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Oath of the Gatewatch Spoilers: Limited Review for December 30


Spoilers for Oath of the Gatewatch keep on ramping up and so are my expectations for this set. The multicolor Uncommons are especially exciting and appear at first sight to be much stronger than Magic Origin's build-around-me Uncommons.

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 Oath of the Gatewatch 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. (Tragic Arrogance, Dragonmaster Outcast)
B: This card is rarely cut from a deck that can cast it. In draft, it signals that a color or archetype is open. (Blessed Spirits, Clutch of Currents)
C: Cards like this make up the majority of limited decks. You're neither excited nor embarrassed to have them in your deck. (Aspiring Aeronaut, Culling Drone)
D: I'm not putting this in my main deck unless I have a specific reason or I'm low on playables. (Gather the Pack, Geyserfield Stalker)
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. (Jace's Sanctum, Prism Array)

White

Call the Gatewatch

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

F

Maybe this card fits in Standard or maybe it's for Commander Superfriends, but it's definitely not for Limited. I might play this in a deck with only one Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, but that'd only be if I had no other good options. And I really mean No other good options. I'd play a Felidar Cub over this.

Linvala, the Preserver

$ 0.00$ 0.00

A-

Unlike Tyrant of Valakut, whose worst case is being a seven mana 5/4 flyer, Linvala, the Preserver's worst case is a vanilla six mana mana 5/5 flyer, which is a lot more palatable. Her abilities don't require much work because when you need them, you'll get them. When a card makes Angel of Renewal look a wimp in comparison, you know it's going to be amazing.

Black

Remorseless Punishment

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Unlike another card we reviewed today, Linvala, the Preserver, who always helps us when we need it, Remorseless Punishment is going to affect the things you care least about. Its average case is probably doming the opponent for five damage and nabbing two of their cards, but sometimes this mode is only going to kill two lowly Eldrazi Scions. I'd almost always play this card in my Black decks, however, and I'd be prepared to sideboard it out against an opponent who has lots of small token creatures to sacrifice.

Red

Eldrazi Obligator

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

This Eldrazi with an as-of-yet unknown English name, is just a little bit worse than Zealous Conscripts given its lower toughness and more difficult mana cost. The ability to attack on Turn 3 if you don't think you'll find a colorless mana source by Turn 5-6 is nice and keeps the card from being bad even when your mana doesn't cooperate.

Green

Vile Redeemer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

Translation:

Devoid, Flash

When you cast Vile Redeemer, you may pay C. If you do, put a 1/1 colorless Eldrazi Scion creature token onto the battlefield for each nontoken creature that died under your control this turn. They have "Sacrifice this creature: Add C to your mana pool". 

While Vile Redeemer's base stats and Flash are above average, its optional ability says a whole lot and does very little. You're more likely to just block a two power creature with this than you are to pay the kicker and trade in all your "real" creatures for 1/1 tokens, but the option is still nice when you have the colorless mana to spare.

Multicolored

Reflector Mage

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

Reflector Mage is efficient and effective at what it does. With better stats than Man-o'-War and an extra ability to boot, the fact that this creature is multicolored is the only thing keeping him from always being first pickable. The ability to keep a creature away for an extra turn gives you that much more time to draw a permanent answer to any problematic creature. Or just follow up with another Reflector Mage because that would be awesome too.

Mindmelter

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

I love this card, I really, really do. As some scary mix of Benthic Infiltrator and Dimir Guildmage, this creature is everything that a Limited deck wants and more. Being evasive and having two power is much better than Benthic Infiltrator since it closes out the game twice as fast. While it doesn't have Ingest, the exiling ability fuels any Processors you pick up in the Battle for Zendikar pack. Finally, the repeatable card advantage, while expensive, can force your opponent not to play lands or to give up important spells if they can't cast them quickly enough.

Flayer Drone

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

Flayer Drone dominates most small to medium sized creatures while attacking or blocking, and can generate additional unblockable damage just for doing what the Black-Red archetype wants to be doing anyways, playing Devoid creatures. While not as flashy as some of the other cards in this Uncommon cycle, Flayer Drone is just as powerful, if not more.

Relentless Hunter 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

The most straightforward of these five multicolor cards, Relentless Hunter is a Nessian Courser with upside. While its pump ability isn't exactly cheap, the threat of activation means you won't often have to pay the three mana to get past opposing creatures. 

Joraga Auxiliary

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

As I mentioned in a previous spoiler article, Support is a lot like Outlast. Keeping that comparison, Joraga Auxiliary is a lot more similar to the Rare High Sentinels of Arashin than it is to the Common Salt Road Patrol. Sure, High Sentinels of Arashin flies and is cheaper in general, but Joraga Auxiliary is still efficient, and the fact that it works at instant speed makes it hard for your opponent to enter combat with your creatures.

Lands

Needle Spires

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

Translation:

Needle Spires enters the battlefield tapped. 

T: Add R or W to your pool 

2RW: Until of turn, Needle Spires becomes a 2/1 white and red elemental with double strike. It's still a land.

Creature lands are generally great, and this one is no exception. The threat of activating it to block makes your Instants better, and it attacks nicely as well. I like this more than both Lumbering Falls and Shambling Vent for Limited, but I hope that the Blue-Red and Black-Green variants push the envelope a bit more.

Conclusion

Rares and Mythics are nice and all, but getting a first glimpse at so many Uncommons has really whet my appetite for drafting the set. Join me for more spoilers and more Limited review throughout this week and next as we explore what this new format is going to be all about. Reach out to me on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG or in the comments below with your thoughts on the new cards.


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