}{B}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.5 -- The value here depends on how devoted you are to your graveyard, and whether or not you can flash this back. If you are quite devoted, and you are GB, then the value of this can go up quite a bit. It probably takes 4 creatures in your graveyard before this starts to feel really impressive.


Name: Spidery Grasp
Cost: 2{G}
Type: Instant
Rules Text: Untap target creature. It gets +2/+4 and gains reach until end of turn.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- This is a great trick, that will almost always 1-1 your opponent. The downside is that it costs 3 mana, so your opponent might suspect something is up if you leave the mana untapped. The bonus, though, is that since green is often skipping turns to flip werewolves you might be able to better disguise this trick than usual. The untap is what really brings this above most combat tricks, since you can use it when you are racing.


Name: Splinterfright
Cost: 2{G}
Type: Creature - Elemental
Pow/Tgh: */*
Rules Text: Trample
Splinterfright's power and toughness are each equal to the number of creature cards in your graveyard
At the beginning of your upkeep, put the top two cards of your library into your graveyard.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.0 -- I love one card combos like this. You don't really need any support to play this card, as long as you can at some point in the game get one creature in your graveyard before you play it. This guy should get pretty huge in a few turns, and on top of that he'll help you out by putting flashback cards and other treats in your graveyard for you. It is not quite preposterous on its own, but with enough cards that went with it I might consider splashing for this.


Name: Travel Preparations
Cost: 1{G}
Type: Sorcery
Rules Text: Put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to two target creatures.
Flashback {1}{W}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- This effect seems bad, it would be so much more interesting if it was an instant. I think this is probably nearly unplayable without white, as the rating suggests. With white, its stock improves a little bit, but I still wouldn't be in any rush to play it, so in GW I would probably rank it somewhere near 1.5. I could easily imagine that I am wildly underestimating this effect, as I don't think I've played with anything quite like it. We'll have to see!


Name: Tree of Redemption
Cost: 3{G}
Type: Creature - Plant
Pow/Tgh: 0/13
Rules Text: Defender
{T}: Exchange your life total with Tree of Redemption's toughness.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 1.5 -- If you want a really really big wall, well, here it is. I don't tend to want really really big walls, so I probably won't be taking this highly. The upside of being able to switch life totals is cute, but probably won't be too relevant most of the time.


Name: Ulvenwald Mystics // Ulvenwald Primordials
Cost: 2{G}{G}
Type: Creature - Human Shaman Werewolf // Creature - Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 3/3 // 5/5
Rules Text: At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Ulvenwald Mystics.//
{G}: Regenerate Ulvenwald Primordials.
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Ulvenwald Primordials.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.0 -- This is another solid werewolf which is not that bad for its cost on the day side and transforms into something really hard to deal with. Note that if your opponent flips it back after you flip it, you can even regenerate it in response to the flip trigger so that it will have a regeneration shield for your attack phase.


Name: Villagers of Estwald // Howlpack of Estwald
Cost: 2{G}
Type: Creature - Human Werewolf // Creature - Werewolf
Pow/Tgh: 2/3 // 4/6
Rules Text: At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Villagers of Estwald.//
At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Howlpack of Estwald.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.5 -- Ditto the above. This is a very good bargain for the cost. These werewolf cards have clearly been designed to give your opponent good incentive to try to flip them back!

Name: Woodland Sleuth
Cost: 3{G}
Type: Creature - Human Scout
Pow/Tgh: 2/3
Rules Text: Morbid - When Woodland Sleuth enters the battlefield, if a creature died this turn, return a creature card at random from your graveyard to your hand.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- This is a way worse Gravedigger. You'd think in green it could be bigger, since green gets far better creatures than black. Worse, you don't get the effect all the time only if you jump through a hoop. Oh, and worse than that, the effect is worse, since it's random! Don't get me wrong, I think the random return thing will be neat, I just wish this were priced a bit more competitively... or maybe was a 3/3. Anyway, all that said, Gravedigger is a great card, so a much worse Gravedigger is still plenty playable in most decks. The one caveat, of course, is that if you are playing a lot of things that count the creatures in your graveyard, you might want to be careful how many cards you play that return them.


Name: Wreath of Geists
Cost: {G}
Type: Enchantment - Aura
Rules Text: Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +X/+X, where X is the number of creature cards in your graveyard.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.0 -- I think they might finally have done it, printed an aura that doesn't provide any card advantage but might actually be worth playing. You have to be willing to jump through a lot of hoops, of course, you don't want to play this if you only have one or two creatures in your graveyard. Once you get 3 or more creatures in your graveyard, though, this starts looking pretty frightening. Ultimately they probably use removal and take your enchantment and creature down together, but hopefully you get in a large chunk of damage first. Like all auras, it is still high risk / high reward, but here the reward might just be worth it.


