Strixhaven: School of Mages Limited Ratings

The AetherHub Limited Ratings are divided into two categories; The AI ratings gathered with data from the MTGA Assistant deck tracker and Pro ratings provided by Nizzahon Magic. The key difference is that the Pro ratings and comments are made before the set officially releases while the AI ratings are dynamically updated with new data all the time. This means that you should use the Pro ratings as guidance early on when new sets releases and the AI Ratings after a week or two after release. Here is an explanation of how we score the cards:

  • 5.0 The absolute best you can get.
  • 4.5 Incredible bomb, but not unbeatable.
  • 4.0 Good rare or top-tier uncommon.
  • 3.5 Top-tier common or solid uncommon.
  • 3.0 Good playable that always make the cut.
  • 2.5 A solid playable that rarely gets cut.
  • 2.0 A good playable, but is sometimes cut.
  • 1.5 Filler card but sometimes gets cut.
  • 1.0 Not good filler and often gets gut.
  • 0.5 Almost Unplayable and mostly sideboard material.
  • 0.0 Not playable at all.
image

Environmental Sciences

AI Rating: 3.9
Pro Rating: 3.5

All the lessons are much better than they look, and that is certainly the case for Environmental Sciences. If you can pick up one of these, it effectively makes every single card you have with “Learn” into fixing. This means you can have pretty excellent mana for a splash simply by playing one basic land of another color. The life gain doesn’t hurt either.

image

Expanded Anatomy

AI Rating: 3.2
Pro Rating: 3.0

This looks like it wouldn’t be especially good, but because you can choose to get it at exactly the right time (assuming you Learn), it often has a major impact on the game, allowing an attack that you just didn’t have before.

image

Introduction to Annihilation

AI Rating: 2.9
Pro Rating: 3.0

Giving yourself access to a removal spell any time you Learn is pretty nice. Obviously, the fact your opponent draws a card is rough, but you generally just end up breaking even, since you’ll get Introduction to Annihilation for free when you learn.

image

Introduction to Prophecy

AI Rating: 2.6
Pro Rating: 2.5

When you play a card with Learn, drawing this card will feel pretty nice, since it is additional value. Then, in the later part of the game, you can cast it and get some nice card selection. Think of it sort of like you would a creature who has an expensive activated ability, but it is an ability that gives you something to do with your mana late.

image

Mascot Exhibition

AI Rating: 5
Pro Rating: 5.0

Two of the five main archetypes in this set are ramp decks, and that goes a long way towards making this card better than it looks This gets a further upgrade because its a lesson. You don’t really want to draw this early, even in a ramp deck, and if you have ways to “Learn” to grab it from your sideboard, you don’t have to worry about that happening, so it really mitigates significantly against that downside. Basically, it feels like you end up starting every single game with this in your hand, but not taking up the space of an actual card, and that’s super powerful, especially because it adds so much to the board.

image

Wandering Archaic

AI Rating: 5
Pro Rating: 4.5

You probably mostly want to play the creature side of this. This set has a lot of instants and sorceries, so your opponent is going to have to pay this tax a lot, or you’ll be getting free copies of their spells, which is pretty freaking insane. In fact, this being in play sometimes will just make your opponent not cast their spells, which is fine with me! Meanwhile, Explore the Vastlands is a symmetrical effect, so it is sort of like you and your opponent break even on the cards and life, but your opponent will get to untap and have more mana available to use it. It is nice you can do the Explore the Vastlands thing in situations where you really just need to find a specific card, or really need the 3 life, so it is certainly upside, but this is mostly about Wandering Archaic.

image

Academic Probation

AI Rating: 2
Pro Rating: 2.5

Like all lessons, this is better than it looks. This is because you get it for “free” when you learn, and that means you can get this at a time where it actually does something. Using this to make one of your opponents creatures unable to block feels pretty good, and it has some other useful applications too.

image

Ageless Guardian

AI Rating: 0.2
Pro Rating: 1.5

This has reasonable defensive stats and it is a Spirit, and RW has some tribal synergy for that. You’ll play it in a deck that wants that sometimes, but I imagine you’ll cut it pretty often.

image

Beaming Defiance

AI Rating: 1.3
Pro Rating: 2.0

This is a solid trick, it gives a good enough stats boost to win most combats, and the Hexproof part makes it so that you can also use it to effectively counter removal. Like I always say, it IS still a trick, which means you will only be running it in aggro decks, and it comes with various risks – but it will be solid for those decks.

image

Clever Lumimancer

AI Rating: 2
Pro Rating: 2.5

So for the Luminancer, its Magecraft effect is basically Super Prowess. It reminds me quite a bit of Steppe Lynx, in that they are both one mana 0/1s that want you to jump through some hoops to make them really efficient creatures. Thing is, Steppe Lynx isn’t great in a format like Limited, where games tend to go long , and making the creature big enough consistently just isn’t that easy. I think this will have a similar problem. It might be great in the early going, but keeping it relevant just won’t be that easy, and it will quickly fade as the game goes on. Now, if you are an aggro deck with a bunch of tricks, the Luminancer is going to be probably be at its best.

image

Combat Professor

AI Rating: 3.7
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is a good Common. On its own, it is a 4-mana ⅔ with Flying that can be a 3/3 with Vigilance on your turn. That’s a pretty darn good rate for the mana investment, and you can actually put the Vigilance other places, which is just better! This is probably White’s best Common.

image

Defend the Campus

AI Rating: 1.3
Pro Rating: 2.0

I see this as two separate cards in many formats, and both of them are often cards you cut, just because they are a little too narrow. HOWEVER, by putting both of these effects on a single card, you end up with a better card. The effects are still narrow of course, but between the two effects one of them is going to be useful pretty often. This might all sounds like I think this is incredible -- but I just get excited about modal cards. It is a solid card that will actually make the cut a reasonable chunk of the time.

image

Detention Vortex

AI Rating: 0.7
Pro Rating: 1.5

This isn’t great. It might look like an efficient removal spell, but it basically signs you up to go down a card in the future, because your opponent can just pay some mana to get rid of it. It isn’t completely horrendous in more aggressive BW decks, since no matter what it does make a creature unable to block for a turn – but that’s pretty much the only place you’ll play this, and even then it won’t always make the cut.

image

Devastating Mastery

AI Rating: 3.3
Pro Rating: 4.5

You’ll mostly just want to play this for the full 6 mana, as allowing your opponent to return permanents to their hand basically guarantees they will come ahead in the exchange. Like always, board sweepers are really strong and have absolutely irreplaceable effects, and that makes them cards that you can go after pretty highly. Sure, they are a little less ideal if you’re an aggro deck, but even then, you should never really be cutting a boardsweeper. There just aren’t many things that can reshape the game this way. Still, the mana cost here is pretty difficult.

image

Dueling Coach

AI Rating: 2.6
Pro Rating: 3.0

Four mana for a 2/2 that puts a counter somewhere is alright, but not great. This does come with a late game mana sink that will be able to give you some value most of the time, and that’s nice.

image

Eager First-Year

AI Rating: 2
Pro Rating: 2.5

This seems like your typical solid White two-drop. It starts out with a fine base line and has some decent upside. Could be particularly nice with combat tricks, since it will get the extra bonus. It is a solid card, but not much else.

image

Elite Spellbinder

AI Rating: 4.6
Pro Rating: 4.0

For the first time in a while a Magic player who won a big tournament got to design their own card and it has their likeness, and PV did not disappoint, this is a cool AND strong design. A 3-mana 3/1 flyer is already something you’ll always play in most formats, and the ETB ability here is some nice disruption for White to get. Sure, it doesn’t take the card away forever, but making it take more mana and take longer for your opponent to cast that spell is great, it is a cool take on a tax effect. The efficient body and relatively nice disruption ability make this a card you first pick most of the time.

image

Expel

AI Rating: 2.6
Pro Rating: 3.0

White always gets a reasonably efficient removal spell that can hit tapped creatures, and that is what we have here. Unless you leave mana up for it, you have to take a hit first, and leaving mana up for it can be a real pain if your opponent plays around it. It also isn’t great in aggro decks, because it doesn’t remove blockers.

image

Guiding Voice

AI Rating: 2.4
Pro Rating: 3.0

All the cards with Learn and all the Lessons are big overperformers in this set, and this is an example of that. This effectively reads “Put a +1/+1 counter on a creature and draw a card that is pretty useful in this situation,” and that’s a great deal for one White mana. Especially in a format with a bunch of magecraft.

image

Leonin Lightscribe

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.5

This is a powerful Magecraft ability, basically giving prowess to your whole board is pretty silly! Especially because the floor is a two-mana 2/2. This will often make combat math a real pain for yoru opponent, and that’s always a good thing.

image

Mavinda, Students' Advocate

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.0

A 3-mana ⅔ Flyer is already above average, and this comes with a pretty interesting ability! Mostly, it wants you to be casting combat tricks from your graveyard, as those will just cost what they normally do. If the game gets really late and you have a ton of mana, she can help you cast some other stuff too. BW especially seems interested in tricks, so Mavinda will probably be best there, but she has a good enough baseline to play her in any White deck.

image

Pilgrim of the Ages

AI Rating: 2.5
Pro Rating: 2.5

This doesn’t exactly fix for you, since it is White and can only get Plains, but it does make sure you hit your land drops, and that’s always a nice thing to do with a 3-drop creature. It also gets extra value from the fact that it isn’t interested in staying in the graveyard, and in the late game it can give you a nice mana sink creature that can block all day and continue to thin out your deck. RW is the best home for this, since it likes to leave the graveyard and has the Spirit type. I think this is a solid Common.

image

Pillardrop Rescuer

AI Rating: 2
Pro Rating: 3.0

This is a pretty nice Common. By turn 5 you’ll often have something this can bring back without really trying, so just playing this, getting something back, and having a 2/2 flyer is going to feel pretty good. I think basically every White deck in the format will want the first copy of this.

image

Professor of Symbology

AI Rating: 4.2
Pro Rating: 3.5

So, even if you have 0 lessons, this is a two-mana 2/1 that rummages, and that’s already a solid playable. But, it will be right a decent chunk of the time to grab a Lesson from your sideboard. Most of the lower rarity lessons aren’t especially impressive cards if you look at them in a vacuum, but by having them in your sideboard you’re upgrading cards like this one, as you get far better card selection out of the deal, and you actually net a card instead of having to discard one too. The card you get may not be the best thing ever, but it is a free card, and you’ll gladly take it. I think this is close enough to being a two mana 2/1 with a “Draw a card” ETB ability, that I’m going to be taking this pretty early.

image

Reduce to Memory

AI Rating: 1.6
Pro Rating: 1.0 // 2.5

So, you can kind of sort of play this in your main deck, if you feel like you really need some removal and you didn’t get any Learn. Obviously, giving your opponent a 3/2 isn’t good -- it basically sets you up to get 2-for-1’d, but it can deal with any nonland permanent and that does matter some. You can use it on your own guy in a pinch too. Being able to sort of toolbox it up is way better, because if you can choose to get it from among other choices, that’s just a way different deal, and you can grab it when you really need it.

image

Secret Rendezvous

AI Rating: 0.4
Pro Rating: 0.0

You will always come up behind when you use this. You’re the one casting it, and using up a card and mana, your opponent gets the three cards for free -- they don’t spend a card or mana to get them. Now, if you have extra mana you will be taking advantage of the new cards first, but chances are also good your opponent will have an easier time doing that, because...again, they spent 0 mana to draw 3. Don’t play this in Limited.

image

Semester's End

AI Rating: 3.3
Pro Rating: 2.0

This is a mostly way too situational to make work. It is easy to imagine ideal scenarios where you just get to line up blocks and exile your board to get those +1/+1 counters, but it just doesn’t come up as often as you would hope, and it is often just a bad card.

image

Show of Confidence

AI Rating: 1.9
Pro Rating: 2.5

So, if you can’t make any copies of this it isn’t really going to be especially worthwhile, that boost just isn’t worth the investment. However, if you can get two copies of it or more, it will feel pretty good. It is also further augmented by the Magecraft mechanic, which will trigger off of the copies too. Getting two copies of it is definitely doable, but you’ve gotta keep in mind that it is some real set up, and it won’t always work out. Getting more than two copies will happen some, but I wouldn’t count on it.

image

Sparring Regimen

AI Rating: 4.9
Pro Rating: 5.0

This is great. The effect on it would already be good without Learn, as getting a +1/+1 counter every single turn on an attacking creature just enables a whole lot of attacks and tends to snowball. But then, you add learn to the mix, and you get to draw a very real card with it in addition to getting that sweet value, and you have a bomb on your hands.

image

Star Pupil

AI Rating: 1.4
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is a nice one drop for the BW deck, the deck most interested in +1/+1 counters. Even if you have no other synergy, this is sort of passable since it can move its one counter elsewhere, but if you put counters on it early, you won’t feel nearly as bad when it dies – provided you have another creature. This seems like a key common for BW.

image

Stonebinder's Familiar

AI Rating: 1.3
Pro Rating: 1.0 // 3.0

It is generally too difficult to really make this thing work. It mostly ends up being a one mana 1/1. You can end up in some Lorehold decks where it does more than that, but they are few and far between.

image

Stonerise Spirit

AI Rating: 1.5
Pro Rating: 2.5

This starts out with really reasonable stats, and then in the late game it can enable your payoffs for moving stuff out of your graveyard while also giving your other creatures flying. That late game mana sink is going to end games sometimes, but keep in mind that it is pretty expensive to use the ability, so you often won’t be able to make more than one thing fly.

image

Strict Proctor

AI Rating: 3.1
Pro Rating: 2.5

So, a two-mana ⅓ Flyer is sort of borderline playable already, and this comes with some extra action. Taxing ETB abilities is pretty strong, as there are lots of creatures in Limited who derive a fair bit of their power from doing something when they ETB. Problem is, it is symmetrical. And sure, you can plan around that by waiting to play it until you’re done taking advantage of ETBs, but you can’t count on the fact that you won’t draw more things with ETB abilities, or that playing it late will even bother your opponent! This isn’t a bad card by any means, but I don’t think it is that great either. Sometimes it will really cause your opponent some problems, but sometimes it will do the same to you! Obviously, should you find yourself in a deck this doesn’t hurt at all, it does get better, but that’s not going to be easy.

image

Study Break

AI Rating: 2.2
Pro Rating: 3.0

This is another card with Learn that is way better than it looks at first. This is a key card for BW or RW aggro decks, as tapping down blockers can really open the floodgates on your opponent – and you even draw a card off of it thanks to Learn! It tends to have a very real impact on games when it is cast.

image

Thunderous Orator

AI Rating: 3.7
Pro Rating: 3.0

This is a kind of reasonable card just as a French Vanilla creature, so when you add the rest to the mix it gets quite good. Being able to gain whatever key words it friends has will sometimes be awesome. That said, he will also sometimes be a two mana 2/2 with Vigilance and that’s it -- which is fine. Just don’t expect him to always be always taking to the sky or anything. He will gain other keyword abilities often enough though to be a relevant card at multiple stages of the game.

image

Arcane Subtraction

AI Rating: 1.8
Pro Rating: 3.0

This is another Learn card that is way better than it looks! The effect doesn’t always do something worthwhile – fogging a single creature isn’t always impactful, but when the fail case is fogging a creature and drawing a card – while also triggering some magecraft – you are in a pretty good place with this card, especially because it has the very big upside of sometimes helping you kill a creature in combat.

image

Archmage Emeritus

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.0

This might be a super inefficient creature that dies to all the removal, but it has a great Magecraft ability. Drawing a card off of every instant or sorcery is no joke -- even if you only net one card with this, you’ll feel fine about the situation, and if your opponent doesn’t kill it and you draw 3+ cards with it? Well, they probably lose. Being a 4-mana 2/2 is definitely something that holds it back, but it is still a really great card.

image

Burrog Befuddler

AI Rating: 0.9
Pro Rating: 2.5

This seems like a solid two-drop. Flash + the ability to lower a creature’s power will sometimes give you a pretty attractive blocking situation, but even if this just prevents one damage and lets you add to the board with a two-mana 2/1, that’s fine too.

image

Bury in Books

AI Rating: 3.5
Pro Rating: 3.0

Totally Lost is usually a kind of passable card, and this is mostly a better version of it. Sure, it can only target creatures, but Totally Lost does that 90% of the time anyway, and the fact that this gets discounted to only three mana when you hit an attacking creature is pretty good. Remember, when you put something back in your opponent’s deck, you’re actually trading 1-for-1, not just getting tempo out of the deal, and the fact they will usually have to wait a whole turn to get that card is nice. This seems like a pretty good Blue common, I think you always run the first copy.

image

Curate

AI Rating: 1.1
Pro Rating: 1.0

I’m not super interested in this. It is just another Anticipate variant, and those are always replaceable. It does help you load your graveyard I guess if that’s what you want, and give you some card selection, and it will trigger magecraft, but it just has an underwhelming effect that is not often worth a card.

image

Divide by Zero

AI Rating: 3.8
Pro Rating: 3.5

This seems quite good. It will be capable of bouncing anything that isn’t a token, and virtually all of the spells in the format, and while that isn’t exactly “removal,” it does give you some tempo and a way to interact, AND it will replace itself most of the time by giving you a Lesson, or rummaging in a fail case.

image

Dream Strix

AI Rating: 4.5
Pro Rating: 3.5

This has some nice stats for the cost, and I would probably think this was well worth your while even without the Learn effect attached to it. That kind of efficiency allows you to do a lot of damage in the air in a hurry, so it dying to any spell is worth it. Adding Learn to the mix makes it even better, and most of the time you’ll be able to get a card out of that too.

image

Frost Trickster

AI Rating: 3.4
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is a very strong Common. It is probably Blue’s best Common, and a contender for best Common in the set. Now, I am somewhat biased here, if you’ve watched my set reviews or drafts before, you know I love tempo creatures like this -- Blue creatures with ETB abilities that either tap something down or bounce something -- but there’s a reason I love them! They’re really good in Limited. They add to your board while effectively taking something away from your opponent. You make their best creature unable to block and attack for an entire cycle, and that has a pretty massive effect on a race. Frost Lynx is already a card that you first pick sometimes, and this adds FLYING to the mix, which is a great addition.

