M10 Commons Review
By Fox Murdoch on August 13th, 2009 · Filed in Limited · Comments not available just now
Hello all and welcome to what is hopefully the first of many articles I write for mtgsalvation! Or perhaps I should start with "G'day mate" being an Aussie. I'm Fox Murdoch, I read/write about Magic and can see you're already bored, so on with it. What I'm doing today is a run down of the Commons in M10 draft/sealed. Why M10? It's being distributed again, so drafts are sprouting up everywhere. Also do note this is more of an entry-level player article, which seems appropriate for the Core set. Before I start just a brief explanation of the grading system I'll use:
By Fox Murdoch on August 13th, 2009 · Filed in Limited · Comments not available just now
A: means it goes into my deck without a thought. A- means there is situations where it isn't quite auto include. A+ means I'm playing this even if I'm not playing it's color. What's an A+? Lightning Bolt.
B: means I'm happy to have these main deck, B- is I'm alright to have them around but would prefer others and B+ means this card feels like an A, but it's stopped just short by something.
C: are cards that are really just filler. C- is bottom of the barrel fillers and C+ means I'm happy enough to play this main, probably swapping for a B- card.
D: is dumb, disastrous, damnable, dilapidated, disdainful, disgraceful, disappointing... D+ is the best of the worst while a D- card may as well be blank.
E and F: are both fictional Grades awarded to two cards per set, F being the worst card in the set and E being runner up.
Yes please again! White's own "Terror" wannabe, this deals with any opposing creature who doesn't have shroud (Kalonian Behemoth, I'm looking at you...) and lets your turn one beater get through unmolested turn two to keep the beats coming. But why use it that early? There's nothing funnier then being sworn at (You mongrel!) because you Pacified their Cudgel Troll. Regenerate from that, ha!
Tips games in your favour from turn one. Also gets Lightning Bolted saving your future beatsticks from immediate sizzly death. Beats for 1 from turn two onwards. If not dealt with, she'll gain you swaths of life and make your opponent stop at a certain point and say "14 still? But you must've lost 12 already!" Easily top three white commons.
Tips games in your favour from turn two, or at least hopefully so. Unchecked you can find you have a very sore looking opponent early on, and the flying means ground dwellers can't touch it, pretty much forcing your opponent to use a spell on it. It does fold to Giant Spider and Deadly Recluse, but only two common creatures isn't bad. Oh yes, and all those other fliers. And Sparkmage Apprentice. You get my point though. Here's your turn two creature.
Win win win! I played this lovable pachyderm every time I opened him and never regretted it. He holds back green's 5 mana fatties and can beat with 3 "pretty safe" power thanks to it's enormous hide. Aside from that he's just so cute and when you windmill slam it onto the table with a trumpet blast you get looks. Whether it's "I hate you and your creatures," or "geez you're odd," I was never certain.
Wins combats, attracts kill spells, and beats for two. What's not to like about playing this guy? Shot down he takes care of a kill spell that would've capped one of your bigger, more impressive creatures. Not shot down he takes your opponent from alive to dead in 10 turns and, with help (you are playing other creatures right?), even quicker.
Well look at that, Ravnica's Veteran Armorer had a kid! When I first saw this card, I confused it with theVeteran Armorsmith. Then I realised it makes your Soldiers' clock a few turns shorter. The bigger power and mana cost are perfectly acceptable and even on her own she's a fine beater.
Bane of fatties everywhere! This guy almost attracts as much Lightning Bolt action as a first turn Llanowar Elves. This tiny tot can tango with creatures far bigger than itself and never break a sweat. The ability to use him offensively for those final few points are just pure gravy. An easy include in white decks and not too difficult to splash elsewhere as you already have the white mana to use it's ability if you had the mana to play him.
Wait, Veteran Armorer had twins! 2 mana for 3 toughness is fine, and with other Soldiers your whole army is gonna look a lot healthier with this guy making plate mail. Double white means he doesn't wanna be splashed though, but you were probably thinking of playing heavy Soldiers/White anyway. Get two or more and your side looks ridiculously unkillable in combat.
Neck Snap gets a face list. Why on earth did Wizards tell us so many cards were out only to put them back in with a new name? So we can play eight "neck snaps" total if we want? Regardless, this card is good because it's straight up kill for straight up fatties. 4/4 coming your way? Bam! Of course smarter opponents will smell it coming when you leave four white open, just like in Lorwyn.