Name: Evil Twin
Cost: 2{U}{B}
Type: Creature - Shapeshifter
Pow/Tgh: 0/0
Rules Text: You may have Evil Twin enter the battlefield as a copy of any creature on the battlefield except it gains "{U}{B}, {T}: Destroy target creature with the same name as this creature.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 4.0 -- I think the easiest way to evaluate this card is to notice that if you play it copying their best guy, and then kill it the next turn, it is basically a Mind Control, one of the best limited effects ever. Occasionally you'll get weird upside, like being able to kill a second copy of the card it copies, but you shouldn't count on that. Even without that, though, if I'm in blue or black, I'm taking this and splashing for the other color most of the time. Do note that this will not work well on legendary creatures, since they will just both self destruct.


Name: Geist of Saint Traft
Cost: 1{W}{U}
Type: Legendary Creature - Spirit Cleric
Pow/Tgh: 2/2
Rules Text: Hexproof
Whenever Geist of Saint Traft attacks, put a 4/4 white Angel creature token with flying onto the battlefield tapped and attacking. Exile that token at the end of combat
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 2.5 -- This card is getting a lot of buzz in constructed, but I think it will rarely do anything interesting in limited. Decks that can't block and kill a 2/2 just don't exist, so you'll have to proactively clear the path, which is not so easy. Even so, this is a 2/2 for 3 with huge upside, so I don't think anyone will ever sideline him, even if he probably won't be winning any games by himself.


Name: Grimgrin, Corpse-Born
Cost: 3{U}{B}
Type: Legendary Creature - Zombie Warrior
Pow/Tgh: 5/5
Rules Text: Grimgrin, Corpse-Born enters the battlefield tapped and doesn't untap during your untap step.
Sacrifice another creature: Untap Grimgrin and put a +1/+1 counter on it.
Whenever Grimgrin attacks, destroy target creature defending player controls, then put a +1/+1 counter on Grimgrin.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 3.0 -- This sets you up to have a bad day if you sac a creature to untap it and they kill it in response, but other than that this is a source of repeated removal attached to a large creature, which is generally a good thing. I'm probably not going out of my way to splash for this, but I might try it if I found it in a weak pack.


Name: Olivia Voldaren
Cost: 2{B}{R}
Type: Legendary Creature - Vampire
Pow/Tgh: 3/3
Rules Text: Flying
{1}{R}: Olivia Voldaren deals 1 damage to another target creature. That creature becomes a Vampire in addition to its other types. Put a +1/+1 counter on Olivia Voldaren.
{3}{B}{B}: Gain control of target Vampire for as long as you control Olivia Voldaren.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 4.0 -- This is a very strong card, able to pump itself, steal creatures, and kill a wide variety of creatures. I think, personally, I'd be unlikely to use the mind control ability except against an opponent with an empty hand, since they can kill Olivia and get the creature back. Still, I expect most of the time if Olivia lives one turn you can probably assume they don't have removal for her, but I'd still rather not risk them drawing into it. Anyway, play it, wipe their board with the first ability, attack for huge quantities of damage, repeat until opponent is dead.


Name: Blazing Torch
Cost: 1
Type: Artifact - Equipment
Rules Text: Equipped creature can't be blocked by Vampires or Zombies.
Equipped creature has "{T}, Sacrifice Blazing Torch: Blazing Torch deals 2 damage to target creature or player."
Equip {1}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 3.0 -- A really awkward Shock is still a Shock. Not the best removal, but it will do nicely for a lot of decks in this set. This conveniently deals with a lot of utility creatures, and you can always stack the damage with damage from a chump blocker and what not.


Name: Butcher's Cleaver
Cost: 3
Type: Artifact - Equipment
Rules Text: Equipped creature gets +3/+0.
As long as equipped creature is a Human, it has lifelink.
Equip {3}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.5 -- A few caveats. First, this card is a human card, so don't play it if you aren't packing a lot of humans. Second, this is my favorite card in the set, so I'm probably a bit biased. But come on, if you have a bunch of humans and you start throwing this around and bashing you're going to have a hard time losing the race, gaining 4+ life per swing. Mmmmmm, meat!


Name: Cellar Door
Cost: 2
Type: Artifact
Rules Text: {3},{T}: Target player puts the bottom card of his or her library into his or her graveyard. If it's a creature card, you put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token onto the battlefield.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.5 -- If you have any interest in having random cards in your graveyard, this is excellent value. You always get something, since you put something in your graveyard, and then something like 40% of the time you also get a 2/2. Not bad! Of course, you won't want to spend the 3 mana if you'd rather be doing other things with your mana, but come mid game you will probably have it open. Even earlier if you are trying to flip your wolves!


Name: Cobbled Wings
Cost: 2
Type: Artifact - Equipment
Rules Text: Equipped creature has flying.
Equip {1}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.0 -- My general rule for equipment (not absolute) is that I want it to turn a 1/1 into something formidable. The Butcher's Cleaver and Blazing Torch above pass that test with flying colors (as long as the 1/1 is human). The reason for this is that equipment works best when you use it to diversify your threats, so that even if your opponent starts using removal on your best creatures you still have threats in all your little creatures carrying this piece of equipment. In the best world, you get them to spend removal on a tiny creature you've equipped, and then throw the equipment on something else next turn and do it all again. The point of all of this is that this equipment utterly fails that test. It does not do enough to warrant a card. In order for this to be reasonable, you have to put it on your big (non flying) guy. If that guy gets removed, you need to find another big (non flying) guy to put it on, and so on. Some deck some day might want to play this, but be sure if you do you know why you're playing it. This is no Kitesail.


