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Message  Joey le Mar 29 Sep - 1:53

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Zendikar Set Review - White

At long last, Zendikar is out! No more scraping for article topics, no more M10 drafts, and no more speculative Constructed testing. I had a great time at the Prerelease this weekend, and even got a draft in with some of the prize packs won. Not too many priceless treasures were opened, despite the aggregate turnout at Superstars totaling roughly 350 players on the weekend (by my rough estimate). That’s a lot of packs, and the only treasures I spotted were a Phyrexian Dreadnought and a Gaea’s Cradle. That did little to dim the excitement whenever I opened a pack of Zendikar, since every single time I immediately checked to see if I was the recipient of my very own Golden Ticket, as I’m sure most people were doing (and will continue to do basically forever). This promotion is awesome, although Wizards did stick to the “priceless treasures” part of the slogan. As funny as “perilous traps” would be in theory, I suspect opening a Legends Pit Scorpion or a Pit Trap from Ice Age would only create feelings of disappointment…exactly like a trap should!

I am fully reviewing Zendikar this week, with an eye to both Limited and Constructed. As much as I would like to start with Blue, it does make more sense to go WUBRG, since that is the color wheel and all. My reviews will go by color, with Artifacts and Lands at the end, and I will be posting them each day this week. The rating system is going to be a combination of what I used last time for Alara Reborn (such as this article) and the pointing system used by Wizard’s R&D for Limited.

Constructed

5.0: Multi-format All-Star. Bitterblossom. Tarmogoyf.

4.0: Format staple. Mutavault. Baneslayer Angel.

3.0: Archetype staple. Mulldrifter. Scion of Oona.

2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. Fracturing Gust. (Bear in mind that many cards fall into this “maybe” category, although explanation of why is obviously important)

1.0 It has seen play once. One with Nothing. (I believe it was “tech” vs Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)

Limited

5.0: I will always play this card. Period.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s get to business!

Armament Master

Constructed: 2

Needing Equipment to be good, and only pumping Kor creatures when it’s working pretty much dooms this guy. White has plenty of good 2-drops available nowadays.

Limited: 3.0

If you have enough Plains to reliably play Armament Master on turn 2, he is going to be pretty solid. The abundance of both Equipment and Kors makes his ability actually relevant, and even though he is a bit fragile, his ability is just an added bonus on top of a decent 2-drop.

Arrow Volley Trap

Constructed: 2

I have a hard time seeing this actually get played, but it would be pretty brutal to play for 1W. Four creatures is just so many, and if your opponent knows you have this it becomes nigh-impossible to play for cheap. The effect is good, but five mana is just too expensive for Constructed.

Limited: 3.0

If the mana cost was 4W, this would merit a higher rating, but I dislike double-colored splashes. Against non-Green decks, you should be able to shoot down multiple guys, which makes this pretty solid. It is easy to play around, but later in the game keeping mana up isn’t much of a burden, so that doesn’t matter as much. In the 2HG, we managed to nap two Timbermaw Larva in the same attack, which was pretty sweet!

Bold Defense

Constructed: 1

Glorious Anthem this is not.

Limited: 2.5

Warrior’s Honor and the like aren’t all that impressive, but they have their uses. However, having the option of this being Stir the Pride (well, kind of) at seven mana makes Bold Defense much better. +2/+2 and First Strike is pretty absurd, and should lead to a combat step blowout. Great in aggressive decks, not so great in controlling ones, although still mostly playable there.

Brave the Elements

Constructed: 3

If there is an aggressive White deck in Standard, Brave the Elements will be a key piece of it. Protecting all your guys from Volcanic Fallout or spot removal for just one mana is great, and it being non-targeted (unlike Bathe in Light) means that a sweeper plus a removal spell doesn’t work either. Efficient protection spells are few and far between, and all of them seem to find a home, and this doubles as a Falter to boot.

Limited: 3.0

If you have White creatures in your deck, you will play this, for the same reasons that it makes it in Constructed. Being able to keep up a stream of guys and trade this for a card that undoubtedly is more expensive is nice, and it doesn’t lose any potency going into the late game.

Caravan Hurda

Constructed: 1

I’ve hurda few jokes about this new name for Beasts, and they don’t get any better with repetition.

Limited: 2.0

White seems to want to be pretty aggressive, and Hurda Burdle most certainly isn’t. On the other hand, he pretty effectively hinders most ground-based offense, so I expect to play him often. In control decks, he should be pretty effective. I like overcosted defensive guys, so I might be a little biased (Ghosts of the Innocent was one of my favorite Ravnica block Limited cards).

