Avacyn Restored Set Review Artifacts, Mulitcolored and Lands
Yes! It’s that time and the full set spoiler is up online. That can mean only one thing, it’s pre-release weekend and next weekend is the release. Translation, all the local shops are gearing up for two weekends filled with events, and it’s time for me to share my advice on the new cards with all my readers. After all we’re going to be playing with these new toys for the next twenty-two months. Also at the end I’ll be giving advice on key cards to look for if you are playing in the sealed box tournament at the local shop, Mages and Sages, next weekend.
As always I’ll be breaking the cards down into six different articles and focusing on the formats that these cards will be seeing play. Let’s face it, not every card is good in all formats and I don’t have the time to keep saying that. I’ll be calling each card as I see them, and if I don’t talk about a format then the card is trash in it. If you think I’m not giving do respect to a card please use the comments below to share your opinions. Only by sharing our ideas can we reach understanding and improvement.
That all said it is now time to get on with the reviews.
Bruna, Light of Alabaster – 3WWU – Legenday Creature – Angel – M – Flying, vigilance. Whenever Bruna, Light of Alabaster attack or blocks, you may attach to it any number of Auras on the battlefield and you may attach to it any number of Aura cards that could enchant if from your graveyard and/or hand. 5/5. Bubbles love’s Auras because they are like glitter. Finally, a creature that makes Auras not suck. Too bad the six mana cost is only going to allow it to be a Limited Bomb or a great Commander general for an Auras matter deck. Almost wish I was going to the Helvault releases to get an oversized version of this. Wait, you didn’t know that oversized, non-competitive legal, versions of the five legends in this set were the Helvault gimmick, I’m sorry.
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight – 4RWW – Legendary Creature – Angel – M – Flying, First strike. If a source would deal damage to an opponent or a permanent an opponent controls, that souce deals doulbe damage to that player or permanent instead. If a source would deal damage to you or a permanent you control, prevent half that damage rounded up. 5/5. Blossom the leader of the Powerpuff Girls is a true hero when she shows up in the late game to save you in Limited. She’s also not bad in a Kaalia of the Vast Commander deck or leading her own Boros colored deck.
Sigarda, Host of Herons – 2GWW – Legendary Creature – Angel – Flying, hexproof. Spell and abilities your opponents control can’t cause you to sacrifice permanents. 5/5. Buttercup is the only one of the Powerpuff Girls that is mana priced low enough to see competitive play. I honestly will be looking to get one of her for my Melira Pod deck in Modern. With her in play I can do more that just gain way too much to draw games against Dale’s Eldrazi Ramp at the local shop. Nine million life verses sixteen Eldrazi, true story, equals a thirty-five minute game of draw-go-ouch that neither of us was going to win. Thankfully I had done the fast combo in game one so the match slip read 1-0-1.
Angel’s Tomb – 3 – Artifact – U – Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may have Angel’s Tomb become a 3/3 white Angel artifact creature with flying until end of turn. This is not Glint Hawk Idol but it is close enough that it will get some Limited play. With blink effects you can easily turn this on even if you don’t have a creature or token spell to cast.
Angelic Armaments – 3 – Artifacts – Equipment – U – Equipped creature gets +2/+2, has flying, and is a white Angel in addition to it other colors and types. Equip 4. Great in Limited, but as long as we have swords in Standard this is never going to see play. Even after rotation I don’t see this getting much use.
Bladed Bracers – 1 – Artifact – Equipment – C – Equipped creature gets +1/+1. As long as equipped creature is a Human or Angel, it has vigilance. Equip 2. Yeah, if you are playing Human or Angel tribal you should be running this in you deck. This is the only equipment in this set I think will get played outside of Limited.
Conjurer’s Closet – 5 – Artifact – R – At the beginning of your end step, you may exile target creature you control, then return that card to the battlefield under you control. Not only is this going to get played to blink you enters the battlefield dudes in Limited, but it also has a very odd trick with creatures you have taken from other players. That’s right you don’t have to give them back. It’s a very odd rules loop-hole that if you blink a stolen creature the return trigger goes away. Translation this is very good in limited decks that makes use of steal opponent’s creatures.
