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Fate Reforged Limited Review Part 2


In the last Fate Reforged Limited Review, I covered some of the cycles in the set. This time I am going to go over some of the more notable cards. I'm not going to talk too much about any of the vanilla creatures that don't do anything, but mainly the cards I think will imapct Khans of Tarkir / Fate Reforged limited the most.

The Runemark Cycle

Abzan Runemark [FRF]Jeskai Runemark [FRF]Sultai Runemark [FRF]Temur Runemark [FRF]Mardu Runemark [FRF]

Ironically I start off with some of the best limited filler. This is one of the last cycles, so I figure I would mention it. Jeskai Runemark appears to be the most playable since flying is the best ability. Having said that, I would still never want to play these. If you have some aura/enchantment interaction, maybe you would include one? I'd say 99% of the time, don't play these. Just don't.

The Two-Color Combat Trick Cycle

Harsh Sustenance [FRF]Cunning Strike [FRF]Grim Contest [FRF]War Flare [FRF]Ethereal Ambush [FRF]

This is a nice cycle since these cards are fairly interesting. Harsh Sustenance, Grim Contest and Ethereal Ambush are all decent cards that are playable in whatever clan you're in. War Flare is not much better than Trumpet Blast, since you usually cast Trumpet Blast to win the game and don't really care about your guys surviving. I would not play it over Trumpet Blast if your strategy is aggressive, but if you don't have access to Trumpet Blast, it's a fine substitution. Cunning Strike is surprisingly meh. Yes it kills a morph/manifest, but 5 mana is a bit steep. I would probably play it in sealed, but not bother with it in draft since it's very slow. Ethereal Ambush is better than any 5-mana 4/4 you would play since the manifest is pretty huge and making creatures at instant speed is strong. Harsh Sustenance and Grim Contest are just solid removal spells that should be high picks.

+1/+1 or some other effect Cycle

Hooded Assassin [FRF]Aven Surveyor [FRF]Sandsteppe Outcast [FRF]Defiant Ogre [FRF]Ainok Guide [FRF]

Another solid playable limited cycle. Aven Surveyor is pretty nice since it's like a mini Riftwing Cloudskate, which means it's usually fairly good. Defiant Ogre is a nice sideboard card. You may bring it in if your opponent has a bunch of Witness of the Ages or Ugin's Constructs. Sandsteppe Outcast is probably the best of the cycle, since it trades with morphs and manifests while leaving behind a 1/1 flyer, which is pretty powerful in limited. Hooded Assassin is nice, since a 2/3 for 3 is already playable, but one with some upside is great. Finally the worst in the cycle is Ainok Guide and it's pretty mediocre. It's a bear, which is fine if you need one, but the ability on it is kind of awkward since it makes him a 1/1 but guarantees your next draw to be a land. Putting a land on top seems strange since I am not sure how often you want to do that. It kind of prevents you from getting mana screwed, but at the same time you're exchanging your draw step for a land. If you need a bear, he is there, but I would not run it for any other reason besides that since a 1/1 hanging around does not really accomplish much. I guess it's good mana-fixing if you're on some crazy 4-5 color deck, but there are better options.

The Manifest Cycle

Soul Summons [FRF]Write into Being [FRF]Fierce Invocation [FRF]Formless Nurturing [FRF]

This is the last cycle that I wanted to review. Well ok, I didn't really want to review these, but there is a cycle and I wanted to cover all the cycles. Honestly, I am not terribly excited about Manifest in limited, since it feels like an Avacyn Restored number — pretty swingy and luck-based. With morph, it's easy to play around since after enough games, you have knowledge about what kind of morphs your opponent can be playing. With manfiest, you will have no clue what your opponent can be hitting unless you have played them in a game already or seen their entire deck somehow. I really hope Manifest isn't as bad as I'm imagining, but the mechanic just looks like a nightmare at first glance.