Celestial Mantle

Constructed: 1

You can make your own Baneslayer! (Evasion, protection, real Lifelink, and First Strike not included).

Limited: 2.0

It costs a ton and doesn’t grant evasion, and it is a creature enchantment. There are a lot of “ifs” required to get this to work, so I wouldn’t pick it highly, but Celestial Mantle can be pretty effective when left unchecked.

Cliff Threader

Constructed: 1

It’s the next Soltari Priest…or not.

Limited: 2.0

Two-power two-drops with a beneficial ability generally make the cut, and Cliff Threader is no exception. Some decks will have enough small guys to have the luxury of cutting him, but most won’t.

Conqueror’s Pledge

Constructed: 3

Six power of guys for five mana is not a bad deal, and if you can add a little Ajani Goldmaneor Honor of the Pure to the mix, so much the better. Cloudgoat Ranger saw a ton of Constructed play, and it looks like the Pledge is heir apparent to his throne. I would be surprised if there isn’t a decent White deck with all the new toys Zendikar is bringing.

Limited: 3.5

Easily a first pick, Conqueror’s Pledge is quite the threat. Kicking it is actually going to happen from time to time, which makes an already excellent card just a little bit better. Following the Pledge up with a Bold Defense is likely to end most games.

Day of Judgment

Constructed: 4

Wrath is back, and better than ever! Ok, maybe not better than ever, but that seemed like a good tagline. The departure of Faeries should make Day of Judgment better than Wrath was in its last few years of Standard existence, which is impressive. I look forward to playing with Wrath again, since it hasn’t been good for so long.

Limited: 4

I’m not totally in love with Wrath effects in Limited, but they are undeniably powerful. Once the opponent knows of its existence it loses a ton of value, but until then you should be able to get a pretty good advantage from your Day of Judgment, and even if they do know that can often buy you time when you don’t even have the Day in hand.

Devout Lightcaster

Constructed: 3

Sure to be the bane of Putrid Leeches and Vampires everywhere, Devout Lightcaster strikes me as a very effective sideboard card. Obviously the mana cost is quite prohibitive, but if all your lands are Plains, I don’t see a problem!

Limited: 2.5

Powerful color hosers are tricky in Limited, since they lose so much value against decks not of the targeted color. I would always play the Lightcaster in a deck with many Plains (11+), but I could see sideboarding it in a normal two color deck. The mana cost just is too difficult unless you get a good payoff, which will only happen against Black decks.

Emeria Angel

Constructed: 2

Meloku this is not, even though the comparison seems to be what most people bring up. Emeria is pretty efficient, but dying to Lightning Bolt is a pretty bad place to be in nowadays. It doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility for Emeria to show up though, since turn five Emeria + fetchland is a pretty solid play, even if not quite exciting enough for most decks.

Limited: 4.0

One of White’s bombs, Emeria is going to be a first pick every time in the first pack. An efficient flier with a great ability is pretty hard to beat, even if Emeria loses a little luster later in the game. Still, you should almost never be empty-handed, since even late you should be sandbagging lands in hand.

Felidar Sovereign

Constructed: 1

There are too many good options (*cough* Baneslayer) for the Sovereign to hope for any game time.

Limited: 4

Four might be a tad high, but huge Lifelink creatures are generally pretty good. Add in Vigilance and it makes it even that much harder for your opponent to mount any sort of offense against this guy. Forty life is actually reachable too, which is pretty funny. If your opponents plan is to chump this guy and deck you, they might have another thing coming.

Iona, Shield of Emeria

Constructed: 3

Iona looks like the new fatty of choice for decks that cheat on mana costs, since she can stop any potential answers (Path to Exile, Day of Judgment) or simply stop them from casting anything. Tooth and Nailing for her and Painter’s Servant is cute, but does suffer from the fact that it doesn’t stop you from losing to the spells they have already played. That might not matter, since a 7/7 flier quells most offense.

Limited: 1.5

Nine is probably too much, and most decks won’t be interested in assembling that much mana. If your deck has enough ramps and control cards, Iona is a pretty excellent finisher, but that takes some work. You can’t just throw Iona into any deck, even if she will be quite potent in a deck that can accommodate her.

Journey to Nowhere

Constructed: 3

Path to Exile is better, but second best isn’t bad. A two-mana sorcery speed removal spell is nothing to scoff at, and I would be surprised if Journey didn’t show up in Standard. I would much rather cast Journey in the first four or five turns than Path to Exile, so it might be a good addition to the standard four Path removal suite.

Limited: 4

Splashing for O-Ring was common, and I expect nothing less from Journey to Nowhere. I have already splashed it twice, and I have only done one draft and three sealed’s so far!

