Born of the Gods-Theros Sealed Video #1

In preparation for GP Philly, I’ve been running a bunch of Phantom Sealeds on MODO lately. I feel people often “overdraft” since it’s way more fun than Sealed, but I like getting some legit practice. Building pools and evaluating cards for a slower Sealed format are important.

So, without further ado, I present one of the sweeter decks I opened. After cracking my packs, I was presented with a Kiora, a Courser of Kruphix, and an Arbiter of the Ideal. My commons and uncommons were deep enough, though skewed toward some controlling spells like Nullify. I ended up with a pretty untraditional UG Control deck.

Here are the construction and the games:

Born of the Gods Sealed #1: UG Control

 

As always, feedback is appreciated. (Oh and let me know if you’re going to be at GP Philly – I’d love to meet you!).

 

 

-Bert O Phillips

@themagicalhack on Twitter

bert@thoughtscour.com

GP Richmond and Melira Pod

Birthing Pod art

This was my GP Richmond.

01 Bye (+24)
02 Bye (+24)
03 Win (+24) Hennig, Eric
04 Win (+24) Croy, Andrew
05 Win (+24) Bailey, Joni
06 Win (+24) Kastel, Chad
07 Loss (+0) Nguyen, Richard
08 Win (+24) Stojak, Peter
09 Loss (+0) Gable, Levi

10 Win (+24) Madda, Leo
11 Win (+24) Zhang, Peter
12 Loss (+0) Betesh, Ralph
13 Loss (+0) MCKAY, BRANDON
14 Loss (+0) Naze, Marcin
15 Win (+24) Meikle, Jeremy

It wasn’t perfect, but it was a step.

I wasn’t planning on coming to this GP despite all my friends being locked in and Modern being my favorite format. But some buddies went to a GPT so I tagged along, ran like a champ, and won it. With two byes, I basically had to attend. The problem was that I had a 8:00 pm concert the Friday before the event. I looked for sleeper trains but everything got in at 2:00 pm. There was a red eye Greyhound though… Read more

Melira Pod after the Bannings and Tournament Report – GPT Richmond (1st)

This weekend I took down a Grand Prix Trial for GP Richmond with an updated version of Melira Pod. I wanted to share the list and give a few thoughts about the deck’s position in the post-ban (and post un-ban) Modern.

First things first, let me just give you the list:

Melira Pod – Bert Phillips
GPT Richmond (1st) – Modern

This is what I would run if there were another tournament starting right now (the sideboard and manabase are a few cards off from what I registered).

The list is very close to stock, with Noble Hierarchs replacing last week’s Deathrite Shamans. Nothing special, but there are a few interesting changes I made. (If you want a more basic primer on Pod, check out any article by Sam Pardee).

Noble Hierarch

Noble Hierarch

In this list, I’ve made a few changes from the stock version: Read more

Born of the Gods – Which Prerelease Promo?

As with Theros, you’re going to get to select your path at the Born of the Gods prerelease by choosing a color. Your choice will get you, in addition to three Theros packs and two Born of the Gods packs, a color-skewed pack with your color’s promo card, a additional rare in your color, and some uncommons and commons that are skewed mostly toward your color.

The extra rare you’re getting can be any on-color rare or any on-color God, but not an on-color mythic. So if you choose black you could get Gild or Mogis, God of Slaughter, but not Champion of Stray Souls.

This choice is very powerful, so let’s take a look at what you should be basing your decision on with a review of each color.

White

White seems like it will be fairly focused (again) on heroic aggression. The best guy is Akroan Skyguard, but Nyxborn Shieldmate and Elite Skirmisher play nice too. You of course still have three packs of potential Wingsteed Riders, along with all the good heroic uncommons. If your pool has a few of those bodies, I think you’ll have a nice go-to strategy. The problem is that you won’t always open good heroes, and those pools will have a hard time making an awesome white deck.

White also gets some removal and a few value cards like Griffin Dreamfinder and Dawn to Dusk at uncommon. These cards could point to a more controlling deck, but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

In terms of power level, white didn’t have the best commons in Theros, and I think it probably has the lowest average common strength in Born of the Gods too. At rare, white gets a bit of a mish-mash. A few rares are underpowered and a few are more expensive than what you want to be doing, like the seven-mana wrath. Still, I think if your Sealed pool supports a heroic deck, the power of those synergies can certainly help you shut the door on other decks.