Wohoo! Bounce a creature when you're ahead to stay ahead. Remove that pesky blocker. Bounce and then counter that creature you can't otherwise kill. Excommunicate is a "utility" removal spell, seeing it allows for a lot of things to happen, and the good players out there will pick up on what's available to them and abuse it. Can be used on your own creatures, say to reload your Goblin army when you've already flung 3 at your opponent's face with your Siege-Gang Commander. Loses points for being a sorcery, but at instant this definitely would have cost more.
Yes please! Turn your early beats into late-game assurance as your 2/1 flier plinks away life and gives it to you. This card does many stupid crazy things and I'm thinking of red in particular. Goblin Artillery loves giving you free Shocks each turn and also two life, and Siege-Gang Commander just gets ridiculous. Note: do not cast on Siege-Gang then fling him himself. Note as well: Lifelink is not Spirit Link. "Enchanted creature's controller gains that much life" is not the same as "when enchanted creature deals damage, you gain that much life."
I don't know what I hate more about this guy, the fact that he blocks early 2/2s with ease, plinks away for 1 each turn with ease, or that everyone else was playing him with ease. A good "slow start" card for your opponents to deal with, but don't expect him to go all the way and win you the game on his own.
Glory Seeker lost it's arms and sprouted claws, oh my God! A 2/2 for 2 is nothing apart from par for the course.
Hee hee, what fun! Best way to begin winning a race, Palace Guard feels like a 3-mana combat trick that walks and talks and everyone can see in plain sight. For extra added fun try adding Indestructibilty to the mix and you'll be safe from all save the fliers and tramplers in your opponents army. Not really for attacking though.
Grade if you're playing Indestructibilty: B+
Though I didn't play this card all weekend (I went in a total of six Sealed tournaments), I saw it played plenty of times. Pretend it's a Fog and you've got pretty much the same card for 2 more mana. It screws up combat math for sure and lets you blow-out win a race. But if you never get into a race situation, it's just another card you aren't playing.
Of all the ways to deal with enchantments and artifacts in M10, I think this card is my favourite. The lack of instant speed means dedicating to play it during your own turn, sure, but the 4 life pump isn't insignificant and can save you long term. Also consider the artifacts around, Gorgon Flail and the "gain a life when Foo color spells are played", as well as pesky enchantments. Did I already mention Pacifism? Ice Cage too? As useful as it is, it's sideboard material because against an artifact-less/enchantment-less opponent, it's not playable.
Grade when opponent packing artifacts/enchantments: B
No thanks. Green has Overrun and blue has Sleep which both read "win the game now". A good measure of a card's use is what it'll do if you cast it ASAP. In that case, Glorious Charge on turn two at the best will net you a 3/2 Elite Vanguard when you'd really want to be playing another dude. It helps weenie armies stay alive in messy combat situations or really fluffs up your creatures when you're forced to gang-block a fatty. It's not going in my main but certainly in the top five of my sideboard.
Hmm, 4 mana to gain 7 life, instant speed. Sounds like the reverse of Might of Oaks, or a buddy-card to blue's Disorient, only you don't need a monster screaming at your face to "gain" life from Angel's Mercy. Best in sideboards considering White's other 4 mana options.
When white-mage-me get's 1 power for 1 mana, and black-mage-me gets 2 power for essentially the same card, I'm tempted to simply leave this out of my deck for something that kills my opponent without needing a body.
Wall of Faith
No. Doesn't even block fliers. And I want to play spells, not bump up a creature's arse when it's already got a booty that reads a mildly impressive 5.
The Soratami aren't in the core set, but they are! Well, their iconic draw spell is, so take good counsel and play this card. There are worse ways you can spend your third turn then by drawing three cards all up (two from Divination, one from Draw step).
Who doesn't play creatures in sealed/draft? May feel a bit tricky knowing when to keep the two mana open but here's a tip - against aggro beatdown keep it for turn two. Anyone else, keep it for that fatty Troll you can't deal with or else that ultra-anti-you utility creature. Always playable.
Yes please sir, may I have another? Deal with anything from Darksteel Colossus to Bogarden Hellkites or Doom Blades. Even deals with itself! Better watch out though, double blue isn't the easiest of splashes to make.
