Core Set 2021 Constructed Set Review – Multicolor, Colorless and Lands

Constructed_Multi_Colorless_Lands

Since I have already done all five colors, it’s time to round out our review with the best of the rest! I will be combining colorless and artifacts, alongside with multicolor and lands. Keep in mind that this review highlights only cards that are likely to see play in Constructed.

Grading Scale

When reviewing cards I will be using a grading scale. This is basically the same letter grading system you might find at school.

  • A: This grade is rare, because it will only be used on cards that look like they will be heavily played, possibly even dominant in a format, or ban worthy. These cards often go beyond Standard, and see play in older formats as well.
    Examples: Teferi, Time Raveler, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath.
  • B: Format staple that’slikely to see plenty of play in multiple different archetypes, both in the sideboard and maindeck.
    Examples: Rotting Regisaur , Light Up the Stage.
  • C: This could be a card that is only played in single, but popular archetype. It could also be a heavily used sideboard card.
    Examples: Cindervines, Absorb.
  • D: Cards that see some play from time to time, but aren’t a major part of the top tier archetypes.
    Examples: Ajani’s Pridemate, Genesis Ultimatum.
  • E: Cards that don’t see play, but people might think are good when they are first printed. These cards have some hype but end up being duds.
    Examples: Luminous Broodmoth, Happily Ever After

Alpine Houndmaster

Alpine Houndmaster

Grade: D-

I like this card a lot in Limited, but in order to make it work in Constructed you need to play Alpine Watchdog and Igneous Cur. Even though you are getting three creatures for the price of one, the creatures you search out of your deck are extremely underwhelming.

Conclave Mentor

Conclave Mentor

Grade: B

There is definitely a push to make a Green-White, counters matter synergy deck. Conclave Mentor is just a Grizzly Bear without ways to put counters on things. Luckily there are a number of cards that either come into play with counters like Stonecoil Serpent, or add counters to your creatures like Basri Ket. Basri Ket and Conclave Mentor should definitely be going into the same deck.

Experimental Overload

Experimental Overload

Grade: C

This is a nice value play in a Blue-Red spells deck. Being able to make a large creature and bring back a key card from the graveyard is exactly what you want at four mana. It reminds me a decent amount of Ral’s Outburst, it provides two effects for the price of one. Unfortunately, Experimental Overload does get exiled when it resolves, so you can’t bring back a previous copy if you draw multiples.

Indulging Patrician

Indulging Patrician

Grade: C

Naturally, your White-Black card is going to be lifegain focused. There is clearly a push towards making a dedicated lifegain deck a viable strategy. This is a card that really only fits in a deck that is all about try to gain life, but in that strategy it does seem like a card worth putting in your deck.

Niambi, Esteemed Speaker

Niambi, Esteemed Speaker

Grade: B

Being able to flash Niambi into play to save a creature in combat, or get some value out of a creature with an enter the battlefield trigger by returning it to your hand, is really nice. Even if you don’t end up bouncing a creature with it, there should be other legendary cards in your deck to go alongside Niambi. This makes the card draw effect a pretty big deal.

Obsessive Stitcher

Obsessive Stitcher

Grade: D

If you like reanimating creatures then look no further. Obsessive Stitcher provides both a discard outlet and a way to reanimate your creatures all rolled into one The main negative is that you are relying on it not dying to opposing removal in order to be able to use it. Drakuseth, Maw of Flames comes to mind as one possible reanimation target. Up until now reanimation decks haven’t really taken off though.

Radha, Heart of Keld

Radha, Heart of Keld

Grade: B

This is one of the stronger creatures in the set from a power level perspective. Being able to play lands off the top of your deck is a form of card advantage. Radha is going to be good with ways to manipulate the top of your deck, like Fabled Passage. If the right card isn’t on top you can reset it. This is reminiscent of Courser of Kruphix, but more aggressively slanted.  

Sanctum of All

Sanctum of All

Grade: C

Plenty of people will try to make this one work, that’s for sure. It’s definitely a really powerful and important card in a deck full of shrines. Getting all five colors of mana is an attainable goal, but certainly isn’t easy. Since there are so few shrines you kind of need to play all of them if you are going to make the deck work.