image

Ingenious Mastery

AI Rating: 4.1
Pro Rating: 3.0

This probably has one of the less painful alternate costs of the cards in this cycle. In this case, you don’t exactly give your opponent full cards of value, because they just get treasure and a Scry, and while that isn’t something you’re happy to hand to your opponent, you will be coming out significantly ahead here if you pay 3 for this. Now, in the early game, giving them that mana boost might be rough, but your opponent will be getting less and less out of the treasure as the game goes on. Then, it has al alternate mode where your opponent gets nothing, but it is a way less efficient draw spell. You have to pay 6 to draw three, which isn’t awesome, but Blue is a ramp color in this format, so being able to do it won’t feel too bad. Mostly though, both of these modes are for the late game, and kind of a liability in the early game.

image

Kelpie Guide

AI Rating: 3.5
Pro Rating: 3.0

So the main thing this does, is help you ramp, which is a pretty nice effect, even on a 3-mana 2/2. Then, in the late game, it will gain a very powerful ability, becoming an Icy Manipulator of sorts, which means it is going to be able to basically stop whatever your opponents most powerful permanent is in most cases, since it can tap them down. One of the downsides of creatures that help you ramp mana is how bad they are in the extreme late game, when they tend to be undersized and their mana is unnecessary, but the Kelpie gets around that with that ability. I think overall, this is a pretty strong card -- it helps you ramp early, and then becomes one of the best cards on the table late.

image

Mentor's Guidance

AI Rating: 2.9
Pro Rating: 3.0

Having one of these creature types in play is reasonably likely in this set, and when you do, it is a souped up Divination, and that’s something I’m interested in. Three mana to see up to 4 cards, and get some card selection sounds nice to me! Now, when you can’t get this to make a copy it won’t feel nearly as good, but at least its passable.

image

Mercurial Transformation

AI Rating: 1
Pro Rating: 2.5

Neither mode on this is super awesome, but making an opposing creature into a 1/1, or one of yours into a 4/4 will sometimes be a reasonable thing to do, especially because you get this kind of for free in your hand off of a “Learn” effect. Keep in mind that you can use this after combat to turn an opposing creature into a 1/1, and if that creature took at least one damage, it will just die on the spot! It is situational to be sure, but because it is a lesson, you can get it when the situation calls for it.

image

Multiple Choice

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.5

So, the ideal thing is obviously to have X be = 4, at which point you get a 5-mana 4/4, bounce one of their creatures, and Scry and draw a card. If that’s just what this always was, it would be a really good card. Basically a huge Man-O’-War type creature that also draws you a card. But because this can be used earlier than that in a pinch, it is significantly better than that. I think between the powerful X =4, and the earlier flexibility, this is something that gets in the lower range of bomb status.

image

Pop Quiz

AI Rating: 2.4
Pro Rating: 3.0

This often just feels like a better Divination, since it draws you one card from your deck and one non-land card that is useful in your situation with the learn part. And its an Instant!

image

Reject

AI Rating: 0.9
Pro Rating: 1.5

This is a narrow mana leak, and in most formats I would think it is pretty reasonable, since creatures are so plentiful. This format is an odd one though, with fewer creatures than normal and way more instants and sorceries, so this ends up being more narrow than it normally would be, and it still has the problem of having diminishing values as the game goes on, because your opponent will just be able to pay the mana eventually.

image

Resculpt

AI Rating: 0.4
Pro Rating: 1.0

People always overrate this type of card. They think of scenarios where you will exile one of your own artifacts or creatures and get a 4/4 out of the deal at Instant speed, and then you block an attacker or something. Or you use it in response to a removal spell and still get a 4/4 and all of that. But every time we see a card like this, even the one that made a 4/4 Angel, they just never line up as well as you might think at first. That situation I described just won’t happen as much as you want it to, and you’ll often find yourself in situations where this just isn’t worth casting. Now, it does have the ability to also go after opposing permanents, but giving your opponent a 4/4 in that case isn’t especially good most of the time either.

image

Serpentine Curve

AI Rating: 2.7
Pro Rating: 2.5

In many Blue decks in this format, this tends to make pretty efficient creatures, and is worth playing.

image

Snow Day

AI Rating: 2.7
Pro Rating: 2.0

Blue always get some expensive instant or sorcery tempo card that does something to two of your opponents’ creatures, and this is Strixhaven’s version of that! I think it looks fairly reasonable. Tapping down two creatures is often better than bouncing them, since they will be out of your way for two separate attacks instead of just one, and this also replaces itself with the “Draw two, discard one” effect. Still, these effects aren’t always something all decks are after, as they are expensive and situational.

image

Solve the Equation

AI Rating: 0.7
Pro Rating: 0.0

Tutors that cost three are pretty bad in Limited. Generally, in Limited Magic, you want to be adding to the board with the mana you spend, and the more cards you have that don’t do that, the more trouble you’re in. Cards can overcome that by giving you card advantage or something like that, but they can’t normally overcome it with just card selection, and that’s what this is. 3 mana to get an instant or sorcery from your deck isn’t going to be worth doing. We’ve seen BETTER 3 mana tutors -- like Grim Tutor -- be bad in Limited, and this will be too.

image

Soothsayer Adept

AI Rating: 0.9
Pro Rating: 1.5

This card has okay stats and it can loot, and that’s enough for it to be a reasonable inclusion in most decks. Looting isn’t a bad mana sink to have late, as it can really improve your draws.

image

Symmetry Sage

AI Rating: 1
Pro Rating: 2.5

So the idea here is that you can make this into a one mana 2/2 flyer if you have enough instants and sorceries lying around. For the most part, giving others of your creatures base power 2 probably won’t be an upgrade, or if it is one, it will be a very small one, and that certainly hurts this card’s case a little bit. I like that this can rumble in the air when you use spells and all that, but I’m not overly impressed here.

image

Teachings of the Archaics

AI Rating: 3.1
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is a very nice Lesson, since it is so powerful in the perfect situation, and you can just wait to get it until that situation every time!

image

Tempted by the Oriq

AI Rating: 4.5
Pro Rating: 4.0

Mind control effects are really strong, even ones that can only steal smaller creatures, like this one. 4 mana to take your opponents’ three drop is an incredible deal, as you simultaneously take from their board and add to your own, and you’re doing pretty efficiently! Sure, it can’t steal most super powerful creatures, but there are plenty of nice things it can hit.

image

Test of Talents

AI Rating: 1.7
Pro Rating: 2.0

This set has a ton of instants and sorceries, and countering those no questions asked for only two mana actually seems like a decent thing here – after all, it’s a hard counter. The fact you then take out all the other copies of a card you counter is upside, but it isn’t exactly huge. I think this is just a solid playable.

image

Vortex Runner

AI Rating: 1.2
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is underwhelming as a three-drop on curve, but in the late game it can become a legitimate win condition, especially in UG decks which are particularly good at getting lots of lands in play.

image

Waterfall Aerialist

AI Rating: 1.4
Pro Rating: 2.5

A 4-mana 3/1 flyer is generally a playable card, it hits pretty hard in the air for the mana cost. 1 toughness is certainly a liability though, since it can die to everything, even the cheapest removal spells! The Aerliast gets around that, though, with Ward, which means that it will be tough for your opponent to get a great deal on their removal spell. This set does have 2/1 flying tokens though, and that hurts the value of a card like this significantly.

image

Wormhole Serpent

AI Rating: 2.2
Pro Rating: 3.0

This has passable stats and a pretty nice activated ability that will sometimes allow you to close out games. It is costly to be sure, but there are two Blue archetypes in this format that love mana (UG and UR), so having a mana sink like these fits pretty well into those decks.

image

Arrogant Poet

AI Rating: 1.8
Pro Rating: 2.5

We have seen lots of two mana 2/1s that gain flying when they attack be pretty good, and while this is admittedly worse as a result of having to pay life to make that happen, it will still be a nice card to have in Black Aggressive decks. Gaining flying goes a long way towards making this two drop stay relevant. It slots well into the Black-Green deck, which is good at gaining life, and the +1/+1 counter deck, which likes putting counters on evasive creatures.

image

Baleful Mastery

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.0

Even if you can only cast this for 3B, it would be premium removal, since it straight up exiles creatures at instant speed for 4 mana. The fact you can also cast this for 1B in a pinch is nice, even with the downside of your opponent drawing a card. Sometimes you’ll only have 1B up and just HAVE To use it to not die or something, and that will feel good in those situations.

image

Brackish Trudge

AI Rating: 3.2
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is a powerful life gain payoff. It begins as a 3-mana 4/2 that comes into play tapped, which is already a fairly passable card – this returning to your hand any time you gain any amount of life is going to really be a problem for your opponent in the long run, as it has the kind of size that may just let it attack every single turn, since the downside of it trading with something is so minimal. There’s enough life gain in this set that this looks like a real value engine.

image

Callous Bloodmage

AI Rating: 4.5
Pro Rating: 4.0

Typically, you’ll be choosing one of the first two modes here. Three mana for a 2/1 that marks a 1/1 token, or three mana for a 2/1 that draws you a card is a nice couple of things to choose between, as if this was just either of those, it would be something you basically never cut. Going after a graveyard will come up in this format too, as there are some significant graveyard shenanigans around, especially in RW.

image

Confront the Past

AI Rating: 1.5
Pro Rating: 0.0 // 1.0

This card is not especially good in Limited, even if you have cards with Learn. There just aren’t enough planeswalkers for this card to matter. I mean, sure, if you see this late and you have some Learn going on, having this ready to get out of your sideboard will definitely be some upside for your Learn cards, but you’re not going to run into planeswalkers or have them very often, and that’s why I think this is a straight F as a main board card, and like a D out of your Lessonboard.

image

Crushing Disappointment

AI Rating: 0.9
Pro Rating: 1.5

This isn’t amazing. 4-mana to draw 2 at instant speed is alright, and it is nice the life loss is symmetrical, but I tend to have a hard time getting behind this kind of card draw in Limited. It is pretty inefficient and expensive, and by choosing to spend 4 of you r mana to cast this you probably already paid some life in a way -- since you didn’t add to your board with that mana. Then, paying more life can be surprisingly painful. Again, it is nice that it can give you some reach against some opponents, and in BG especially you’ll be able to gain enough life that you don’t need to worry about it, but I still think this is a card that gets cut a reasonable chunk of the time.

image

Essence Infusion

AI Rating: 1.4
Pro Rating: 2.0

This gives a pretty efficient boost of two +1/+1 Counters, and the deathtouch until end of turn is likely to make it so your creature can get in. However, it is a Sorcery, and not a great card for interacting. It does work nicely in BG Lifegain and BW +1/+1 counters though, and that probably increases its playability.

image

Eyetwitch

AI Rating: 3.5
Pro Rating: 3.0

One-mana 1/1 Flyers often aren’t really worth it in Limited because they are so quickly outclassed, but this has quite the useful death trigger. So you will need to have picked up a few Lessons for cards like this to be at their best, but it is nice you can rummage with them in a pinch. This will feel like drawing a card often enough that I think it is pretty good! Also not a bad place to stick a +1/+1 counter.

image

Flunk

AI Rating: 4.1
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is going to be a bit awkward sometimes, but from the mid-game on you’re going to have a super efficient removal spell in most cases. Your opponent drawing cards in response is going to be at hing that happens sometimes, but that’s ok. This is premium removal.

image

Go Blank

AI Rating: 1.6
Pro Rating: 1.5

They keep giving us upgraded Mind Rots lately, and I like it. Normally Mind Rot effects aren’t so good in Limited. They don’t impact the board and they get bad in the late game, but by giving these cards something else to do -- in this case, exiling the graveyard, you at least get something out of this card even when it can’t make your opponent discard anything. In most formats, exiling the graveyard will have at least a small effect on most decks. Now, all that said, this isn’t great, but it is a 1.5 instead the 1.0 that Mind Rot usually is.

image

Hunt for Specimens

AI Rating: 2.9
Pro Rating: 3.0

This ends up feeling like an upgraded Elvish Visionary often enough that this card is very worth playing. A 1/1 pest and a card that is good in your situation is just great for two mana.

image

Lash of Malice

AI Rating: 2.9
Pro Rating: 3.0

This seems quite good to me. In a lot of ways, it is like a Shock that traded in the ability to burn the opponent for the ability to be a combat trick sometimes. It can very efficiently kill an X/2, but you can also use it on your own creature to make it hit harder. This set seems like it has a TON of X/2s, so this will definitely feel like premium removal with some nice upside.

image

Leech Fanatic

AI Rating: 2.2
Pro Rating: 3.0

We’ve seen pretty much this same card before, and it overperformed, and I think this will here too. It slots well into both Black decks too – gaining life for BG and being a good place to stick counters for BW.

image

Mage Hunter

AI Rating: 2.7
Pro Rating: 2.5

This seems solid. There are lots of instants and sorceries in this set, but there probably aren’t enough for this to be incredible or anything. It has alright stats and will punish your opponent some if it sticks around.

image

Mage Hunters' Onslaught

AI Rating: 3.7
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is a nice removal spell. It is definitely a little bit clunky as a 4-mana sorcery, but it does kill anything, and the upside of punishing an opponent for Blocking will sometimes have a pretty real effect. Taking away their best blocker and then attacking with this seems pretty nice.

image

Necrotic Fumes

AI Rating: 2.8
Pro Rating: 3.5

So, this isn’t the most amazing removal spell ever -- you have to two-for-one yourself to use it AND its a Sorcery, but it is kind of passable for your main deck if you don’t get any Learn. It will be absolutely great to grab when you DO “Learn” though, as it is a removal spell that can deal with anything, and that’s a nice thing to be able to Wish for.

image

Novice Dissector

AI Rating: 0.5
Pro Rating: 2.5

This starts out as a Hill GIant, which is not so good, but it does have a pretty reasonable ability. Note, by the way, it lets you put the counter wherever. Lots of times when we see this effect only the creature who does the Sacrificing ends up getting the counters, but that’s not true here, and that’s good news for sure, as putting the counters on flyers and stuff sounds pretty good. This is another Black common that supports both Black archetypes well. It does +1/+1 counter stuff for BW, and it likes Pest tokens for BG.

image

Oriq Loremage

AI Rating: 3.1
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is a 4-mana 3/3 that can gain a +1/+1 counter every turn, and that’s a pretty nice card. And sure, you have to give up an instant or sorcery in your deck for that to happen, but that mostly isn’t even downside. If you’re in Black, theoretically you’ll have ways to take advantage of what’s going on in your graveyard, so if you can get some additional benefits out of throwing things in there -- and I think you’ll be able to -- you’re going to really enjoy this card.

image

Plumb the Forbidden

AI Rating: 1.8
Pro Rating: 3.5

So this has a reasonable fail case, and a potentially really amazing ceiling. Two mana to pay 1 life and draw a card isn’t terrible, and if you start copying it, it gets a lot nice. It is also an Instant, so you will have a really wide window of ways to use this to get the extra copies – like after setting up blocks that will kill your creatures anyway, or in response to removal. Sacrifincg Pests to this will be particularly satisfying, because you’ll even gain the life back! Keep in mind, too, that everything with Magecraft will trigger for every single copy. Now, there will be times where you just can’t afford to make the copies, but like I said I think this has a reasonable fail case.

image

Poet's Quill

AI Rating: 4.9
Pro Rating: 4.5

Learn cards that have inefficient effects tend to all be way better than they look. So, when you see Learn attached to a card that would already be quite good, you know you’re getting something special, and that’s what you get with the quill. It is an Equipment that alters the game dramatically, as a stats boost and lifelink will make it hard for your opponent to race. So, adding the ability to get a lesson out of your sideboard makes it a bomb.

image

Professor Onyx

AI Rating: 4.9
Pro Rating: 5.0

Unsurprisingly, this Planeswalker is really strong. Her -3 will typically kill whatever your opponent’s best creature is. And yeah, sometimes it won’t line up that way and that will be annoying, but you’re still getting rid of something pretty good! If you’re behind, you’ll probably start with that -3 most of the time. If you’re ahead, you can use her +1 for amazing card selection as well as add some stuff to the graveyard. She’s also got a powerful static ability -- draining your opponent 2 life for every instant or sorcery you play is not a small thing, that can really alter races. Her ultimate can win the game, though it is a little inconsistent. The one thing she lacks is a way to protect herself, but I think having the card draw and removal options + a powerful static ability is enough for me to get over that.

image

Professor's Warning

AI Rating: 1.3
Pro Rating: 1.5

If this card only did one of these two things, it would be terrible. One mana just isn’t a good rate for either of those things, even if they can help you out sometimes, what it does often won’t be worth a card. Making this modal make it better of course, and so does the fact that this set loves cheap spells as a result of Magecraft and other spell payoffs.

image

Promising Duskmage

AI Rating: 1.1
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is a solid little +1/+1 counter payoff. Sometimes when you put a counter on something it is a bummer that it gets killed, but this makes sure to give you some value no matter what!

image

Sedgemoor Witch

AI Rating: 5
Pro Rating: 4.5

This is a really good 3-mana creature. It comes with good French Vanilla stats and Ward, which makes it so that no matter what you’ll at least hurt your opponent a little bit, and a 3/2 with Menace can often attack pretty readily in the early game. Then you add a very powerful Magecraft trigger to the mix, and we’re talking about a bomb. If she really starts churning out those tokens, your opponent will be done. I think this is always going to feel good to play and always give you some value, and will really take over games if left unchecked.

image

Specter of the Fens

AI Rating: 2
Pro Rating: 2.0

This doesn’t have the greatest stats, but it has a late game mana sink ability that is serviceable, especially in decks interested in gaining life.

image

Tenured Inkcaster

AI Rating: 2.8
Pro Rating: 3.5

This card is a potent +1/+1 counter payoff. When it comes down it immediately buffs a creature, and makes it so that creature drains the opponent for one life when it attacks. That’s not a bad deal, and that’s pretty much the fail case. If you end up with a synergistic +1/+1 counter deck, her presence on the board will make the game close to unwillable for the opponent. Now, she is super undersized for her cost, so taking her down won’t be too hard, but left unchecked she seems pretty great.

image

Umbral Juke

AI Rating: 3.4
Pro Rating: 3.0

This has two reasonable modes. Three mana for a 2/1 Flyer is fine, and three mana for an edict is fine too, especially because this is an instant. Modality is enough to make a card with two “fine” effects become an actually “pretty good” card.

image

Unwilling Ingredient

AI Rating: 1.6
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is a solid little common. In the early game, it will chip in for a few damage, and be a good place to put +1/+1 counters. Then, in the later part of the game you can cash it in for a card, which always feels pretty good in Limited when you have the mana lying around.

image

Academic Dispute

AI Rating: 2.3
Pro Rating: 3.0

This is another Learn card that is way better than it looks. You can often use this to help you take down a creature – either because you force an opposing creature to block, or you give one of your creatures Reach and it can suddenly take down an opposing flyer. That doesn’t always line up, but even when it doesn’t, this basically replaces itself thanks to Learn.