Kabira Evangel

Constructed: 1

Without Flash, Kabira Evangel has no hope of seeing Constructed play, since the protection granted is really only useful for evasion purposes. Cards that interact with creature combat are notoriously terrible in Constructed, and unfortunately nothing has changed here.

Limited: 3

On the other hand, Limited is all about creature combat! Even in a deck not focused on Allies, a 2/3 for 3 is perfectly acceptable, and making some of your other guys hard to block is a nice bonus. In a deck heavily focused on Allies, the Evangel is a pretty high pick.

Kazandu Blademaster

Constructed: 3

Now this is an Ally with potential. He might not be Knight of Meadowgrain, but the Knight’s tour of duty has ended in Standard. Vigilance plus First Strike makes a pretty mean low drop, and even if he is the only Ally you are playing, drawing multiples is just filthy. The Blademaster is even a Soldier, in case that deck becomes real!

Limited: 3.0

A solid 3, I have already been on the receiving end of some Blademaster beats. By himself he is awesome, which is really the key for most Allies, even if that makes the Ally deck harder to draft (what with the non-Ally decks taking your awesome Allies). Strap on a Trusty Machete and he practically eliminates the opponent’s combat step all by himself!

Kor Aeronaut

Constructed: 2

Leonin Skyhunter was an integral part of WW in years past, and this is a strict upgrade. Another good White beater, this guy won’t get kicked all that often, but the kicker is pretty nice. Sending a four power Kazandu Blademaster to the skies is pretty neat, since it gives White a bit of much-needed reach.

Limited: 3

Aggressive White cards are so good in this set, even if a bit mana-intensive. Good on turn 2 or turn 7, Aeronaut does naut disappoint.

Kor Cartographer

Constructed: 1

Civic Wayfinder with Sphere of Resistance in play is just not exciting, especially since Wayfinder has always been borderline playable. Plus, every time I see this card I think his name should be “Kortographer”, and am disappointed that it isn’t.

Limited: 2.5

You rarely will cut the Kortographer, but most times won’t be too excited either. If you aren’t ramping to anything, which most White decks won’t, the additional land isn’t all that exciting. If you have a ton of Landfall, he does get better, but most decks don’t seem to fall into that category.

Kor Duelist

Constructed: 1

People will try, but this guy shouldn’t be in your Constructed decks. Cards that rely on other cards, particularly unimpressive ones like Equipment blah blah blah unplayable.

Limited: 1.5

Kor Duelist is likely to be either unplayable or pretty solid, since you will really only play him if he falls into the latter camp or if your draft went horribly, horribly, wrong. Hitting on turn three with a Machete is pretty busted, but that is definitely best-case scenario. Wrapter wouldn’t approve.

Kor Hookmaster

Constructed: 1

I don’t anticipate anyone getting hooked in this time around.

Limited: 3.0

If you are beating down, this guy is golden. Adding the pressure while making a guy unable to block for two turns is exactly the kind of card you want, making the Hookmaster a three-drop that is good on turn three or turn nine. On the flip side, if you are on the defensive, he can ease the pressure a little, giving you some breathing room. He is certainly much worse in a defensive deck, but still good enough to run under pretty much all circumstances.

Kor Outfitter

Constructed: 1

Unless an equipment with a tiny casting cost, huge equip cost, and awesome abilities comes out, I expect this guy to be outfitting junk binders for the foreseeable future.

Limited: 2.5
mana
Yet another White 2-drop, he is about as playable as most of the less exciting ones. Sure, sometimes you save a mana or two, but don’t be fooled into thinking that this guy is anything but a Silvercoat Lion.

Kor Sanctifiers

Constructed: 2

I love value cards, and this guy just might be solid enough to make the cut. If Journey to Nowhere becomes common enough, the Sanctifiers could be a decent sideboard choice.

Limited: 3.0

What with all the awesome equipment and enchantment-based removal in the set, I would always like to pick up some Sanctifiers. Being able to maindeck enchantment/artifact removal that isn’t dead if they lack targets is awesome, so pick ‘em highly.

Kor Skyfisher

Constructed: 1

Again, only the lack of Flash separates this guy from playability and reality. As is, there isn’t much that you are bouncing profitably, making the Skyfisher a pretty lousy two-drop.

Limited: 3.0

The “drawback” is really only one until about turn 5, after which it just gives you another Landfall trigger or a way to pick up a guy with Paralyzing Grasp. Kor Skyfisher is pretty excellent, and a card you want as many of as possible.

