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Battle for Zendikar Spoilers - Limited Review for September 17


Welcome to the last day of Battle for Zendikar spoiler reviews! Two weeks has flown by and each day has unlocked another piece of the puzzle of what this set will be like to draft. I'll be reviewing the last set of six new cards (and one reprint) 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 Battle for Zendikar page. Please note that if I haven't yet reviewed a card, it's probably because the official English 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. (Dragonlord Atarka, Tragic Arrogance)
B: This card is rarely cut from a deck that can cast it. In draft, it signals that a color or archetype is open. (Death Wind, Blessed Spirits)
C: Cards like this make up the majority of limited decks. You're neither excited nor embarrassed to have them in your deck. (Screamreach Brawler, Aspiring Aeronaut)
D: I'm not putting this in my main deck unless I have a specific reason or I'm low on playables. (Blessed Reincarnation, Gather the Pack)
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. (Keeper of the Lens, Jace's Sanctum)

Blue

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

If you aren't attacking, taking an extra turn really isn't the strongest thing you could be doing. If you are attacking with a Blue deck, there's a decent chance you're already winning anyway.

Where this starts to get very interesting is when you reach the 9-mana mark and are able to Awaken a land. If you're willing to commit to Blue and find a way to attack, this card can be good, but I don't think it's miles better than the Common Scour from Existence on average.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

While counterspells aren't typically at their best in Limited, this one has all the things it needs to be playable:

  • It's unconditional. Countermagic that hits only creatures or only non-creatures can make you waste a turn holding up mana without ever seeing a valid target.
  • It affects the board. Being able to add a body to the board (for an extra 3-mana) means that even if you're behind, this spell can be helpful.
  • The format is slow and this answers the format's biggest threats. It can take down an Eldrazi and that's important.

Red

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Reminiscent of Borderland Marauder from Magic 2015, Makindi Sliderunner is a serviceable Common that can get in for early damage and fill a hole in your mana curve. I prefer the Green version, Snapping Gnarlid, since there are Eldrazi Scions in the format that can trade with this when Landfall is not triggered.

Green

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

This is the type of fixing that Converge decks need to not flounder about aimlessly, unable to cast spells. This won't help your non-creature spells like Exert Influence, but Skyrider Elf will be happy to hang out with this card. This card is also playable in a 2-color deck, though in those spots, it's usually going to be worse than a Leaf Gilder.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Cousin to Makindi Sliderunner, here's another creature that's above average in aggro decks but kind of boring in slower decks. I don't think this card will be the best Green common (nor do I want it to be), but one thing is for certain: it's a heck of a lot better than Hedron Scrabbler.

Multicolored

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B+

This card effectively reads "Your opponents may not trigger Landfall and must wait to ramp to any larger spells." On a creature that's a 5/7 that also picks up Devoid synergies, that text should be good enough.

For maximum style points, get this into play at instant speed (perhaps by using Scour from Existence on your opponent's Stasis Snare that is locking this up), then use it to turn your opponent's Nissa's Renewal into Heroes' Reunion.

Colorless

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C

If you're trying to ConvergePilgrim's Eye is a fine enabler. It's not particularly efficient and the threat it poses in the air is minimal, but if you have to play the 4-5 color deck, then you also have to find a way to make your mana somewhat consistent. I'll often play it in just a 2-color deck, but colorless synergies with cards like Herald of Kozilek or Dust Stalker make it much better.

Conclusion

That's a wrap for this season's spoiler reviews. Look out for the full set being revealed tomorrow. We still have lots and lots of Commons and Uncommons to see. They are the backbone of the Limited environment and they will tell us a lot about what the format will look like.

Reach out to me on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG or in the comments below with your thoughts on the cards mentioned today, and happy hunting to everyone who will be poring over the wealth of new cards tomorrow.


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