Yes. Draws you so many extra cards it's not funny. Can even get you a card after it's blocked a fatty and is on it's way out. Filters superfluous lands late game and just otherwise rocks hard. Even worth splashing.
Always loved this card, and putting it upon your half of the battlefield turn four never feels wrong.
A difficult card to get a feel for at first. It does more than Pacifism, stopping activated abilities, but also has a self-removal clause built into it. Good against red because it stops Siege-Gang but bad against red because it has Prodigal Pyromancer. Too temporary in a lot of cases but it does buy you turns against a creature clock or a utility creature grind out.
Yeah sure, why not? Great on turn one when you need that extra land to draw into the perfect hand complete with all colors and enough lands to play your hand. And who doesn't mind a shuffle for a random card if your top two look most disappointing?
Just about as cute as Siege Mastodon, if not cuter. A 1/1 flier is happy beats for blue and fixing your next four draws helps you really plan ahead, especially concerning combat, creatures to trade and so forth. Kind of sucks when you're on the back foot though and all you draw is a 1/1 bum block and confirmation that your next four cards, yes, are lands and you're going to die. Still that's not the cute feathered flier's fault.
3 mana for 2 power fliers; once again blue is one step behind white when it comes to early beats. Regardless, a 2/2 flier draws a lot of heat and either beats well or takes a kill spell for the team. Wind Drake feels just as good to play on turn three as Snapping Drake on turn four.
How to beat face quick, for a short while. When you play this critter, he's got to do something quick. Either block and kill weenies, smash serious face or draw a spell that otherwise would've gone on your opponent's creature. Sure, a Giant Growth will kill him but that's a Giant Growth your opponent gave up to kill your 3/4 flier. Especially funny is when your opponent targets it with a kill spell, a la Doom Blade. "You kill it twice?"
Lovely little trick. Especially against beef that fills up the board with it's own presence. Think
Djinn of Wishes Shivan Dragon, that tricky Sphinx. Their owner, cocky of the ensuing beats, attacks with it only to have it returned to their hand, harmless as a kitten. Notice that Hellkite isn't in the list: don't bounce him. That spells "stupid player" in a language anyone can understand. Or Djinn of Wishes actually. Going to cross that out.
Here we can finally see some proper contention between White's one drop of choice and Blue's. White's is a 2/1 while Blue's is a 1/1 that flies. More useful in the long term? Considering that he'll hit more often before he trades, but deals less when he does so, it's up to the individual as to which is better. Regardless, your best bet for aggressive blue flier decks. Save that Ponder for turn 2 if this guy's in your opening grip.
Blue's favourite turn three game stopper. Weenie attacks grind to a halt and you certainly won't be able to make a dent with this turtle. Perfectly at home in a defensive deck mind you, a bit like White's Sentinel Griffin, without the offensive benefit.
I had trouble figuring this card out in Lorwyn, and now it's no different. Does my opponent play combat tricks? Are they going to Mind Control my turn four dork? When do I keep mana open to play this as opposed to a creature? It "kills" a kill spell though, so those Lightning Bolts, Doom Blades, and wannabe Neck Snaps are all pretty dead cards. Easy enough to sniff out when someone's death is looming, so you can figure when to hold mana open.
Yay, Blue gets some Glory Seeker-esque, sorry, I mean some Silvercoat Lion-esque love. For Blue, this 2 power 1 toughness fishfolk is as efficient as an early beater gets, and your opponent's turn three Sparkmage is already giggling away in your opponent's hand.
I remain unconvinced. Hilarious if you've got a buttload of Emerald Oryx.
Grade if playing with buttload of Emerald Oryx: still D. I just said it would be hilarious.
What are you planning to steal 7 power from? Play something that stops it from attacking in the first place, a la Ice Cage, Essence Scatter, anything that deals with a fatty that big permanently! Your blue four-drop shouldn't be this.
Serpent of the Endless Sea
Hmmm... considered playing this under the belief that it could at least be a big blocker. When I drew it, I had one Island versus seven Plains. The attacking restriction means you'll need to play Convincing Mirage, and if you've got those two cards in your main deck, you deserve to lose the game, match and be dropped from the tournament. Crazy good in mono blue though, I'm sure.