Anyway, Soul Summons and Write into Being are the best in the cycle. Soul Summons is a 2-mana 2/2 with potentially huge upside sounds pretty good, while Write Into Being is pretty crazy since you can potentially pick which one you want to cast. The others are ok, but their stats aren't on par with their mana cost. A 4-mana 3/3 is OK; not something I'd want to play, but something I'd put in my deck if I need more creatures. The same goes with the red 5-mana 4/4.

The Rest

This will be all the relevant cards by color that were not mentioned in any of the cycles. This part will not include vanillas (even if they are playable).

 

Red

Bathe in Dragonfire [FRF]Arcbond [FRF]Pyrotechnics [FRF]

We have quite a pile here. The removal in here is quite playable, so pick it highly.

Break Through the Line [FRF]

Break through The Line seems unplayable, so don't try to be cute and make it playable!

Temur Battle Rage [FRF]

Temur Battle Rage is insane since it can lead to some blowouts in combat or blowouts in opponent life totals.

Wild Slash [FRF]

Wild Slash is great cheap removal and is especially strong in a morph/manifest format. 

Mob Rule [FRF]

I have mixed feelings about Mob Rule since on one hand, it looks insane, but on the onother, in a heavy morph/manifest format, it's going to be hard to make a huge momentum swing since the opponent will probably have a mix of creatures over and under 3 power.

Dragonrage [FRF]

Dragonrage has to be one of the strangest combat tricks I ever seen, but it seems kind of meh since it's usually just a worst Trumpet Blast most of the time.

Friendly Fire [FRF]

Friendly Fire, while fun, seems like it will be bad a majority of the time since it's just too risky.

Smoldering Efreet [FRF]

Smoldering Efreet is hilarious to point out since I thought the days of bears with downsides was over.

Collateral Damage [FRF]

Collateral Damage seems very strong, especially in Mardu token strategies.

Humble Defector [FRF]

Humble Defectors seems hilarious and could be good if you have Wildslash since you can kill it in response, or you can use Cunning Strike to gain some real value.

Vaultbreaker [FRF]Goblin Heelcutter [FRF]

All of the dash creatures seem already good as regular creatures, so giving them dash makes them even better.

Flamewake Phoenix [FRF]Flamerush Rider [FRF]

Flamewake Phoenix and Flamerush Rider are very strong and should be high picks. 

Lightning Shrieker [FRF]

Lightning Shrieker is a trap; it's just a lava axe that can be blocked, so don't think otherwise.

Bloodfire Enforcers [FRF]

Finally, Bloodfire Enforcers is great since a 5/2 with first strike and trample is solid and it's not hard to get to that ability. Overall, red has some pretty strong cards and will get a huge boost from this set.

 

Blue

Jeskai Infiltrator [FRF]Whisk Away [FRF]7

I don't really love the other blue cards in this set. There are some hits like Jeskai Infiltrator and Whisk Away, but other than that, the number strong blue cards is kind of slim.

Sage-Eye Avengers [FRF]

Sage-Eye Avengers is fine. It has a good effect, but at 6-mana, it's not really the 6-drop you would hope for.

Jeskai Sage [FRF] Enhanced Awareness [FRF]Lotus Path Djinn [FRF]Mistfire Adept [FRF]Refocus [FRF]Sultai Skullkeeper [FRF]

There are a lot of average cards in here like Jeskai Sage, Sultai Skullkeeper, Focus Enhanced Awareness, Mistfire Adapt, and Lotus Path Djinn that are all fine and playable.

Fascination [FRF]

Don't ever play Fascination, it's just really bad.

Rakshasa's Disdain [FRF]

Rakshasa's Disdain is a worse Cancel and Cancel was barely playable in triple Khans of Tarkir, so you probably won't play it here either.

Frost Walker [FRF]

Frost Walker is nice since it can lead to some very aggressive starts.

Will of the Naga [FRF]Rite of Undoing [FRF]

Will of the Naga and Rite of Undoing can be good in a Temur deck, but not so much in a slow and grindy Sultai deck.