image

Ardent Dustspeaker

AI Rating: 2.9
Pro Rating: 4.0

So, this helps trigger all the cards in RW that like it when things leave your graveyard, AND it will effectively draw you cards at the same time. That’s pretty powerful, so of course they had to make the creature rather inefficient, as a 5-mana ¾. Even with that limitation though, this is going to be quite good. ¾ is enough size to attack on lots of boards, and as long as the best your opponent can do is trade with this, you’re going to be in business, because the cards you get from the effect will help you come out ahead from the trade. In some situations, even if the Dustspeaker is going to die without killing anything, attacking will still be worth it for the effect. You can also get serious value by giving it evasion or stats boosts that make things harder on your opponent. If this gets to use that ability more than once, chances are you just win.

image

Blood Age General

AI Rating: 0.8
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is a Bear with some nice upside for the RW deck, which will have plenty of Spirits.

image

Conspiracy Theorist

AI Rating: 4.2
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is a pretty nice Bear. It lets you rummage when you attack which would already be a card you usually play, but what really makes it nice is the fact that you can exile the card you discard and cast it during your turn. It is unfortunate it doesn’t work with lands, but because you make the choice on what to discard, you can make sure to discard something cheap that you can play, at which point you’re no longer rummaging -- you’re just drawing two cards! Now, sometimes in the early game you’ll find yourself unable to pay the mana and cast the thing you discard, and in the late game you might find that attacking with the Theorist is unwise because he’s so small, but he still has utility all game long, since he helps you Rummage.

image

Crackle with Power

AI Rating: 4.9
Pro Rating: 4.5

It is easy enough to make a ton of mana in this format for Crackle with Power to be a straight up bomb. It isn’t hard to pay 8 for this, and it is hard to lose when you do.

image

Draconic Intervention

AI Rating: 4.4
Pro Rating: 4.0

This has quite the powerful effect. You can use it to wipe the whole board sometimes, or even better, exile something that does enough damage to decimate your opponents’ board, but doesn’t hurt your board quite as much. Thing is, you do need to have a spell of the right cost in your graveyard to really make it work, and that just won’t line up sometimes, so I think that holds it back some – at least as far as board sweepers go.

image

Dragon's Approach

AI Rating: -0
Pro Rating: 0.0

This is a neat design, but not really one that will work out in Limited. Even if you get like, six of these in your draft, the chances you have the necessary ones in your graveyard at some point aren’t great -- and that’s without even mentioning that you ALSO need a dragon for that effect do anything. Basically, this is just a Lava Axe-type effect, and those normally don’t play great in Limited, since they cost you a card and don’t affect the board.

image

Efreet Flamepainter

AI Rating: 4.6
Pro Rating: 4.0

If this gets through for damage, it is going to be pretty crazy. Because it has double strike, you’ll get to cast two instants or sorceries for free every time! If you can do that even once, that will win most games. Now, given that it’s just a ¼, getting through with it won’t always be a cake walk, but its worth remembering that this thing has such a scary combat damage trigger that your opponent will have to be pretty careful, and they will leave back blockers they just wouldn’t have before. Using a removal spell to get a blocker out of the way, and then attacking with the Flamepainter and casting that spell for FREE is going to come up sometimes, and that’s going to be amazing.

image

Enthusiastic Study

AI Rating: 1.4
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is great in aggro decks, as it often helps you hit for a ton of trample damage – even saving your creature a decent chunk of the time – and ON TOP OF THAT, you get to learn, which Is just great.

image

Explosive Welcome

AI Rating: 2.2
Pro Rating: 2.0

Eight mana is a whole lot, but the UR deck looks capable of producing that kind of mana. This will often get you a 2-for-1 which is nice, but the thing I wonder is how often the mana it gives you back will even be usable. If you just spent a bunch of mana to cast this, it was probably the last card you had in your hand, so where’s that mana going? Probably nowhere most of the time. This has some serious explosive potential in the later part of the game, but in really only fits in the UR deck, and even then it won’t always work out.

image

Fervent Mastery

AI Rating: 1.6
Pro Rating: 0.0

So, even with the RW deck liking stuff in the graveyard, I don’t think this is very good. First, 5 to search up 3 cards and then discard 3 randomly is pretty bad in Limited. You spin your wheels to search up some stuff, and then you don’t even know if you’ll keep them! Now, if you cast this for 4 that’s obviously better, and sometimes your opponent won’t actually be able to do the benefit you offer them there, so that’s a thing I guess? But mostly this is a really bad, expensive tutor, that just won’t do what you want it to way too often.

image

First Day of Class

AI Rating: 0.4
Pro Rating: 1.5

If you’re only able to make one creature benefit from this it won’t feel all that good, even if you have a Lesson to grab. After all, most of the Lessons are actually mediocre cards, but they’re worthwhile because you get them for free when you Learn. So, you kind of need your card with Learn to do something worth close to a card, and if you’re just getting one counter and giving one thing Haste, I’m not sure you’re doing it here. “Learn” is sort of like “draw a card,” and does give you some card selection, but those cards to choose from just aren’t gonna be awesome. Keep in mind you can also choose to rummage instead of getting a Lesson, and sometimes that will be best. Now, where this does start to get interesting is when you play multiple creatures in a turn, which won’t be easy if you’re just casting a regular ol’ creature spell, but if you have ways to make multiple tokens in a turn, this will start to feel pretty good. All in all, I’m not super high on this to start, just because I don’t think it will be all that easy to make it work, but I could see myself being wrong here.

image

Fuming Effigy

AI Rating: 1
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is mostly here for the RW deck, which makes cards leave the graveyard pretty often. This is likely to do a few damage in that deck, in addition to having reasonable stats to start with.

image

Grinning Ignus

AI Rating: 1.1
Pro Rating: 2.0

Basically, the Ignus gives you something of a ritual effect. It gives you a short-term mana boost, but when you actually look at the mana you spend -- which is 3 to play it and one to use its ability, you actually come out behind! Still, the UR deck in this format looks interested in getting a bunch of mana in single turns for big crazy spells, so it probably has a home.

image

Hall Monitor

AI Rating: 1.2
Pro Rating: 3.5

Cheap cards that make something unable to block have a pretty good track record in Limited. Making just one thing unable to block is often enough to make your whole board capable of attacking, and, this thing is a Raging Goblin on turn one, which means it will get in for some damage early, and then in the later part of the game really make blocking difficult for your opponent. Seems like a great aggro card.

image

Heated Debate

AI Rating: 4.2
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is most likely Red’s best common. 3 mana for 4 damage at Instant speed is always great in Limited, and this also can’t be countered, which actually matters in this format as Blue seems to have several playable counter spells in this format.

image

Igneous Inspiration

AI Rating: 4.4
Pro Rating: 4.0

This will frequently feel like “3 mana, kill something, draw a card” and that’s going to be pretty great. This is another premium Red removal spell.

image

Illuminate History

AI Rating: 2.6
Pro Rating: 3.0

Paying 4 to help you rummage a bit and make a 3/2 won’t be that hard with this – especially because you can wait to “Learn” it until your graveyard is primed and ready to go.

image

Illustrious Historian

AI Rating: 1.9
Pro Rating: 3.0

Nothing this card does is efficient, but that’s kind of not the point. It is a card you can play early on curve, and then trade with something, and the in the later game you get a 3/2 out of your graveyard. That could be a 2-for-1, even if it is a kind of expensive one.

image

Mascot Interception

AI Rating: 1
Pro Rating: 1.5

So, there are a reasonable number of tokens in this format -- that’s a product of a set with an instant and sorcery theme, so being able to use this to steal one for only a single mana is some actual real upside. Note, by the way, if you need to do 2 more damage with your own creature, you can use this on your own guy too, and if its YOUR token, it also only costs one Red. Still, these Threaten effects tend to be highly situational. That said, by being so cheap a reasonable chunk of the time, it does overcome some of that downside. I have a hard time believing in Threatens until I see them work out in a format.

image

Pigment Storm

AI Rating: 2.6
Pro Rating: 2.5

This effect at Sorcery speed is really clunky. If you have to use this to kill a smaller creature, it feels really miserable because of the tempo hit. This does try to make up for that a little, by having the damage Trample, and that is some nice additional upside, but I still think this falls well short of being premium removal.

image

Pillardrop Warden

AI Rating: 1.6
Pro Rating: 2.5

This has reasonable defensive stats and the ability to bring an instant or sorcery back to your hand, giving it utility pretty much all game long.

image

Retriever Phoenix

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is a pretty cool payoff for Learning. A 4-mana 2/2 with Flying and Haste that Learns already would have been a pretty good card, since it will feel like it draws you a card a significant chunk of the time. But then, any time you learn when it is in your graveyard, you have the option of getting it back. Now, you won’t always want to do that -- the Phoenix isn’t exactly large, and sometimes getting a Lesson from your sideboard or even rummaging might make more sense, but it is nice that it gives you the option.

image

Start from Scratch

AI Rating: 1.5
Pro Rating: 2.5

Yet another Lesson I’m pretty excited about. There’s just something about being able to grab these cards with narrow but useful effects out of your sideboard at the ideal time. Your opponent won’t always have an Artifact, or an X/1 to kill, or be at 1 life, but when any of those things are true, grabbing Start from Scratch when you Learn will feel pretty awesome.

image

Storm-Kiln Artist

AI Rating: 2.6
Pro Rating: 3.0

I think this looks like a nice card, and I like that it has a design that synergizes with itself. Even if you have no other artifacts, he gets a power boost from the Treasures that he makes you. If you can get this to a 4/2 I think you’ll feel like you’re getting there. And, the fact he makes treasure means he gives Red some pretty decent fixing and ramp, something UR is especially interested in.

image

Sudden Breakthrough

AI Rating: 0.6
Pro Rating: 1.5

This is a decent trick -- it gives a boost large enough for your creature to win combat most of the time -- and it gives you a Treasure for some fixing and ramping. But you’ll probably cut it a lot, after all, it is still a trick -- and that means it is risky and highly situational.

image

Tome Shredder

AI Rating: 1.8
Pro Rating: 3.0

This guy can get pretty big on his diet of instants and sorceries, and he’ll work especially well in RW, because that deck can load the graveyard reasonably well, and it also likes it when cards leave the graveyard in any way, and Tome Shredder will do that for you.

image

Twinscroll Shaman

AI Rating: 0.4
Pro Rating: 2.0

Double strike ½ for three isn’t too bad, and makes this a good place to put counters or otherwise enhance it. That said, that doesn’t seem to be a HUGE focus for Red in this set, strange as that is.

image

Accomplished Alchemist

AI Rating: 4
Pro Rating: 4.0

This has nice defensive stats and does a good job ramping and fixing, and sometimes you’ll be able to get even more mana out of it, provided you gained life. This format looks like it has enough life gain and enough reasons to ramp that I think this is pretty darn good.

image

Basic Conjuration

AI Rating: 3.7
Pro Rating: 1.5 // 3.0

This will be a nice thing to grab when you “Learn,” since it gives you some pretty nice card selection and gains you some life. If you end up with no “Learn” at all, it would be a somewhat passable card in your deck too. It is a bit clunky to be sure, but gaining life off of it helps offset that problem.

image

Bayou Groff

AI Rating: 1.5
Pro Rating: 2.5

I like the upside we have here. It is either a 5-mana 5/4, a sort of passable card already, or a two mana 5/4 that you sacrifice a creature for. Doing the sacrifice thing can be a bit risky if you’re giving up a real card to cast it on turn two, since if your opponent can remove the Snagger or otherwise make it hard for it to attack, the cost will definitely not be worth it. BUT, just having the option available to you is great, and sometimes you’ll have very expendable creatures – like Pest tokens --, and you can double spell with this on like turn 5 if you give one of them up, which works for me.

image

Big Play

AI Rating: 1.1
Pro Rating: 2.0

This is a reasonable trick -- two mana for +3/+3, and one of those +1/+1s sticks around as a counter, so you end up getting some value from it beyond the turn you play it. That’s a boost big enough to help your creature win most combat too. Aggressive Green decks will likely always run the first copy of this -- but it IS still a trick -- it is situational and risky.

image

Bookwurm

AI Rating: 4.1
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is one of the best win conditions for both the UG and UR ramp decks. If it comes down, it is hard to beat, since it brings a huge body, gains you some life and gives you an extra card. And it doesn’t end there! Even if your opponent gets rid of it, it will be coming back.

image

Charge Through

AI Rating: 0.7
Pro Rating: 1.0

In your typical format, this wouldn’t be close to a 0.0. It replaces itself, but the effect it has can be useless or close to it a huge chunk of the time. After all, you need blocks to go a certain way, and you need creatures of a certain size for Trample to even matter. However, in a format with lots of spells payoffs -- including in Green --, I think this will make the cut sometimes.

image

Containment Breach

AI Rating: 1.7
Pro Rating: 0.0 // 1.5

This is kind of a bad lesson. This format is surprisingly low on both Enchantments and Artifacts – it has 4 Enchantments – two of them are Rare, and 13 artifacts 4 of which are rare, and less than half have a mana value of 2 or less. Because this set is so heavy on Instants and Sorceries, those card types got wittled way down. That means this isn’t as good as it would be in a normal format. Still, you can probably pick it up pretty easily, so having it as an option when you do run into those cards isn’t too bad.

image

Devouring Tendrils

AI Rating: 4
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is Rabid Bite with upside, and I’m all for that! Note that this is not a fight card, only the opposing creature gets damaged, so it is much less risky than “Fight” is. It still has some downsides of course -- casting this into open mana from your opponent is asking for trouble since a 2-for-1 is a real risk -- but that risk is worth it for the efficiency. The fact you gain life if the creature dies is nice additional upside, especially because BG likes it when you gain life, but it is pretty minor upside overall.

image

Dragonsguard Elite

AI Rating: 4.8
Pro Rating: 4.5

This is really good. A two mana 2/2 with Prowess is usually pretty nice, and in most ways, this is an upgrade. Getting a permanent boost is big, and then in the late game it will become too big for most boards thanks to the ability to double counters.

image

Ecological Appreciation

AI Rating: 3.9
Pro Rating: 3.5

If you have a bunch of mana lying around, this is going to be pretty sweet. Both the UR and UG decks in this format are interested in ramping, so even though this looks like it might be kind of hard to set up, it is going to be easier in this format than most. So, if you pay about 6 mana total for this, you’re likely to get a couple of three-drops, which is a perfectly decent return to get from this. This does kind of having diminishing returns, because once you get to a certain point, it is not super likely that your deck/graveyard will have enough good creatures to search up for your opponent to give you two of. In other words, I think paying 4 for X is probably going to have pretty much the same outcome as paying 5+. But, still, you do get a 2-for-1 out of it basically no matter what, and usually you’ll get your mana’s worth.

image

Emergent Sequence

AI Rating: 4
Pro Rating: 3.5

This a lot like Rampant Growth, which is pretty solid as far as fixing and ramping go! What’s great is, it actually adds to the board in a meaningful way in addition to ramping and fixing for you, since the land will also be a 1/1 at a minimum and making it a 2/2 won’t be particularly difficult. It will feel a lot like a mana dork that comes into play tapped, and that’s pretty good! Now, that comes with some downsides, like if you search up your one land for a splash and now your opponent can kill it with a cheap burn spell, but I think its well worth it. This format has lots of payoffs for ramping too.

image

Exponential Growth

AI Rating: 3.1
Pro Rating: 2.5

Obviously enough, this can make a creature pretty dang huge -- but it is also really freaking clunky. You need your creature to already have evasion of some kind for this to even matter most of the time, and your opponent can easily just take down the thing you target, so you have to be extra cautious about casting it.

image

Field Trip

AI Rating: 3
Pro Rating: 2.5

So, this pretty much just ramps for you, it doesn’t provide fixing because you can only get a Forest, and that’s a pretty big bummer. Still, ramping looks like a smarter strategy in ths format It does have Learn, which will either let you rummage or get a Lesson from your sideboard, and both of those are nice additional effects.

image

Fortifying Draught

AI Rating: 1.7
Pro Rating: 2.5

This seems like a solid trick to me. You’ll always get 2 life and at least +2/+2 out of it, and that is something an aggro deck would probably already play a copy of most of the time, but then you factor in the potential for a bigger boost, and you get an even better trick. Making this be better than Giant Growth isn’t going to be SUPER hard.

image

Gnarled Professor

AI Rating: 4.8
Pro Rating: 4.0

This has good stats for the cost, and will effectively draw you a card when it comes down most of the time. Sign me up for that 2-for-1!

image

Honor Troll

AI Rating: 2.8
Pro Rating: 3.0

Increasing the amount of life you gain is nice, especially because BG has lots of ways to gain life. This Troll becoming a 4/4 isn’t going to be impossible, but you shouldn’t count on it either. It is mostly going to be a ⅔ with vigilance and a decent life gain enhancer.

image

Karok Wrangler

AI Rating: 3.1
Pro Rating: 3.5

This has some mediocre stats, but boy -- it has a very strong Magecraft trigger. Being able to put a counter anywhere is very strong, and if you have Instants, it can be particularly punishing.

image

Leyline Invocation

AI Rating: 2.2
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is often a 6-mana 8/8 or something like that in the late game for UG decks, and that makes it a solid thing to have at the top of your curve.

image

Mage Duel

AI Rating: 3.8
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is a nice removal spell for Green. Even if it couldn’t reduce its cost, I would think this would be pretty good. +1/+2 is a nice boost that enables creatures to effectively fight a lot more things. Once you factor in the fact it will only cost a single Green mana sometimes, I think we’re looking at premium removal. It does have the downsides Green removal tends to have – like 2-for-1 potential – but it is definitely worth it.

image

Master Symmetrist

AI Rating: 3.9
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is basically a 4-mana 4/4 with Reach and Trample, since its ability counts itself, and Trample only matters when you attack anyway. That on its own would be good enough, but then granting all of your other creatures with symmetrical power and toughness trample is some nice additional upside.

image

Overgrown Arch

AI Rating: 3.6
Pro Rating: 3.0

We’ve seen walls that can cash themselves in for cards before, and they’re always kind of mediocre. However, thsi one does add life gain to the mix, which is something that can really add up -- especially because the BG deck in this format really likes repeatable sources of life gain to power all of its cards.

image

Professor of Zoomancy

AI Rating: 3.4
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is an excellent common. You get 5/4 worth of stats for 4 mana, across two bodies, not to mention the lifegain synergy this gives you.