Landbind Ritual

Constructed: 2

A very conditional “2″, the Ritual will only see play if there is a Mono-White Control deck, a pretty unlikely event. Mono-White almost always lacks the right tools to interact with other control decks, although Emeria, the Sky Ruin certainly helps in that regard.

Limited: 0.5

Only in Mono-White, and only against a particularly suicidal aggressive deck could I see you sideboarding this one in. It can gain alot of life, but that mostly doesn’t matter, and it is really bad if you have non-Plains land in your deck.

Luminarch Ascension

Constructed: 2

I am hopeful that this works, since it would fit right into the kind of deck I like. On the other hand, it is also pretty good against the kind of deck I like, so maybe I should rethink my position. Ascension is cheap enough and powerful enough that it most likely will see play, although I would be very surprised if it ended up in any maindeck, since if you can stop aggro for four turns you probably have already won.

Limited: 3.5

Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I routinely make decks that try and avoid being damaged, so this card seems awesome. If you can hold them of for four turns (not even consecutive!), up to and including chump blocking if needed, you basically win the game. Beware them forcing you into some bad blocks and then blowing up or bouncing the Ascension, but barring that sort of nonsense Luminarch Ascension seems like an easy way to win the game.

Makindi Shieldmate

Constructed: 1

Horned Turtle hasn’t seen play since he was called River Kaijin, so I don’t have high hopes for Makindi Shieldmate.

Limited: 2.5

I love Horned Turtle in Limited, and trading being able to attack for some nice Ally triggers seems quite acceptable. Unless you have a few Allies, I wouldn’t be too excited about picking him up, but once you do he becomes pretty good.

Narrow Escape

Constructed: 1

This is barely a Limited combat trick, much less one good enough for Constructed. It isn’t even close enough that I can say that it “narrowly escaped” Constructed playability.

Limited: 1.5

A decent and pretty unexciting trick, I wouldn’t plan on starting this most of the time. It gets much better if you have multiple Journey to Nowheres, since you can bounce the Journey with the trigger on the stack for fun and profit.

Nimbus Wings

Constructed: 1

Another card that will never see the light of day in Constructed. A shame, since every time I play this I intend to call it “giving my guy Red Bull”, and now I only get to say it in Limited.

Limited: 2.0

This gets much better the more you know about your opponent’s removal options, since if it sticks it is pretty awesome. Dragon Scales was unreal in Onslaught, and even though Nimbus Wings is no Dragon Scales, it might still be sweet. There is alot of bounce in this set, so it might be more of a sideboard option against removal-light decks.

Noble Vestige

Constructed: 1

More like NOble Vestige, amiright?

Limited: 1.0

You don’t really want to be running this guy, since he is most certainly not the second coming of Kabuto Moth. But wait, maybe I’m underrating him, much like Kabuto Moth was initially underrated! I think I’ll take that risk, and leave my rating at 1.

Ondu Cleric

Constructed: 1

I don’t think there’s an Ondu risk of him seeing any Constructed play (at this point, I bet most of you are hoping the rest of the cards are awesome in Constructed, so I spend my time talking about them instead of thinking of terrible puns).

Limited: 1.5

I wouldn’t play the Cleric unless you have a ton of Allies, but he can be quite good if you do. Gaining two or three life and pumping even just one other guy is probably worth a card, particularly if your opponent has a number of x/1 creatures (like most Red decks, for example).

Pillarfield Ox

Constructed: 1

Moooo.

Limited: 1.5

This guy is the definition of vanilla, yet probably makes the cut a good portion of the time. Not exciting in the least, the Ox can block reasonably well and is quite tasty.

Pitfall Trap

Constructed: 2

Condemn is back, and might actually be decent this time. Condemn was pretty unexciting last time around, but creatures are more prevalent now, and Faeries is not. The better Pitfall Trap becomes, the worse it gets, since people will actually start playing around it. Paying full retail on it is acceptable though, even if not exciting. Plus, most people don’t play around anything, so I foresee plenty of Leeches and Bloodbraids getting Trapped.

Limited: 3.5

Removal is as removal does. Not killing fliers is a dagger, but that just wouldn’t make sense from a flavor perspective, and this set is all about the flavor. Pitfall Trap is cheap enough that you can’t really lose value, even if they play around it, so it is definitely good removal. In a particularly aggressive deck it might not be at it’s best, but even aggressive decks get attacked.

Quest for the Holy Relic

Constructed: 1

As soon as that awesome equipment arrives, so many Kor Outfitters will be going on Quests for the Holy Relic!

Limited: 0.0

There is no equipment nearly awesome enough to warrant waiting until you cast five guys to go get it.