Shifting Loyalties [FRF]

Shifting Loyalties seems cool but is just way too expensive.

Supplant Form [FRF]

Supplant Form looks mixed since it has a strong effect, but 6-mana is steep.

Reality Shift [FRF]

Reality Shift is playable but rather sketchy in limited since you never know what you will be giving your opponent.

Renowned Weaponsmith [FRF]

Funny how Renowned Weaponsmith basically has half of an effect, since Vial of Dragonfire has not been released yet (and obviously will be in Dragons of Tarkir).

Overall, some of these cards are decent, but nothing seriously too busted or too terrible.

 

Green

Archers of Qarsi [FRF]Battlefront Krushok [FRF]Ambush Krotiq [FRF]Arashin War Beast [FRF]Temur War Shaman [FRF]Frontier Mastodon [FRF]

Not really much to say about green. Green is known as the color of dudes that just smash you and well, that is exactly what's going on in Fate Reforged. Most of these creatures are just big dudes.

Cached Defenses [FRF]

Cached the Defenses is very poor and you should probably never play it.

Whisperer of the Wilds [FRF]Map the Wastes [FRF]

Whispering of the Wilds and Map the Wastes are the main ramp cards and surprisingly, they are both very strong. Whispering of the Wilds is probably one of the top picks when it comes to limited just because it has the potential to make tons of mana and ramp at 2-mana is very strong.

Shamanic Revelation [FRF]

Shamanic Revelation seems powerful in Sealed since you will have time to take advantage of it, while it seems rather mediocre in draft.

Abzan Beastmaster [FRF]

Abzan Battlemaster is similar to Shamanic Revelation: good in sealed and bad in draft.

Sudden Reclamation [FRF]

Sudden Reclamation seems very strong since it fuels delve, is instant speed, and is large card selection.

Return to the Earth [FRF]Ruthless Instincts [FRF]

Return to the Earth and Ruthless Instincts look like they are interesting combat tricks, but nothing terribly amazing.

Sandsteppe Mastodon [FRF]

Sandsteppe Mastodon seems a bit overrated since while it's a big guy who can make other guys bigger, it is 7-mana and unless you picked up some ramp, it's often going to sit in your hand.

Wildcall [FRF]

Wildcall is interesting but not terribly impressive since it's usually just a big dude unless you hit the manifest jackpot and hit something strong.

Temur Sabertooth [FRF]

Temur Sabertooth looks like a top pick in this format since it looks like a total nightmare for an opponent to deal with in combat and.

Winds of Qal Sisma [FRF]

Winds of Qual Sisma is interesting since it's a fog, but one with some huge upside. It would probably make the cut more often in sealed since in draft a Temur deck that just wants to curve out and beat down.

Hunt the Weak [FRF]Fruit of the First Tree [FRF]

Overall, green seems fine for picking up solid bodies and ramp, but not much outside of that.

 

White

Mastery of the Unseen [FRF]Dragonscale General [FRF]

Surprisingly, not many white cards to really write about since most of them are already done. White has some of the best rares in the set, since both Dragonscale General and Mastery of the Unseen are pretty insane. Both of them have abilities that can keep piling on and take over games.

Valorous Stance [FRF]

Valorous Stance is pretty strong removal and is usually a Smite the Monsterous but with more upside and way cheaper.

Rally the Ancestors [FRF]

Rally the Ancestors is a really weird card since it can only be used for blocking. My gut tells me that it's unplayable since even though it can mess up an opponent's combat step, you need a really specific graveyard for it to do anything reasonable.

Lotus-Eye Mystics [FRF]Sage's Reverie [FRF]

Lotus-Eye Mystic and Sage's Reverie create some hope for an enchantment theme, but I think they are both probably overrated since the enchantments in this block are pretty bad.

Mardu Woe-Reaper [FRF]

Mardu Woe-Reaper is surprisingly strong since a warrior type creature that only costs 1-mana and is a 2/1 is pretty insane. Plus it has a random ability that can come up fairly often against Sultai decks or decks playing Treasure Cruise.