image

Reckless Amplimancer

AI Rating: 1.7
Pro Rating: 2.5

So, this is a bear with some nice late game upside, especially for decks that are either capable of producing a lot of mana or capable of putting +1/+1 counters on stuff. Or even better, both! UG is the Green color pair that will be the rampeist, and I really think it is going to want some late game manasinks, and this definitely delivers. Now, it isn’t especially efficient to pump this thing, but it is something to do with your mana. And, obviously, +1/+1 counters make it more efficient too. This is just going to be a solid two drop for pretty much all Green decks.

image

Scurrid Colony

AI Rating: 2.4
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is an alright two-drop in the early game, and when the game gets late it becomes bigger. Now, a 4/4 isn’t probably going to be a huge gamechanger by the time you have eight lands, but it won’t hurt either.

image

Spined Karok

AI Rating: 0.5
Pro Rating: 1.5

This has alright defensive stats for the cost. You’ll play it sometimes if that’s what you need. But mostly you hope you won’t need it.

image

Springmane Cervin

AI Rating: 1.2
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is a solid creature for Green decks. It has alright stats, and the fact it gains life will enable a number of synergies in this format.

image

Tangletrap

AI Rating: 0.8
Pro Rating: 1.5 // 3.0

Kind of funny this isn’t a lesson, I almost felt like it would be! Anyway, we see these modal “Destory artifact or flyer” type cards a lot, and they’re always alright. This one probably isn’t one you want to put in your main deck because this format doesn’t have that many artifacts. However, if you see 5 or so targets against someone – both flyers and artifacts – it can be a pretty nice sideboard card.

image

Verdant Mastery

AI Rating: 2.5
Pro Rating: 2.5

While ramping and fixing are nice in Limited, most of the time big expensive ramp spells like this aren’t so good. You do get four lands out of the deal which is pretty awesome, and two of them even come into play! But you also just spent a ton of mana without an immediate impact on the board of any kind! And, the alternate cost here generally won’t be worth it, since giving your opponent a land seems pretty painful to me. I think you’ll run this in some UR and UG decks because you are super into mana and fixing.

image

Augmenter Pugilist

AI Rating: 4.6
Pro Rating: 4.0

Both sides of this have their place. The Pugilist side is far less situational since it is just an efficient creature -- and one that gets really scary in the late game, but sometimes you’ll want to cast the Echoing Equation side of things -- you pretty much only do that when you can swing for lethal though, and it will sometimes enable that.

image

Blex, Vexing Pest

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.0

This will often pump a handful of creatures in your deck even if you aren’t really trying, especially because Pest tokens are all over the place in BG. And the baseline here is a 3-mana 3/2 that gains you 4 life when it dies -- an already very playable card. There is only one Bat in this set, and none of the other creature types, for Limited, the Pest part is the main thing that matters – but that’s plenty. Most of the time, you’ll just be casting Blex, but sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you really need to dig deep into your library for something, and Search for Blex can do that for you. It can potentially just draw you 5 cards -- provided you’re willing to pay 15 life, anyway. BG does have lots of ways to gain life, so paying 6 or 9 for this probably isn’t completely insane, and that’s often all you’ll want anyway. Both sides of this can be powerful in the right situation.

image

Extus, Oriq Overlord

AI Rating: 4.9
Pro Rating: 4.5

The Extus side here is very strong. A 4-mana 2/4 with double strike is a playable card already, and his Magecraft ability makes all of your instants and sorceries get you back a creature from the graveyard, which is some pretty serious upside. Meanwhile, Awaken the Blood Avatar also isn’t too shabby. Obviously casting it for 8 isn’t so good, but if you can even sacrifice one creature and cast it for 6, I think it will feel pretty nice. You get a 3/6 with a powerful attack trigger and make your opponent sacrifice a creature. Now, I think 95% of the time or more, you’ll just be going with Extus. BUT, by putting it on the other side of a powerful creature, it just ends up being additional upside on an already great card.

image

Flamescroll Celebrant

AI Rating: 4
Pro Rating: 3.5

Most of the time, you probably just want to play this as a two-man 2/1, as it has a nice ability that punishes opposing activated abilities, and it can pump its own power, which makes it so it can trade for lots of stuff, or threaten to hit pretty hard on some board states. The spell side, though, might be something you use from time to time, in really specific situations. Like, if you are in such a position that you know shutting down your opponents’ abilities to play spells for a turn will win you the game. Thing is, that’s not always easy to know, but basically if they are in top deck mode and dead on board anyway, firing this off on their upkeep is some nice insurance. It is nice you can play this in any Red deck and have it be good, and in RW decks you get the full flexibility.

image

Jadzi, Oracle of Arcavios

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.0

She might cost a lot of mana, but she doesn’t disappoint. Her Magecraft ability lets you cast something off the top of your deck for one mana -- just triggering that once will often be quite good. Now, she doesn’t have any evasion to speak of, and can’t really end the game on her own, but since she will just give you almost-free spells on a regular basis, that’s probably ok. You can also chain spells together with it, which will feel particularly good. The other side of Jadzi is almost useless for Limited. It is just hard to have enough land sin your hand in Limited for that to be the plan. Cool thing is, though, that you do get it back when you cast it, which means you can then play the Jadzi half later. Overall, the fact she needs some help to get going and costs a bunch of mana does make me a bit skeptical -- though it should be noted both UG and UR look like they will be able to make a lot of mana. That mana cost is still a pretty real hurdle though.

image

Kianne, Dean of Substance

AI Rating: 4.5
Pro Rating: 4.5

Even if all Kianne was was a 3-mana 2/2 with that first ability -- the one that draws you a card if your top card is a land – she would be something you always play. Her other ability actually gives you some nice value for not hitting lands, since it means she can churn out bigger Fractal tokens in the later part of the game. The tokens she makes often won’t be efficient – they will probably be 2/2s or 3/3s at best, but it is a good mana sink either way. Meanwhile, Imbraham is a 4-mana 3/3 Flyer, an always nice card in Limited, and then he also has an amazing activated ability that gives you powerful card draw. You can pay 1UU to effectively draw a card, and the more mana you pay, the more choices you’ll have. Once you’ve exiled a few cards with it, you can also just pay UU to pick one to put into your hand. Basically if you’re ahead, he can beat them down in the air, and if you’re behind, you can use him to draw cards to help you. Imbraham is the side of this that feels the most like a bomb, but having the option to also play Kianne is all upside.

image

Mila, Crafty Companion

AI Rating: 4.9
Pro Rating: 5.0

For Limited purposes, the Mila side is mostly only that second block of text, but that’s okay, because it is a pretty good one. It basically guarantees that your opponent using a removal spell on Mila or any other creature, you’re going to get a 2-for-1. She doesn’t have the most imposing of stats, but that’s okay with an ability like that one! It is great that you can just play Mila in the early game. The Lukka side is awesome. His +1 lets you rip through your library, and his -2 lets you bring back dead creatures and really threaten the opponent. Note, by the way, that the creatures he reanimates don’t have to attack and they stick around until your next upkeep, which means you can use them to protect Lukka if necessary. One nice thing is you can get to his ultimate pretty quickly if you can keep him around, and it is the kind of ultimate that will generally win you the game within a few turns. The one downside Lukka really has is costing 6 mana, and it is pretty great that you can just play Mila in the early game, and still get some great value. This is a bomb.

image

Pestilent Cauldron

AI Rating: 3.8
Pro Rating: 4.0

The Artifact side on this is a nice little Swiss Army Knife. Turning lands you draw into Pests in the late game isn’t too bad, and sometimes you may even be able to mill your opponent a significant amount. The card draw effect is probably the best of the abilities, but it does ask for cards in graveyards to make it work. How good this is will be really dependent on the speed of this format, but I can see it grinding out some winds. The Restorative Boon side is also pretty good -- sure, your opponent gets to gain the life too, but that’s kind of a wash since its symmetrical. The important thing is that you can can use it in the late game to get important things back to your hand, a play that can be quite nice in longer games. Overall, I think the whole package here is a pretty good card.

image

Plargg, Dean of Chaos

AI Rating: 4.6
Pro Rating: 4.0

Both sides of this look pretty great to me. The Plargg side can rummage, which is a pretty nice effect to have in Limited, it really helps you improve your card quality. Just a two-mana 2/2 with that effect would be a solid playable -- but Plargg has another ability that is pretty nice too, and a great late-game mana sink! Sure, you end up paying 5 mana for a card that’s cheaper than that, but that’s perfectly fine. Once you’re in top deck mode you’ll be happy to have that ability around. Then, Augusta has a nice pump effect that really makes sure that all the creatures on your board are getting some kind of bonus -- PLUS, he grants them all the ability to tap or untap, basically letting you choose which stats boost you’d like to have on the creature, while also giving your guys pseudo-vigilance.

image

Rowan, Scholar of Sparks

AI Rating: 4.9
Pro Rating: 4.5

Both sides of this have a nice static ability and loyalty abilities, but I definitely think that the Will, Scholar of Frost side will be better in Limited. His +1 helps protect him from your opponent’s best creature, you can his -3 right away to draw cards, and his ultimate can turn your lands into 4/4 creatures, which can be pretty great. Rowan is a lot cheaper, but also far more fragile. Her +1 loyalty ability will just do 1 damage to an opponent most of the time, and she has no way to protect herself or draw you cards. He ultimate kind of helps you draw in the sense you copy a spell, but I just don’t see her coming down on turn three and getting to do her thing real often. Will is definitely more powerful, and the side that will be able to take over games like a bomb.

image

Selfless Glyphweaver

AI Rating: 4.3
Pro Rating: 4.0

Obviously the creature side is where you’re going to go with this like 90% of the time, and its pretty nice. At worst, it lets you save a key creature from removal, and at best it can sit around on the board threatening to make stuff indestructible during combat. Deadly Vanity is a sweeper, but one that lets you hold on to a creature, so you’re always going to come out ahead there. If you cast it, you’re just going to win. Casting it isn’t a walk in the park or anything like that, but the fact that it is on the other side of an already playable card means you can play this super powerful sweeper in your deck without the downside of it getting stuck in your hand.

image

Shalie, Dean of Radiance

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.0

Like all the Deans, both sides are pretty good. Shaile’s ability to put counters on new creatures is really good, especially because with Flying and Vigilance, Shaile can get an attack in before using the ability. Meanwhile, Emrbose is a little bit weirder of a card, but he has a lot to offer! He can make your creatures bigger with his first ability, though you’ll normally want to make sure it can survive the two damage -- so in other words, it needs to have at least two toughness before the counter. He’ll also be able to pick off opposing X/1s with that ability, which is nice additional flexibility. Then, the +1/+1 counter payoff he has is nice, as drawing a card any time one of your creatures with a counter dies is powerful -- and it might even give you a reason to use his ability on one of your X/1s, since it will basically amount to sacrificing and drawing a card.

image

Torrent Sculptor

AI Rating: 4.2
Pro Rating: 3.0

Neither side of this is really overwhelmingly powerful, but they both have their uses. Sometimes you’ll be able to make the Sculptor into a pretty scary creature, especially because Ward will make it harder to kill -- but I think counting on more than a couple of +1/+1 counters will be a mistake most of the time. Meanwhile, the Sonata side rummages and can turn most cards you discard into a removal spell, and that’s something I can get behind -- though of course, sometimes you won’t be able to do anything meaningful with it, and that will be rough.

image

Uvilda, Dean of Perfection

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.5

Both sides of this are pretty appealing, though I think it is pretty clear that Nassari is the stronger one. Uvilda’s ability to let you pay less for your spells will probably be better than it looks -- just like Suspend often does -- but I still feel like it is a pretty darn slow effect -- but it will reduce the cost of a spell and make it easier to double spell in a few turns. Nassari, though, definitely the more powerful Dean here. He gives you access to the top card of your opponent’s library, provided it is a spell, and he lets you cast it with mana of any color! AND he gets bigger when you cast those spells! If this was just Nassari, I would probably go with a B+ here. Uvilda being a thing does mean that you have some additional flexibility, but if it was just Uvilda, this wouldn’t be so impressive. Thanks to Nassari though, this is a bomb.

image

Valentin, Dean of the Vein

AI Rating: 4.8
Pro Rating: 4.5

Both sides give you nice baseline creatures with powerful text boxes. Valentin can come down on turn one and really start the race out in your favor thanks to Menace and lifelink, and then the ability to pay mana to get a 1/1 every time an opposing creature dies is nice upside! Meanwhile, Lisette requires a little more building around, but she certainly has the more powerful effect -- as granting your whole board +1/+1 counters and trample is going to be impactful on just about any board state -- especially because it includes her! Lisette seems pretty close to a bomb in this format, and she has the upside of being Valentin in the early game, which is pretty great.

image

Aether Helix

AI Rating: 2.6
Pro Rating: 2.5

I really want to like this card, since I love bounce spells and getting stuff back from my graveyard, but I just don’t think this is anything special. Bouncing a permanent does not give you a card’s worth of value, and it may not even give you much tempo would you pay 5 for it. And yeah getting a permanent back is good and all, but this is basically just a 5 mana bounce a permanent, draw a card. And its a Sorcery. That’s just not that great!

image

Beledros Witherbloom

AI Rating: 4.9
Pro Rating: 4.0

You know, for an elder dragon, I gotta say, I’m not ultra impressed. 7-mana for a 4/4 flyer is kind of a rough rate, and while getting a 1/1 Pest every upkeep -- which by the way, includes your opponents -- while getting those tokens is nice, the other ability on this card will basically never come up in Limited! There just won’t be a reason to use all that mana by the time Beledros is out there. Now, I don’t think he’s bad, left unchecked he floods the board with PEsts and attacks pretty hard in the air -- but he’s also incredibly fragile at only 4 toughness -- lots of stuff in this set can kill him. But generally, you will get at least one Pest out of it before he dies, so there’s that.

image

Biomathematician

AI Rating: 2.2
Pro Rating: 3.5

A three-mana 2/2 that makes a 1/1 is generally pretty good in Limited, and this comes with significant upside between the +1/+1 counter and the additional value you can get from having other fractals. This seems like a card in the lower range of first pickable, and a really strong Common.

image

Blade Historian

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is a ⅔ with double strike when it attacks, and making your whole board gain double strike on the attack is great, especially because it will mean most of the time the turn it comes down it will immediately make a difference on the board, improving attacks or allowing attacks that weren’t even a good idea before.

image

Blood Researcher

AI Rating: 2.9
Pro Rating: 3.5

This seems like a nice Common payoff for gaining life. It may not be quite as cheap as Ajani’s Pridemate, but it adds Menace to the mix and I think that’s a fair trade. This will get pretty big, and that’s always nice with an evasive ability.

image

Blot Out the Sky

AI Rating: 4.8
Pro Rating: 4.5

After you get past paying one mana for X, this card will always give you your mana’s worth. 4 mana for two 2/1 flyers is quite the deal, as is 5 mana for three, and so on. Now, they do come into play tapped, which means they can’t really save you if you’re in bind, you’re going to have to get to untap. It is also pretty cool that if you cast it for 8, you can blow up Enchantments and Artifacts and the like. This is a strong card, even if it is a little bit clunky -- not being able to block with them rights way will be a problem sometimes.

image

Body of Research

AI Rating: 4.4
Pro Rating: 3.5

This card has a cool design, but I don’t think it is a bomb. Mostly, it just gives you a huge vanilla creature, and the spell isn’t easy to cast either. Now, you know, a 22/22 can only die to so many things, so I’m not saying its bad, just that it isn’t really a bomb either.

image

Closing Statement

AI Rating: 4
Pro Rating: 4.0

A 5 mana Instant that kills a thing and puts a counter on one of your creatures is already really good. It improves your board while subtracting from your opponents, and in some situations you may even get a 2-for-1 here, if the +1/+1 counter gets put on a creature you have who can now win combat. Then, you add the fact that if you use this in the end step it only costs THREE, and we’re talking about some serious power. Obviously, that takes away the 2-for-1 potential, but I think that’s a fair exchange. This might be the best Uncommon in the set.

image

Cram Session

AI Rating: 2.1
Pro Rating: 1.5

So yeah, BG has a lot of life gain payoffs as we’ve seen throughout the week and as we will continue to see in this video, so a card like Cram Session is a little bit better than it would normally be, I think. Although, I still don’t think it is great. It is basically a bad Revitalize – and Revitalize isn’t great to begin with!

image

Creative Outburst

AI Rating: 3
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is expensive, but because it lets you discard it to make a treasure early, part of that downside is mitigated against. Casting this will feel really good, as doing 5 damage to something and drawing a card chosen from among five is a really good deal. UR is all about big spells like this, so it fits right in, while also supporting the archetype’s ability to cast those spells since it can make treasure.

image

Culling Ritual

AI Rating: 3
Pro Rating: 2.5

Most decks have a reasonable number of cards that will be able to be destroyed by this, and one cool thing here is that you get mana back – even if your permanents get destroyed by this, and that softens the blow a bit if there’s some collateral damage. But there will be board states where this either hits you more than your opponent, or doesn’t make enough of a difference, since it is so focused only on killing really low CMC things. Now, this format does have a reasonable number of creature tokens that this can hit, and that certainly matters. I think it will have enough things it can blow up that it is certainly a solid card, but this is the kind of card where I wouldn’t really be surprised if I was wrong in either direction.

image

Culmination of Studies

AI Rating: 2
Pro Rating: 1.0

So, UR is all about having a bunch of mana, so pumping significant mana into X will be easier than it might first seem. So the lands give you treasure, and that will make it easier for you to cast the spells you draw for Blue cards you hit. Hitting Red cards damages the opponent, and sometimes this will just be able to close them out. If you’re a straight up UR deck, virtually every card in your deck will give you one of these effects. But the question becomes, how much mana do you need to spend to feel like this is working out for you? If you pay 6 total mana and exile 4 cards, there’s a good chance you’ll do something like get a treasure, draw a card, and do 2 to your opponent. That’s...not very good. I think the main plan with this is to really have it be a win condition in the late game when you have a ton of mana – and UR can certainly do that -- but that also means it is pretty terrible in the early game.

image

Daemogoth Titan

AI Rating: 3.8
Pro Rating: 4.0

This wouldn’t be great in most formats, just because it is hard to have the necessary fodder to really keep the Titan going, but because this set has a ton of Pest tokens, it becomes pretty easy to have things around for the Titan to cobble up and flex on your opponent with its absolutely massive stats.