Grade if played with Convincing Mirage: B-
Opponent loses a random five cards. Just make sure you don't get them out of that land clump they're currently slogging through. Or getting them closer to that bomb rare about seven cards down. Too random to know it'll have a positive effect, but in larger numbers, Tome Scour can prove quite useful in milling an opponent. Goes up when maindecked with Traumatize.
Grade with Traumatize: A
Kills opposing Illusionary Servants. No.
New Terror looks sexy. New Terror kills artifacts. New Terror allows regeneration though... Easily in the top five commons of the set, certainly in top two black commons. I've always loved Terror ever since I first laid eyes upon it in Mirrodin, where its appearance was more ironic then anything, and Doom Blade is sure to find a place in my heart also. Don't be afraid to use on turn one Llanowar Elves.
Now we're talking killing stuff! That's Black's domain. Unfortunately, when it's tapped it usually means it's already hit for a chunk of life. Slow, but far from useless and comes out a turn quicker than its comparable white companion Divine Verdict (attacking = tapped).
New fear looks sexy. And unlike new Terror, there isn't anything amiss this time. Dread Warlock is simply better than Severed Legion (go on Zombie players, have a cry). This guy gets through for plenty of hits before being taken care of. Game one, certainly.
Oh my yes, every black player worth a damn will play this guy, and plenty non-blacks will splash this guy. Get a 2/2 body and return a dead critter to hand, what's not to like? The 4 mana cost? Pah, more than worth it for the card advantage this guy gives ya mate.
So are all Vamps also Rogues nowadays? When did this happen? 3 for a 2/2 body is dinky enough for the threat of a very sudden 4/4 or 6/6, getting your opponent scared about tricks and blocking incorrectly. Phyrexian Ghoul should be proud that it's been reprinted twice over now. Anyone think a deck with 12 "Husks" is a good idea? Also, extra points for being able to sac any of your creatures instant-speed, an overlooked yet forever usable ability.
They fly, they hit for 2, they can trade with a lot of dorks including Blue's better common flying Drake duo. One is a ten turn clock; two is a five turn sweat-starter.
"Undo everything accomplished by target kill spell." Nothing more fun than greedily running your creature into your opponent's, trading, then getting it back to block as well. Think of is as psuedo-vigilance! Comparable to Kamigawa's Stir the Grave seeing you're really just adding to the casting cost of any dead creature you own.
Sign in Blood
Delicious card. Quick story - I played this with an Underworld Dreams on the weekend. Dropped the Underworld Dreams on turn three and my opponent laughed at me. "How are you going to kill me with that?" Some turns later, they're on 5 and I hit them with Sign in Blood then passed the turn. "Good ol' Dreams for the win, hey?"
Turn two, you can draw three cards, though that is only if you managed to get BB by then. The two life is negligible early on, but becomes more of a problem the further into the game you get, especially when in a race and on the back foot. The ability to target your opponent can be crucial and mustn't be forgotten. This card is technically "reach."
Tendrils of Corruption
Sure it only hits creatures, but 4 mana for 7 damage/life late game is an often game-winning effect. Also splashable by crazy people, works well as a support color card. The instant speed gets me licking my lips.
Child of Night
Well well well, Rogue and Vampire players rejoice! A 2/1 for 2 isn't bad, and when it causes 4 point life swings (-2 to your opponent, +2 to you) you've got to be happy with that. And any kind of help, like Unholy Strength or Vampire Nocturnus, turns Child of Night into something truly scary to behold.
Black's staple discard spell! You spend one card, your opponent loses two. Good early on (haha, drop those 5-cost fatties into your bin!) or mid-late to strip your opponent of any hand, then smash face for the win. Still won't do anything against an opposing army already in play, so your call.
Normally Auras get looked over, but I think 1 mana for an extra 2 power is worth it. Think of your fliers, tramplers and otherwise unblockables for what I mean. In a black/green deck against green opponents, this makes your Emerald Oryx into a unstoppable 5 turn clock. Sure your opponent can two-for-one you if they kill the creature you cast it on, but at least you only spent B and can play something else in the same turn.
Where's Zombie David? This five mana dork is awfully small for his cost and can't even go toe-to-toe with White's five mana dork, Mastodon. Still, 4 power for 5 mana isn't unplayable and quite often he'll get into your deck just to up the creature count. Plus, he's a Zombie. Who doesn't like a Zombie?