Elite Scaleguard [FRF]

Elite Scaleguard is not terrible since it's 4/5 worth of power and can help you power through tough defenses.

Honor's Reward [FRF]Abzan Advantage [FRF]

Honor's Reward and Abzan Advantage can be decent in certain match ups, but I would not be terribly interested in playing either of them.

Channel Harm [FRF]

Channel Harm is neat but I think the 6-mana for a combat trick makes it unplayable most of the time.

Abzan Skycaptain [FRF]Pressure Point [FRF]Arashin Cleric [FRF]Jeskai Barricade [FRF]

Abzan SkycaptainPressure Point, Arashin Cleric and Jeskai Barricade are fine cards that may make the cut but are not really in the top tier of playables.

 

Black

Mardu Strike Leader [FRF]Crux of Fate [FRF]Archfiend of Depravity [FRF]Soulflayer [FRF]

Black is a weird color in Fate Reforged. All of the rares are insane and a few other cards are playable, but the rest is junk. There is not one black rare in here that I would not put in any deck I'm building.

Dark Deal [FRF]Tasigur's Cruelty [FRF]Mardu Shadowspear [FRF]Grave Strength [FRF]Fearsome Awakening [FRF]Diplomacy of the Wastes [FRF]Sibsig Host [FRF]

The junk here is Dark Deal, Tasigur's Cruelty, Mardu Shadowspear, Grave Strength, Fearsome Awakening, Diplomacy of Wastes and Sibsig Host.

Ancestral Vengeance [FRF]Douse in Gloom [FRF]Merciless Executioner [FRF]Typhoid Rats [FRF]Sultai Emissary [FRF]

These are playable but not terribly exciting.

Orc Sureshot [FRF]

One card that really stands out is Orc Sureshot, which seems absolutely ridiculous with any token producers. Play him with Ponyback Brigade, Take Up Arms or even the Manifest producing cards and he will just do work.

Qarsi High Priest [FRF]

Qarsi High Priest also looks interesting against any removal heavy decks since it forces a player to kill it first.

 

Artifacts and Lands (ok, there is one land)

Scroll of the Masters [FRF]Ugin's Construct [FRF]Hero's Blade [FRF]Goblin Boom Keg [FRF]Hewed Stone Retainers [FRF]Pilgrim of the Fires [FRF]Crucible of the Spirit Dragon [FRF]

Last but not least, some of the worst cards in the set sadly. Ugin's Construct is one of the few cards here I would consider playable and he is not even terribly good since sacrificing a colored permanent could be something that you're not interested in doing. Goblin Boom Keg is a really weird card and I don't understand its design since it's basically a really bad Rift Bolt. Unless there is some synergy in this set that I missed, I don't get it. Either way, it's an ok card that you would play if you desperately needed removal. Hero's Blade could make the cut in sealed, since it's not an awful card without legends (but is much better with them). Hewed Stone Retainers is decent for sealed but probably unplayable in draft. Pilgrim of the Fires, Crucible of the Spirit Dragon and Scroll of the Masters should never make any of your decks. If they do, you should feel bad about it!

Conclusion

Fate Reforged looks like Dark Ascension 2.0. It's a decent set that will build on to the foundations of an already good Khans of Tarkir limited environment. I'm not in love with Manifest, but maybe I'll change my mind as I start playing with the set. Bolster is a little dissapointing for a new mechanic since it doesn't really feel like a mechanic, while Dash might lead to some interesting interactions. Looking at the colors, the ones that win the most would be Black and Red. Black for their bomb rares and red for their overall solid playables. White has some nice playables, but alot of them aren't strong stand alone cards. Green is just a bro- and ramp-fest, while Blue got shafted the most. But that doesn't matter, since it this is one of the few formats that you can still play Treasure Cruise.

As usual, comment, like, follower, stalk. Until next time ... Yeah, I don't have anything catchy to say.


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