Name: Creepy Doll
Cost: 5
Type: Artifact Creature - Construct
Pow/Tgh: 1/1
Rules Text: Creepy Doll is indestructible.
Whenever Creepy Doll deals combat damage to a creature, flip a coin. If you win the flip, destroy that creature.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 3.5 -- Well, I liked the 1/1 with deathtouch earlier, how could I not like this? I think I count that there is one removal spell in the set that kills this, and that's Dead Weight. Bonds of Faith also deals with it, I suppose. Other than that, your opponent is stuck attacking into this thing and hoping you lose the flip, turn after turn. All that said, Creepy Doll can't win you the game, but as purely defensive cards come, this is about as strong as they come.


Name: Demonmail Hauberk
Cost: 4
Type: Artifact - Equipment
Rules Text: Equipped creature gets +4/+2.
Equip - Sacrifice a creature.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.5 -- This card seems designed for those 1/1 spirit tokens that the humans are always getting. You won't want to give up many creatures to equip this up, but if you have some insignificant creatures to sacrifice to it, and some evasive creatures to put it on, it will get the job done. Obvious combo alert: Put this on Invisible Stalker and your opponent will be having a bad day. A great many decks will want nothing to do with this, but in the right hands this will be a scary thing to face down.


Name: Galvanic Juggernaut
Cost: 4
Type: Artifact Creature - Juggernaut
Pow/Tgh: 5/5
Rules Text: Galvanic Juggernaut attacks each turn if able.
Galvanic Juggernaut doesn't untap during your untap step.
Whenever another creature dies, untap Galvanic Juggernaut.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.5 -- Whee ridiculous pile of abilities? If I understand it right, this is a Gorehorn that you only get to attack with when stuff dies. As you're attacking with a 5/5, though, it seems they are quite likely to chump, which will immediately untap this for you (and give you a sizable blocker). If they don't block it, they're taking 5, and I'm okay with that too, since something has to die eventually. On the face of it, I don't see why every deck wouldn't want this, but the combination of abilities is not exactly thrilling, and savvy opponents will likely be able to keep this tapped, especially on a stalled board.


Name: Geistcatcher's Rig
Cost: 6
Type: Artifact Creature - Construct
Pow/Tgh: 4/5
Rules Text: When Geistcatcher's Rig enters the battlefield, you may have it deal 4 damage to target creature with flying.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.0 -- Artifacts are getting a lot of love between these two cards. It is convenient that the ability isn't mandatory, so you can run this even if you have fliers (unlike, say, Manic Vandal with artifacts). At six mana it is expensive, but simultaneously removes a threatening creature (hopefully) and leaves behind an impressive body, so I think it is well worth the mana investment. This is another card that you might want to pull after game one if you don't see any targets.


Name: Ghoulcaller's Bell
Cost: 1
Type: Artifact
Rules Text: {T}: Each player puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.0 -- There has to be some trashy common that always goes last, right? This must be that card, as I can't imagine spending a whole card on this effect, even if it only does cost one mana. Paying a card to help yourself and your opponent equal amounts just seems bad!


Name: Graveyard Shovel
Cost: 2
Type: Artifact
Rules Text: {2}, {T}: Target player exiles a card from his or her graveyard. If it's a creature card, you gain 2 life.
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 0.5 -- I certainly don't want to main deck this, because it might do nothing but gain me a little bit of life, and that's not what I want in a card. The question is whether there will be decks that will really be hurt by this card, and since your opponent gets to choose which card to exile, I don't imagine I will be pulling this out of my board very often.


Name: Grimoire of the Dead
Cost: 4
Type: Legendary Artifact
Rules Text: {1}, {T}, Discard a card: Put a study counter on Grimoire of the Dead.
{T}, Remove three study counters from Grimoire of the Dead and sacrifice it: Put all creature cards in all graveyards onto the battlefield under your control. They are black Zombies in addition to their other colors and types.
Rarity: Mythic Rare

Rating: 1.5 -- This is highly reminiscent of the original Liliana's ultimate, but it is much more difficult for your opponents to interact with. Spending four cards to do something in limited is quite a price, especially since you have to spend four mana, and then likely don't see the upside until turn 9. The effect you get is huge, and it will certainly warp everything that happens while you build to it, but you will need to be in a deck that is actually capable of living that long. Even then, this card won't be a high pick because it will not be a great late game draw. The recent card this is most similar to is probably Lux Cannon, which occupied a similar place.


Name: Inquisitor's Flail
Cost: 2
Type: Artifact - Equipment
Rules Text: If equipped creature would deal combat damage, it deals double that damage instead.
If another creature would deal combat damage to equipped creature, it deals double that damage to equipped creature instead.
Equip {2}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 1.0 -- This is another fail for the equipment test, if you put it on a 1/1 it still is unexciting, so this is the sort of equipment to avoid most of the time. Even on your huge creature it just makes it easier for them to trade with it, so I'm not sure I'll ever run this.


