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Shadows over Innistrad Spoilers: Limited Review for March 18


Welcome to the final day of the first week of spoilers for Shadows over Innistrad. Today we have a ton of Delirium creatures and the newest nerfed version of Dark Confidant. Let's get to the cards!

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 Shadows over Innistrad 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. (Dragonmaster Outcast, Linvala, the Preserver)
B: This card is rarely cut from a deck that can cast it. In draft, it signals that a color or archetype is open. (Clutch of Currents, Baloth Null)
C: Cards like this make up the majority of limited decks. You're neither excited nor embarrassed to have them in your deck. (Culling Drone, Akoum Flameseeker)
D: I'm not putting this in my main deck unless I have a specific reason or I'm low on playables. (Geyserfield Stalker, Dazzling Reflection)
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. (Prism Array, Hedron Alignment)

White

Always Watching

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

It's odd that Always Watching specifically doesn't work with tokens given that tokens seems to be a theme in the set (see Second Harvest). It was probably a power level concern because this anthem effect is really great. Simply giving +1/+1 would be decent, but the vigilance pushes it over the top. Your creatures get bigger and harder to handle while your opponent is forced to meet them in combat if they wish to attack.

Paranoid Parish-Blade

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C

Paranoid Parish-Blade is perfectly acceptable in a deck that wants 3/2s and/or Humans, but I would need a few better payoff cards than just this before going out of my way to enable Delirium in my deck.

Thalia's Lieutenant

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

The pseudo-Support aspect of Thalia's Lieutenant looks quite strong, but I'm not as interested in the Champion of the Parish aspect on a two drop. Even when I have Thalia's Lieutenant in hand on Turn 2, I'll probably wait to cast it. I'd much rather use this to distribute a +1/+1 counter to three or four other Humans than to put three or four counters on Thalia's Lieutenant. It just works so much better against removal.

Blue

Confirm Suspicions

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

If you're not losing by a lot, resolving Confirm Suspicions is going to put you miles ahead. Countering a spell plus (eventually) drawing three cards means you'll have a lot more resources than your opponent. On the other hand, if you're already losing a damage race, a five mana counterspell is somewhat awful. You also don't want to leave five mana up for Confirm Suspicions, then have your opponent just pass the turn to transform their Werewolves. I'm tentatively giving this a high grade, but it really needs to be combined with other instants for maximum effect.

Manic Scribe

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

D

A two mana 0/3 blocker is pretty bad compared to recent options we've had such as Fortified Rampart so Manic Scribe's ability need to be worth something. Unfortunately milling the opponent is more likely to help them by turning on their Delirium than it is to hurt them unless you go all the way and win by decking your opponent. Even if you are wanting to win with mill, you probably don't want to waste any of the mill cards targeting yourself to enable Delirium for a Manic Scribe. If it's not good outside a mill deck, and sometimes not good even in a mill deck, I don't have high hopes for it.

Welcome to the Fold

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

This very limited Mind Control isn't likely to steal anything important when cast normally, but the Madness option lets you pay five or more mana to nab a bigger creature. Almost every Blue deck (especially ones having discard outlets) will play Welcome to the Fold, but I don't think the rate is enticing enough for it to be an automatic first pick.

Black

Asylum Visitor

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

Asylum Visitor is a Vampire with aggressive stats and a nice bonus for emptying your or your opponent's hand. Even if Asylum Visitor never triggers, it can still get you a card worth of value by casting it for its Madness cost instead of having to discard a card. I'm not sure whether Asylum Visitor will be stronger as an attacker or a late game value card, but I'm going to love running it either way.

Behold the Beyond

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Behold the Beyond asks an awful lot of you. Can you get to seven mana and be able to take off a turn to cast this? Are there enough above-average cards in your deck that this isn't just a Jace's Ingenuity? Similarly to how Dark Petition functioned in Magic Origins, I expect Behold the Beyond to be good in slow decks which already have good cards to tutor, but to not be an auto-include in every Black deck.

Red

Gibbering Fiend

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C

Much like Paranoid Parish-Blade, Gibbering Fiend is a card that belongs in aggressive decks, and as such it becomes awkward when you forgo attacking and dilute your deck with ways to turn on Delirium triggers. I'd slot this into my aggro decks needing more two drops, but I wouldn't build around this unless there was other payoff as well.

Village Messenger

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Village Messenger is the kind of one-drop I hate to love and love to hate. I prefer playing long, drawn-out games of Limited and facing down an early 2/2 with Menace is going to make that quite difficult. Village Messenger can pretty easily attack for 5-7 damage if cast on Turn 1. It obviously gets worse when drawn later in the game, but that's true of most aggressive creatures.

Green

Obsessive Skinner

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

Obsessive Skinner is a fine play on Turn 2, and an incredible way to beef up your board once Delirium is online. This is an effect big enough to build around. I can't wait to find out what Scout the Borders equivalent is at Common to help out Green with Delirium. If such a card doesn't exist, I'll probably have to reevaluate how highly I rated these cards.

Second Harvest

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C

Since Second Harvest does nothing by itself, its Limited playability will depend directly on the token support at Common. I missed this initially, but Second Harvest works with all tokens including noncreature ones such as Clue tokens. I imagine that creature tokens are still going to be the primary reason you want Second Harvest in your deck, but doubling Clues also sounds like a fun time.

Conclusion

We're halfway through the official spoiler season and we've only seen about one-third of all the cards. There's plenty left to find and explore, and I'm looking forward to it. The Prerelease can't come quickly enough!

Please join me for more spoilers and Limited review when the official spoilers continue next week. Reach out to me on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG or in the comments below with your thoughts on the new cards.


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