Black's bum blocker extraordinaire. Costs 2 mana, same as Doom Blade. Yeah, you're better off just playing Doom Blade and killing whoever these guys would've been chump-blocking all day. Most useful in a mirror match.
Kind of not so good in a sealed/draft environment. I saw this card cast four times over the weekend and every single time it was to see a hand full of lands and creatures. Good against a blue opponents though. Snatch that counterspell turn one.
Vampire Aristocrat's favourite meal. I'm kidding. This 3 power, 3 mana dork is right on the money. 2 toughness, sure, but this is Black we're talking about. You should be thanking your lucky stars it doesn't eat a life every upkeep.
for -2/-1 always feels oddly placed, a bit like Ravnica's Clinging Darkness was. The potential to kill creatures is there, but if you're playing it expressly as a kill spell, there's better options, especially at common. If used for the power reducing effect, I suppose that's a lot of life "gained" for . Usable in a pinch or when savagely low on removal. Epic against those first turn Llanowar Elves.
This guy is almost hungrier for black mana than Consume Spirit. Paying 3 for a 1/1 body feels not-worth-it, seeing he's pretty unprotected early on and later on you should be casting someone who's constantly big, not big if you've got mana open. Not only that, but Prodigal Pyromancer totally owns this guy. I will say he works well beside another piece of fat because he'll usually get let through in those cases. Would've been acceptable if he stood normally as a 2/2.
Um, can you think of another card that costs 3 and makes your opponent lose 1 life a turn? Underworld Dreams, of course. But this is an Aura you put on your opponents creature. Won't they just throw it at you mercilessly in an attempt to get you to block and kill it? So you'll need to let it through and any tricks they have? Pillory of the Sleepless this ain't.
Grade against Defender heavy deck: C
Acolyte of Xathrid
Never ever ever. This card hurts to open, cast and use. Without a doubt the most awful card of the set. I think I've found it...
Thank you, Wizards! Play it play it play it! Splash it if you have to, just play it. While Lightning Bolt can't outright kill creatures like Doom Blade can, it does target black creatures as well as players. Easily the best common in the set. Possibly best card?
Grade when splashed: A++
Instant speed point-and-click damage! In maindeck red, this gets nasty and then insane, while as a support color, 3 mana for 3 or 4 damage is still plenty nice. Doesn't touch opponents, no, but it clears the way for your creatures.
On the play, she kills any other critter already on battlefield turn two. All the targets red Tim loves to ping, she also wipes clean off the board. In a pinch, can also shoot your opponents face. Or if you're playing a blue mage who's fond of Ice Cage, she can even free 2+ toughness Ice Cagees. Also beats for 1.
Berserkers of Blood Ridge
If I pay angry red mana for a 4/4, what else was I going to do but attack with it every turn? A drawback depending on what type of game you play, Berserkers are a fine big beater in red decks but when you want to get a little more careful and possibly, I don't know, block something, these guys are nowhere to be found.
The only 3/3 for red, other than the kill-everyone Magma Phoenix. A solid creature by red's standards, par for the course.
If you can cast him, he's at least 4/2 on the next turn seeing he's got in his mana cost. Quite capable of taking out much bigger creatures than himself in a "grounded Fireball" fashion. Against an empty board, works true wonders and doesn't suffer the 1/1 weakness of Black's Looming Shade.
Surprisingly effective. In a fair trade you suddenly come out on top, with an efficient if nothing else red instant. The extra power and first strike effectively give your creature deathtouch against same-sized opponents or lets them trade with someone bigger than themselves. Especially cruel very early game with 1/1 Sparkmage, Llanowar, and Elvish Visionary, who're expected to do about one thing and then trade fairly with an opposing creature. If this were an art contest, it'd lose points for no longer depicting an ass-kickin' Kithkin.
Possibly one of M10's best red common creatures, the first strike allows for upgrades later in the game to keep him relevant. And combined with White's Razorfoot Griffin, he can really hold down the fort. One toughness does make him vulnerable to spot-damage.
Hmm, sort of like Unholy Strength and Holy Strength, only it doesn't do +X/+0 on it's own but can go way beyond the 1 or 2 power pump offered by both Strengths. Brilliant on evasive creatures—of which red commons have none. Still, looks particularly nice on Viashino Spearhunter.