Name: Manor Gargoyle
Cost: 5
Type: Artifact Creature - Gargoyle
Pow/Tgh: 4/4
Rules Text: Defender
Manor Gargoyle is indestructible as long as it has defender.
{1}: Until end of turn, Manor Gargoyle loses defender and gains flying.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 4.0 -- This is very similar to Creepy Doll, in that it makes a great blocker that will kill your opponent's creatures a large quantity of the time, and is practically impossible to remove. Indeed, Dead Weight doesn't even destroy it. Unlike Creepy Doll, though, Manor Gargoyle can also turn into a win-con when desired, making this an even better card. Oh, and on top of that the flavor of this card is awesome!


Name: Mask of Avacyn
Cost: 2
Type: Artifact - Equipment
Rules Text: Equipped creature gets +1/+2 and has hexproof.
Equip {3}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.0 -- This does decently at the "How does it do on a 1/1" test, turning it into an at least vaguely formidable threat which is immune to removal. The key here, though, is that this is actually a piece of equipment you want to equip on your good creatures, because it makes them immune to removal. Most decks would probably benefit from one of these, but it probably won't be a high pick because the equip cost is quite high.


Name: One-Eyed Scarecrow
Cost: 3
Type: Artifact Creature - Scarecrow
Pow/Tgh: 2/3
Rules Text: Defender
Creatures with flying your opponents control get -1/-0.
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.5 -- Against a deck with a lot of fliers, this could do some work, but it doesn't block well enough to maindeck.


Name: Runechanter's Pike
Cost: 2
Type: Artifact - Equipment
Rules Text: Equipped creature has first strike and gets +X/+0 where X is the number of instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard.
Equip {2}
Rarity: Rare

Rating: ??? -- This can be built around, and you can probably play up to 7 instant/sorceries without trying (more if you invest extra effort). The weakness of this card is that it works so poorly with cards with flashback, which will make abusing this considerably harder (since so many of the instants/sorceries you will want to play in this set will have flashback). Still, once this is getting you +2/+0, it is already doing pretty well, and the value only goes up from there.


Name: Sharpened Pitchfork
Cost: 2
Type: Artifact - Equipment
Rules Text: Equipped creature has first strike.
As long as equipped creature is a Human, it gets +1/+1.
Equip {1}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 1.5 -- As long as you have an ample supply of humans this should do plenty of work for you. Since this is common, you can pick up multiples, making your opponent's attacks very awkward as they face a wall of first striking blockers. This is certainly not very exciting, as equipment goes, though, so I think it will be easy to cut.


Name: Silver-Inlaid Dagger
Cost: 1
Type: Artifact - Equipment
Rules Text: Equipped creature gets +2/+0
As long as equipped creature is a Human, it gets and additional +1/+0
Equip {2}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 2.0 -- Bonesplitter, take 3. If you're equipping a human, this certainly the sort of stat boost you are looking for, easily passing the equipment test (a 4/1 swinging in every turn is very worthwhile). This is probably even playable in some non-human based decks, but will (obviously) be best equipping humans.


Name: Traveler's Amulet
Cost: 1
Type: Artifact
Rules Text: {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.
Illus. Alan Pollack
Rarity: Common

Rating: 2.0 -- A solid replacement for Terramorphic Expanse. Almost all decks will play this, but the decks that really want it are the ones splashing for a third color (like in most formats).


Name: Trepanation Blade
Cost: 3
Type: Artifact - Equipment
Rules Text: Whenever equipped creature attacks, defending player reveals cards from the top of his or her library until he or she reveals a land card. The creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn for each card revealed this way. That player puts the revealed cards into his or her graveyard.
Equip {2}
Rarity: Uncommon

Rating: 3.5 -- Suppose you play 17 lands, then on average you expect this to mill about 2.4 cards, but the variation is large. This has potential to make deciding whether to attack challenging, but if you put this on insignificant creatures you won't go wrong by attacking every time. I think this is probably the best way to mill yourself in the set, far outclassing the likes of Curse of the Bloody Tome. As long as you want to dump your deck in your graveyard, pick this highly!


Name: Witchbane Orb
Cost: 4
Type: Artifact
Rules Text: When Witchbane Orb enters the battlefield, destroy all Curses attached to you.
You have hexproof.
Rarity: Rare

Rating: 0.5 -- If the curses weren't all so awful, this would be a much more appealing sideboard. As it stands, I really don't think you are going to run into the curse deck. Adding hexproof seems best against burn, but there is not a lot of burn that goes to the face in this set. For INN/INN/INN this is probably a sideboard card against bad decks, but this might improve once better curses (and possibly more burn) come out.


Name: Wooden Stake
Cost: 2
Type: Artifact - Equipment
Rules Text: Equipped creature gets +1/+0.
Whenever equipped creature blocks or becomes blocked by a Vampire, destroy that creature. It can't be regenerated.
Equip {1}
Rarity: Common

Rating: 0.5 -- If this is all it takes, it's amazing anyone in Innistrad dis to vampires at all. This is an incredibly potent sideboard card, but I don't think it can go main. Do note that, with this wording, if your creature tangles with a vampire, your creature will live, it does not require doing damage or anything like that.


