Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Theros EDH Set Review, Part 1: White

Sorry, folks. I meant to start getting these up sooner, but it just didn't work out that way. I dream of the day when I no longer start every other post with an apology for not posting more often. Anyway, I'm here now, and that's what counts right? So let's get on with our regularly scheduled Set Review.

I have to tell you I've been super excited about Theros. Return to Ravnica block was awesome and exciting in many ways, but in others it strangely left me wanting. Well, I haven't had a chance yet to play with any of the Theros cards, and there are some aspects of the set that don't thrill me, but overall, there are a ton of cards that caught my eye during the spoiler season and I cannot wait to start jamming some of these cards into decks.

As per the routine you are all probably used to by now, we'll start with White, and work our way onward from there.

There's no denying that being able to block exactly 100 creatures - one per hand - is awesome flavor. This card is certainly good for a laugh and dripping with flavor, but is it playable? At 4 mana, it's reasonable, and the Monstrosity ability/cost isn't the worst in the set. Still, I think this is fine for casual/budget EDH play, but falls short in even a semi-serious metagame. Still, it's exactly the kind of fun card casual EDHers should appreciate.
Bestow is one of the mechanics I'm least inspired by, but I also think it's the one that might surprise me in actual play, by being a bit better than it reads. This guy certainly seems like a bomb in Limited but will he make much sense in EDH? Outside of an Enchantress or Voltron style of deck, I doubt it. Again, he seems fine for very casual, non-competative decks, but falls just short of serious consideration.
Combat tricks are generally pretty terrible in EDH. Awesome interactions with the Heroic ability notwithstanding, I can't see this being good in any EDH archetype.
Overcosted removal is WAY overcosted.
Definitely not a bad Planeswalker - both of her first two abilities serve as built-in defense against attackers, meaning the ultimate is one of the more realistically-achievable ultimates I've seen. Shame, because it's also one of the least exciting ultimate abilities ever. Obviously, she's best in Token decks like Ghave, or white weenie decks.
I have a feeling this is going to be one of those annoying cards that just keeps being annoying. Kinda like the Sun Titan/Emeria engine where you kill shit and it won't stay dead, ever. Oh, and it costs 3 so it works with Sun Titan! Great.
Also, seems great for certain kinds of Zur decks.
All in all, I like it, despite the headaches I foresee this giving me.
 Neat ability, but my God, who in the hell wants to play a 1/3 for six? Yeah, yeah, get enough tokens off it, and it should be worth it... but it's still a 1/3 for six. I can't get past that. Sorry.
Small, efficient Double-strikers are neat, even in EDH. Problem is, the Heroic thing is less likely to work out in EDH due to the fact that one-shot pump effects are terrible. Auras are slightly better in that they are permanent, but also have potentially horrible card-disadvantage issues. I can see this guy making the cut in, like, a Bruna deck or something, but he isn't widely playable.
 Too restrictive. Unless you somehow find that White is the most commonly played color in your group, this is likely to be stuck in your hand, useless, 90% of the time.
Neat. Not a fan at all of Oblivion Ring type effects because they tend to be more liability than solution.
 Absolute garbage in EDH. Elsewhere, seems pretty awesome. But, yeah, not at all designed for EDH.
Again, not liking Heroic much for EDH purposes. Solid card overall, but horrible in our format.
For me, this is probably the least-exciting of the Gods in Theros. His abilities are solid, but not sexy. Also, does anyone else find it vaguely annoying that he makes 2/1 cleric tokens? Why not 1/1 or 2/2? That just seems absurd to me, but whatever. Heliod is definitely playable, but limited in what kinds of decks he actually fits into.
Limited fodder.
Luckily, I like the Spear more than I like it's wielder. It's a decent rattlesnake card combined with a Glorious Anthem, at the original GA's mana cost. Not too shabby. Now, it doesn't go into just any old deck, but it's applications aren't super narrow either.
Ugh, that Bestow cost... major turn-off. Not sure what it'd have to cost for me to consider this playble, but seven sure as hell ain't it.

Well, that's it for White... but hold on! I have a new feature I'm introducing to these Set Reviews. As a sort of TL;DR summary, I'm ranking my Top 5 cards in each color at the end of each segment. So, here are my Top 5 picks for White (again, for EDH specifically), assuming I can find 5 cards worth listing.

5. Hundred-Handed One
4. Heliod, God of the Sun
3. Elspeth, Champion of the Sun (Fighter of the Nightman!)
2. Spear of Heliod
1. Gift of Immortality

For me, cards like Hundred-Handed One and Celestial Archon represent the power level where I wish EDH stayed - casual, but not bad. As it stands, in my group at least, which is FAR from being competative, really, those types of cards are still largely outclassed, and rarely get played. The only exceptions are when a specific deck archetype makes a cool-but-mediocre card better than it should be by virtue of synergy.

I used to be okay with this, but lately it's been bugging me. No clue how to fix it though.

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