The promo, Silent Sentinel, is a very solid value engine and bombish type card. I rated it a 4.0, which is good, but I think it’s the least exciting of the promos. At seven mana with a grindy ability, it doesn’t really fit into what you want a heroic deck to be doing. Seven mana is just so much more than six. I can see it being game-dominating in a WB control deck, but I don’t think that will come up for most players.

Blue

The way I see it, blue has the best commons in Born of the Gods, and it was already the best color in Theros. The tempo spells (Retraction Helix and Sudden Storm) are about as good as removal in this format, and you have an array of good creatures to boot. I think Nyxborn Triton is the best common bestow creature in BNG, and Chorus of the Tides should put in work.

The color wants to be tempo-oriented usually, but I think it can still pair up with black or red removal spells to make a more controlling deck, and can pair with green ramp spells to make a more high-end monsters deck. One of the most appealing things about blue is that it will pair well with any color.

I will note that blue rares are pretty unappealing. The only one in Born of the Gods you’re really psyched to open is Arbiter. There are also a few Theros clunkers like Meletis Charlatan. That’s okay though, because several of these commons are plenty good enough to carry the load in terms of card quality.

The promo, Arbiter of the Ideal, stands out to me as being the best of the five promos (I rated it a 4.5). A durable evasive threat that can generate free cards and mana is really good. The five toughness is a big deal, and this thing will win you most of the games you cast it.

Black

In Theros, black was pretty much a pure control color, with cards like Returned Phalanx and Pharika’s Cure doing a good job at stemming the tide while you either deployed big green creatures or beat down with blue fliers. That identity should stay mostly the same in Born of the Gods, with the best black commons being removal spells. I will note that there are a couple interesting heroic enablers, so if you open some white/green/blue heroic guys and an Ashiok’s Adept, that could be a decent archetype to try out. If you’re paired with red, it’s likely you’re a more aggressive deck.

The quality of black in BNG is pretty good. I have its commons with the highest average rating of all the colors, which pretty impressive. Black gives you a pretty good shot at good rares as well, with Pain Seer being the only unexciting one in either expansion.

The promo, Eater of Hope (not to be confused with Drinker of Sorrow, Guzzler of Boredom, or Nosher of Sassiness) is quite the engine. I may have rated it a little high at 4.5, but it’s definitely going to dominate a game in a huge way given a few turns. Black decks absolutely adored having the seven-mana top-end finisher Abhorrent Overlord, and I think this is probably a little better.

Red

Red wants to be a very aggressive color most of the time. Combat-savvy commons like Kragma Butcher are most at home in the red zone. However, if you get a few red removal spells I certainly think you can make a more controlling or rampy deck that provides some late-game power – perhaps pairing with green or blue.

Red was the weakest color in Theros, with only Lightning Strike really standing out among the commons. Red has a little more removal in this set, but I’m worried the creature base is still relatively weak. Cards like Impetuous Sunchaser and Nyxborn Rollicker, in the immortal words of Shania Twain, don’t impress me much.

The rares are hit or miss. You have two unplayables in Whims of the Fates and Satyr Firedancer, but the rest vary from strong to bomby. I will say that red’s uncommons stand out to be as being uncommonly strong, which counts for something.

The promo, Forgestoker Dragon is definitely one of the better ones (I gave it a 4.0-4.5), and fits right into red’s aggressive strategy. If you put some pressure on your opponent’s life total, untapping with this guy in play will often close out the game immediately. This relationship is so strong that it boosts red’s viability as a prerelease path considerably in my estimation.

Green

Green’s strategy may have changed the most from Theros to Born of the Gods. In Theros, green was evenly split between two options: You could do the midrange curve-out thing with Nessian Coursers and Leafcrown Dryads, or you could ramp into Nessian Asps with Voyaging Satyrs. There was also a midrangey heroic deck with Staunch-Hearted Warrior. Born of the Gods will add another dimension: Attacking with two-drops (Swordwise Centaur). We will also see the green heroic deck speed up, with Setessan Oathsworn and Aspect of Hydra bringing the CMC’s in that deck down a notch.