Blue has tiny creatures, red has ineffective creatures. Both colors have a 2 mana 2/1, so I can only assume the two are caught heavily in a love-hate relationship. Apply whatever I said about the Merfolk to this guy.
Red's race winner. 5 mana for 5 damage, simple as that. You can technically splash it, seeing there's only one in the mana cost, but relying on a splash to win your games is bad times.
If he gets played and trades, he's like a grounded fireball set to X=4, in which case your opponent picked who died. Unblocked, he is as cost effective as Lava Axe, one damage per mana paid. Helps in making a mess of safe blocking for your opponent. That one tiny toughness doesn't feel like enough though. Saprolings could kill this guy.
"Ha ha, sif n00b roflcopter, win." That's how you dream Panic Attack will work, and the first time you see the card you get a nice little laugh out of the flavour of it. Usually wins via blowout or sadly prevents just one/two creatures from blocking as you drew it at the wrong time. Still the ability to "three for one" your opponent's blockers is not to be overlooked.
Possibly the only card that makes Jackal Familiar any good, Raging Gobo ain't so good itself. Hits turn one and dies turn two or three. Will let you get in for three with the Jackal and have your opponent on 17 by turn 2 though, so potential here. But that's a lot of deck space for something that might "only just" happen. Fine size with a fun ability, worth the cost but don't expect him to stick around.
Never saw anyone play this all weekend. I remember getting it in the blue/red precon deck from around Urza's block and not playing it very well then either. +2 power to each creature sounds strong, but if you've only got two or three creatures you're better off playing another creature than trying to get some grounded extra burn through to your opponents dome. I'm sure it's got a place in some decks but Overrun this ain't.
We're not playing Mirrodin. There's the life-gain artifacts and Gorgon Flail to contend with, and this is instant speed so it's usable in strict circumstances to screw your opponent's combat math. Let them attack with a 4/4 suited up Gorgon Flail wearer and then cry when it reverts to it's 3/3 non-deathtouch body, then get pounded over the head with your Enormous Baloth's foot. No, with no common artifacts, this is sideboard at best.
Ahuh, another funny story. It was the same flight I was playing with my Underworld Dreams/Sign in Blood deck, which was black/red and had Howling Mine and Megrim as well. I put Burning Inquiry into the deck, realising with both black enchantments in play I wound up with ": each opponent takes 9 damage."
You will never get lucky enough to have that set up, and even though I had all the cards, I never saw it happen myself. Don't play this unless you've got some insane want to see it simply "go off" or you're a demon for playing too many lands.
In fact just don't play it. You'll get laughed at less.
No. No no no. The history of Magic and it's 1 mana, 2 power creatures goes like this: they're all great beaters who smash face on turn 2 for some particular drawback. End history lesson. Here's how Jackal works. Turn one, Jackal. Turn two, play another dork, Jackal sits at home. Turn three, Jackal and dork from turn two attack, one whole turn after you dreamed about hitting your opponent. Needing someone else to block with only helps your opponent clean up your early plays with fatty fat fat-fats mid to late game.
Apparently there's a draft deck that is full of these doggies and it plays them exclusively, as there's so many cheap bodies around that they go nuts. Whatever. A simple sweeper and that's game. Hello, Pyroclasm?
Burst of Speed
At first read, I thought this granted one creature haste. Then realised it was all creatures. But a Mirrodin card offered all this and permanently on an enchantment. Which gave all creatures haste, meaning your opponent's too. Maybe useful if you get Siege-Gang Commander and 6 mana, but there's the rare Goblin Chieftain to already do that with, so why bother with this?
Sometimes when Wizards do something really nice, they have to do something bad to make up for it. Consider Lightning Bolt's arrival "made up for" by removing combat damage from the game as we knew it, nerfing Mogg Fanatic's ability, and also making Yawning Fissure. If you play EDH, then go nuts, I'm sure your opponents won,t gang up on you afterwards.
Remember before when I was talking about awesome three mana plays on turn two? Plonk this on your turn one Llanowar Elves and watch your opponent crap themselves if they haven't got an answer there and then. Honestly, 4/4s attacking turn three - it's unheard of! Harumph to you sir! A sorcery speed, permanent Giant Growth wins games.