image

Daemogoth Woe-Eater

AI Rating: 2.7
Pro Rating: 3.5

Obviously the stats are massive for the cost, but having to sacrifice a creature every turn is a little bit rough. You’ll need some expendable things around to make that worth it. Pest tokens provide that for you. The good news is, even if you end up not having something worth sacriificing and just have to play Daemogoth on an empty board or something, you’ll still get some value back when you sacrifice it to its own ability. Gaining 2 life and forcing your opponent to discard something while you gain life and draw a card isn’t incredible for the mana investment, but Daemogoth probably also deterred an attack for a turn too because of the huge body, and that’s honestly not bad for 4 mana. I think the fail case here is pretty good, and the upside of having such an early 7/6 sounds pretty nice.

image

Deadly Brew

AI Rating: 2.1
Pro Rating: 3.0

You basically take down an opposing creature, and then trade a creature in play for a permanent in your graveyard. It won’t always be easy to set it up -- edict effects are notoriously inconsistent, but most of the time you’ll probably come out ahead when you cast this. Especially if you have creature tokens and stuff like that!

image

Decisive Denial

AI Rating: 3.2
Pro Rating: 3.0

Fight cards are always nice in Limited, and while the best ones give some sort of stats boost, this one makes up for not doing that by being a modal card. So, if the Fight part on this works as removal for you, you’ll probably use it, but if a situation comes upw here you can counter your opponents thing before that, you probably choose the counter option. Neither option here is amazing, but having a choice between them is very nice.

image

Dina, Soul Steeper

AI Rating: 3.2
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is a powerful life gain payoff. The ideal thing to do with her ability is going to be to sacrifice a pest token, at which point you start draining your opponent with Dina in play, in addition to raising her power. She can also just potentially threaten a bunch of damage when she attacks, which is always a nice thing to make your opponent contend with.

image

Double Major

AI Rating: 2.9
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is cheap enough that I think I can get behind playing it all the time in UG decks. Sure, copying your 2/2 with it won’t feel amazing, but it is perfectly fine, and if you can copy your 4 drop with it you’ll be in pretty good shape in terms of what you get in return for your mana. UG is a ramp color pair too, so having the extra mana to do this is reasonably likely. Overall, I don’t think this it is amazing -- after all, you need to pair it with something else for it to even do anything.

image

Dramatic Finale

AI Rating: 4.6
Pro Rating: 4.0

So, even if you have 0 other creature tokens, this makes it so that when you have a nontoken creature die, you get a 3/2 flyer. That’s already a pretty good deal, as it will allow you to both attack and trade aggressively, since getting a 3/2 flyer is pretty much equivalent to a whole card. Sometimes things don’t line up well for you to use something like this, but the additional token upside makes it pretty darn good.

image

Elemental Expressionist

AI Rating: 4.4
Pro Rating: 4.5

This has good stats to begin with, and then it has a really complicated Magecraft trigger that basically makes it so if a creature you target leaves teh battlefield one way or another, you get a 4/4 Elemental. It can target itself with this, and note also that you can cast an instant to make this trigger happen, in response to a removal spell or other things. This is a very scary threat of activation type card, and you can also just use it up front and then attack with the thing when your opponent has to block the creature, at which point you’re getting a 2-for-1. It is a little bit situational, but because it can target itself, not insanely so.

image

Elemental Masterpiece

AI Rating: 2.3
Pro Rating: 2.5

Late, this gives you two 4/4 bodies pretty efficiently. And, like a lot some other UR spells in this set, it can actually make you treasure early too, giving you both fixing and ramp, and making this significantly better than it would be if all you could ever do is cast it.

image

Elemental Summoning

AI Rating: 3.2
Pro Rating: 1.5 // 3.0

This is yet another lesson that you wouldn’t really ever want in your main deck, as a 5-mana 4/4 just isn’t good these days, but being able to draw this when you “Learn” sounds pretty good!

image

Eureka Moment

AI Rating: 2.4
Pro Rating: 2.5

This ramps you a little bit while drawing you cards which is fine. A lot of the time the ability to put lands into play from your hand aren’t that good in Limited because there comes a point where you just don’t have lands to put down, but this draws you card, and makes it more likely you have a land to put into play to take advantage.

image

Exhilarating Elocution

AI Rating: 0.6
Pro Rating: 2.5

This gives a pretty nice boost to one creature - +3/+3 total until end of turn, and pumping the rest of the board is nice too. It will often enable a pretty nice attack – but it does really need a significant board state to be worthwhile.

image

Expressive Iteration

AI Rating: 2.7
Pro Rating: 3.0

Basically, you draw one card from your top three, and you exile another that you can cast until the end of your turn. So this is sort of a two mana Divination, albeit one that is very time sensitive. Note, by the way, that it does let you play lands from exile, so you can even cast this on like turn three, exile a land in your top 3 and put something else in your hand, and then play that land right away. Because you get to choose, there really is a reasonable chance you will get 2 cards out of it, even early.

image

Fractal Summoning

AI Rating: 3.3
Pro Rating: 3.0

Another Lesson that will be nice to get when you “Learn.” It is going to be inefficient, but its a card you get for free when you “Learn”, and its one that adds to the board, so I’m on board with having one of these to wish for.

image

Fracture

AI Rating: 1
Pro Rating: 0.5 // 2.5

This format doesn’t have very many of these three permanent types, so this is best left in your sideboard.

image

Galazeth Prismari

AI Rating: 4.8
Pro Rating: 4.5

Prismari is all about casting big spells, and Galazeth definitely makes that clear! A 4-mana ¾ with Flying that gives you a Treasure is already a really nice card, it has good stats and helps you fix and ramp. Adding the additional upside that all of your Artifacts -- including other treasures -- can now tap for mana of any color to cast spells, and you’re looking at something pretty nice! This is a bomb that will give you the big mana you want in this color pair, while also being a really efficient creature.

image

Golden Ratio

AI Rating: 1.4
Pro Rating: 2.5

So, you’ll want this to at least be Divination, and that seems reasonably doable. However, one thing that kind of stinks there, is that you can cast Divination on an empty board and still draw 2. That’s not going to happen here. Still, it also has way more upside than Divination, and will draw you 3+ cards sometimes. It will be really painful to have this in a hand where it is your only three drop or something like that, but I think in the late game it will be powerful enough to make up for that.

image

Harness Infinity

AI Rating: 4.1
Pro Rating: 3.5

If you can manage to cast this thing in a game of Limited, you’re probably just going to win. It is an Instant too, so you can leave mana up for other stuff without having to completely tap out and load up your hand. That’s especially good because you can get around having to discard to 7 if you cast it at the end of your opponent’s turn, giving you as many options as possible. Now, the downsides here include the aforementioned challenging mana cost, as well as the fact that this is pretty much utterly useless until the very late game. Those are the kinds of things that keep it from being a great card, but it does have a ton of power!

image

Hofri Ghostforge

AI Rating: 4.9
Pro Rating: 5.0

Well, this is great. While it may not have any fancy keyword abilities or a super efficient body on its own, it makes up for that with the fact that it will immediately make your board a lot scarier. This can happen as a result of having in Spirits in play already, but even if you don’t, this suddenly makes trading with your creatures or even blocking small ones in combat kind of a nightmare, since they’ll just come back in buffed up spirit form. The same is true if you’re the one on defense. It will utterly warp games around it, and help you whether you are ahead or behind, and those are the hallmarks of a bomb.

image

Humiliate

AI Rating: 3.2
Pro Rating: 3.5

Now THIS is how you design a good discard spell for Limited! First, it lets you take whatever you want for a very efficient cost of two mana. That’s going to allow for significant disruption. What really saves this though, is the fact that you get a +1/+1 counter out of the deal too. Most discard spells get terrible in the extreme late game, but this makes sure that you get some value out of it no matter what, and it is can be some pretty significant value!

image

Infuse with Vitality

AI Rating: 1.2
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is a nice trick, one that virtually guarantees your creature will both kill whatever it is in combat with AND survive. Well, technically your creature can still die of course, but it will come back right away so, yeah. Incidental life gain tacked on to help out BG with its life gain synergies works for me! Now, as good of a trick as this is, it is still a trick, and still highly situational and risky and all of that.

image

Inkling Summoning

AI Rating: 3.3
Pro Rating: 3.5

This Lesson is nice because it isn’t a complete disaster if you don’t get any cards with Learn and play it in your main deck. A three mana 2/1 with Flying is just fine, and this also triggers all the mage craft stuff of course. Obviously, if you have Learn, it is going to usually be better in the sideboard.

image

Kasmina, Enigma Sage

AI Rating: 4.6
Pro Rating: 4.0

So, obviously enough Kasmina’s static ability won’t come up in Limited basically ever. There are very few planeswalkers in this set, and they are all Mythic Rare. But, even without that part coming up, I like Kasmina a fair bit. She can make creature tokens to protect her, and that’s always a really big plus. She does have to lower her loyalty to do it, but it isn’t hard to imagine playing her and using her +2 to Scry, and then making a 2/2 or 3/3 to protect her on the next turn, and then continuing to alternate. She’ll give you a ton of value if you only untap with her in play once. I mean, even if Kasmina’s death is imminent on your opponent’s next turn, you can just make a 4/4 with her -- in which you case you paid 3 mana for a 4/4 and Scry 2, and I’d do that all day! Then, obviously, if she is allowed to stick around longer than that, she’ll get wacky. It is kind of funny because her static ability and ultimate both won’t be very good in Limited, but here other two abilities are good enough that I’m going to value her highly.

image

Killian, Ink Duelist

AI Rating: 3.9
Pro Rating: 4.0

I would have been reasonably happy with a two mana 2/2 with Lifelink and Menace, or a 2-mana 2/2 with the spell reduction ability, but obviously this has all of that stuff! It is going to give you a lot for two mana. It will attack well early, and then make your spells cheaper – this will allow you to trigger Magecraft more easily, while also pumping your creatures with combat triggers. Your removal spells will cheaper as well as your tricks, anyway. This is an excellent Uncommon.

image

Lorehold Apprentice

AI Rating: 1.6
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is a pretty weird Magecraft trigger, but it actually seems like it will work pretty well in RW, which has the ability to make Spirit tokens, in addition to just having creatures who have the Spirit type, and if you can suddenly tap all of your spirits to do 1 to your opponent, things could really get out of hand for your opponent in a hurry! Just trigger this twice with like 3 spirits in play is a ton of damage.

image

Lorehold Command

AI Rating: 4.8
Pro Rating: 4.5

I think this is the best of this set’s Command cycle. This is partly because unlike the other card we’ll see in it, it has four options that will frequently be useful. I mean, 5-mana for the Lightning Helix effect itself isn’t terrible – and would probably be borderline playable. Then, you add all these other options and you really have something sweet. I mean, you can really look at this as a 5-mana 3/2 creature with Flash and an ETB ability that Lightning Helixes something. Once you look it at it that way, it becomes clear that this is very powerful! And it even has two other options that are nice! Giving up a permanent to draw some cards is sometimes nice in the late game, and obviously the board pump + indestructibility effect will be backbreaking for your opponent too in the right situation.

image

Lorehold Excavation

AI Rating: 1.4
Pro Rating: 3.0

While it is a little awkward that it doesn’t impact the board immediately most of the time, it does only cost two, and at least it starts doing damage and gaining you life right away. That part of the card shouldn’t be overlooked, by the way, this will sort of feel like Ill-Gotten Inheritance with more upside. If you’re in RW, and you are if you’re playing this, this seems like the kind of glue that will keep that deck together. I’m not sure it quite does enough to pull you into the color pair itself, but if you’re there already, value it highly.

image

Lorehold Pledgemage

AI Rating: 2.4
Pro Rating: 3.0

Players will have a very difficult time ever wanting to block this, since any instant or sorcery suddenly makes things a lot harder thank to First Strike, and that’s especially true if you have a trick! This will just get through a lot for aggressive decks, and that’s kind of what you want your creatures to be doing. It also has hybrid mana, making it fit in multiple decks pretty easily.

image

Maelstrom Muse

AI Rating: 3.3
Pro Rating: 3.5

It is pretty nice that this can decrease the cost of your spells by 2 mana, even on its own - - and that’s in addition to actually have nice stats for the cost. You won’t always be able to take advantage of that mana reduction, but UR is all about big spells, so it will probably come up more than you might think at first.

image

Magma Opus

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.5

This is obviously hugely powerful if you play it late, but at 8 mana a card like this can be a liability in some games, just stuck in your hand forever. If that’s how things are going, you can always cash it in for some Treasure, and oftentimes if you get it early, that will just be the right thing to do. Making sure to have a way to get it back later will really make that sweet, but either way this card has the flexibility to provide mana and fixing early, and then in the late game it has an effect that will win a significant number of games. I have to say that, for eight mana, it isn’t actually quite as powerful as you might expect, but it probably had to be balanced a little bit since it wasn’t useless sin the early game like most hugely powerful expensive spells.

image

Make Your Mark

AI Rating: 1
Pro Rating: 2.5

So, the boost here isn’t going to always allow your creature to outright win combat, but that’s okay, because if your creature doesn’t win combat, you still get something back – a 3/2 Spirit. Obviously, this will feel best when you use it to help you kill a creature in combat, AND get the spirit, but even just getting the Spirit isn’t too bad.

image

Manifestation Sage

AI Rating: 4
Pro Rating: 3.0

As long as you are getting a 2/2 out of it, you are doing alright, but it isn’t like that’s amazing or anything. And sure, there will be times where what he makes is larger, and then you’ll feel pretty good -- but there will also be times where you draw this in top deck mode and get no token at all! I don’t think he’s terrible, but I think it will be harder to make a big token with him than you might think.

image

Moldering Karok

AI Rating: 1.1
Pro Rating: 2.0

Even with Trample and Lifelink, a 4-mana 3/3 isn’t awesome, though it is an admittedly goose place to put things that pump its stats. Still, I think you probably cut this a significant chunk of the time, it just doesn’t feel like it will do enough.

image

Mortality Spear

AI Rating: 3.8
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is excellent. Even if it was always 4 mana to destroy a nonland permanent this would be an easy B – that’s just well worth it. But, this will frequently cost only two mana, which is just absurd. This is one of the best Uncommons in the set.

image

Needlethorn Drake

AI Rating: 2.2
Pro Rating: 2.5

This can attack in the air early, and then stay back to trade with anything late. Like most cheap deathtouch creatures, this is pretty solid.

image

Oggyar Battle-Seer

AI Rating: 0.5
Pro Rating: 2.0

This has mediocre stats, even with Haste, and while tapping to Scry is good, I don’t think it does enough to overcome this card’s inefficiency. You won’t always play this.

image

Owlin Shieldmage

AI Rating: 1.9
Pro Rating: 3.0

This is pretty good top-curve for BW aggro decks. It isn’t the most efficient flyer, but it often puts your opponent in a terrible place, where their live is low enough that they have to kill your flyer, but they have to pay 3 life to do it.

image

Pest Summoning

AI Rating: 3
Pro Rating: 3.5

So, this is a lesson that I think you don’t feel terrible about playing in your main deck, especially because it provides sacrifice fodder and life gain, which BG is interested in.. Now, if you have cards with “Learn” it will be better, as it gives you a card that does something useful on just about every board state, while some of the other lessons are more situational.

image

Practical Research

AI Rating: 2.7
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is pretty close to being Rain of Revelation, and that was a pretty great draw spell. Sometimes you won’t want to discard the instant or sorcery, especially if you ended up with a couple lands you don’t need, but you still end up seeing a lot of cards for a reasonable cost, and -- importantly, at instant speed.

image

Prismari Apprentice

AI Rating: 2.8
Pro Rating: 3.5

Becoming unblockable any time a spell is cast isn’t too shabby, and would make for a solid card already -- but the fact it gains +1/+1 counters when you cast big spells really makes this into a nice signpost uncommon for UR.

image

Prismari Command

AI Rating: 4.5
Pro Rating: 4.0

Most often, you’re probably going to do 2 damage to something and loot twice, and that’s a great card I would always play. The other two abilities are more narrow -- you won’t always want Treasure and your opponent won’t always have an Artifact, but that’s the beauty of modal spells! You have a solid choice when those narrow effects don’t line up well, but when they do, this will feel even better!

image

Prismari Pledgemage

AI Rating: 2.3
Pro Rating: 2.5

We have seen a lot of creatures like this over the last few years -- A two mana 3/3 with Defender that can gain the ability to attack one way or another. The initial body is actually pretty good at helping you block on the ground, and once you can get it to attack it will feel pretty good. Now, you do have to find a way to trigger Magecraft most turns for this to really be at its best, and that won’t always be easy.

image

Quandrix Apprentice

AI Rating: 3.7
Pro Rating: 3.5

This kind of effect is always nice, especially in the early game when you really need to hit your land drops. Either way, this will draw you a card most of the time when you play a spell, and even if it is always a land, that is a pretty big bonus to add to all of your spells. As we’ve seen UG also likes having lots of lands, so this is a big enabler for those decks.

image

Quandrix Command

AI Rating: 4.6
Pro Rating: 4.0

Like most of these, it has two options you’ll choose more than the others in Limited, while the other two options are just some nice additional upside. Here, I think you’ll choose the bounce option and the +1/+1 counter option most of the time. Those two things together can really make things go awry for you opponent -- all of the sudden you’ve bounced their best attacker or blocker, AND you’ve pumped one of your creatures so it can win combat -- that’s pretty nice! Then, sometimes you’ll also get to counter and bounce, if your opponent plays the right permanent type for you to counter it. This format doesn’t have a ton of artifacts and enchantments though, so that won’t come up a ton. The shuffle effect will probably go unused when you draft this, but I guess it could occasionally be useful.

image

Quandrix Cultivator

AI Rating: 4
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is some pretty nice ramp, and it comes on a fairly reasonable body. Casting this is going to feel pretty good on turn 4, and unlike some other ramp creatures, it brings decent stats when you play it in the late game.

image

Quandrix Pledgemage

AI Rating: 3.6
Pro Rating: 3.0

We see this type of card a lot, though lately it has mostly been Red. Either way, this kind of creature tends to grow rapidly in a deck with a decent number of spells. It is certainly vulnerable at first, but if your opponent doesn’t take it down when they can, it can get quite impressive.

image

Quintorius, Field Historian

AI Rating: 3.2
Pro Rating: 4.0

This guy is a great payoff for the RW deck. Now, one thing that’s kind of a bummer is that he doesn’t give you any value all on his own, but if you’re doing the stuff that RW wants you to do in this format, he is going to be a crazy good value engine. I do think the fact that he doesn’t have self-contained power all on his own holds him back some, but I still imagine I’ll be taking him early and often.