Gallows at Willow Hill – 3 – Artifact – R – 3, tap, tap three untapped Humans you control: Destroy target creature. It’s controller puts a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield. Seeing as Spirit tokens are running wild in Standard this is going to see play only in Block and Limited as extra removal for Human tribal decks. It is very good at doing this job as you can cast some token spells and use the tokens even if they were just put onto the battlefield.
Haunted Gaurdian – 2 – Artifact Creature – Construct – U – Defender, first strike. 2/1. Come one Wizards, you own Dungeons and Dragons so you can just call this a Helmed Horror and it would fit the flavor of the set just as well. Still, I love that art and will be using them in Limited as ground defenses all day. If only they weren’t defenders I would put them in just about any constructed deck I build for Block and Standard.
Moonsilver Spear – 4 – Artifact – Equipment – R – Equipped creature has first strike. Whenever equipped creature attacks, put a 4/4 white Angel token with Flying onto the battlefield. Equip 4. Limited bomb that makes me happy that I still have my buddy Kenny’s Puresteel Paladins. Kenny, send me your address if you need these back. Until then I might be trying to break this equipment with them in Standard.
Narstad Scrapper – 5 – Artifact Creature – Construct – C – 2: Narstad Scrapper gets +1/+0 until end of turn. 3/3. Holy cow! Look at the chest of this think in the art. Some one stole Krang’s power suit technology and armed demi-liches with them. RUN! All joking aside this is a nice Limited fodder that has a use for extra mana.
Otherworld Atlas – 4 – Artifact – R – Tap: Put a Charge counter of Otherworld Atlas. Tap: each player draw a card for each charge counter on Otherworld Atlas. In Limited this allows you to wait until the end of an opponent’s turn when they can’t play non-instant cards they draw off this to get ahead on card advantage. In Commander it lets you play group-hug to get everyone else a card.
Scroll of Avacyn – 1 – Artifact – C – 1, Sacrifice Scroll of Avacyn: Draw a card. If you control and Angel, you gain 5 life. Limited digger that might get you some life as well.
Scroll of Griselbrand – 1 – Artifact – C – 1, Sacrifice Scroll of Griselbrand: Target opponent discards a card. If you control a Demon, that player loses 3 Life. Limited tempo effect that might deal some damage as well.
Tormentor’s Trident – 2 – Artifact – Equipment – U – Equipped creature gets +3/+0 and attacks each turn if able. Equip 3. Limited equipment that makes your dumb beat stick into and even larger and dumber beat stick.
Vanguard’s Shield – 2 – Artifact – Equipment – C – Equipped creature gets +0/+3 and can block an additional creature. Equip 3. That’s a very nice piece of gear for Limited decks. Also works with the lone wolf cards to keep your from letting to many creatures in to deal damage.
Vessel of Endless Rest – 3 – Artifact – U – When Vessel of Endless Rest enters the battlefield, put target card from a graveyard on the bottom of its owner’s library. Tap: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Question, if this really is of “endless rest” shouldn’t the target card be exiled? Flavor hiccup aside, this does fit into ramp plans and could replace Sphere of the Suns in ramp decks because it can remove the opponent’s key graveyard cards, but that would slow these deck down by a turn. Only testing will tell if this is able to make the cut before rotation.
Alchemist’s Refuge – Land – Tap: Add 1 to you mana pool. GU, tap: You may cast no-land cards this turn as though they had flash. It’s a hung jury about if this land is going to make the cut into constructed decks. Some players think that three extra mana is too much for all spells to gain flash. Others feel that it’s going to change the nature of blue/green. My thoughts all center on Return to Ravnica being the next block. If the Ravnica shock lands are reprinted then I lose nothing to my mana base by adding four of these. Still I will be adding two before then because Liliana of the Veil and Sword of Feast and Famine hoses the deck because of their discard abilities. Being able to flash my low casting cost spells by paying an extra three mana is going to help get around the discard effects.