All the cards I’ve mentioned are pretty good, and green was already the deepest color in Theros. It’s possible to get a pile of commons that don’t go well together, but you’ll never be short on playables. I see green as the safest color choice for the prerelease.

One think I like about green is that if you are playing the color, every on-color rare is good, and you also get a crack at splashing various off-color rares with a Karametra’s Favor. This is, on average, a pretty big boost for the color.

The promo isn’t the best, but it’s very good. I gave it a 4.0. Green already has plenty of six-drops, but don’t let that make you think the Hydra is mediocre or anything like that. It’s rare your opponent will get a choice he or she likes with this tribute ability.

Rating the Promos

All the promos are very good, but if I were put to it, this is how I would rate them:

  1. Arbiter of the Ideal
  2. Forgestoker Dragon
  3. Eater of Hope
  4. Nessian Wilds Ravager
  5. Silent Sentinel

These are fairly evenly matched, with the exception that I think Arbiter of the Ideal is a notch above the rest and Silent Sentinel is a notch below. I think these promos are balanced against each other well enough that the strength of the colors’ commons becomes a more important factor in choosing my path.

Rating the Colors

Here’s how I’d rate the colors, taking into account the fact that half your cards will be from Theros:

  1. Blue
  2. Green
  3. Black
  4. White
  5. Red

This is quite similar to how the rankings would be in Theros, with maybe black leapfrogging white with the addition of Born of the Gods. Blue’s commons are just great, and and your bounce spells and tempo plays will just be awesome all day.  Green is going to be very deep – perhaps deeper than blue – with pretty good card quality.

The order of the next three colors isn’t something I’m extremely confident about, but I think it’s about like this. Black’s removal should be pretty useful, and you still get a crack at Gray Merchants and good rares. The other two colors have a lot of potential, but seem inconsistent (white) and slightly underpowered (red).

The Path to Glory

So which color should you choose if you want the best shot at fulfilling your prerelease destiny? Blue seems like a clear leader here, as it has the best Theros commons, the best Born of the Gods commons, and the best promo.

Green is also a great choice. The color is super deep, which means you almost certainly won’t have to cut it, which means you are almost guaranteed to get to play Nessian Wilds Ravager. There’s also the fact that the rare you get in your color-skewed pack is guaranteed to be at least pretty good.

The other colors trail behind. Black I think is the next best choice, as the promo is great, the commons in both sets are pretty good, and the color-skewed rare has to be good too.

Red and white are less attractive. It’s unclear what red deck you’re going to build if you don’t get enough two-drops. There’s also the chance of opening Whims of the Fates or Satyr Firedancer in your color-skewed pack.

White can certainly create some excellent Sealed decks, and if your cards line up right (you get mostly heroic stuff with a Silent Sentinel at the top of the curve), you’re in great shape. But I think white pools will be a crap shoot, and the risk isn’t really worth the payoff.

So what’s my recommendation? Do what I do! I’m playing in two prerelease events at Twenty-Sided Store in Brooklyn. I’m going to choose green one of them and attempt to smash some people with fatties, and then blue in the other and hope to lock people down with Sudden Storms.

Whatever your path, I hope you have an awesome prerelease. The format is definitely overdue for a shakeup, and although Born of the Gods probably won’t change the format on a fundamental level, nothing is better than solving the new cards and archetypes.

Good luck, and most importantly, godspeed!

 

From here, you can go back to the Born of the Gods set review page, or read our review of whiteblueblack, redgreen, or artifacts, lands, and gold cards.

 

 

-Bert O Phillips

@themagicalhack on Twitter

bert@thoughtscour.com

Born of the Gods Set Review

Prerelease Guide & Set Review – BNG

It seems like ages ago Theros arrived with its host of heroes, Gods, monsters, and, most importantly, super-fun limited play.

Well, at long last, it’s prerelease time again.

This weekend you’ll get a chance to crack some Born of the Gods packs and do battle with inspired creatures, tribute-demanding monsters, and more.

This week I’ll rate every card in the set on its merits for limited play. Don’t worry, we’ll be (the only site ;) ) done before the prerelease!

I’ve also written a summary of the set as a whole. I’ll talk about the new mechanics and the strategies you’ll need to adopt to take down your prerelease. But first, if you want to skip straight to the individual card ratings, here are the links, sorted by color:

White 

Blue 

Black 

Red 

Green 

Artifacts, Lands, and Gold

Which Prerelease Promo?

