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Dragons of Tarkir Spoiler Limited Review for March 4


We've completed two days with our Dragons of Tarkir limited discussion so far and this is the third. Fourteen cards will be the most spoilers we've done at once so let's get right into it. First review the grading scale below if you didn't get a chance to read it in the previous articles, and then we'll get to the reviews separated into two groups based on rarity (if you're looking for the new Narset, go peek at the end).

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

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Skyhunter Skirmisher has gotten an upgrade and a significant one at that. If you have the time to Megamorph and unmorph Aven Sunstriker, it will turn into a force capable of holding off many attackers and trade up with some of the smaller Dragons if necessary. That's a high potential for a three-drop. Khans of Tarkir is rotating out of the draft format leaving only Diplomacy of the Wastes and Mardu-Woe Reaper as Warrior tribal cards. These are ones that don't need their tribal component so unless Dragons of Tarkir introduces new cards that care about Warriors, searching the typeline for that text is a habit you'll have to kick.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Triton Shorestalker was mediocre in Theros Limited where you would expect it to be best with Auras being so plentiful. This Salamander doesn't have great Auras in its draft environment, but it does have a cheap Megamorph option that allows you to impersonate Mystic of the Hidden Way at a cheaper cost. Having two power instead of the Mystic's three will limit the amount of pressure this can put on your opponent, but it can still help end the game in aggressive and controlling decks alike.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C

The alternate timeline version of Marang River Prowler, this dead skeleton doesn't impress me much. With Khans of Tarkir leaving the draft, I had hoped to be rid of Kin-Tree Warden, but it appears that Wizards wanted to Dash Hopes. The Warden was only played by me begrudgingly and this creature has a higher mana cost and much higher unmorph cost with the payoff of being a 2/2 regenerator. To be fair, that does block better than a 1/1 regenerator, but not by enough for this to be a high pick for me. All morphs, mega or otherwise, are three mana 2/2s at worst, so their floor is pretty high, and this guy is still a C.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C

Here's the spell I wanted last article when I was discussing Boltwing Marauder as these Goblins pump the Marauder twice. This will also fit well into Black-Red decks since token makers are great fuel for Exploit. In Red-Green decks, I think this card will be less desirable as they don't attack well unless you have a War Flare or similar, and there are a lack of critical X/1s in the format that need to be blocked. Dragons of Tarkir might end up changing this for us though.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Dragonlord's Servant is the first EVER printed two mana 1/3 creature in Red, which is a fact I'm not thrilled by. Red creatures are supposed to be aggressive! What's this doing here? Well, it turns out that casting your Dragons a turn earlier is extremely aggressive. I can't normally see a 1/3 fitting in with my at-least-partially-red deck gameplan, but with a couple of Dragons (or maybe even just one), I'd be happy to play this card. Note that the effect stacks; I look forward to hearing about turn two and turn three Dragonlord's Servants into a turn four hasty flying 6/5 Dragonlord Kolaghan (who isn't being reviewed today since we don't yet have an English version).

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

While Lightning Beserker's role in Standard may be incredible, I think its Limited applications may be just as exciting. In a normal two-color draft deck you won't have enough red mana to go nuts with this creature, but even two or three pumps will allow you to trade up with creatures that cost more to cast than your Berserker. If a mono red deck is viable, this card will among the most wanted cards in it (along with the ridiculous rare discussed six cards down from here) having the potential to do lots of damage if left unchecked. It can however, be blocked and killed by something as lowly as a 1/1 token, so try to pick up at least one Falter effect for your deck if you can (though that should be standard advice for any aggressive Limited deck).