Cavern of Souls – Land – As Cavern of Souls enters the battlefield, chose a creature type. Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool. Tap: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast a creature of the chosen type, and that spell can’t be countered. As this card is sitting at pre-order prices of over $22 each, it is no secret that is is a great card. Add that reflecting pool is legal in Modern and this means tribal is fully powered in that format. Even in Standard and Block this is a tool that pushes tribal over the edge around counter spells. In Limited it isn’t that great because the counters in this set are trash. Those of you that think this is awesome sauce in Legacy must not play that format at all. Still I’m going to do the smart thing and draft to find my play-sets of this instead of buying them or cracking packs. It’s a safe bet that this is going to drop the same as Snapcaster Mage has done once the drafting season has pasted; $25 paper and $5.95 online. Hmm, I should get my play-set of Snapcaster Mage for online now.
Desolate Lighthouse – Land – R – Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool. 1UR, Tap: Draw a card, then discard a card. Looks like blue/red Delver decks are getting a new toy. As the deck has been taking of in Legacy I fully expect it to make the jump out of Block and into Standard once the Ravnica dual lands show up.
Seraph Sanctuary – Land – C – When Seraph Sanctuary enters the battlefield, you gain 1 life. Whenever an Angel enters the battlefield under your control, you gain 1 life. Tap: Add 1 mana to you mana pool. Limited life gain is all this card is going to be. Sorry, this is going to end up as a one-of in any Angel based Commander deck and a four of in very bad Angel tribal casual decks.
Slayers’ Stronghold – Land – R – Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool. RW, tap: Target creature gets +2/+0 and gains vigilance and haste until end of turn. This is going straight into Boros Humans and token decks in every format. Little known side fact, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a comic run that was called Season 8. In these comics the slayers had a castle in Great Britain as their headquarters.
Well that’s the end of the set review. For flavor I’m going to give this a B- because when the flavor was hit it is was spot on, but there were also a number of flavor duds that distracted me. For Commander this is a total win as all of these card will find homes in some hundred card deck. When it comes to Limited the same is true as well. Granted, I have to give it a C- for Standard impact because I have to weight the lands along with the artifacts and multicolored. If not for that I would give the lands an A and that is with the garbage that is Seraph Sanctuary. Still this set doesn’t let the players down in the home stretch as I’m willing to say this part can walk away with a B+.
My advice for these cards in the sealed box is, “if it fits, it ships.” Every deck type gets an artifact or two that they are going to want to run. The Angels are auto includes in any deck that matches their colors as late game bombs. All of the utility lands go in the decks that they color match. Cavern of Souls is the prefect color fixer for your chosen tribe. As for Seraph Sanctuary if you are running an Angel deck or at least a pair of Moonsilver Spears you can get away with running two of these. The only card in this section that should not get used at the sealed box event has to be Narstad Scrapper, and that is only because with a full box you end up with tons of better five drop creatures.
My final thoughts on this set have to be about how much I love the flavor. When I heard that this was going to be a heavy Angel and Demon set I was scared that it was going to be Demonic verse Divine in two hundred forty-four cards. Well it does have a taste of that flavor, it also reminds me a lot of my favorite set’s flavor. I started when Fallen Empires came out and I like that each color was split down the middle between good and evil. This set continues that kind of flavor as only white and black are pure in their choice of side and the others get divided between them. The control player in me wishes that blue would have had cooler spells but the aggro and combo player in me is happy that we might just be moving away from blue/X decks being the best after rotation.
That’s all for now. I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting many articles these past two months. I’ve been busy trying to get my shop up and running which has been cutting into my time and money for tournaments. I have been doing a lot of drafting and pick-up games of Standard on Magic the Gathering Online. This weekend I’m going to try to make it to the fund raising FNM for fellow teammates Derrick Jones and Josh Smith. Again guys, great job on winning your byes in the Grand Prix Trials for Minnesota. If you any of you reading this have the ability to make it to Mages and Sages for Friday Night Magic this week please come down to help them get the money they need to rep Northern Maine at the professional levels.
This has been…
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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Avacyn Restored set reviews; White, Blue, Black, Red, Green, Artifacts, Multicolored and Lands.