image

Radiant Scrollwielder

AI Rating: 4.6
Pro Rating: 4.0

This requires some set up -- namely that you should have a good number of instants and sorceries, and especially ones that do damage because of the lifelink part! But luckily having lots of those card types won’t be supe hard in this format, which has an inordinate number of them. If you can get this to rebuy one spell it will feel really good, and once you get the second you have a bona fide engine on your hands! While this is probably a bit of a build around, I think you’ll be able to do enough with it in most decks that it is just going to be really good for RW and you should take it highly.

image

Reconstruct History

AI Rating: 1.4
Pro Rating: 1.5

It is too hard to make this work. It doesn’t include creatures as a type to get back, so most of the time in this format you’re just getting an Instant and a Sorcery. And, while that isn’t terrible, it also isn’t worth a card most of the time.

image

Relic Sloth

AI Rating: 0.4
Pro Rating: 2.5

This isn’t THAT far from being Serra Angel, right? I mean Menace is basically flying. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little bit here, but kind of to make a point. This is a pretty good vanilla creature, and while it costs 5, I imagine it makes the cut a lot of the time.

image

Returned Pastcaller

AI Rating: 3.5
Pro Rating: 4.0

This seems really good to me. RW in this set is about the graveyard, strange as that may seem, so this will generally have no problem returning something. It does only have two toughness so it dies to a lot, but because you returned something that still means you’re getting a 2-for-1, and if your opponent can’t deal with it, this hits pretty darn hard in the air.

image

Rip Apart

AI Rating: 3.3
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is premium removal. Two mana for three damage would already be there, but adding the nice modal effect to deal with problem permanents makes it even better.

image

Rise of Extus

AI Rating: 3.5
Pro Rating: 3.5

It is too hard to make this work. It doesn’t include creatures as a type to get back, so most of the time in this format you’re just getting an Instant and a Sorcery. And, while that isn’t terrible, it also isn’t worth a card most of the time.

image

Rootha, Mercurial Artist

AI Rating: 3.8
Pro Rating: 4.0

She is way easier to copy spells with than she looks, and the tempo loss you get from that is well worth the card advantage.

image

Rushed Rebirth

AI Rating: 2.2
Pro Rating: 2.0

This kind of effect can be pretty disappointing, just because you need things to line up right when you have the mana up. Using this on a creature that’s going to get removed will feel fine, but even that is just a 2-for-2, and nothing crazy. I just feel like this type of card always underperforms in Limited, so I’m not expecting big things from this.

image

Shadewing Laureate

AI Rating: 3.1
Pro Rating: 3.5

BW has a lot of fliers, including the Inkling creature tokens. This will allow this Laureate to put counters on things reasonably often, and that’s to go along with Wind Drake stats. This is first pickable in some weaker packs.

image

Shadrix Silverquill

AI Rating: 5
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is a good card, albeit a kind of weird one. A 5-mana ⅖ with Flying and Double Strike is already pretty nice -- those are just great stats on an evasive creature! Then, he gives you a powerful effect every combat...though he also gives your opponent a pretty powerful one too. Now, you are the one who gets to decide which one they get and which one you get, and you can always pick the option that most benefits you and the one that least benefits them, but no matter what you’re giving them, they’re going to be getting something reasonably nice. Most of the time, I would imagine if you’re wide enough you’ll give yourself the counters and let them draw a card, for example. Giving them the Flyer seems particularly bad since it gives them a free way to block Shadrix -- but sometimes giving them counters will be fine too, because sometimes those aren’t a big help. Shadrix will normally take over games, but there will be some times where you can’t find a good option to give your opponent, which will be rough.

image

Silverquill Apprentice

AI Rating: 2.7
Pro Rating: 3.0

So this seems pretty underwhelming to me. Sure, getting a bonus when you play spells is great but...like, +1/+0 just seems like such a spell bonus. It will matter to be sure, but it just isn’t enough for me to really get excited about. BW is all about aggressive spell stuff though, so it fits in just fine.

image

Silverquill Command

AI Rating: 4.3
Pro Rating: 4.0

This seems like another pretty good Command. Using the Edict effect to get rid of an opposing creature, and reanimating your own creature is pretty nice. Sometimes the +3/+3 and Flying effect will help you win the game out of nowhere, and the fact it can also draw you a card is pretty nice too! I think Edict + Draw will be the most common thing you do with this, and that means This will give you a 2-for-1 often enough that I really like it.

image

Silverquill Pledgemage

AI Rating: 2.8
Pro Rating: 2.5

This dies to pretty much everything, but it has a nice magecraft effect. Giving this flying will frequently be the option you go with, as this attacks pretty hard in the air. Note, by the way that if you cast two spells, you can choose both options, will be particularly nice sometimes.

image

Silverquill Silencer

AI Rating: 3.6
Pro Rating: 2.5

Most of the time it is going to be hard to name something with this that your opponent has, at least in the early going of the format. Although I guess it is pretty funny against a Lesson your opponent might get. Over time, it does become easier to take advantage of a card like this, as once people start figuring out the format, there’s a consensus over what cards one should and shouldn’t play, which makes it easier to name a common or something your opponent very likely has. This is already a thing in the early going, but it is a little harder to make work. Now, if it turns out getting info about your opponents’ hand is easier than I’m guessing, then this will be a lot better, but as it is, it will probably just be a two mana 3/2 like 90% of the time, and only do that other thing 10% of the time. When it does that other thing, it will feel pretty good, but it just won’t happen often enough.

image

Spectacle Mage

AI Rating: 2.1
Pro Rating: 3.0

This is a Wind Drake with some nice upside for UR, which is a color pair that likes big spells. This seems like a key common for that deck.

image

Spirit Summoning

AI Rating: 2.5
Pro Rating: 2.5

RW has some spirit synergies, so this gets a few extra points. It is a nice lesson to have like all the other summonings, because it can pretty much always do something.

image

Spiteful Squad

AI Rating: 1.5
Pro Rating: 2.5

4-mana 2/2s with Deathtouch normally arent the most exicting thing int he world. They can trade fo ranything, but doing that at 4 mana isn’t exactly exciting. I like that they compensated for that here by letting the Band put it +1/+1 counters on other stuff when it dies. This also means that it is a good place to put counters, since it will do something with them when it dies, unlike most creatures.

image

Square Up

AI Rating: 0.3
Pro Rating: 1.0

This kind of card never really comes through. You can sort of treat it like a trick, but it is just too situational to even be reliable in that capacity. The idea here I guess is to use it on Fractals, but even that isn’t worth it to me.

image

Stonebound Mentor

AI Rating: 1.1
Pro Rating: 2.5

This starts with solid stats, and then it has an ability that will fit nicely in RW decks. As we’ve seen, RW has ways to exile cards from the graveyard for value as well as ways to return cards from the graveyard to your hand or the battlefield. Those will all trigger the Scry here, which will be some nice incidental value.

image

Tanazir Quandrix

AI Rating: 5
Pro Rating: 4.5

A 5-mana 4/4 with Flample is already a good deal -- and then Quandrix has two pretty nice abilities! His ETB ability doubles counters, and sometimes that will just be incredible -- other times you’ll get like one counter or even none, but because the baseline here is so reasonable, that’s perfectly fine! Then, when Quandrix attacks he will generally upgrade your whole board. This pays you off a bit for putting counters on Quandrix himself, since the bigger he is, the more formidable that is.

image

Teach by Example

AI Rating: 0.9
Pro Rating: 1.5

I know this format is all about spells and stuff, but I have a hard time thinking a card like this will be worthwhile very often. You have to have it line up the right way for it to do something. And sure, using it on a draw spell or something will feel pretty sweet, as will copying some of the huge wacky spells in UR, but it still seems like the set up is too much. This kind of spell isn’t good in most Limited formats, and I don’ think it will be here either.

image

Tend the Pests

AI Rating: 1.9
Pro Rating: 3.0

Using this in response to removal and stuff like that will feel especially good, but it won’t feel as bad to use in other situations either. Besides, there are a lot of Sacrifice outlets and the like in BG in this set, so all those Pests can really come in handy. The life they gain you matters too! You do need a creature large enough to make it worth it, but that’s not too difficult.

image

Thrilling Discovery

AI Rating: 0.4
Pro Rating: 1.5

I really want this to be good, because I am probably the most excited about Lorehold in this set -- but I just don’t think it will be that great. Early, it could be a nice way to both load up your graveyard for various synergies and improve your card quality, but there will be situations where you just can’t really make use of this, either because you don’t want to give up cards or you flat out can’t.

image

Vanishing Verse

AI Rating: 4
Pro Rating: 4.0

This set has a lot of multicolored stuff, but it still has a bunch of mono-colored too. This can deal with all of that stuff quite efficiently, and that’s enough for it to be an easy first pick and certainly premium removal.

image

Velomachus Lorehold

AI Rating: 4.9
Pro Rating: 5.0

This costs 7, but it does enough at that mana cost to be a bomb anyway. The keywords are nice, and will enable it to attack the turn it comes down, meaning you’ll probably get the free spell out of it even if your opponent untapped and kills him, and by then the value Velomachus will have given you will be plenty! And, if they don’t kill him, well -- they just lose. He will hit them hard in the air and give you a free spell every turn.

image

Venerable Warsinger

AI Rating: 4.3
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is a cool card. So, three mana for a 3/3 with Vigilance and Trample is already something you’d always play! Then you factor in the ability to reanimate creatures DIRECTLY TO THE BOARD and you end up with something incredibly strong. It doesn’t have incredible size, and you won’t always be able to reanimate stuff with it, but I think you’ll be able to often enough that this is pretty good.

image

Witherbloom Apprentice

AI Rating: 3.4
Pro Rating: 3.5

A two mana 2/2 that drains the opponent every time you play or copy an instant or sorcery is a solid deal, especially because BG can take advantage of the life gain.

image

Witherbloom Command

AI Rating: 3.4
Pro Rating: 3.0

Three of the options here aren’t something I think will be good very often -- draining the opponent for 2 has some synergy with the color pair, destroying a non-creature non-land permanents with a CMC of 2 or less, and the mill + return land effect don’t seem that great. However, tacking any of those on to the -3/-1 effect, which has a reasonably shot at killing something, isn’t too bad. I mean, if you choose the mill option it is kind of like two mana for -3/-1 and draw a card, and that’s not bad -- but it isn’t that good either. One big problem is that, as a Sorcery, this will typically only be capable of killing X/1s, and that’s pretty narrow. You can use it to make an attack better for you even when you don’t kill an X/1, but it still isn’t great. Blowing up some 2 CMC or less permanent and killing a creature will feel good, but it just won’t line up that way often enough – there aren’t enough noncreature nonland permanents in this set. Look, you’ll always play this if you’re BG, but I don’t really think you should take it remotely highly.

image

Witherbloom Pledgemage

AI Rating: 2.9
Pro Rating: 2.5

This has pretty good stats and a solid Magecraft trigger. BG likes to gain life, so it will really fit in well there.

image

Zimone, Quandrix Prodigy

AI Rating: 3.7
Pro Rating: 4.0

So, Zimone’s first ability is the kind that is often overrated in Limited. Sure, if you have the extra land she will ramp you early, and that’s nice. Thing is, you tend to run out of extra lands to play in a hurry in Limited, so she is going to do this once, and only if you get her early, really. Her draw effect is what is more intriguing to me, just being able to pay 4 for a single card is a great mana sink, and in the late game when she starts drawing you two, she’s likely to just win you the game. She is small and easy to kill, but at two mana that isn’t going to hurt too much.

image

Biblioplex Assistant

AI Rating: 1.5
Pro Rating: 2.0

This is an alright way to get back a powerful spell, and the creature you get isn’t the most disastrous thing ever – it may even be able to attack in the sky! But remember, putting a card back on top is wayyy worse than putting it into your hand.

image

Campus Guide

AI Rating: 1.9
Pro Rating: 2.0

This has passable stats and it can fix for you, though keep in mind just putting a land on top is substantially worse than putting one in your hand. Still, if you’re trying to do some splashing this will help you do it. If you’re not splashing at all, though, it probably isn’t worth playing.

image

Codie, Vociferous Codex

AI Rating: 3.3
Pro Rating: 2.5

Well, this is a weird one. Not being able to cast permanent spells is a pretty big cost, and I’m not really sure Codie’s ability does enough to help that not completely sink you. Codie’s ability doesn’t help you get permanents, and sure there are lots of spells in this format, including those that make permanents, but chances are good your deck will have more permanent than non-permanent spells. Codie does give you some pretty weird fixing for all your non-permanent spells, in addition to the free card every turn you can cast something, but if you are drawing permanent spells that are dead cards, it is all kind of a wash. I don’t think this is completely unplayable, because I think playing this late in a game where you are at parity or ahead, it might help you get there, but this seems awful from behind, and hard to make work in most decks.

image

Cogwork Archivist

AI Rating: 0.7
Pro Rating: 0.5

I mostly don’t think you’ll play this. It has mediocre stats and an unexciting ability. The ability might be a little more useful in the RW deck, which likes it when things leave the graveyard, but mostly using this ability is super underwhelming. Now, if games in this format go long and you are out of cards and you can legit use this to draw the best card in your graveyard every turn, then it will be better than that -- but that won’t happen very often.

image

Excavated Wall

AI Rating: 0.2
Pro Rating: 0.5

One-mana 0/4 defenders tend to not really be worth it in Limited. And this one does help you load your graveyard, which RW decks will like especially, but I still don’t really think that’s going to be enough to get me to run this most of the time.

image

Letter of Acceptance

AI Rating: 1.4
Pro Rating: 2.0

This gives you reasonable fixing, and once you don’t need that you can cash it in for a card. We see cards like this a lot, and the decks that need fixing will run them, but it is unlikely anyone else will.

image

Reflective Golem

AI Rating: 2.5
Pro Rating: 1.0 // 3.0

This will be nice with fight spells and tricks. Copying those kinds of things will feel great. It has mediocre stats and needs the right deck composition to really thrive, though.

image

Spell Satchel

AI Rating: 0.9
Pro Rating: 1.5

So, this is a mana rock that asks you to fulfill the condition of casting spells, which isn’t going to be that hard in this set, but it does concern me a little! One nice thing about it is that in the late game, when you really don’t need the mana, you can save up book counters and start drawing cards with it. I think this format would have to be glacial for this card to be really good though.

image

Strixhaven Stadium

AI Rating: 2.6
Pro Rating: 0.5

Alternate win condition cards do not have a good track record in Limited. You just won’t be able to end up in a deck that really effectively utilizes this card. Plus, it is sort of win more anyway, if you can get the 10 point counters, chances are your opponent is dead anyway. It is also a mana rock, and that does save it from outright being a 0.0.

image

Team Pennant

AI Rating: 1.7
Pro Rating: 2.5

So, equipping this on a non-token isn’t an awesome rate, but it isn’t entirely terrible either. Vigilance + Trample is not a bad pair of keywords to gain in addition to the stats boost, and will often alter your plans and your opponents’. Putting it on tokens is obviously ideal since then it is a REALLY good deal, and this format has enough tokens to really take advantage.

image

Zephyr Boots

AI Rating: 2.2
Pro Rating: 3.5

This seems like a reasonable Equipment to me. Flying tends to be a pretty nice boost on just about any creature, and it gives that ability fairly efficient. And, the loot combat damage trigger is a great way to improve your draws.

image

Access Tunnel

AI Rating: 1.3
Pro Rating: 2.0

This has some decent, if unexciting late game utility. It isn’t great for your mana, so you probably can’t run it if your mana is already looking a little sketchy.

image

Archway Commons

AI Rating: 1.6
Pro Rating: 1.5

This does give you fixing, but at a pretty real cost. It enters tapped and requires another land to tap for it to come into play, effectively making it cost one mana. That’s some serious slowness, but you’ll run it if you need the fixing.

image

The Biblioplex

AI Rating: 2.9
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is a fun reference to the FIRST TIME Wizards printed a land that represented a library -- suffice it to say, this time around it isn’t quite as good, but it is still a really great utility land. Holding on to 7 cards will be a challenge, so most of the time when you find yourself able to use the Biblioplex, you’ll be doing it in the late game as a mana sink when your hand is empty. Decks in this format will have more spells than we’re used to seeing too, so it will draw you a card pretty often. That’s huge late game upside that can help you win a game. Having a land turn into a game-winning value engine late is pretty incredible.

image

Frostboil Snarl

AI Rating: 3.6
Pro Rating: 3.0

These are good fixing, and they’ll help you splash. Don’t underestimate how nice it is, even in a two-color deck, to have one land that can produce either color, it is really great for your mana base. You should never be first picking these, but I think you should value them over most medium cards in packs if you’re in one or both of the colors it produces.

image

Furycalm Snarl

AI Rating: 3.4
Pro Rating: 3.0

These are good fixing, and they’ll help you splash. Don’t underestimate how nice it is, even in a two-color deck, to have one land that can produce either color, it is really great for your mana base. You should never be first picking these, but I think you should value them over most medium cards in packs if you’re in one or both of the colors it produces.

image

Hall of Oracles

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is a nice land. While filtering isn’t incredible, the fact that it fixes your mana for you and can start putting counters on your creatures is pretty great. Having a land that turns into serious value really makes you feel like you’re up a card over your opponent.

image

Lorehold Campus

AI Rating: 1.8
Pro Rating: 3.0

These are all good fixing, and then all have a nice late-game mana sink to help improve your draws when you’re flooding out. You can take these over most medium cards, especially if you are interested in splashing or they are on color for you.

image

Necroblossom Snarl

AI Rating: 2.9
Pro Rating: 3.0

These are good fixing, and they’ll help you splash. Don’t underestimate how nice it is, even in a two-color deck, to have one land that can produce either color, it is really great for your mana base. You should never be first picking these, but I think you should value them over most medium cards in packs if you’re in one or both of the colors it produces.

image

Prismari Campus

AI Rating: 1.9
Pro Rating: 3.0

These are all good fixing, and then all have a nice late-game mana sink to help improve your draws when you’re flooding out. You can take these over most medium cards, especially if you are interested in splashing or they are on color for you.

image

Quandrix Campus

AI Rating: 2.2
Pro Rating: 3.0

These are all good fixing, and then all have a nice late-game mana sink to help improve your draws when you’re flooding out. You can take these over most medium cards, especially if you are interested in splashing or they are on color for you.