------------------------------------------------

Phew, that was a lot of cards! Anyway, I will end with a cheat sheet of the common removal in Innistrad by color, followed by the instant speed common combat tricks to keep an eye out for. Please let me know if there are any cards you feel I have misvalued. Do you think I overrated something? Did I miss a hidden gem? Let me know, I'm doing this to learn!


Common Removal by Color:

White:
1. Bonds of Faith
2. Rebuke
3. Smite the Monstrous

Blue:
1. Claustrophobia
2. Grasp of Phantasms

Black:
1. Corpse Lunge
2. Dead Weight
3. Typhoid Rats
4. Victim of Night

Red:
1. Brimstone Volley
2. Harvest Pyre
3. Pitchburn Devils

Green:
1. Ambush Viper
2. Prey Upon


Other Common Tricks to be aware of by color:

White:
1. Moment of Heroism
2. Spare from Evil
3. Village Bell Ringer

Blue:
1. Frightful Delusion
2. Hysterical Blindness
3. Lost in the Mist

Red:
1. Geistflame
2. Vampiric Fury

Green:
1. Moonmist
2. Naturalize
3. Prey Upon
4. Spidery Grasp
13 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul - the
Sweden
Lund
flag msg tools
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
badge
You spin me right round, baby - Right round like a record, baby - Right round round round - You spin me right round, baby…
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Very good write up. thumbsup
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Loblah
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
mb
Nice job!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Royce Banuelos
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow, very thorough! Most cards seemed subpar. The first one listed as 0.0 Nevermore I could see a use for. Maybe not tournament style or anything like that but against friends absolutely. If you know your friends deck and have played multiple times they might base a lot around some key cards. I know I use a lot of Lava Axe to do some damage or someone's big devastating creature can be silenced and level the playing field. Now imagine having multiples in a deck and you can eliminate a number of crucial cards in an opponents deck.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hungary
Budapest
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
One mistake: Trepanation Blade mills the defending player.

I'm very surprised you didn't go through the lands. And disagree with many of your ratings.

Divine Reckoning is mass removal and not expensive, hence it is awesome. There is no reason to assume that the opponet's best creature is better than yours. Without the flashback it would be much worse than Day of Judgment, I admit. You know you have it, you can plan accordingly, like not playing any creatures in case of DoJ in your first 3 turns. But still, you can save your other removal for that only creature, while your opponent might kill something just before you play Divine Reckoning.

Feeling of Dread: Frost Breath is awesome in M12, and this is even better if you play those two colors. Without flashback it would deserve 1.0.

Rally the Peasants: these cards are awesome in limited, since you often finish with an alpha strike. I don't understand why the set would be ally-colores. If you play a tribe, that's one thing. But otherwise any color combination is fine the few gold cards are rare, hence don't really matter, just as the special lands, and then only the flashback cards make some combinations stronger than in other sets.

I might comment later about the other colors, but one thing I have to mention: Ludevic's Test Subject is awesome, maybe the best limited card in the set. Of cours you shouldn't spend your third, fourth and fifth turn with putting counters on it. But you put there some when you can, like two, and suppose you have 6 lands. Now your opponent has to kill it. You can transform it at the end of their turns, hence instant speed removal won't work. If they don't put the Claustrophobia without you spending too much resources, then you deal 13 damages before they have the chance again. The fact that you can level it up with instant speed makes the difference.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Lane
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
roaranimation wrote:
Wow, very thorough! Most cards seemed subpar. The first one listed as 0.0 Nevermore I could see a use for. Maybe not tournament style or anything like that but against friends absolutely. If you know your friends deck and have played multiple times they might base a lot around some key cards. I know I use a lot of Lava Axe to do some damage or someone's big devastating creature can be silenced and level the playing field. Now imagine having multiples in a deck and you can eliminate a number of crucial cards in an opponents deck.


His list is based on Limited formats like Sealed and Draft. To which case I would agree that it's a sideboard only card, and only if they have some huge bomb you can't deal with. In constructed it'll see tournament play.

I also agree that Test Subject is a huge threat in limited. The fact you can put those counters on in Instant speed will make people think twice before attacking.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tommy Occhipinti
United States
Decorah
Iowa
flag msg tools
Magic Fanboy
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
milegyenanevem wrote:
One mistake: Trepanation Blade mills the defending player.


Whoops, well that makes it a much much worse card, thanks for pointing that out!

Quote:
I'm very surprised you didn't go through the lands. And disagree with many of your ratings.


So there were two mistakes!

Quote:
Divine Reckoning is mass removal and not expensive, hence it is awesome. There is no reason to assume that the opponet's best creature is better than yours. Without the flashback it would be much worse than Day of Judgment, I admit. You know you have it, you can plan accordingly, like not playing any creatures in case of DoJ in your first 3 turns. But still, you can save your other removal for that only creature, while your opponent might kill something just before you play Divine Reckoning.