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Tusked Colossodon has only been played in decks lacking good finishers, but Stormcrag Elemental has a lot more going for it. The ability to cast it on turn three as a Gray Ogre means it will never be dead in your hand, which happens frequently with most non-morph 6-drops. The Elemental has the added benefit of getting slightly larger than the Colossodon when turned face up, not to mention it has the all important trample.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

This is a much better build-around-me card than Trail of Mystery, and I'd argue that it even beats Secret Plans in a morph deck. Turn three morph Salt Road Ambushers, turn four any other morph, turn five flip up the Ambushers is going to be one of the best curves of this Limited environment. After you achieve this, your opponent must remove the Ambushers or each other morph or manifested creature you turn face up, including the one you morphed on turn four, will be extremely difficult to handle. It can turn an Aven Sunstriker into a 4/4 flying double strike, Gudul Lurker into a 4/4 unblockable, and Marang River Skeleton into a 4/4 regenerator! Two +1/+1 counters make a world of difference.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

Even in a two-color environment, hitting two mana of one color is sometimes difficult on turn two. Luckily, Scaleguard Sentinels remains a relevant play on turn three and can even strongly affect the board on later turns if you manage to get the +1/+1 counter. Unlike other sets, it's been hinted that all of the Dragons will be in cycles, meaning that Green will likely get just as many Dragons as Red and thus Scaleguard Sentinels has a fair shot at getting the +1/+1 counter. As a potential three power for two mana, this will help build up to the eight combined power you need to turn on your Formidable abilities.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

In Magic 2015 this was valuable color fixing, and I think it will be even better positioned in Dragons of Tarkir draft. This will especially help those who intend to shun the clear two-color direction of this new draft environment and continue to draft three-color decks. It's a little awkward to rate mana fixing on the grade scale since it doesn't have inherent power and is instead focused on letting you play your more powerful spells; but I think this deserves a B. It will almost never be cut from a deck that's two or more colors and improves your win rate without being difficult to use.

Rares and Mythics

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A

The most comparable card to the intimidating Deathbringer Regent is Duneblast. While Deathbringer Regent requires a little more work and a little more luck to set up, this card comes with its own ready-made creature, a huge 5/6 flyer to close out the game. Another mark in the Dragon's favor is that is only one color. This eliminates the stress of having to think about forcing a specific color combination or picking up a lot of Evolving Wilds for fixing. It's also a lot more likely to fit in your deck if you open this in your second pack of a draft.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

I predict that this will be the creature with the highest cast-face-down to cast-face-up ratio in the set. Killing what will usually be a morph or another mid-sized creature and leaving a somewhat evasive 3/2 on the board for just six mana is a very good deal. Note that it's easier to block the larger it gets, so if you really need to sneak in some damage, it may be better to run this out as a 2/1 even if you have enough mana to morph and unmorph right away.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A

There are almost no words to describe how incredible and bonkers this card is. This is the first ever monocolored 4/4 flyer or bigger that costs four mana or less with no downside. If we include multi-colored, we get Butcher of the Horde and Tower Gargyole (the latter of which has the downside of dying to Shatter). If we allow slight downside, we get Indomitable Archangel which can occasionally make you unable to target your own artifacts. Even if your opponent does have a kill spell for this Regent, they're taking a Lava Spike to the face. What's more, blue opponents can't generate good value off of bounce spells like Whisk Away. This card doesn't do everything, but it does do most of it.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A-

This is similar to Deathbringer Regent in that it enters the battlefield, disrupts some portion of your opponent's board, and then dominates as a huge flyer. This Dragon is less explosive and showy, but is potentially more consistent. It can't save you from a swarm of creatures and dies if you need to fight something with deathtouch, but it can kill almost any creature with four or less toughness and survive, and that will often be enough to stabilize and start winning the game.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A-

Narset is not the kind of planeswalker that inspires fear in Limited, but that doesn't mean she isn't powerful. A true control walker, none of her abilities inherently protect her, but each of them generates some form of card advantage. Cons: Her plus ability draws one card every five turns on average, and her ultimate takes a minimum of three turns to activate and may do little or nothing since your opponent will have had time to empty their hand. Pro: Her -2 ability more than makes up for the other two mediocre options. Giving Rebound to Enhanced Awareness or a great off-color card like Reach of Shadows or Pyrotechnics generates a ton of value. It will be a puzzle to draft the right mix of creatures to protect her and spells to synergize with her, but it's a puzzle that most players, myself included, will be dying for a chance to solve.

Conclusion

I hope you've enjoyed this week's article and join me again tomorrow for more. If you have questions or comments on the evaluation, I love responding to comments below or on Twitter if you tweet to me @JakeStilesMTG


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