 

Size and Speed

The hallmark of Theros limited was the importance of having a huge creature (or a way to deal with one). The best way to win games was with a quick creature grown huge from auras and heroic triggers or a monstrous creature grown huge with, well, a monstrous trigger. It looks like the same will be true with BNG in the format. Monstrous creatures are replaced with tribute ones. These will often become huge much faster than monstrous ones did, which will put pressure on opponents to be in a position to answer them. This change might speed up the format slightly.

Read more

Born of the Gods Set Review – Artifacts, Gold, and Lands

Artifacts, Gold, and Lands in BNG

As with Theros, there is a cycle of gold uncommons which will serve as big incentives in Draft. This time only six out of the 10 color pairs get one: Azorius, Gruul, Simic, Rakdos, Selesnya, and Dimir. Other than the Rakdos one, they are all very good. Note that this will cause slight color imbalances. Wheres Gruul was seen as a bad color combination in Theros, it may now gain some ground on Boros. Meanwhile Izzet and Orzhov, two of the weaker/less common color combinations, may stand to get even worse.

One of the most exciting things about Born of the Gods (even if it won’t come up that often) is how much more playable the Gods are. In Theros, they were very hard to turn on, and the abilities were fairly expensive in some cases. The reverse is true in Born of the Gods. They should be creatures a larger percentage of the time, so make sure you maindeck those Revoke Existences and Unravel the Aethers.

If you haven’t already, take a gander at our set review ratings system, then have a look at the individual ratings:

Chromanticore

Chromanticore

This is certainly a very powerful package of abilities. If you bestow this onto even a lowly Bronze Sable, you should have a very hard time losing the game. Unfortunately, this is almost impossible to cast. There isn’t much mana fixing in the block, and you can get severely punished by durdling around for a bunch of turns trying to assemble WUBRG.

If this is playable, it’s probably in a green deck with a good number of Nylea’s Presences and Opaline Unicorns. But putting that deck together will be challenging in Draft and very rare in Sealed. I am not going to feel any pressure to ever play this, even though the reward is pretty high.

Sealed – 0.5

Draft – 1.0

Ephara, God of the Polis

Ephara, God of the Polis

If you can’t turn on the creature side of Ephara, God of the Polis, she’s a pretty clunky draw engine. Sort of like a slow Divination with some upside. Remember that a fair amount of the time you’ll be bestowing or holding up mana for a trick rather than casting a creature, so this might take you four turn cycles to draw two cards.

Now, it’s a whole different story if you can turn on the creature side. A 6/5 indestructible is absolutely huge, and your opponent needs one of a very specific set of cards to not just lose to it immediately. Gods were very hard to turn on in Theros. If you had a Blue-Green deck, your Nylea, God of the Hunt needed a Voyaging Satyr and a Nessian Courser AND a Nylea’s Disciple to turn it on. That might be three out of the five green creatures in your whole deck. The two-color Gods might need more overall permanents to turn them on, but they are much less picky about which ones. Basically any four permanents in a U/W deck will turn on Ephara. I think she’ll be a creature about half the time or even a little more, which will make her quite dominant.

Sealed – 4.0

Draft – 4.0

Ephara’s Enlightenment

Ephara’s Enlightenment

Three mana for +1/+1 is pretty steep, but adding flying is a pretty substantial bonus, and I think this card will perform well. Nimbus Naiad this is not. It’s less versatile and slower. I also don’t love that you can’t put this in a green deck. White and blue don’t have as many fatties that are happy to take to the air.

But this does have an engine-like quality. If you can cast this twice on an Akroan Skyguard, you’re looking at a 5/5 flier. I think if this were mono-colored, it would be awesome. As-is, it will still be good, and the more heroic creatures you have the closer this gets to “really good.” But it’s not a windmill slam or anything like that.

Sealed – 2.5

Draft – 2.5

Fanatic of Xenagos

Fanatic of Xenagos

A 3/3 trample for three mana is a better Nessian Courser. It would get picked lower in Draft and played less often in Sealed due to being two colors, but the pure power level is high. Adding +1/+1 or a temporary boost and haste obviously increases that power level. What’s nice about this tribute ability is that both options are extremely similar, limiting the weight of your opponent’s choice. Almost always your opponent will choose the haste, meaning this is like a more aggressive Nessian Courser – a fine card that is all upside for RG decks.

