Well, one of the most exciting spoiler seasons in recent memory is now ended, and the full Avacyn Restored set has been officially spoiled by Wizards of the Coast. The buzz among the EDH crowd is almost overwhelmingly positive, and many fans of the format agree that this is one awesome set.
I can't disagree. Wizards seems to have hit a solid balance of flavor, power and playability. Other than the flagship cards, Avacyn and Griselbrand, nothing really seems to be quite as bonkers as Primeval Titan or Consecrated Sphinx. The two-colored Legendary Angels seem like they're really pushing the power-level envelope, but they're also much more niche-specific than something like Consecrated Sphinx.
More importantly, the vast majority of rares and mythics in Avacyn Restored seem unlikely to be major crossover hits. Cards like Primeval Titan that have such a huge impact that they are widely sought after by Standard and Modern players as well as EDH players means there are competing demographics, which drives the prices of those cards sky high. It was better back in the day when EDH staples tended to be virtually unplayable in tournament formats, and most high-dollar tournament staples were usually underwhelming in EDH. This meant EDH players got to raid the bargain bins and dollar binders for most of their cards, while leaving the big money rares to the tournament crowd.
A recent and disturbing trend has been the blurring of the line between EDH staples and Tournament staples. The aformentioned Titans, Sphinxes and stuff like Snapcaster Mage have been huge hits in both casual and competative formats, and this widespread appeal has very clearly cause prices to escalate.
It's a bit early to tell for certain, but it really looks to me like Avacyn Restored is a return to those good old days where the big tourney cards are stuff like Vexing Devils, which is virtually terrible in EDH, while stuff like Craterhoof Behemoth will be very popular in EDH, but complete lack of competative interest will keep the price remarkably low. Craterhoof Behemoth is the perfect sort of Mythic for those of us on tighter budgets - it's extremely playable and appealing for EDH and casual formats, but very unlikely to make a splash among tournament players, so it's not likely to spike above $5.00 or so, if even that.
I'd very much like to see WotC continue along this path of trying to create cards that appeal to either one demographic or another, rather than making things like the Primeval Titans that are clearly MEANT to be EDH staples, but are so overwhelmingly powerful that they wind up being competative staples as well. Obviously, there will always be some overlap - Cavern of Souls, for instance, is one such card that is likely to be widely played in virtually every format, casual or competative. One or two such cards is not the end of the world, and nonbasic lands have always been the more expensive aspect of EDH, so that's not such a big deal.
Anyway, enough prefacing and whatnot. On with the review! As always, we'll start with White.
The big bad bitch herself. Yes, this is "good" with Armageddon/Wrath/Obliterate effects. Yes, it's "douchebag" with those effects also. But, she also bites it to Path to Exile... and thank God!
Avacyn will likely be a major roleplayer in EDH. She's an obvious auto-include in Kaalia decks, will likely make a strong general (even at 8 mana!) and will be yet another absurdly poweful tool for Captain Sisay decks. Not quite "every white deck ever" status, but close enough.
It it worth the card slot to do this? Probably not, at least in Cloudshift's case, but it's still an interaction that I felt worth calling out.
This looks quite powerful. You likely don't need to pump more than 5 or 6 mana into this to make it fairly swingy. It's a card that requires some fairly specific timing to really shine, but if you're patient, you can easily completely turn the tide against an opponent who thinks they have you cornered.
Well most of the commons and uncommons suck, but we seem to be getting a higher ratio of playable rares than usual, so we should be pretty happy overall. Of course, White is getting a big push in this set for obvious storyline and flavor reasons. Let's hope the other colors fare this well.
Next up: Blue.