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Dragons of Tarkir Spoiler Limited Review for March 11

Welcome back to the Limited review for Dragons of Tarkir spoilers! We're nearing the end of our journey as the second week of reviews draws to a close. We're discussing some exciting new cards today, including the new version of Surrak, so let's get started. Read the grading scale first if you haven't seen it in my previous articles.

Grading Scale

A: This card will often be the best card in one's deck. I'd consider splashing it where possible. (Duneblast, Citadel Siege)
B: This card is rarely cut from a deck that can cast it. In draft, it signals that a color or archetype is open. (Icefeather Aven, Abzan Beastmaster)
C: Cards like this make up the majority of limited decks. You're neither excited nor embarrassed to have them in your deck. (Sagu Archer, Soul Summons)
D: I'm not putting this in my main deck unless I have a specific reason or I'm low on playables. (Firehoof Cavalry, Abzan Advantage)
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. (Lens of Clarity, Crucible of the Spirit Dragon)

Commons and Uncommons

Belltoll Dragon [DTK]


Given the prevalence of Dragons in the set, I believe that Dragons will be good or bad based mostly on two criteria: 1) Their ability to trade with or beat other Dragons in combat, and 2) Their ability to dodge the removal people will be packing specifically for the Dragons. It's for these reasons that I think this card and Acid-Spewer Dragon are the best of their cycle. Belltoll Dragon dodges removal with hexproof, and Acid-Spewer Dragon can trade with any Dragon due to deathtouch.

Duress [DTK]


For the same reason that Essence Scatter is better than Negate in Limited, Despise from the original timeline of Khans of Tarkir is much better than Duress is here. This is due to the simple fact that the average Limited deck is going to have two or three times as many creatures in their deck as non-creature spells. This means that Duress can completely miss and give you nothing but a temporary Telepathy effect. I would say that this is only a sideboard card, but every deck is going to have some targets for this so it's not always worse than a basic land in your main deck. Still, I'd try to only use this as a sideboard strategy against an opponent with multiple expensive good non-creature spells (like a Planeswalker).

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


This is a smaller Bathe in Dragonfire, a cheaper Bring Low, and a less restrictive Roast. I love how easy it is to compare burn spells. This spell is well positioned since it hits the critical two toughness for morphs. I believe I'll generally prefer this to Bathe in Dragonfire due to the cheaper cost, instant speed and occasional Lava Spike bonus, but will prefer Roast slightly since three damage isn't enough to kill the scariest flyers (Dragons).

Rending Volley [DTK]


As with most of the other enemy-color hate cards in this cycle, this is an extremely powerful card but will remain relegated to the sideboard. A much cheaper, much faster Bathe in Dragonfire, Rending Volley is able to take out Sunscorch Regent at an incredible rate and even kill Dragonlord Ojutai if he dares to attack.

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Witness of the Ages is looking a lot worse in this timeline. While this Golem can hold off small creatures and morphs for a short amount of time, it can get outclassed and ignored very quickly. The closest comparisons I can find to it are Bloodfire Mentor without the card selection and Kheru Dreadmaw. The latter, even though it had an interesting ability, never was even decent so I don't expect Custodian of the Trove to be played except in defensive builds that are short on playables.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


This creature is unique in that it is the first non-artifact non-Eldrazi colorless creature card in Magic's history. It is worse in effect and better in color commitment than the uncommon dragon cycle discussed in the March 6 article. Scion of Ugin also manages to dodge Reach of Shadows and Ultimate Price which is quite nice. I expect this to be better than average in the set due to fitting into any deck and turning on your spells that care about Dragons, such as the previously mentioned Draconic Roar.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


When I first saw this card, I thought it was as bad as Scroll of the Masters. On second thought, if Luis Scott-Vargas can make a Goblinslide deck work, then this artifact may be able to be built around. It costs more to set up and keep going than the Goblin-maker and it only works once each turn, but drawing a card is generally better than getting a 1/1 with haste. I won't be trying out this zany strategy until I see it work for other people at least a few times, but I won't declare it completely unplayable just yet. Note that if you're in blue, Dragonlord's Prerogative is going to be much better.

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$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00


While these look suspiciously close the loathed banners (Abzan Banner and company) in Khans of Tarkir, I believe these will perform slightly better on average. While they produce one less color, we're in a two-color set now and that's fine. They also don't cycle for a card later in the game, but I believe the activated ability is much more important. Being able to trade with an opponent's Dragon or start beating down with your own when you hit six-mana is good versitility for a mana rock. We can also be happy to see these showing up at uncommon instead of common, so they won't be clogging up so many late draft picks.

Mythics and Rares

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


This rare is similar to Villainous Wealth and Ghastly Conscription in that it's a showy, expensive card that can win the game if you survive to cast it. Since we're in a two-color environment now, there's a very good chance that your opponent's deck shares no colors with your own. If this is the case, you won't be able to generate the right mana to cast your opponent's spells. If they somehow milled basic lands into their graveyard, you can play those to cast their spells, but the most common land in graveyards is going to be Evolving Wilds which most likely isn't going to help. This is only useful as a potential sideboard card against a slow deck whose colors overlap heavily with your own.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


This rare is a lot like a common already revealed for this set: Sprinting Warbrute. If you're dashing in, the Warbrute is actually better as it has one higher toughness and a less color-intensive mana cost. However, if you compare casting these normally, the Pitiless Horde has the option to stay back and block if necessary (though admittedly at a steep cost). More importantly, Pitiless Horde can be cast turn three and then sent into the red zone each turn until your opponent is dead (or trades a creature), while the Sprinting Warbrute can't be cast undashed until turn five. You can get into an awkward situation if your opponent plays a Crater Elemental or Sibsig Host after you cast this since you won't be able to trade it off in combat. Luckily, black has access to the Exploit keyword which can let you sacrifice this creature rather than die to your own upkeep triggers.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


While others have compared this new Surrak to Polukranos, World Eater, I find him closest to Dragonlord Kolaghan. Surrak has haste if you have just three power on the board when you cast him and guarantees haste for a follow up creature each turn as long as that creature has power three or greater. While losing the evasion that Kolaghan has is a big hit, being in one color and being lower on the curve is a huge boon. Surrak also turns on Ferocious for cards like Temur Battle Rage and Whisperer of the Wilds from Fate Reforged.


I can't believe that we only have one day left of these reviews! The last day of spoilers will have too many spoilers to discuss them all in one article; I will plan something for discussing those cards in some way so as not to leave them out entirely. Please join me for the one day left of this article format and reach out to me in the comments below or on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG to tell me your thoughts about the newly spoiled cards.

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