Shepherd of the Lost

Constructed: 1

Serra Angel hasn’t been playable for a decade, and this is much worse than good ol’ Serra.

Limited: 4.0

Another card worth splashing, the Shepherd is pretty dominating. Very few non-Green monsters can attack profitably, and even a smaller Serra is still a Serra, so I expect this guy to Shepherd plenty of (lost) opponents.

Shieldmate’s Blessing

Constructed: 1

Instead of renaming Healing Salve and making it slightly worse, why don’t they rename one of the other boons and make it a bit worse, say, by limiting it to two cards instead of three?

Limited: 1.0

Not Giant Growth by a fair stretch, the Blessing is on the lower end of playable tricks. It is cheap and good against Red removal, but pretty bad in most other situations. Damage not stacking really hurt combat tricks, and this wouldn’t have been even that exciting before the rules change.

Steppe Lynx

Constructed: 3

This guy is a beating, and I am surprised at how many people dislike him. Sure, he doesn’t have much staying power, but it really isn’t that hard to average 3 damage a turn in a deck full of fetchlands. The only deck I think he is an auto-include in is Extended Zoo, but he has been quite formidable there. Standard might be a little iffier, mainly because games go so much longer and there is more blocking, but in Extended the Lynx will be a common sight.

Limited: 1.0

Landfall is a lot less exciting in Limited, at least on the aggressive guys. Plated Geopede is at least a great beater, but a 2/3 vanilla guy isn’t even that impressive. I would stay away from Lynx in all but the most aggressive decks.

Sunspring Expedition

Constructed: 1

I have pondered what number of life would be needed to make a strictly lifegaining card playable in Constructed, and the number was more then 8. Add in the delay in this triggering and we have a no-go.

Limited: 0.5

I don’t foresee ever siding this in, but perhaps against a very aggressive deck with alot of direct damage finishers. Eh, even then probably not.

Windborne Charge

Constructed: 1

Ajani sets the bar pretty high on creature enhancements, and the Charge doesn’t come near to making it. Again, cards that interact with blocking are pretty lame in Constructed.

Limited: 3.0

Now this is a finisher I can get behind. Windborne Charge is going to swing many a game, since it represents at least eight damage out of nowhere, and you still get hit if you only have one removal spell.

World Queller

Constructed: 2

I’m not completely ruling this out, but Baneslayer Angel is pretty tough to compete against in the five-drop slot. If it triggered each upkeep, I would be much more optimistic, but having to wait a whole turn really makes it a tough sell.

Limited: 4.0

A five-mana 4/4 with only upsides, World Queller is pretty awesome. It punishes them so hard if they have a permanent type that you don’t, eating all sorts of Enchantments, Planeswalkers, or Artifacts. Worst comes to worst, you just choose not to use it!

Top 5 White Cards for Constructed

5. Journey to Nowhere

4. Brave the Elements

3. Kazandu Blademaster

2. Conqueror’s Pledge

1. Day of Judgment

White got some pretty good tools in this set, even if most of them are for the dreaded aggro decks. Day of Judgment is a welcome addition to Standard, and Journey to Nowhere might be a solid card in both aggro and control. The other offerings are of an aggressive bent, with a good variety of different pieces. White aggro getting a good big threat (Pledge), a good disruption spell (Brave), and a slew of competitive 2-drops (Blademaster and others) probably makes that deck a real competitor.

Join me tomorrow as I continue on with Blue in Zendikar!


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Dernière édition par Joey le Mer 30 Sep - 2:04, édité 1 fois
Joey
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Message  Joey le Mer 30 Sep - 1:54

Joey
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Message  Nico Truc le Mar 6 Oct - 16:24

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Message  Ben le Mer 7 Oct - 12:03

En gros, je partage tous ses avis (comme celui de Lotus Cobra qui est juste mille fois trop "cher" entre 15 et 30 euros et qui ne sera pas aussi joué que ça).
Je crois que le trap noir ne sera pas autant joué non plus (sauf par moi, au début :p) parce que relic est quand même meilleure et plus polyvalente.
Le trap bleu qui exile un spell est une vraie bombe selon moi (4 manas en hardcast, pour contrer un stag ou une cascade ...) mais qui ne sera pas aussi jouée en legacy au final, mais elle aura fait son effet : obliger tous les joueurs de storm à faire un silence/orim's chant avant de partir et à craindre même les joueurs de mono-red qui pourront jouer un stifle-effect assez sympa venu de nulle part.

Me réjouis de voir le 2e set Very Happy ! Si c'est comme avec Morningtide qui a apporté bitterblossom et mutavault ... yeah Very Happy !
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