Sealed – 3.5

Draft – 3.0

Karametra, God of Harvests

Karametra, God of the Harvests

See my review of Ephara, God of the Polis. Karaetra is a little less aggressively costed, the extra toughness is pretty irrelevant, and the ability is much worse. Still, if you can enable the devotion mode, this is just an unbeatable, undercosted hoss.

GW decks will tend to be pretty aggressive in BNG/THS, so I like your chances of having a few Swordwise Centaurs or Wingsteed Riders to power this up. This doesn’t really do anything when you lack devotion though, so approach it with a little bit of caution, especially in Draft.

Sealed – 3.5

Draft – 3.0

Kiora, the Crashing Wave

Kiora, the Crashing Wave

While people are a little skeptical of this card’s power level in constructed, it’s an obvious house in limited. The plus ability is basically a removal spell, and is very good at shutting down three of the major mechanics in the block: heroic, tribute, and monstrous (and it enables your inspired creatures!). I imagine most games Kiora will just be a removal spell with “Suspend 3 – KRAKKKKKKKEN!!!” This play pattern is so good that I doubt people will really want to do much Exploreing.

There are some board states where Kiora will be under lots of pressure and get stuck in your hand. If your opponent curves out with a two-three-four, your Kiora might not win you the game. But most games, this is going to be pretty unbeatable.

Sealed – 4.5

Draft – 4.5

Kiora’s Follower

Kiora’s Follower

This little guy is great. Voyaging Satyr is already very good – one of the best green commons in Theros, if not the best. Accelerating your mana can be a huge deal, allowing you to deploy big threats that can take over the game as long as you’re not too far behind. Kiora’s follower is a strict upgrade to the Satyr in UG decks, getting an extra point of power and the ability to untap other permanents like creatures (perhaps getting you an immediate inspired trigger) or artifacts (two Bow of Nylea activations, anyone??).

Obviously being two colors is a pretty huge difference, and makes this a much lower Draft pick. But if I see this in my Sealed pool, it definitely stands out to me, and if I see it around fourth or fifth pick in Draft, my ears definitely perk up, especially since UG was and will probably continue to be a great color combination.

Sealed – 3.5

Draft – 3.0

Mogis, God of Slaughter

Mogis, God of Slaughter

This is definitely one of the better Gods for limited play. This presents such a fast clock in so many ways. When it’s a creature (which, as I’ve mentioned, should be a decently frequent occurrence) it’s obviously just a face-smashing beatdown. But what I really like is that this card is decent even when it’s not turned on. The enchantment mode is sort of like a cross between Sulfuric Vortex and Desecration Demon – an inevitable source of damage, but one which your opponent can stave off with sacrifices.

Mogis is obviously best in an aggressive strategy. If you can pressure your opponent’s life total, the decision between taking two damage and sacrificing a creature becomes much more difficult. It just so happens that aggressive decks are well suited to spewing out a bunch of permanents quickly, which helps activate Mogis’ creature mode. Luckly, this deck composition isn’t anything special, as most RB decks in Theros were aggressive, and Born of the Gods won’t change that.

Sealed – 4.0

Draft – 4.0

Phenax, God of Deception

Phenax, God of Deception

Limited decks only have 40 cards in them. Your opponent draws seven to start the game, then by the time you cast this on turn five, your opponent will have drawn four more, leaving 19 in his library. That means if you have, say, a Returned Phalanx and a Fleshmad Steed – not the most exciting creatures and certainly not enough to turn on devotion – you’ll be milling five cards a turn, enough that your opponent will be dead in four. That’s an incredible clock and a very hard one to slow down. If you can turn on Phenax, God of Deception‘s creature mode, you’re likely milling at least 10 a turn, which means your opponent might only be getting two more untap steps. That’s absurd.

Phenax takes a different approach than most of the other Gods. You won’t be fighting a “can I turn on devotion” battle – you’ll just be trying to preserve your life total for a few turns as your opponent’s library withers away. Sure, this is a five-mana enchantment that doesn’t always impact the board, but I think it still might be the best card in the set.