There is no reason to assume it is better, but no reason to assume it isn't either. Mass removal does not intrinsically benefit you, as it is an equal effect for everyone. In constructed, it is incredibly powerful because you can, say, not play creatures. In limited you can mostly only play to it if it is in your hand (by, say, not overextending). Its primary benefit is that you have a big button you can push to fix ALL your problems (because in limited, almost every problem is attached to a creature). Divine Reckoning just doesn't do that, as you can very easily play Divine Reckoning and lose the next turn. I think the card might be considerably strong in constructed, I'm not sure. I could very easily be wrong, but I still primarily see it as a sideboard card once you know who will come out ahead after you play it.

Quote:
Feeling of Dread: Frost Breath is awesome in M12, and this is even better if you play those two colors. Without flashback it would deserve 1.0.


There seem to be a lot of people who really like Frost Breath and a lot of people who don't. I play blue a lot in M12, but I don't think I've ever managed to run a Frost Breath. I used to take them moderately high because everyone said they were so good, but then I'd cut them and wish I had taken something else over it.

Anyway, I rated the cards with off color flashbacks as though you didn't have access to the flashback color, and then said how muh better it was if you did get the flashback (occasionally giving a number, but usually just in words). In this case I see I spent more time complaining about Frost Breath than talking about this card's potential, but it certainly has the potential to be a mini-Sleep.

Quote:
Rally the Peasants: these cards are awesome in limited, since you often finish with an alpha strike. I don't understand why the set would be ally-colores. If you play a tribe, that's one thing. But otherwise any color combination is fine the few gold cards are rare, hence don't really matter, just as the special lands, and then only the flashback cards make some combinations stronger than in other sets.


After completing the review, I think enemy color decks are more viable, but I still think ally colored decks will be more common, because there are far more cards that push you into ally colors. I did give this a 2.5 if you have both colors, which pretty much says "this is awesome in limited."


Quote:
I might comment later about the other colors, but one thing I have to mention: Ludevic's Test Subject is awesome, maybe the best limited card in the set. Of cours you shouldn't spend your third, fourth and fifth turn with putting counters on it. But you put there some when you can, like two, and suppose you have 6 lands. Now your opponent has to kill it. You can transform it at the end of their turns, hence instant speed removal won't work. If they don't put the Claustrophobia without you spending too much resources, then you deal 13 damages before they have the chance again. The fact that you can level it up with instant speed makes the difference.


1.5 might have been a bit ungenerous, but there are a lot of cards I would pick over this, as you don't find out if you get to actually keep the creature until after you have sunk 12 mana into it. It might deserve a 2.0 though, and it will certainly wreck some decks.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Stepnitz
United States
Catonsville
Maryland
flag msg tools
I too look forward to seeing this in comparison with what LSV, others say. I might quibble with a couple of the numbers, but overall seems pretty solid to me.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tommy Occhipinti
United States
Decorah
Iowa
flag msg tools
Magic Fanboy
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
psyllogism wrote:
I too look forward to seeing this in comparison with what LSV, others say. I might quibble with a couple of the numbers, but overall seems pretty solid to me.


By the time I was about halfway through I was pretty sick of the numeric scale, which loses a lot of the subtleties of what was going on, and is particularly bad at capturing cards which are conditionally awesome. It also does not handle well cards that I will always play in a given color, but will not take highly (like Ponder).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon Tan
Philippines
Quezon City
Metro Manila
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
delirimouse wrote:
psyllogism wrote:
I too look forward to seeing this in comparison with what LSV, others say. I might quibble with a couple of the numbers, but overall seems pretty solid to me.


By the time I was about halfway through I was pretty sick of the numeric scale, which loses a lot of the subtleties of what was going on, and is particularly bad at capturing cards which are conditionally awesome. It also does not handle well cards that I will always play in a given color, but will not take highly (like Ponder).


It might be better to break the review down into five or six parts; one per color plus everything else, perhaps? It will help bring down the number fatigue, as well as chop the wall of text into manageable sizes...

You could use a descriptive scale instead of a number scale; something along the lines of "bomb, support, aggro, role-player" and the like. Objectively, the number scale also tends to be deceiving since you may sometimes be comparing a creature suited to offense and one that generates some other form of advantage.

Still haven't read the whole thing, yet, but I feel that I have disagreed with you on some significant cards, but have agreed with you about 2/3s of the review...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tommy Occhipinti
United States
Decorah
Iowa
flag msg tools
Magic Fanboy
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
goodshepherd wrote:
delirimouse wrote:
psyllogism wrote:
I too look forward to seeing this in comparison with what LSV, others say. I might quibble with a couple of the numbers, but overall seems pretty solid to me.


By the time I was about halfway through I was pretty sick of the numeric scale, which loses a lot of the subtleties of what was going on, and is particularly bad at capturing cards which are conditionally awesome. It also does not handle well cards that I will always play in a given color, but will not take highly (like Ponder).


It might be better to break the review down into five or six parts; one per color plus everything else, perhaps? It will help bring down the number fatigue, as well as chop the wall of text into manageable sizes...