Borderland Ranger loves you baby. No seriously, he guarantees you that fourth land drop, gets your splash color if you have one, and still trades with another X/2. What's not to love?
Can I put forth the notion of voting Deadly Recluse as green's best common creature ever? Okay, okay, not the best but almost certainly best on defense. Hell, I remember playing a Shivan Dragon and thinking I had the game, only to get defanged by my opponents lowly 1 power Spider the next turn. That little pest! Play him. He eats everything Giant Spider can't scare off.
Ahh, the only creature in the set with trample and a black set symbol. Here's your Giant Growth target of choice. Here's the happy fella who should lead each and every Overrun you play. Here's your piece d'resistance (sure I spelled that wrong, sorry France!) of green common fatties. A pleasure to be behind, a horror to be before.
Play them. As many as you can. Getting the mana out quicker for a turn two 3 mana card is great tempo and, if kept up, often has the game won for you turn one. Also becomes a lovely 4/4 trampler if you're playing Overrun, and you are, aren't you? Good. I really wanted to upgrade this card an A-, but the 1/1 body and the only-green mana production held it back.
Deliciously well-sized compared to all the other colors' 3-drops. White has the Swordsmith, but it only reaches 3 on its power. Also, the Courser doesn't suffer the in it's mana cost that previous 3 mana 3/3s of Green's have (think Gnarled Mass from Kamigawa).
Waheheey! Green does have it's own version of Terror, only it works like this. Rush a creature into combat against a creature it'll obviously lose to. Hope your opponent doesn't smell a trap. When they don't, Giant Growth, ta daa! Creature-based creature kill for only G plus one very stupid opponent. Seriously though, Giant Growth can save plenty of your creature's asses, or help you kill your opponent's. Top notch trick.
Fatty! 6 power for 6 mana makes this guy scream, "Play me or regret it!" And when you turn him sideways, you can feel it. Sure he may be held at bay by little annoying 1/2 deathtouch reach Spiders, but that's what removal's for. Barring deathtouch dorks, this guy should trade for more than one other creature before he hits the bin.
A 1/1 body for simple beats or early trade, plus a card to keep the love coming. Never a bad turn 2 with this guy in your opening hand.
It's a giant Spider, but it's not a Giant. Is that some kind of specie/status confusion there? Like Zombie meaning an undead humanoid, a zombified Goblin, or a moss Plant that's come to life? Giant Spider blocks all weenies, can tangle with some midsize 3/4 type creatures and scares the pants off common Blue. None of Blue's creatures can punch through it.
One of the few creatures in the set that Lightning Bolt and Doom Blade cannot touch. A 3 power creature your opponent will be forced to trade with is good for 4 mana, but he's still wiped off the board by things like Pyroclasm. Really, nice against a white player who's hog-drafted all those Blinding Mages you passed.
Borderland Ranger without the legs, but a turn earlier because of it. Go get that splash color, that extra land you need to play your Behemoth, or simply thin your deck of one land. Always welcome in the early game.
Grade late game: C+
Grizzly Bears are out? Grizzly Bears are in, they're right bloody here! Okay, so the name change now means we've got Grizzly Bears, Ashcoat Bear, Balduvian Bears, Bear Cub, Forest Bear, and Runeclaw Bear. Could anyone possibly even use that many Bears in one deck? I think you know how 2 mana 2/2s get evaluated already.
If you've got open during combat, it's either Fog all damage or Giant Growth for a kill. Fog allows you to win races, save your creatures against blunders of your own ("That 1/2 has deathtouch? Argh!") and so forth. Cheaper than Safe Passage so you can play more spells after your attack.
Four for a 2/3 is fine, but a little small for green. Unless you're fighting Green (mmm, Forestwalk...). At the M10 Prerelease, this meant pretty much everyone, so this guy's an auto-include if my experiences are any indication. Good with power boosts if your opponent is sporting the ol' green and brown foliage on their land cards.
Grade versus green: B+
Are there enough common enchantments that see play, as well as the odd uncommon artifact, to maindeck this? I'd say no. Top of your sideboard though because the second you see Manabarbs, Oakenform, or Gorgon Flail, you're going to want a way to deal with it.
Is this card any better than it's previous Aura-based brother Regeneration? Nope. Can act as a kill spell trick seeing your 2/2s are expected to trade with your opponent and then Ooops! looks like mine lives after all. Not very usable beyond that, and Giant Growth can perform the same trick and more for one whole mana less. The "unkill your own guy" spell.