Sealed – 4.5-5.0

Draft – 4.5-5.0

Ragemonger

Ragemonger

The 2/3 body is nothing impressive, and if you have zero other minotaurs, this is basically just a hard-to-cast Felhide Minotaur. Getting a discount can actually be sweet, and playing Felhide Brawlers for B will occasionally let you get off to some quick starts around turn four.

But this is no Burning-Tree Emissary. The base stats are worse, and the only cards in the set that allow you to get a two-mana burst are Kragma Warcaller and more Ragemongers. If you do happen to have a Kragma Warcaller in your deck, this gets much better. Unfortunately, you won’t know whether you’re going to open Warcallers in Draft, which is where Minotaurs has made the biggest impression. Still, this will be strong in the RB Minotaurs Draft archetype.

Sealed – 2.0

Draft – 2.5

Reap What Is Sown

Reap What is Sown

This card can be pretty powerful. Even if you’re just targeting three random 2/2s, this is still a pretty reasonable Glorious Anthem imitation. Where it really shines though is in a dedicated WG heroic deck. Triggering two or three heroic creatures with this is a complete blowout, and you basically can’t lose any game where that happens. I don’t think this is better than Dauntless Onslaught, but you can at least reasonably make a comparison, which is saying a lot.

The Draft rating would be higher if it were monocolored or targeting enablers weren’t  so prevalent in BNG.

Sealed – 3.0-3.5

Draft – 3.0

Siren of the Silent Song

Siren of the Silent Song

We happily played Blood-Toll Harpy in Theros, and this replaces an arguable drawback with a powerful added bonus. Pecking away for one or two cards won’t always make the difference in a game, but sometimes it will be huge. Forcing decks with monstrous creatures to discard lands can keep those creatures from ever going monstrous. Nabbing a random creature can empty your opponent’s gas tank enough that he can’t race your 2/1.

This is a super-solid uncommon that will inspire fear in your opponents.

Sealed – 3.5

Draft – 3.0

Xenagos, God of Revels

Xenagos, God of Revels

This card can truly bring the pain. As a five-mana enchantment, it’s a little ungainly, but you’re still getting a pretty powerful effect. The turn you cast it, you immediately get some sort of Wielding the Green Dragon effect. But then you untap and realize that it’s actually just a permanent boost, akin to an aura, as well as Fervor. This can make some of your topdecks absolutely crazy. If this were just an enchantment, I’d give it maybe a 3.0, as you only really want it in more aggressive or rampy decks, and it’s slightly narrow.

The creature mode, however, is insane and, as I’ve mentioned before, not unduly hard to turn on. Any close game where you resolve this is very likely to end in victory.

Sealed – 4.0

Draft – 4.0

Astral Cornucopia

Astral Cornucopia

This seems about as good as Opaline Unicorn. Usually they are both just Darksteel Ingot. Sometimes the Unicorn can block, and sometimes Astral Cornucopia can be six-mana Khalni Gem. Some decks will definitely not want this effect. You should focus on putting it in decks with powerful five- and six-drops that can swing the game in your favor. Nessian Asp, Dragons, and card draw spells are all pretty good friends with mana ramp.

Sealed – 2.0

Draft – 2.0

Gorgon’s Head

Gorgon’s Head

This card is almost always card disadvantage. It lets you trade small creatures for big ones, which can be very frustrating for opponents, but you have to use a card and at least three mana to make your first trade, which is a real cost. Decks with fatties or big bestowed bombs won’t need to make those sorts of trades in the first place. Aggressive decks will have small creatures that would love to have deathtouch, but will loathe the mana and deck space this eats up.

To make this card really worthwhile, you want to do something a little broken with it. Putting it on a first striker is the obvious choice, and create an unbeatable roadblock that’s impossible to block or attack through. Deathtouch and trample is also a nice combo, but usually putting this on your Vulpine Goliath is just unnecessary.

Sealed – 2.0

Draft – 2.0

Heroes’ Podium

Heroes’ Podium

You need to have two legends in your deck for this to do any pumping even in theory, which will almost never happen. The second ability could dig for your God, but spending 1o0 mana on Pondering is just never even close to worth it.