You could use a descriptive scale instead of a number scale; something along the lines of "bomb, support, aggro, role-player" and the like. Objectively, the number scale also tends to be deceiving since you may sometimes be comparing a creature suited to offense and one that generates some other form of advantage.

Still haven't read the whole thing, yet, but I feel that I have disagreed with you on some significant cards, but have agreed with you about 2/3s of the review...


If people read this and agreed with me 100%, Magic would be a pretty boring game! I enjoy that a lot of cards are easy to misevaluate, and even once players are experienced with a set they might disagree. I made myself play a Frost Breath today because people keep telling me it's good and went 1 - 2!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Vollick
Canada
St. Thomas
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
delirimouse wrote:
I made myself play a Frost Breath today because people keep telling me it's good and went 1 - 2!


Were you even playing blue?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Coney
Croatia
Zaprešić
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is really excellent and helpful. I will be going to my first Magic event tomorrow (after 10 years of playing!). I have no experience in a Limited environment, so this is really great. I appreciate your very specific explanations of each card. They are good individually and collectively give me a feel for the environment.

I do have a question. You said: "Note that if your opponent flips it back after you flip it, you can even regenerate it in response to the flip trigger so that it will have a regeneration shield for your attack phase."


Also, Sharpened Pitchfork is uncommon.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Coney
Croatia
Zaprešić
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What do you think the effects of the flip mechanic will be in the Limited environment? How much will the need to play two spells in a turn drive up the value of one-drop cards?

How often will players decide to not respond to a second card played by the opponent because it will flip their werewolves - example: I play a creature spell, its counterspelled and so doesn't count (I have yet to play a spell, my opponent has played one). I play another spell, if the opponent counters that one, he has played two spells and will flip his cards.

Am I making too much of this?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hungary
Budapest
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I've just read Conley Woods's opinion on the white cards (http://magic.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?ID=10018). He has the samee rating system, and most cards he rates higher for limited (he also gives constructed ratings, but it doesn't matter now). Difference is more than one in the following cases:

Divine Reckoning 3 instead of 1
Feeling of Dread 2.5 instead of 1
Ghostly Posession 2.5 instead of 1
Midnight Haunting 3 instead of 1
Village Bell-Ringer 2-2.5 instead of 3.5.

I'd like to know: does your rating the order of your preferences in dtaft? If you see Dearly Departed (a card you rated 3 and probably won't worth too much) and Village Bell-Ringer at your first pick, will you pick the latter without hesitation?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Simon Tan
Philippines
Quezon City
Metro Manila
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Earlofwessex wrote:
What do you think the effects of the flip mechanic will be in the Limited environment? How much will the need to play two spells in a turn drive up the value of one-drop cards?

How often will players decide to not respond to a second card played by the opponent because it will flip their werewolves - example: I play a creature spell, its counterspelled and so doesn't count (I have yet to play a spell, my opponent has played one). I play another spell, if the opponent counters that one, he has played two spells and will flip his cards.

Am I making too much of this?


The text of the night side of werewolves reads as follows:

At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform ~~.

The key here is in the definition of cast: by putting a spell on the stack, it already counts towards the number of spells a player cast.

In your above example...

- I play a creature spell. (Me: 1 spell cast)
- It gets countered. (Opponent: 1 spell cast, Me: 1 spell cast)

It doesn't matter if the spell doesn't resolve, either due to a counterspell or the game rules. If we continue with your example, if you play another spell, that would already be two spells cast by you. Your opponent doesn't have to counter it to make your werewolves transform back to its day side.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Lane
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/dai...

New article about how R&D built the color combos for Limited. Might make some of these cards make a bit more sense!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tommy Occhipinti
United States
Decorah
Iowa
flag msg tools
Magic Fanboy
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Earlofwessex wrote:
What do you think the effects of the flip mechanic will be in the Limited environment? How much will the need to play two spells in a turn drive up the value of one-drop cards?

How often will players decide to not respond to a second card played by the opponent because it will flip their werewolves - example: I play a creature spell, its counterspelled and so doesn't count (I have yet to play a spell, my opponent has played one). I play another spell, if the opponent counters that one, he has played two spells and will flip his cards.

Am I making too much of this?


Most werewolves are a bit expensive, so I think the flip war will not begin until a bit later in the game, so I don't think it will require 1 drops (of which there are not a lot in this set). I do think that the werewolves will skew the value of cards that you can play and immediately flashback up significantly, as mentioned in the article. Keep in mind, though, only two colors have werewolves, so they will be absent in a lot of matchups, so I think it will do a lot less skewing of the value of cards (just a bit) than it will change peoples' playstyle a lot when playing against them.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tommy Occhipinti
United States
Decorah
Iowa
flag msg tools
Magic Fanboy
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
milegyenanevem wrote:
I'd like to know: does your rating the order of your preferences in dtaft? If you see Dearly Departed (a card you rated 3 and probably won't worth too much) and Village Bell-Ringer at your first pick, will you pick the latter without hesitation?


Draft is certainly a lot more complicated than having a set list of the order you will pick cards, and there are some fairly rich interactions among these cards. The ratings I give are, more or less, the value of the cards if you can exploit none of their interactions, and then if you can exploit more the value goes way up.

