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Oath of the Gatewatch Spoilers: Limited Review for January 4


Welcome to the second and final week of spoiler discussions for Oath of the Gatewatch! We're just a few short days from Friday when we get the spoiler for the full set and less than two weeks from the Prerelease.

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

Eldrazi Displacer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A-

Eldrazi Displacer can abuse your own enter-the-battlefield triggers, kill tokens, or tap down opposing creatures in a single turn cycle. It does this all while being a three mana 3/3. This creature will likely win the game if left unhindered for any length of time, and it seems like a pain to face down in Limited.

Additionally, Eldrazi Displacer can drain your opponent for infinite life when paired with Brood Monitor and Zulaport Cutthroat. I can't wait to see the players who open this Rare and force Abzan colors hoping to pick up those two specific Uncommons in the single Battle for Zendikar pack. I'd make fun of those people, but I'll probably be one of them.

Oath of Gideon

$ 0.00$ 0.00

C-

Paying one mana less for Unified Front is a good deal if your deck wants the benefits of Rally or Cohort without the burden (or benefit) of Converge. If your deck doesn't have an Ally synergy, this card is fairly far behind the curve.

Blue

Overwhelming Denial

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C

Translation: 

2UU Instant 
Surge UU 
Overwhelming Denial can't be countered. 
Counter target spell. 

Cancel is passable in Limited in the right environment, but Overwhelming Denial will cost one extra much more often than it will cost one less. This also doesn't combo well with cheap Sorcery speed spells such as creatures, unless your opponent is casting a spell on your turn.

Black

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B+

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet passes the vanilla test and comes with an extremely powerful ability. Making a single free Zombie is good and making two or more means we get to start calling it a miniature Grave Titan

Battle for Zendikar had only four Common Vampires or Zombies. This number may indicate that Oath of the Gatewatch will be shifting toward more of these creature types, but it's certainly not a prerequisite for Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet being first pickable.

Sifter of Skulls

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B

Unlike Kalitas, who we just discussed, Sifter of Skulls is not very exciting. Don't be confused; it's still very efficient and good. It just feels like an Uncommon in a lot of ways. Is this card that much more complex than Carrier Thrall? Regardless of complexity, Sifter of Skulls is good at whatever you want to be doing. If you're blocking, you get extra chump blockers. If you're attacking and trading off creatures, you get Scions left over to block when your opponent attacks back at you. While not flashy, the advantage Sifter of Skulls brings is considerable.

Red

Boulder Salvo

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

While Surge looks a little too easy to use in Two-Headed Giant, I love its implications in Heads-Up Limited. This card is worse than Stonefury if you have to pay full price, but in most aggressive Red decks, you should be able to find a turn where you can get the discount. Put too many Surge cards in your deck however, and you may not have enough cheap spells to turn them all on in time.

Kozilek's Return

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

Tiny sweepers are generally worse in Limited than anywhere else, but the Instant speed and optional wrath attached make Kozilek's Return much more versatile than a traditional card such as Seismic Rupture. I would always play this main deck when I had at least one Eldrazi that could trigger it, but wouldn't feel bad leaving it in the sideboard if I could only get the initial effect.

Pyromancer's Assault

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

If you only get two Shocks out of Pyromancer's Assault it's probably still worth it, and once you trigger it three or more times, it's a great investment. While casting that many spells might be difficult in a normal format, when you know you want to, it's easier to include spells like Bone Saw in your deck to turn it on. It's not even a horrible topdeck late game since you can hold it in hand until you draw another spell, then cast both in the same turn.

I look forward to drafting Blue-Red Pyromancer's Assault decks with lots and lots of Comparative Analysis and Boulder Salvo.

Green

Embodiment of Insight

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B

Translation:

Creature-Elemental 
Vigilance 
Land creatures you control have vigilance. 
Landfall— Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may have target land you control becomes a 3/3 Elemental creature with haste until end of turn It's still a land.

While Embodiment of Fury seems to have more potential and more competitively costed stats, Embodiment of Insight is intimidating as well. Being able to block with your lands is definitely an advantage, and Vigilance may also allow you to awake with awakened lands and still cast spells post-combat.

World Breaker

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B+

In a long game, getting to recur World Breaker for value will eventually drain your opponent of kill spells and the lands with which they cast those spells. In a quick game, where an opponent can ignore World Breaker, it's just a big dumb Eldrazi that's too slow to be intimidating. Luckily for us, a 5/7 with Reach is not easy to ignore and can slow down the game all by itself. Awakened lands and occasional artifacts or enchantments also occur frequently enough to make this more than a lame Faultgrinder.

Colorless

Bone Saw

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Bone Saw is basically Black Lotus in this set due to the presence of Surge. While I do admit I am grossly exaggerating, just think about how much this spell would benefit a deck playing Tyrant of Valakut or Crush of Tentacles. The number of 0-drops that aren't unplayable and the good Surge spells that show up at Common should lead to a very interesting dynamic in draft and I'm looking forward to experimenting with it.

Lands

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Uncommon (or Common) dual lands are always appreciated, but these lands are at an interesting spot in this format. Two color decks don't need to prioritize these unless they're also going heavy on colorless mana fixing. Three or more color decks will want them, but if there are no Devoid spells in Oath of the Gatewatch, players will have to draft the fixing before knowing if they're going to open one of the few very good Converge spells worth building around. I'm sure these lands will end up being drafted, but I can't see anyone except the colorless drafters getting excited by them, and those drafters may be just as happy, or happier, with an Unknown Shores.

Conclusion

We've now completed the beginning of the end, the first day of the last week of spoilers. Please join me for more spoilers and more Limited review throughout the rest of this week. Reach out to me on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG or in the comments below with your thoughts on the new cards.


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