Watcher of the Spheres

Watcher of the Spheres

Grade: B+

White-Blue Fliers is a deck that has already been seeing play, and there are now some additional weapons. Part of the power behind Watcher of Spheres is the ability to reduce the mana cost on your creatures. This will be great at helping out fliers that cost two or more mana, but doesn’t actually reduce the cost of a flyer that normally costs one mana to cast. Most turns you can grow Watcher of the Spheres in the flyer deck, so even without the cost reduction aspect of the card this one might be worth playing.

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Grade: A-

We are used to seeing Ugin in Modern Tron decks, but it should still see play in Standard. I certainly remember having it in my Abzan deck that I took down the World Championships with in 2015. Ugin is a great card to ramp into, or as a top end play in a midrange deck. We know how high impact it can be immediately when entering the battlefield.

Chromatic Orrery

Chromatic Orrery

Grade: C-

Talk about a mana rock, this thing is kind of crazy. In a deck that needs loads and loads of mana Chromatic Orrery should fit right in. I’m not sure how much value you can realistically set up from the card draw effect, depending on how you construct a deck around this card. I don’t expect to see this one make it into top tier decks, but it will see some usage.

Mazemind Tome

Mazemind Tome

Grade: C+

This is the type of value artifact that will make an impact if you play it on turn two, and get a chance to activate it a few times. It’s perfect for a really slow and grindy game, due to the ability to dig through your deck. Plus, the fact you can gain some life off it helps out against aggro. Managing the four activations you get off Mazemind Tome is certainly important, as the decision of drawing a card versus scrying will often be difficult to make.

Solemn Simulacrum

Solemn Simulacrum

Grade: B

Solemn Simulacrum is a player favorite, and a really smart reprint. I remember playing this one back in Mirrodin. It mostly wants to be played in decks that have good ways of using extra mana. It’s a nice way to transition into something like an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon later in the game. I definitely expect those two cards to see play in the same decks. This is not an aggressive creature by any means, but a really nice value oriented play for midrange and ramp.

Sparkhunter Masticore

Sparkhunter Masticore

Grade: C-

Sparkhunter Masticore is going to be really good against a deck full of planeswalkers. While we have seen some decks with almost all planeswalker in them, they aren’t super popular. I think the power of this card is tied to its protection from planeswalkers, and ability to ping them. Unless we see decks playing multiple planeswalkers in the same deck, I don’t see Sparkhunt Masticore being used very much.

Tormod’s Crypt

Tormod's Crypt

Grade: B

We see Tormod’s Crypt more in older formats because there are more graveyard based decks, like Dredge. I don’t see that changing any time soon, but this is definitely an important sideboard card for many deck in Modern, Pioneer, and even Vintage.

Animal Sanctuary

Animal Sanctuary

Grade: C-

Here is a land that could go nicely in a counter synergy deck, with a creature like Conclave Mentor in play. There are two major issues though. The first is that playing a land that doesn’t make colored mana can really hurt your manabase. The second issue is trying to find the right creature types to play, in order to benefit from the land. If we see decks of entirely Dogs and Cats, then Animal Sanctuary would make a lot of sense there, but we are talking about a deck that doesn’t currently exist.

Fabled Passage

Fabled Passage

Grade: A

This is a card that helps so many decks. People may not think about it being super powerful because of how similar it is to Evolving Wilds, but it is much better. I’m a bit surprised to see it reprinted so soon after its first printing, but this is definitely a card that many decks will benefit from, even moving out of Standard and Historic, and into Pioneer. It may seem weird to give an “A” to a land, but Fabled Passage has earned it.

Radiant Fountain

Radiant Fountain

Grade : C

Radiant Fountain could be a useful land in White-Black lifegain, if the deck can support a colorless land. Having a way to gain life that you don’t need to use a spell on it is really nice. We are most used to seeing Radiant Fountain as a single tutor out of Amulet Titan decks.

The Temples

Grade: B

There are five Temple’s in Core Set 2020, but they are already Standard legal. We largely know what we are getting with these. They are definitely nice fixers to have access to, though the fact they come into play tapped makes it hard to have too many Temples in a three color deck, for instance.

Thanks for reading,

Seth Manfield

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