Worst piece of soft removal in the set. If the creature untaps via any means, the enchantment falls off (it does read "enchant tapped creature", thank you State-Based Effects). And, as with Assassinate, if the creature is tapped, it's probably already hit you/used it's ability, which is particularly bad if you see a Colossus clunk into combat. Even in a pinch, this is hard to argue against another of green's four-drops. Did I mention Cudgel Troll?
This spell should go off for 5 life at the least, seeing as it takes 5 mana to cast. If you're happy to spend 5 mana gaining 5 life, then surely you'd also enjoy paying 4 to earn 7, say via some Angel's Mercy? This is a race-winning card and you can't guarantee each game will come down to a race.
No thanks. Really. Considering green's other creatures at 5 mana (Stampeding Rhino), this is awful. 5 power, sure, but only when attacking and then with a toughness low enough for weenie gangs to take him out of commission. Also do note it's an abysmal 0/3 when it's not your turn. When has a 0/3 ever stopped creatures from attacking? Green's punching-bag of the set.
Grade: P- (for Punching bag)
Oh yes, you want this in your deck. It counts as a land of each color that you have, so you can go fishing for the colors you need to shore up your deck. Triple black in Underworld Dreams hurting? Need that single Mountain for that Lightning Bolt in hand? Want a free shuffle because your Sage Owl flipped up four lands? A delicious piece of utility, it can always do something for you. And it's free!
So that's the set. Do you agree with what I think? Disagree? Have I made you red in the face with indignation at dissing card X or drawn a cheer from you when I salvoed Card Y? I'm as much for learning more about Magic as the next he or she is, so let us know in the forums. And I know a few of you are thinking, "Why commons?" Read on.
Commons are the backbone of any deck in sealed/draft, as those cards are most common. Therefore that's where you should look for your deck's stability. The way Wizards have constructed Magic 2010 is wonderful. Each color has it's own way of dealing with problem creatures at common. Black has it's murdery of kill spells (Doom Blade, Assassinate), and even toughness minusing effects (Weakness) for opposing black creatures. Blue has cards like Ice Cage, counterspells (Cancel, Essence Scatter) and bounce (Unsummon). White gets Pacifism and other tricky kill spells like Divine Verdict. Red deals with just about everything via a mix of Lightning Bolt and Seismic Strike while green uses Deadly Recluse (he can block anyone and has deathtouch) and Entangling Vines like a soft non-lethal Assassinate.
These are all common cards that are capable of dealing with higher rarities, so you shouldn't ever be forced to build a deck that's just "creatures that bash". Obviously, some colors are better at removal than others, but the colors with bad removal have better creatures. Black's biggest common creature is the 4/3 Zombie Goliath, but Black gets Doom Blade. While Green's removal is a tiny Spider that is susceptible to removal itself and a slow four mana "stay-tapped" enchantment, it's two biggest common creatures come with either 6 power or with trample.
Another item of discussion is why worry about the commons when dealing with sealed/draft? Surely bomb rares and uncommons are what will win the games, crack stalemates, and allow for back breaking comebacks? While they may be flashy, there are far fewer uncommons and rares than commons, so you simply can not rely on them. I played an event with a green/red Siege-Gang Commander deck, fitted out with Gorgon Flail so Siege-Gang read "1R: destroy target creature." I got to the last round and my opponent was running the same deck with the exact same combo. The problem there is you can't play Siege until turn five, and Flail the turn after that, so what do you do for turns one through four? What if you never draw the two cards and have to do without? That's where the commons come in, shoring up your defenses and trading blows. They aren't impressive or flashy because they aren't meant to be. They are the frontline of your defense, the fuel to your deck's car.
I admit it took me ages to realise this myself, rare-drafting on impulse at first. It wasn't until a draft where the rares and foils were redrafted afterwards that I could actually look at a pack, see the rare, and not grab it. And I started doing better. I'd still 1-2 a game, but I began to find holes in my deck, rather than find excuses. "I didn't draw my Razia," became, "I need to pick more reliable Commons."
I hope this has helped you, either with M10 drafting/sealed games or in Magic in general. There's nothing better than another player's opinion on a card to figure out for yourself whether it's good for you and your deck.