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Amonkhet Spoilers: Limited Review for April 4

Welcome to more spoiler discussions for Amonkhet! Yesterday had a lot of white cards previewed and today there's a large number of blue. I expect the cycle to continue throughout the week with each weekday having an emphasis on one color. An interesting way to do it for sure.

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)


Cast Out

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Cast Out is cheaper than most common removal spells, hits everything except for lands, and even has flash for getting things at instant speed, potentially in the middle of combat. Also it has cycling as a test of skill to see if any Limited player would be silly enough to discard it hoping to draw something better. It even gets rid of an indestructible God if needed.

Sacred Cat

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Sacred Cat asks whether embalm and lifelink is enough to make a 1/1 good in Limited. My prediction is that the card is playable, but still not premium unless your embalm/Zombie synergies are plentiful.

Tah-Crop Elite

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Tah-Crop Elite is an odd card to have at common. It's base rate is below average, but the threat of using its exert ability means your opponent has to constantly evaluate the board state in terms of how their blocks line up for a normal attack, and how they would handle the entire team getting +1/+1. It also works really well in multiples should you have the time to cast two below the curve creatures in Limited.


Decision Paralysis

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


I'm not sure how many Frost Breath variants we're going to see printed, but I'd say probably around a thousand. Common blue spells (and creatures) really need to be more interesting. 

Drake Haven

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


I really want Drake Haven to be good, but the number of cycling cards you need in your deck to make it work is probably more than are going to available at Common/Uncommon in Limited. You want to activate this enchantment at least three times to make it worth it. If you open this and another really good cycling matters cards, you could go as far as to draft off-color cards that you can't cast and can only cycle, but that's not likely to be correct very often.

Essence Scatter

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


As far as conditional countermagic goes, Essence Scatter hits the things that are most important to cover in Limited. But it's still countermagic in Limited, so it's still awkward. What if your opponent casts a sorcery or an artifact like one of the Monument cycle? Then you've wasted time holding open mana and you have to do it again later to get value.

Kefnet the Mindful

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


An indestructible Azure Mage that can win the game when you accumulate enough card advantage sounds like a fun card to me. On the draw, if you cast a two drop turn 2 and Kefnet the Mindful on turn 3, then you can threaten Kefnet's activation on turn 4 and have him ready to block. If your opponent elects not to attack into your possible 5/5 indestructible flyer, you can still activate him and just elect not to pick up a land yet. Whether it's early game and you can plan around him, or late game and you can sink mana into drawing cards with him, Kefnet the Mindful has a lot of potential, and I hope to get to play it at least once in Limited.

Scribe of the Mindful

$ 0.00$ 0.00


If you never activate Scribe of the Mindful, it's overcosted. If you do activate it, it can't trade with anything. Neither half is very strong, but I do like the versatility. It's great to potentially bring back an expensive, powerful spell or a cheap one that you cycled away earlier in the game when you didn't need it.


Lay Bare the Heart

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


In a set where your opponent might not mind discarding an aftermath or embalm card and might have "cycle or discard" synergies on the board, Lay Bare the Heart seems too risky to run. Also it costs two mana instead of one, and you'll rarely want to skip playing a creature to cast this. Keep it as a sideboard option.

Splendid Agony

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Compared to Cruel Finality, Splendid Agony is a more nuanced removal spell. -1/-1 counters are more permanent, but you lose the ability to scry. Its best use is to win two different creature battles in combat at once but that will be hard to achieve very often. 

Side note: The existence of Splendid Agony at Common and some of the green cards revealed today has me rethinking yesterday's rating of Nest of Scarabs. Some people in the comments yesterday caught my underrating of this, so thanks for keeping me honest!


Consuming Fervor

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


In very aggressive decks, Consuming Fervor is great. +3/+3 the first turn and +2/+2 the turn after yields 5 extra damage for a single mana if you can keep your creature getting in for damage. In less aggressive decks, you'll have to have some sort of -1/-1 counter synergy to make this Aura desirable.


Channeler Initiate

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


A mana dork that only works three times is plenty, and ending up with a 3/4 is a nice upgrade to the creature's size. Like Exemplar of Strength, it's not going to be optimal to target a different creature with Channeler Initiate's -1/-1 counters. You want this to be able to produce mana. 

Exemplar of Strength

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


If you kill off your one drop with Exemplar of Strength, it's a boring 4/4 that should hopefully rule the board for a few turns. If it gets the -1/-1 counters itself (which is more likely), it's usually a 2/2 with a measly one life gain on your first attack. The real payoff is if your opponent can't block (due to their slow curve or a removal spell from you). In that case, you get to upgrade Exemplar to a 3/3 on the next turn and possibly a 4/4 after that. The ceiling here is pretty good and the floor isn't that low, so for that it gets a high grade.


Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Even with zero other embalm creatures in your deck, this is an efficient creature (since it can target itself once embalmed). Add in a few other token creatures from any sources and it gets even better. Take this early and use it as a reason to move into the Azorius color combination. 

Prepared // Fight

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


This card is passable even if you can't generate green mana for Prepare // Fight, and when you can it's fairly strong. Casting it all at once as a six mana combo is a decent option, but it also works fine on two separate turns. Also worth noting is that like with Djeru's Resolve, untapping works wonders with creatures you've exerted since they wouldn't have untapped normally without help.

Onward // Victory

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Combine this with a trample creature with 4 power, and you can get in for 16 damage! Whether red will have any good trample creatures this set, let alone at Common, remains to be seen though. Without trample or unblockable synergies, both Onward // Victory and Onward // Victory are overcosted whether or not they're used together. Play this only in Boros and only when you have good combos with it.


Monument Cycle

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00


These Monuments' payoffs and requirements vary a lot. Green wants you to attack, blue wants your opponent to attack, and red and black want the game to go long to get value out of repeated activations. White's benefit of a 1/1 token is the most consistent. Also while they all have effectively the same creature reduction text, colors with more expensive Common creatures (probably not blue) will get more benefit. I'd rate these in the range C+ to C- for Green/White/Red/Blue/Black, but I accept they get better if the game goes long.


Between -1/-1 counter synergy and cycling matters cards, I'm happy to see the cool stuff Amonkhet is bringing that hasn't been around for years. Please join me for more spoilers and more Limited review each weekday of the official spoiler weeks. Reach out to me on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG or in the comments below with your thoughts on the new cards.

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