image

Shineshadow Snarl

AI Rating: 3.4
Pro Rating: 3.0

These are good fixing, and they’ll help you splash. Don’t underestimate how nice it is, even in a two-color deck, to have one land that can produce either color, it is really great for your mana base. You should never be first picking these, but I think you should value them over most medium cards in packs if you’re in one or both of the colors it produces.

image

Silverquill Campus

AI Rating: 1.9
Pro Rating: 3.0

These are all good fixing, and then all have a nice late-game mana sink to help improve your draws when you’re flooding out. You can take these over most medium cards, especially if you are interested in splashing or they are on color for you.

image

Vineglimmer Snarl

AI Rating: 3.4
Pro Rating: 3.0

These are good fixing, and they’ll help you splash. Don’t underestimate how nice it is, even in a two-color deck, to have one land that can produce either color, it is really great for your mana base. You should never be first picking these, but I think you should value them over most medium cards in packs if you’re in one or both of the colors it produces.

image

Witherbloom Campus

AI Rating: 1.8
Pro Rating: 3.0

These are all good fixing, and then all have a nice late-game mana sink to help improve your draws when you’re flooding out. You can take these over most medium cards, especially if you are interested in splashing or they are on color for you.

image

Approach of the Second Sun

AI Rating: 4.5
Pro Rating: 2.5

So, if you have a really controlling deck, this is a very real win condition. The life it gains you can really help you make it through the next few turns to cast Approach again and win the game. This set also seems ot have a reasonable number of cantrips and draw spells, which can accelerate the process. Now, there will be plenty of decks where this is unplayable -- and I think I would rather have a win condition that adds to the board in most cases. But at the same time, it DOES work as a win condition, and can’t be stopped by removal and the like, so that’s some upside.

image

Day of Judgment

AI Rating: 4.8
Pro Rating: 5.0

This is a great board sweeper, and while they can be awkward if you’re the more aggressive deck, they have a game-changing enough ability that you’ll always play it and always take it highly. It just isn’t replaceable, and if you cast this you’re going to win the game in most situations.

image

Defiant Strike

AI Rating: 1.7
Pro Rating: 2.0

So, we saw this card before in Tarkir, where it was pretty nice for triggering Prowess. Prowess isn’t in this set, but Magecraft is, and they are similar enough mechanics that I imagine Defiant Strike will be better here than it would be in your typical format. A card that triggers Magecraft AND draws you a card is going to feel pretty nice, and you even get a small stats boost too! That makes this a solid playable in this format, instead of barely playable, like it has been sometimes in the past.

image

Divine Gambit

AI Rating: 1.3
Pro Rating: 2.0

This ended up being better than I expected in Kaldheim – that’s not to say its good, but it is a solid playable. You basically treat it as a late game removal spell, and if you look at it that way, it tends to do the job with very little downside. This format also has fewer permanents than normal, and that could matter.

image

Ephemerate

AI Rating: 3.5
Pro Rating: 2.0

This kind of effect is sort of flexible...but also sort of narrow at the same time. It can be used to trigger an ETB ability, or to help a creature dodge removal...but those things don’t come up as often as you’d think. The rebound is some serious additional value, and if you ARE trigger an ETB ability a couple of extra times with it it is going to feel great! It also works well with Magecraft.

image

Gift of Estates

AI Rating: 2.5
Pro Rating: 2.0

This is situational, but the times where it lets you search up three Plains do feel pretty darn good -- three cards is three cards, even if they are lands! The problem is that this is a blank card in situations where your opponent has the same or fewer lands than you. And yeah, you can control this to some extent, but it still isn’t amazing.

image

Gods Willing

AI Rating: 2.6
Pro Rating: 2.5

This tends to be pretty nice whenever we see it. Protection is just such a nice keyword -- you can use it to make your creature unblockable, save it from removal, or survive combat. Being a cheap spell looks pretty good in this format too because of Magecraft, and having Scry 1 in the mix is nice too.

image

Mana Tithe

AI Rating: 2.3
Pro Rating: 0.0

This type of effect plays well in constructed, but not so well in Limited. You have to hope your opponent has only the exact mana to pay for a spell for this to do something, otherwise it is useless. Sniping an opposing card in the early game does feel great, but you have to think about this will be doing about 80% of the time -- pretty much nothing!

image

Revitalize

AI Rating: 0.9
Pro Rating: 1.5

In most formats, this card is pretty underwhelming. With spellcraft being a thing in this set, it will probably be a little bit better than normal -- and that’s probably true of all cantrips, but it still isn’t something you should go after that hard, and you’ll cut it more than you’ll play it.

image

Swords to Plowshares

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.5

This is one of the greatest removal spells in the history of Magic, so obviously it is quite good in Limited. One mana to exile any creature is an absolutely incredible deal, and your opponent gaining life equal to the power of the creature is a small price to pay. You’ll take this almost all the regular cards in this set.

image

Teferi's Protection

AI Rating: 3.5
Pro Rating: 1.0

Some of these Mystical Archive cards are really wacky, because nobody really designed them with Limited in mind, and that’s the case here too -- it is from a Commander set. While the effect this card has does seem really cool, in a lot of ways, it is just a really fancy Fog in Limited. Sure, it counters removal to some extent, and especially board sweepers. But in combat it really will just feel like Fog, and I’m not a very big fan of that.

image

Blue Sun's Zenith

AI Rating: 4.1
Pro Rating: 2.5

Some Blue decks in this format will be interested in having a lot of mana, so Blue Sun’s Zenith may slot in reasonably well for those decks. It isn’t exactly efficient card draw, but it does do it at instant speed and you can pump as much mana as you want into it, which isn’t too shabby. If it is really late, you can even use it to force your opponent to draw the remaining cards in their library! It is obviously useless until the late game, and that hurts its stock some.

image

Brainstorm

AI Rating: 3.5
Pro Rating: 3.0

Look, we get to play with an Eternal format staple in this format! So, brainstorm is a pretty good draw spell overall. When you use it you really just break even on cards, but the card selection it gives you is quite good. Now, just like in the Eternal formats, this will get better if you can pair it with shuffle effects, since you can then get rid of whatever you put on top that you didn’t really want, but even without them, Brainstorm is a card that I think you’ll always play in your Blue decks -- especially since this set has such a big spell theme.

image

Compulsive Research

AI Rating: 4.2
Pro Rating: 3.0

This is a pretty good draw spell, as it is often pretty easy to discard a land to it, in which case you’re basically getting a better Divination, and Divination tends to be fine.

image

Counterspell

AI Rating: 4
Pro Rating: 3.5

Ah, Counterspell. It can counter any spell! No questions asked! That’s not something we get in Limited these days, so I’m glad the Mystical Archive is giving us a chance to do it. Now, counter-magic in Limited is generally worse than it is in constructed, mostly because building a “draw-go” type deck is much harder to do in Limited than in constructed, where you can choose to have a deck of all instant speed stuff, and that’s just hard to do. Still, this is very efficient and it counters anything, and that is enough to get over the downside of countermagic in Limited.

image

Memory Lapse

AI Rating: 3.3
Pro Rating: 2.5

This can counter any kind of spell really efficiently. The bad news, though, is that your opponent will likely be drawing that card AGAIN on their next turn. Now, you are still trading 1-for-1 and probably coming out ahead on tempo, but sometimes this will feel pretty bad because you countered your opponents’ bomb...but they’re going to get it back anyway. Still, most of the time it is well worth it because of its efficiency.

image

Mind's Desire

AI Rating: 4.3
Pro Rating: 0.0

This is one of the most powerful cards in the entire history of Magic! But it probably won’t be that good in this Limtied format. Six mana is a lot for an effect that might give you absolutely nothing, so getting your storm count high enough for Mind’s Desire to really do something relevant is going to be a challenge. It is worth noting that Storm will trigger Magecraft, since it counts copies of spells too -- but you just won’t get your storm count high enough to abuse this. Don’t play it.

image

Negate

AI Rating: 2.3
Pro Rating: 2.0

Normally Negate isn’t very good in Limited because its so narrow -- but I think it might actually be solid here, since Strixhaven is all about spells, and it has way more than a normal set.

image

Opt

AI Rating: 2.4
Pro Rating: 2.5

Another solid draw spell that will be a bit better here as a result of Magecraft and other spell payoffs.

image

Strategic Planning

AI Rating: 1.6
Pro Rating: 1.5

We just saw this card in Kaldheim and...it was pretty mediocre. Granted, Kaldheim was a weird set, and this set has more of a spell theme, but still. This was frequently a card you saw as the last card in booster packs, that’s how much people wanted it. It DOEs load your graveyard and give you decent card selection, but being a Sorcery is kind of killer.

image

Tezzeret's Gambit

AI Rating: 4.4
Pro Rating: 3.0

So, this can basically be Divination that you also pay 2 life for, and that’s not too bad – it also means it can slot into any deck, since Phyrexian Mana can be paid with life, and that is some nice upside. Proliferate will matter some in this format, as there are definitely counters around.

image

Time Warp

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.0

Time Walk is pretty good, even when it costs 5 mana. Sometimes this type of effect isn’t amazing, like if you’re significantly behind, but it is still going to help you get closer to being at parity with your opponent than most other things!

image

Whirlwind Denial

AI Rating: 1.5
Pro Rating: 2.5

We saw this card not too long ago in Theros Beyond Death, and it was decent enough there. Mostly, it was a 3-mana counterspell, it wasn’t often countering more than one thing -- and, it was like a C there. This set does have a few things that will make it better, though – for one thing, there is spell copying, and for another, there are magecraft triggers. With those two things going on, this will end up hitting 2 spells more often than you might think.

image

Agonizing Remorse

AI Rating: 2.5
Pro Rating: 3.0

This was a good discard spell the last time we saw it, and I think it will be pretty good here too. It can disrupt the opponent pretty much all game long, and having a fail case to exile a card in their graveyard isn’t too shabby.

image

Crux of Fate

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 5.0

This is a strong boardsweeper.. Tarkir had lots of dragons at lower rarities, so making this one-sided was more of a thing. Of course, there’s also the upside that it is unlikely your opponent has a dragon that can survive this. There are dragons in this set, but mostly at Mythic, so mostly this will just be a 5-mana sweeper, which is still something I’m pretty interested in. It is just such a powerful irreplaceable effect.

image

Dark Ritual

AI Rating: 2.8
Pro Rating: 2.0

This is a card that people tend to hugely overrate in Limited, just because they know it was so good in Magic’s past -- but keep in mind, that format was constructed! And yes, getting a big mana boost on turn one is quite strong, but think about all the other ritual-type effects we have seen in Limited -- basically none of them were very good. This is because you basically 2-for-1 yourself to get a mana advantage, and that just won’t be worth it in Limited most of the time. Now, there’s no question that playing a 3-drop on turn one is strong, and I’m not saying that Dark RItual is straight up bad in Limited -- but I would imagine a lot of people will be snatching this up because they think its super powerful...and, it just isn’t in Limited.

image

Demonic Tutor

AI Rating: 4.3
Pro Rating: 3.5

This is another card that people will likely overrate based on how good it is in other formats. It basically amounts to a two-mana draw spell, and sure, you draw EXACTLY what you want and that is very powerful card selection, but it is really dependent on having actual good things to tutor up. It will get better the more good tutor targets you have -- and I’m talking removal and bombs. It is quite good, but not a windmill slam first pick or anything like that.

image

Doom Blade

AI Rating: 4.6
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is the first time we’ve seen Doom Blade in a while! It is premium removal, can kill most stuff at instant speed and for only two mana. That’s amazing!

image

Duress

AI Rating: 1.3
Pro Rating: 1.5 // 3.0

This will be a little better in a format with more noncreature spells, but it probably is still going to be better out of your sideboard.

image

Eliminate

AI Rating: 4.3
Pro Rating: 3.5

This kills a significant percentage of creatures and it does it efficiently. That’s enough for it to be premium.

image

Inquisition of Kozilek

AI Rating: 3
Pro Rating: 3.0

This is a good discard spell. It will be a powerful way to disrupt an opponents’ early game plan when you play it on turn one. Now, like most discard spells, it often has diminishing returns in the late game, and that is definitely a liability. Imagine drawing THIS when you and your opponent are in top deck mode -- that’s definitely gonna hurt. It does at least trigger magecraft in those situations.

image

Sign in Blood

AI Rating: 3.4
Pro Rating: 3.0

This is a very efficient way to draw two cards, something that normally costs three mana. I'll gladly pay the two life if it means spending one less mana! It also kills your opponent if they are at two, and that comes up on occasion.

image

Tainted Pact

AI Rating: 3.1
Pro Rating: 1.0

So, mostly, I don’t think this is going to be very good. It is tempting to look at it and imagine just getting to search up whatever you want at Instant speed, but it is also a pretty dangerous card to play with. There’s no guarantee you net one card, since once you hit duplicates with it, it stops – and this includes lands, which you’re going to have plenty of duplicates of. In short, it will be difficult for this to help you find whatever you want, and sometimes it won’t even get you anything.

image

Tendrils of Agony

AI Rating: 1.9
Pro Rating: 2.0

This is better in this Limited format than it is in most. Generally, getting storm high enough for this to matter is not easy, since it costs 4. However, because BG is a life gain deck, and because Magecraft counts copied spells, this will probably be a little bit better than it looks. The set also has lots of cantrips which could help you storm. It still isn’t going to be GREAT for Limited, but it might be a reasonable way to close out some games or buy yourself some time with the lifegain.

image

Village Rites

AI Rating: 1.6
Pro Rating: 2.0

We see this a lot, and it is always kind of medium. Cashing in a creature and this card to draw 2 doesn’t net you any cards, but it does help you find more gas , and often times you’ll have a creature worth sacrificing. You can of course also use it in response to removal and things like that. BG will make a lot of pest tokens, and in those decks it will feel pretty good.

image

Chaos Warp

AI Rating: 3
Pro Rating: 3.0

This is an interesting card to look at for Limited. It is random, and sometimes that’s a real liability. That said, it isn’t the worst answer ever for super powerful cards, and it can hit any permanent type. When you play this on an opponents’ permanent, the chances are actually reasonably good that they either hit a land or a non-permanent card. But there will also be times where you just upgrade your opponents’ permanent, and that won’t feel so good. You can also use it on your own stuff in response to removal and things like that, but chances are pretty good you don’t get what you want out of this. Its inconsistent, but I think it is great removal often enough to still be a pretty good card.

image

Claim the Firstborn

AI Rating: 1
Pro Rating: 1.0

So, this does really efficiently steal creatures, even if can only go after the smaller ones. This type of effect can be okay in an aggro deck, but I do think you need some sacrifice outlets to really abuse it, because if you have those, you no tonly get a blocker out of the way for a turn -- you kill it forever! Outside of those situations, you just don’t want to play this.

image

Faithless Looting

AI Rating: 2.6
Pro Rating: 3.0

Faithless looting is a very nice draw spell. Sure, you don’t net any cards -- but one mana to loot twice is actually quite a good deal. The Flashback effect isn’t exactly efficient, but like all Flashback cards it does mean you have something to do with your mana late. This gets even better in a deck that wants cards in the graveyard, and even better in a set with Magecraft.

image

Grapeshot

AI Rating: 2.9
Pro Rating: 3.5

So, this Storm card is cheap enough that I think it will be pretty good in Limited. Getting this to a storm count of 2 is enough for it to be quite good, because it can kill an X/3 or divide the damage in some way to get a 2-for-1. There will be times where you just can’t get your storm count going, but the fail case it has isn’t the worst thing ever either. You shouldn’t really expect to go off and win the game with Grapeshot like you can in cube or the Eternal formats, but it will give you more than your mana’s worth pretty often.

image

Increasing Vengeance

AI Rating: 4
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is an intriguing card to have in this set with all the spells all over the place, not to mention the payoffs for casting spells as well as playing them. Still, Fork effects like this are notoriously hard to make worthwhile in Limited, and even having a more powerful Flashback form here doesn’t fill me with a whole lot of hope. This will be wildly inconsistent. Sometimes it will copy something incredible! Other times you won’t have anything to use it on.

image

Infuriate

AI Rating: 1.6
Pro Rating: 2.0

This is a pretty nice trick, and a cheap card in a set with lots of spell triggers. It is probably the best Red trick in this format – but it is still a trick.

image

Lightning Bolt

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is arguably Magic’s best burn spell ever, so obviously it is really good in Limited. It kills lots of stuff efficiently, and can even go for the dome.

image

Mizzix's Mastery

AI Rating: 4.6
Pro Rating: 5.0

This is one of the best things to see in your P1P1 scenario. This wouldn’t be a huge bomb in all formats, but this format is the perfect place for it. For one thing, this set has a bunch of huge powerful spells. For another thing, UR is a deck that can make a ton of mana, so Overloading this isn’t even that hard. And finally, there is a cycle of UR cards that let you discard them to make treasure, and comboing those with this is just crazy, even without overload! In short, if you cast this it is sometimes going to win you the game, even the normal way – if you overload it, you will definitely will.

image

Shock

AI Rating: 3.8
Pro Rating: 3.5

Shock is always premium removal. Two damage can take down a huge chunk of creature sin most formats, including several creatures with a much higher CMC than one, and it of course comes with the upside of being able to use on the opponent.

image

Stone Rain

AI Rating: 1.9
Pro Rating: 0.0

This kind of effect is basically never good in Limited. Land destruction can work in constructed because running a critical mass of cards that blow up lands is possible. Don’t play this.

image

Thrill of Possibility

AI Rating: 1.6
Pro Rating: 2.0

Like all draw spells, Thrill of possibility gets a bit of an upgrade in this format as a result of magecraft being a big feature of this format, and that’s good news, because it is a solid card anyway. Pitching a land to draw two cards feels pretty good.

image

Urza's Rage

AI Rating: 4.5
Pro Rating: 3.5

This card is an old favorite of mine, so it is cool to see it in the Mystical Archive. Three mana to do three to any target at Instant speed is usually in the lower range of premium removal. Then, this has crazy late-game upside, where if you can kick it, it does TEN damage instead. Now, 95% of the time this will be doing 3, but because that is such a nice baseline already, having the Kicker upside is awesome, especially in UR which will have the ability to really ramp.

image

Abundant Harvest

AI Rating: 2.8
Pro Rating: 2.5

Unlike most of the cards in the Archive, this is a new one, so it is harder to evaluate. I think it seems pretty decent, kind of like a weird Adventurous Impulse. If you really need to hit a land drop, this will do it for you, and if you really need to stop flooding, well -- this will do that too. It is also a cheap card for triggering Magecraft

image

Adventurous Impulse

AI Rating: 1.8
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is a fine card for Green decks. Its nice that if you’re flooding it can help you get out, and if you’re desperate for a mana drop it can help you there too. It is also a cheap spell which is always upside in this set.

