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Amonkhet Spoilers: Limited Review for April 11


Spoilers just keep on coming for Amonkhet! Wizards has started to reveal some more about the set including some sweet Zombie tribal cards and the new Simic Nissa. Let's talk about Limited!

I'll be reviewing these cards from the standpoint of how well I expect them to perform in Limited. We can't rate the cards completely accurately without knowing the entire set, but we can evaluate the cards in an "average" limited format. You can find all the latest spoilers on the Amonkhet page. Please note that if I haven't yet reviewed a card, it's probably because the official spoiler for it has not been released yet.

Grading scale

A: This card will often be the best card in one's deck. I'd consider splashing it where possible. (Verdurous Gearhulk, Aethersphere Harvester)
B: This card is rarely cut from a deck that can cast it. In draft, it signals that a color or archetype is open. (Aerial Responder, Fatal Push)
C: Cards like this make up the majority of limited decks. You're neither excited nor embarrassed to have them in your deck. (Lawless Broker, Hinterland Drake)
D: I'm not putting this in my main deck unless I have a specific reason or I'm low on playables. (Curio Vendor, Aegis Automaton)
F: This card will have little or no impact on the game if I draw it or is strictly sideboard-material. If I cast this card, please stage an intervention for me. (Madcap Experiment, Secret Salvage)

White

Anointed Procession

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Embalm creatures alone probably won't be sufficient to make Anointed Procession worth having in your deck, unless you have huge ones like Honored Hydra. Look for cards like Liliana's Mastery once you have a copy of this, and it will get really out of hand though.

Blue

Cryptic Serpent

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C-

Although you might be able to make Cryptic Serpent cost four or less mana, it won't often be until after turn four when a random 6/5 with no abilities is roughly on curve anyways. In almost any Limited deck this Serpent is a random replaceable beater like a Cowl Prowler.

Vizier of Tumbling Sands

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Vizier of Tumbling Sands can reset exerted creatures (probably less common in slow blue decks) and mana ramp (which isn't incredible on a three drop), and that's a reasonable amount of upside. And since you can untap a land used to cycle it, it can generally be cycled away for effectively one mana, making it easy to exchange if you find you don't have a need for it.

Black

Dread Wanderer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Depending on the zombie enablers and how vulnerable one-toughness creatures are in Amonkhet, Dread Wanderer's utility could be pretty variable. It could be a very slow way to chump block every other turn, or it could be a recurring threat for only three mana. Imagine if there was a Zombie lord in the set that gave Zombies deathtouch like Death Baron!

Grim Strider

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

I find it odd that Grim Strider is treading in the design space of Hazoret, the red God. Even if you can only get down to two cards in hand, this is still good, and if you go farther, it's very efficient.

Lord of the Accursed

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

Lord of the Accursed is a great option for closing out the game with Zombie tribal, but its own 2/3 statline is pretty unimpressive if you have no other Zombies to affect. The deck that wants this is probably going to get it, unless Zombie tribal is somehow popular and strong enough to get multiple people drafting it each time (which I find unlikely).

Plague Belcher

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

A 5/4 menace for just three mana is no joke, even if you have to sacrifice a creature to enable it. Plague Belcher can quickly end the game even without Zombie synergies and will demand removal or a successful double block quickly.

Stir the Sands

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

Black now has its own version of Nimble Innovator/Shaman of Spring in Stir the Sands. And it's even better in that you can cycle it at instant speed or cast it for full price late game when you have the mana available.

Red

Deem Worthy

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

Comparing this to Limited removal spells of old like Stonefury and Burn Away, you can see how good Deem Worthy is. Seven damage is enough to kill most things, and you get a Cunning Strike option for times when the creature you want to remove happens to be small.

Harsh Mentor

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Red getting upside bears is super popular now apparently. Harsh Mentor is more of a tool for constructed players, but a 2/2 for 2 with any upside at all is always going to be decent for red in Limited.

Green

Quarry Hauler

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

-1/-1 counters (commonly), brick counters (uncommonly), flood counters (rarely) and planeswalker loyalty counters (mythic rarely) are what you have to look forward to giving or taking away with your Quarry Hauler. And when times are tough and there's no counters to manipulate, a Summit Prowler is still a reasonably sized creature.

Rhonas the Indomitable

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A

Rhonas the Indomitable is extremely strong and somewhat boring. The deathtouch is rarely relevant and the can't-attack clause is also rarely relevant since it costs just three mana to turn any two power creature into a valid enabler for a turn. It's basically a three mana 5/5 that requires only a little work and encourages attacking for tons of damage until your opponent is dead. Good luck facing this down in Limited. It doesn't even die to Erase like the Theros Gods did.

Shefet Monitor

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

This card isn't exceptionally strong, but having the split option of a boring ground beater and drawing a land and a random card is a decent set of options. And who knows? Maybe they'll reveal a Desert card better than Sunscorched Desert and make that part of Shefet Monitor strong too.

Multicolor

Heaven//Earth

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Heaven // Earth is an interesting tech card for a green deck that's light on flyers, but it will typically just be cast with X=0 so that Heaven // Earth can be cast from the graveyard to hit the much more numerous non-flying creatures. This is a really interesting design space for an aftermath card.

Nissa, Steward of Elements

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A

I don't see why story-wise that Nissa has to become blue, and I echo many other people's opinions that they'd rather just see Kiora come back. That said, Nissa, Steward of Elements is a really cool design for a planeswalker card. In Limited, the versatility of being able to cast it as early as turn three and run away with the game by ticking up two loyalty at a time, or cast it for eight mana to deal 10 damage in the air is a pretty strong feature. The 0 ability is pretty variance-heavy so it should most often be activated only when you used the +2 ability to set it up the turn before.

Colorless

Pyramid of the Pantheon

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

D-

Compare Pyramid of the Pantheon to As Foretold for Limited and despair that weird, conditional mana ramp is not really that valuable when you can't build your deck in a way to maximize or exploit that value.

Sunscorched Desert

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

D

Unless you're playing a mono colored deck, you can't risk playing a colorless land with such little upside. Until they reveal more powerful Desert synergy cards than Shefet Monitor, I'm going to have to say no to Sunscorched Desert.

Conclusion

I'm excited for Amonkhet and am quite anxious to see the rest of it. Will there be more Zombie and Minotaur tribal? Will Bontu be interesting? Join me for more spoilers and more Limited review next time, and reach out to me on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG or in the comments below with your thoughts on the new cards.


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