Sealed – 0.0

Draft – 0.0

Pillar of War

Pillar of War

A 3/3 attacker for three mana is good in this format. A 3/3 blocker? Not so much. When you do enchant this, it will be Nessian Courser, which is quite strong. But the other ~75 percent of the time, this will be terrible. You have to sort of be scraping at the bottom of the barrel for playables before running this.

Sealed – 1.0

Draft – 1.0

Siren Song Lyre

Siren Song Lyre

This is the strongest tapper effect we’ve seen in this block. Ephara’s Warden is so narrow as to be terribad most of the time, but traditional tappers like Gideon’s Lawkeeper would’ve just been way too good against auras and bestow creatures.

Siren Song Lyre is no Trip Noose, but it still has the potential to do some powerful things. It requires six mana, a willing creature, and two more mana every turn to actually disable an opponent’s guy, which is definitely an arm and a leg. But shutting down huge creatures is going to be good, and you can occasionally dominate boards with this. I think this will be best in aggressive decks with lots of small creatures when facing decks with lots of monsters or bestow. It’s also a decent enabler for inspired creatures.

Keep in mind that you can also machine gun down multiple creatures. Tap a guy at end of turn, then tap another on your turn, then reequip to another small creature and tap a third guy. Spending six mana to disable their whole team can be worthwhile if you’re trying to push through damage.

Sealed – 2.5

Draft – 2.5

Springleaf Drum

Springleaf Drum

You have to really want the mana ramp effect for this to be good, as it probably takes up a spell slot in your deck and requires you to devote a creature to making mana. However, it will sometimes be nice to combine this with a two-drop to power out four-drops on turn three. Obviously this requires you to skip some attacks, so it’s not a card most aggro or heroic decks want.

I think it could be playable in a deck that 1) doesn’t care about attacking with two-drops, 2) has some bigger spells whose impact is greater if you can land them ahead of curve, and 3) maybe has a few inspired creatures. In most other decks, I can’t see this being very playable.

Sealed – 1.5

Draft – 2.0

Temple of Malice

Temple of Enlightenment, Temple of Malice, Temple of Plenty

These cards have been very good in Theros. You can’t always afford to pick them particularly early because they don’t count as a playable. You are also never happy to see them in your Sealed pool, since they’re taking the place of some other rare. But they provide decent utility at almost zero opportunity cost. They are also one of the best ways in the format to enable a splash, being much better than cards like Unknown Shores. The general rule of thumb is: If they are totally off-color, you don’t want them in your deck. If one of the colors in on-color, you always run it but don’t need to prioritize it in Draft. If it’s fully on-color or enabling a splash, it’s very good.

Sealed – 2.5

Draft – 2.0

 

From here, you can go back to the Born of the Gods set review page, or read our review of whiteblueblackred, or green.

You can also read our recommendations as to which color to choose.

 

 

-Bert O Phillips

@themagicalhack on Twitter

bert@thoughtscour.com

Born of the Gods Set Review – Green

Green in BNG: Curving Out

Green makes an interesting transition in Born of the Gods. Whereas in Theros the color was about midrange threats or ramping into fatties, it gets many more aggressive spells in Born of the Gods.

Two of the best commons, Pheres-Band Tromper and Swordwise Centaur are both pure beatdown machines that don’t require any particular heroic shenanigans. The best common might actually be a hero though: Setessan Oathsworn comes down early and can get huge in a hurry.

Green’s uncommons aren’t extremely bomby, but there are lots of solid ones. Raised by Wolves is extremely powerful and can K.O. opponents in a heartbeat. Noble Quarry is a more subtle tool that can nonetheless be a blowout.

If you haven’t already, take a gander at our set review ratings system, then have a look at the individual ratings:

Archetype of Endurance

Archetype of Endurance

Eight-mana spells tend to sit in your hand a lot over the course of a prerelease or tournament, so that means you want them to really pull their weight when you get to deploy them. They’re only worth putting in your deck if they do something nigh unbeatable when you finally cast them. Unfortunately, I don’t think Archetype of Endurance quite fits that bill. The text box on this card is powerful, and mass hexproof gives you a sort of inevitability, but casting this card doesn’t pack much of a tempo swing, and it doesn’t affect the board as much as I’d like. I don’t see this as being a card I’d ever want to maindeck, and it doesn’t seem high-impact enough to even side in very often.

Sealed – 1.0

Draft – 1.5

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