image

Channel

AI Rating: 3.2
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is another one of these Mystical Archive cards that people will drastically overrate in Limited, because it is so powerful in other formats. And, don’t get me wrong, being able to make a bunch of mana for only two is pretty strong! The problem is, you won’t have a way to combo off with this basically ever in a Limited deck. And sure, maybe on turn three it lets you play your 7 drop -- and that’s pretty great for sure! But you go down a card and a bunch of life in the process, and if your opponent has removal, they suddenly are out carding you and you’re in a ton of trouble. Then, there will be time when Channel is useless or close to it, and that’s always rough too. Ramp decks are a thing in this format, and that helps its case some, but In short, it is super inconsistent -- kind of like Dark Ritual. It will be a super swingy play that sort of makes-or-breaks you -- and that’s the IDEAL scenario, and it is hard to want to highly value something that is that swingy.

image

Cultivate

AI Rating: 3.9
Pro Rating: 3.0

I always like this card when we see it. It is great fixing, even helping you splash a card with two colored mana symbols. It also happens to ramp you which is great too!

image

Harmonize

AI Rating: 4.7
Pro Rating: 3.5

This may be a bit clunky as a Sorcery, but 4-mana to draw 3 card is a great deal. You have to find the time to cast it of course -- and sometimes tapping out for this will just be impossible because you need to add to the board, but if you’re able to cast this and survive, it will really help you outcard your opponent, which can get you that win.

image

Krosan Grip

AI Rating: 1.8
Pro Rating: 0.5 // 1.5

This format has too few Enchantments and Artifacts for this to be a main deck card, and it isn’t even that great of a sideboard card.

image

Natural Order

AI Rating: 3.7
Pro Rating: 4.0

So, this has an inherently powerful effect that can you let cheat a pretty impressive Green creature into play, but there are a couple of things you’ll need to have going for it to be worthwhile. First, you need a Green creature worth sacrificing. The good news is that pest tokens are Green and very expendable, so sacrificing one of those to Natural Order even just for like a 4 or 5 drop will feel pretty good. Sacrificing a real creature to this normally won’t be so great, as you’re 2-for-1ing yourself, so what you search up better be pretty darn impressive! The good news is there are some scary Green creatures you can search up. Overall, I think this is quite strong, even if it does ask for some significant set up. The fact that there are Green creature tokens in this format is what really makes it good.

image

Primal Command

AI Rating: 4.8
Pro Rating: 2.5

So, this isn’t super impressive in Limited. It is just so clunky and mostly doesn’t have a way to impact the board directly. Only one mode can do that, and it can only go after a noncreature permanent. Note, by the way, that that permanent CAN be a land, so that will matter sometimes to blank an opposing draw. I think one of the better things to do with this in Limited is probably choose the life gain and tutor option. It is still really slow, but by gaining life you will probably untap and get to play the best creature in your deck on the subsequent turn.

image

Regrowth

AI Rating: 3.1
Pro Rating: 2.5

This isn’t incredible in Limited. Two mana to return one card from your graveyard is just card selection, it isn’t card advantage. It does get better if you have bombs and other powerful stuff going on, but mostly it isn’t that impressive.

image

Snakeskin Veil

AI Rating: 2.5
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is a good combat trick that gives your creature a permanent boost, while also being useful against removal.

image

Weather the Storm

AI Rating: 1.9
Pro Rating: 2.0

In most Limited formats, Weather the Storm wouldn’t normally be worth playing in Limited. It just isn’t easy to get a storm count high, and even if you do the payoff isn’t amazing However, this set has two things going on that make it something worth thinking about at least. First, the BG deck has lots of life gain payoffs, so any card that gains life will be more worthwhile. Every single copy of this will trigger those life gain payoffs. Second, the Magecraft mechanic triggers for every COPY of a spell, so if you can get the storm going here, you’ll be able to trigger Magecraft that many times too! It is actually easier to get some strom going with this than most storm cards too, because you can use it on your opponents turn! You can use your opponents' spells to help you trigger this more, and then definitely makes it more flexible. In short, you’ll play this a significant chunk of the time.

image

Despark

AI Rating: 4.2
Pro Rating: 3.5

This can target a lot of stuff, and it when it can exile something it does it efficiently. Not hitting small things can be a liability sometimes, but I think this is still premium removal.

image

Electrolyze

AI Rating: 4.3
Pro Rating: 3.5

This has 3-for-1 potential, provided your opponent has two X/1s, and that is pretty awesome. Most of the time, you’ll have to be content with just a 2-for-1, but I’m on board for that too. Sometimes it won’t be able to kill stuff if the opponent has big creatures, but in Limited it is likely to have something it can kill in most cases. It can also go to your opponents’ face if that’s what you need!

image

Growth Spiral

AI Rating: 3
Pro Rating: 2.5

This is a card that had to be banned out of Standard – but it isn’t crazy good in Limited. If you play it early it is pretty good, since it could often help you ramp a bit, but the problem with these “Play more lands” type cards in Limited is that there comes a certain point where you just don’t have more lands to play, and even with a cantrip attached to it, it won’t always be that great. Now, like all the cantrips in this set, it does get a bit of an upgrade because of Magecraft, and its worst case scenario is that it replaces itself.

image

Lightning Helix

AI Rating: 4.1
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is always a great removal spell that is super efficient! Killing something and gaining 3 at the same time can be enough to turn a game around, and you can do it for only tow mana! You can also use it to finish off an opponent, which is nice upside. Basically, this is premium removal that you’ll take highly, even if it is multi-colored.

image

Putrefy

AI Rating: 4.3
Pro Rating: 4.0

This is a very good removal spell that can kill two types of permanents at Instant speed and efficiently.

Card Pro Rating AI Rating APA Picked ALSA Seen
ss-common||Sorcery — Lesson
3.5 3.9 4.10 381 3.94 1253
ss-common||Sorcery — Lesson
3.0 3.2 5.85 317 5.24 1756
ss-common||Sorcery — Lesson
3.0 2.9 6.56 315 5.84 1981
ss-common||Sorcery — Lesson
2.5 2.6 7.51 350 6.58 2216
ss-mythic||Sorcery — Lesson
5.0 5 1.24 34 1.24 34
ss-rare||Creature — Avatar
4.5 5 1.26 43 1.52 50
ss-rare|White|Sorcery — Lesson
2.5 2 8.98 40 5.97 321
ss-common|White|Creature — Spirit Soldier
1.5 0.2 13.64 192 10.85 3384
ss-common|White|Instant
2.0 1.3 10.69 270 9.30 2756
ss-uncommon|White|Creature — Human Wizard
2.5 2 8.84 75 6.99 895
ss-common|White|Creature — Bird Cleric
3.5 3.7 4.47 417 4.68 1336
ss-common|White|Instant
2.0 1.3 10.66 265 8.93 2735
ss-uncommon|White|Enchantment — Aura
1.5 0.7 12.25 77 9.00 1211
ss-rare|White|Sorcery
4.5 3.3 5.53 43 4.40 203
ss-uncommon|White|Creature — Human Monk
3.0 2.6 7.40 89 5.82 736
ss-common|White|Creature — Human Wizard
2.5 2 9.09 281 8.07 2366
ss-rare|White|Creature — Human Cleric
4.0 4.6 2.14 56 2.41 85
ss-common|White|Instant
3.0 2.6 7.37 280 6.72 2014
ss-common|White|Sorcery
3.0 2.4 7.79 306 7.11 2179
ss-rare|White|Creature — Cat Cleric
4.5 4.7 1.94 47 2.15 75
ss-mythic|White|Legendary Creature — Bird Advisor
4.0 4.7 1.96 26 2.00 40
ss-common|White|Creature — Spirit
2.5 2.5 7.62 302 6.63 1994
ss-common|White|Creature — Spirit Cleric
3.0 2 9.07 269 8.12 2596
ss-uncommon|White|Creature — Kor Cleric
3.5 4.2 3.32 163 3.24 416
ss-uncommon|White|Sorcery — Lesson
1.0 // 2.5 1.6 10.02 83 7.18 980
ss-uncommon|White|Sorcery
0.0 0.4 13.19 100 10.07 1415
ss-rare|White|Instant
2.0 3.3 5.59 39 4.96 234
ss-uncommon|White|Instant
2.5 1.9 9.12 91 6.89 915
ss-rare|White|Enchantment
5.0 4.9 1.42 57 1.61 82
ss-common|White|Creature — Human Wizard
2.5 1.4 10.46 258 9.10 2901
ss-uncommon|White|Creature — Spirit Dog
1.0 // 3.0 1.3 10.75 103 8.43 1119
ss-common|White|Creature — Spirit Bird
2.5 1.5 10.33 246 9.00 2720
ss-rare|White|Creature — Spirit Cleric
2.5 3.1 6.10 31 3.93 183
ss-common|White|Instant
3.0 2.2 8.39 295 7.78 2377
ss-uncommon|White|Creature — Kor Wizard
3.0 3.7 4.61 116 3.91 479
ss-common|Blue|Instant
3.0 1.8 9.39 292 8.20 2440
ss-rare|Blue|Creature — Human Wizard
4.0 4.7 2.02 41 2.03 78
ss-common|Blue|Creature — Frog Wizard
2.5 0.9 11.94 302 10.17 3394
ss-common|Blue|Instant
3.0 3.5 5.18 373 5.25 1519
ss-common|Blue|Instant
1.0 1.1 11.28 260 9.79 3066
ss-uncommon|Blue|Instant
3.5 3.8 4.35 163 3.85 465
ss-rare|Blue|Creature — Bird Illusion
3.5 4.5 2.43 56 2.28 102
ss-common|Blue|Creature — Bird Wizard
3.5 3.4 5.37 358 5.22 1462
ss-rare|Blue|Sorcery
3.0 4.1 3.62 48 3.15 159
ss-uncommon|Blue|Creature — Beast
3.0 3.5 5.18 138 4.59 570
ss-uncommon|Blue|Sorcery
3.0 2.9 6.70 154 5.73 770
ss-uncommon|Blue|Sorcery — Lesson
2.5 1 11.55 83 8.25 1140
ss-rare|Blue|Sorcery
4.5 4.7 1.83 52 2.34 70
ss-common|Blue|Instant
3.0 2.4 7.87 265 6.99 2010
ss-common|Blue|Instant
1.5 0.9 11.86 225 9.95 3045
ss-common|Blue|Instant
1.0 0.4 13.24 214 10.93 3503
ss-common|Blue|Sorcery
2.5 2.7 7.12 273 6.44 1881
ss-uncommon|Blue|Instant
2.0 2.7 7.13 134 6.06 858
ss-uncommon|Blue|Sorcery
0.0 0.7 12.33 107 9.32 1341
ss-common|Blue|Creature — Merfolk Wizard
1.5 0.9 11.86 242 10.00 3188
ss-uncommon|Blue|Creature — Human Wizard
2.5 1 11.56 86 8.41 1100
ss-rare|Blue|Sorcery — Lesson
3.5 3.1 6.15 39 4.11 212
ss-rare|Blue|Sorcery
4.0 4.5 2.34 64 2.68 113
ss-uncommon|Blue|Instant
2.0 1.7 9.74 88 6.97 940
ss-common|Blue|Creature — Human Wizard
2.5 1.2 11.07 300 9.20 2880
ss-common|Blue|Creature — Djinn Wizard
2.5 1.4 10.43 273 8.82 2780
ss-uncommon|Blue|Creature — Serpent
3.0 2.2 8.53 133 6.83 892
ss-common|Black|Creature — Human Warlock
2.5 1.8 9.35 274 8.67 2614
ss-rare|Black|Instant
4.0 4.7 2.02 46 2.32 66
ss-uncommon|Black|Creature — Fungus Beast
3.5 3.2 5.79 126 5.34 695
ss-rare|Black|Creature — Vampire Warlock
4.0 4.5 2.50 44 2.49 101
ss-rare|Black|Sorcery — Lesson
0.0 // 1.0 1.5 10.20 35 6.26 348
ss-common|Black|Instant
1.5 0.9 11.69 249 9.61 3137
ss-common|Black|Sorcery
2.0 1.4 10.50 205 8.94 2784
ss-uncommon|Black|Creature — Eye Bat
3.0 3.5 5.09 123 4.33 514
ss-uncommon|Black|Instant
3.5 4.1 3.58 145 3.49 386
ss-uncommon|Black|Sorcery
1.5 1.6 9.98 86 7.53 1004
ss-common|Black|Sorcery
3.0 2.9 6.56 322 5.88 1778
ss-common|Black|Instant
3.0 2.9 6.63 305 6.10 1810
ss-common|Black|Creature — Human Warlock
3.0 2.2 8.44 300 7.28 2185
ss-uncommon|Black|Creature — Horror
2.5 2.7 7.24 76 5.30 746
ss-common|Black|Sorcery
3.5 3.7 4.48 368 4.55 1339
ss-uncommon|Black|Sorcery — Lesson
3.5 2.8 6.77 97 5.16 667
ss-common|Black|Creature — Troll Warlock
2.5 0.5 12.77 211 10.69 3399
ss-rare|Black|Creature — Human Warlock
3.5 3.1 6.09 45 4.60 222
ss-uncommon|Black|Instant
3.5 1.8 9.55 131 7.33 926
ss-rare|Black|Artifact — Equipment
4.5 4.9 1.48 62 2.11 87
ss-mythic|Black|Legendary Planeswalker — Liliana
5.0 4.9 1.37 19 1.33 24
ss-common|Black|Instant
1.5 1.3 10.90 228 9.22 2931
ss-common|Black|Creature — Human Warlock
2.5 1.1 11.28 235 9.58 2874
ss-rare|Black|Creature — Human Warlock
4.5 5 1.27 63 2.02 87
ss-common|Black|Creature — Specter
2.0 2 8.95 244 7.58 2202
ss-uncommon|Black|Creature — Vampire Warlock
3.5 2.8 6.98 101 5.53 732
ss-uncommon|Black|Instant
3.0 3.4 5.39 119 4.24 503
ss-common|Black|Creature — Frog
2.5 1.6 10.09 248 8.49 2605
ss-uncommon|Red|Instant
3.0 2.3 8.11 123 6.53 858
ss-uncommon|Red|Creature — Minotaur Shaman
4.0 2.9 6.63 136 5.81 753
ss-common|Red|Creature — Spirit Warrior
2.5 0.8 12.03 227 10.25 3196
ss-rare|Red|Creature — Human Shaman
4.0 4.2 3.12 42 3.24 126
ss-mythic|Red|Sorcery
4.5 4.9 1.43 28 1.54 38
ss-rare|Red|Sorcery
4.0 4.4 2.79 43 2.84 112
ss-common|Red|Sorcery
0.0 -0 14.16 220 11.74 3693
ss-rare|Red|Creature — Efreet Shaman
4.0 4.6 2.17 41 2.60 84
ss-common|Red|Instant
2.5 1.4 10.49 244 8.90 2784
ss-uncommon|Red|Instant
2.0 2.2 8.34 110 6.25 836
ss-rare|Red|Sorcery
0.0 1.6 10.11 35 6.95 327
ss-common|Red|Instant
1.5 0.4 13.04 230 10.90 3409
ss-common|Red|Creature — Spirit
2.5 1 11.67 245 9.96 3183
ss-uncommon|Red|Creature — Elemental
2.0 1.1 11.20 84 8.47 1112
ss-uncommon|Red|Creature — Lizard Shaman
3.5 1.2 11.11 112 8.80 1236
ss-common|Red|Instant
4.0 4.2 3.35 325 3.57 950
ss-uncommon|Red|Sorcery
4.0 4.4 2.81 151 2.76 314
ss-rare|Red|Sorcery — Lesson
3.0 2.6 7.47 47 5.45 255
ss-common|Red|Creature — Human Shaman
3.0 1.9 9.16 262 8.30 2514
ss-uncommon|Red|Sorcery
1.5 1 11.61 89 8.79 1160
ss-common|Red|Sorcery
2.5 2.6 7.36 269 6.75 1912
ss-common|Red|Creature — Spirit Dwarf
2.5 1.6 10.05 274 8.84 2737
ss-rare|Red|Creature — Phoenix
3.5 4.7 1.98 53 2.20 95
ss-uncommon|Red|Sorcery — Lesson
2.5 1.5 10.14 112 7.63 1105
ss-uncommon|Red|Creature — Dwarf Shaman
3.0 2.6 7.29 93 6.04 796
ss-common|Red|Instant
1.5 0.6 12.51 239 10.36 3283
ss-common|Red|Creature — Wolf
3.0 1.8 9.59 260 8.71 2582
ss-common|Red|Creature — Dwarf Shaman
2.0 0.4 13.07 174 10.43 3222
ss-rare|Green|Creature — Elf Druid
4.0 4 3.84 44 3.35 132
ss-rare|Green|Sorcery — Lesson
1.5 // 3.0 3.7 4.47 53 4.15 197
ss-common|Green|Creature — Plant Dog
2.5 1.5 10.24 221 8.20 2446
ss-common|Green|Instant
2.0 1.1 11.38 281 9.76 2995
ss-uncommon|Green|Creature — Wurm
4.0 4.1 3.37 167 3.05 400
ss-common|Green|Instant
1.0 0.7 12.29 211 10.51 3370
ss-uncommon|Green|Sorcery — Lesson
0.0 // 1.5 1.7 9.62 96 6.73 982
ss-uncommon|Green|Sorcery
3.5 4 3.72 158 3.52 411
ss-rare|Green|Creature — Human Druid
4.5 4.8 1.57 53 1.85 70
ss-mythic|Green|Sorcery
3.5 3.9 3.93 28 3.48 78
ss-uncommon|Green|Sorcery
3.5 4 3.87 136 3.69 436
ss-rare|Green|Sorcery
2.5 3.1 6.11 36 4.77 230
ss-common|Green|Sorcery
2.5 3 6.26 347 5.69 1680
ss-uncommon|Green|Instant
2.5 1.7 9.62 120 7.36 1025
ss-rare|Green|Creature — Treefolk Druid
4.0 4.8 1.69 48 1.95 64
ss-uncommon|Green|Creature — Troll Druid
3.0 2.8 6.77 98 5.78 763
ss-uncommon|Green|Creature — Elf Druid
3.5 3.1 6.18 102 5.07 677
ss-common|Green|Sorcery
2.5 2.2 8.35 270 7.36 2263
ss-common|Green|Sorcery
3.5 3.8 4.31 370 4.43 1230