Hello everyone! My name is Márcio Carvalho and this is our first set review. I’ll be writing for Dex Army. I consider myself a Limited Specialist first and foremost, and I intend to share as much of my knowledge and insight as possible on this website to the public, like I’ve been doing with the team for years.
Before I start, a few important considerations are in order. I tend to be a very conservative drafter, especially early in the set’s timespan; it is pretty rare for me to fall in love with gimmick cards and fringe archetypes. Sometimes these can be very good, but I think those instances are rare enough that I’d rather be on the safe side and value cards for their intrinsic value on normal Limited decks.
I will be ranking the cards in a scale from 0 to 5. Be aware that evaluations change with time, depending on how the set plays out. The rankings below reflect my initial views on the set.
Oketra the True
Three creatures is a steep cost to activate it in Limited, but if the format turns out to be as slow as it looks, this can truly dominate a board.
Gideon of the Trials
Planeswalkers are normally busted in limited and the newest Gideon doesn’t disappoint. He’s cheap, can act as a removal spell for your opponent’s toughest attacker, and hits pretty hard. Simple and great.
Angel of Sanctions
A five mana 3/4 vanilla flier is already a solid Limited card. You stack an Oblivion Ring (another great Limited card) and pseudo-Flashback on top of it, and you get yourself an unreal bomb. One of the best rares in the set! Never pass this.
Split cards are usually defined by their flexibility, but this one in particular seems to be pretty much a build-around; you need a lot of small dudes to make this card work for you. I’d take it early because the upside is incredibly big if you get your deck right, but be careful if you see this in the late packs, as it can be a bad fit for you depending on the creatures you have.
Trial of Solidarity
Sorcery speed means this doesn’t work as a combat trick, and the bonuses it gives are unimpressive. This seems worse than Inspired Charge at a first glance, so I’d avoid it.
Cartouche of Solidarity
I don’t think this format is a fast one, and the rate on this card seems pretty bad. I’m not sold on the Cartouche interactions as of now.
This isn’t better than Wind Drake in Limited, but in some formats Wind Drake is a solid card. If you can snatch something with the ability it’s just a bonus, evaluate it just for stats alone (Flash also doesn’t do much here since it isn’t a good blocker).
This card should be seen in Limited as a weird 4-mana Pacifism, which is of course solid, but not great. If you can divine the name of an opposing bomb (or do this in Game 2 after being smashed by one), good for you, but this is just a bonus on the card.
I avoid this kind of effect in all formats, and so should you. Too much work to make this good, and Limited is not about that.
Approach of the Second Sun
This is a card whose rating really depends on how games in the format will play out. If it is very slow and grindy, this card will be one of the best finishers in the set. If it is even slightly fast, then it becomes unplayable.
3/1 for 2 mana is normally solid filler, but this is much more than that, offering huge life swings at low cost. A powerful rare which you should pick early and be happy about it.
Be aware that you’re not obligated to Exert your creatures! Attacking for 3 when your opponent doesn’t have a blocker is usually going to be correct.
Cloudgoat Ranger was an insane card, and this is probably better than it, pumping a bunch of creatures in the set and giving Lifelink, a very relevant ability, to your tokens. Yet another great White bomb in this set.
You must have a little faith to play this card… Pure cycling isn’t anything to write home about, and 2 life is close to irrelevant. If you need a filler cycler, sure, play it, but it’s mostly sideboard material to me.
The stats are not very impressive, but the ability is real on aggressive White decks and all their small guys. I’d play this in most of my decks.
Seraph of the Suns
Seven mana is a lot, but a 4/4 indestructible flyer is no joke. In a slow format this can be a solid finisher. Be aware that indestructible isn’t as “unkillable” as it reads, as Pacifisms and various exile effects can remove it from play.
Vizier of Remedies
This set has a lot of -1/-1 cards so there are some good interactions with it, but be aware that the stats are incredibly mediocre in a slow format. This is probably just a curve filler.
Vizier of Deferment
This is my kind of card! It can truly mess with a combat step, being especially punishing to double-blocks. This card offers a lot of play and I think it’s probably going to be one of the best uncommons in the set.
Talk about flexibility! Embalm might be one of the best mechanics ever printed for Limited, and the combo with cycling is sweet. The body on this is also a great rate, as 5 mana 3/3 fliers are good in most formats.
This might be the best uncommon in the set, up there with most rares. Kills anything at instant speed, and cycling gives you flexibility against mana screw. Plus, it is splashable. Sign me up!
Protection of the Hekma
Sorry Hekma, but I don’t feel safe under your protection.
A bear with Embalm will always find a place in my decks. The additional block clause is not very relevant.
Time to Reflect
This is too conditional to be ever worth it.
Forsake the Worldly
Naturalize effects are narrow yet important to have in your pool against bombs, especially in Sealed. The fact that this is maindeckable makes it a higher pick; while still not a high priority, you’d rather have one than not.
This is a decent tapper for a slow format. 2 mana is rough, but I think I’ll usually end up playing one of these in my White decks.
This is the real Pacifism of the set, and a must-play. Be aware that the drawback is real in a set with Embalm, but this will never prevent you from playing the card.
Vanilla 4-drops like this are never exciting, but it isn’t embarassing.
This is one of the weakest Exert cards in the set, but still playable.
This is exactly the kind of aggressive creature I like: sneaks some damage early as a regular bear, and then you can use the Exert ability to finish off your opponent. This is a pretty good card.
Those Who Serve
This is the kind of card that indicates a little how slow the format can be. 2/4 for 3 mana is an OK defensive body, and stops most of what we have seen so far.
The stats are not impressive, so you’re playing it mostly because of the flexibility cycling offers. It’s a solid card because of it, and I’d play one most of the time.
The stats are solid in some formats but I’d rather not play this card if possible.
The body might be a bit overcosted, but it is serviceable, and the ability is nuts. Again, remember you can choose whether to exert your creature or not, so most of the time you’ll be swinging for 2 early and exert only when alpha-striking.
In Oketra’s Name
Even if you have a lot of Zombies (or Embalm cards), Inspired Charge isn’t an insane effect. Some decks will want it, but it’s definitely not a priority pick.
1- mana combat tricks are usually great in aggressive decks, and this one is quite special with all the Exert creatures in the set. It even cycles if you don’t have a creature. I think this is a very, very solid card.
This is far from Soul Warden, as I don’t think there are enough tokens in the set (even considering Embalm) for the lifegain to be truly relevant. It is a serviceable early defensive body, though.
The rate is solid and, again, I think Embalm is an incredible Limited keyword. I’d always play this.
We all know what Mighty Leap is capable of; it is a fine combat trick and OK finisher for aggressive decks.
I think this is a solid bear for the format, as having a bunch of Zombies or Embalm cards in your deck can make blocking very difficult for your opponent.
Never been a big fan, but if you really need a removal spell, this can be workable.
Even Embalm doesn’t make this card good, in my opinion. The stats are just terrible for Limited.
That will be all for today, I will be back soon with green!