In pack one pick one, I would take the Bell-ringers over Dearly Departed without much hesitation. For comparison, I also rate Angel of Flight Alabaster a 3.0, but I would happily first pick it over the Bell-ringers because it has a very powerful ability if you build around it. Thus, taking it first pick would give me ample opportunity to make the card much better. It is also at 1 color depth, which is huge for me in a first pick.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Vollick
Canada
St. Thomas
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
@delirimouse: I'm assuming you're heading out to a pre-release tomorrow or Sunday, do you plan on playing anything in particular or just go with it?

I have a feeling a lot of players will try to force Red/Green just to play Werewolves and what would you suggest is the best way to beat them?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tommy Occhipinti
United States
Decorah
Iowa
flag msg tools
Magic Fanboy
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Vollick1979 wrote:
@delirimouse: I'm assuming you're heading out to a pre-release tomorrow or Sunday, do you plan on playing anything in particular or just go with it?

I have a feeling a lot of players will try to force Red/Green just to play Werewolves and what would you suggest is the best way to beat them?


As it happens I won't be hitting a pre-release sadly, they're a bit far away so I'll just wait for my cards to come in.

If a bunch of people are forcing red/green in draft, you should worry about decks that are in the colors where people aren't getting competition, rather than specifically hosing the deck everyone is forcing.

In sealed, someone can have at most 6 werewolves (and probably fewer than that), so I also wouldn't worry too terribly about werewolf decks in that format.

Here is my (totally untested) advice for when you do play against a werewolf deck:

Pay attention to when you cast your spells. Don't go on auto pilot and cast things just because you can. Think in advance "What will I do if he flips his werewolves to the night side, should I wait a turn so I can cast two things at once?" Just try to puzzle through the possibilities, and be extra sure you understand the (very complicated) flip condition.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
fightcitymayor
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
"This is a really weird game, and you’ll find that most people will not want to play this."
Avatar
mb
delirimouse wrote:
Most werewolves are a bit expensive
Looking through the image gallery I was surprised and disappointed at how many times I said this. "Well, that seems expensive," and "Well that might be okay if it weren't so expensive," and "Would anyone really use that for that cost?!"
I really hope this block doesn't turn into an over-costed Kamigawa mess.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tommy Occhipinti
United States
Decorah
Iowa
flag msg tools
Magic Fanboy
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
fightcitymayor wrote:
delirimouse wrote:
Most werewolves are a bit expensive
Looking through the image gallery I was surprised and disappointed at how many times I said this. "Well, that seems expensive," and "Well that might be okay if it weren't so expensive," and "Would anyone really use that for that cost?!"
I really hope this block doesn't turn into an over-costed Kamigawa mess.


By expensive I merely meant that they would not come out super early, not that they were overcosted. I think, on the whole, the werewolves are incredibly aggressively costed, and don't share your opinion that the cards in the set are overcosted overall. I generally don't like environments where they push the costing on all the cards as much as possible (like Zendikar) and prefer when they give us a bit of time to breathe.

Of course the nice thing about limited is that the power curve adjusts to the set, so if everything is a bit more expensive than usual, card valuations just adjust to compensate.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Vollick
Canada
St. Thomas
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
delirimouse wrote:

Of course the nice thing about limited is that the power curve adjusts to the set, so if everything is a bit more expensive than usual, card valuations just adjust to compensate.


Even standard will adjust to the more expensive set, eventually.

How long until we get your Innistrad cube?

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tommy Occhipinti
United States
Decorah
Iowa
flag msg tools
Magic Fanboy
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Vollick1979 wrote:
delirimouse wrote:

Of course the nice thing about limited is that the power curve adjusts to the set, so if everything is a bit more expensive than usual, card valuations just adjust to compensate.


Even standard will adjust to the more expensive set, eventually.

How long until we get your Innistrad cube?



That is definitely true, but there can be some really awkward standards when they accidentally way overdo the power level one set and lower it drastically the next. Fortunately this doesn't happen with the extremes it used to.

My Innistrad cube will just be 4 of each common, 2 of each uncommon, and 1 of each interesting rare, sorted by rarity. Eventually the cards from Dark Ascension and "Roll" will join them, but for my block cubes I am more or less trying to faithfully recreate what Wizards designed their set to be. If I play it a bunch and notice something that is awkward because of the fact htat I usually play with 2-4 players instead of 8, I might make a few minor tweaks based on that, but lately I've been preferring to compensate by drafting more packs rather than by making the individual packs better. I could write an article on making block cubes, but I don't think it would say much more than that.

I did spend today figuring out what adjustments I will make to my (quasi-powered) cube to include Innistrad cards (as well as some other old cards I've discovered or decided to add), so there might be an article about that cube sometime, although I worry I might have to write a blurb about all 600 cards, or it wouldn't mean much. It might be a while, though, because I will have to play with the new list a bunch and make tweaks before I'm ready to share it, and I will probably be playing a TON of the Innistrad block cube before that happens.

I can't wait for my Innistrad cards to come!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.