Welcome folks! Theros is back in Ranked Draft now, thankfully, and we’re approaching late stages of the format. The Arena bots have been fixed a lot and I think are in a really good place; this is shaping up to be one of those especially great formats which don’t get at all stale throughout their lifetime. Early on in the format, aggro was really hard to draft but now it has a lot more potential, and Black is being cut a lot more (as it should be since it’s still busted).
Today’s changes to my half of Compulsion and my Theros Beyond Death Limited Tier List are a real mixed bag; I had quite a few for some colours and almost none for others! I’m doing the formatting of my update a bit differently this time; please compare to my last update and let me know which format you prefer!
- Arena Trickster C+ -> C
- Blood Aspirant C+ -> C
- Captivating Unicorn C -> C+
- Enemy of Enlightenment B -> C+
- Entrancing Lyre C+ -> B
- Flicker of Fate D -> C
- Furious Rise B -> C+
- Heliod’s Pilgrim C+ -> B
- Mystic Repeal C+ -> B
- Omen of the Sun C+ -> C
- Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded A -> B
- Sea God’s Scorn C -> D
- Setessan Champion A -> S
- Skophos Maze-Warden C -> C+
- Staggering Insight B -> A
- Thassa’s Intervention C+ -> B
- Transcendent Envoy D -> C
I thought that White would be more of a support colour originally, but it has established itself as a strong main colour too. As such, grades have picked up on several cards I’ve been especially impressed with, and White has the most changes all in all.
Captivating Unicorn C -> C+
I’ve been impressed with Captivating Unicorn, to the point where I’m moving it up to low C+ – there aren’t tons of 5 drops in the format, and there are enough enchantments that the Unicorn is a major threat out of any deck in most games. It’s nuts in Azorius, one of the best colour combinations, but it’s not that hard to pick up a couple of Omens or other flash Enchantments in other colours to mess with both their attacks and their blocks .
Flicker of Fate D -> C
Flicker generally isn’t great, but this is an exceptional format for it and the Enchantment text is a massive deal. Flickering Dreadful Apathy with the exile trigger on the stack is strong, and you just tend to play at instant speed more and have more good targets in Omens and Auras with ETBs like Iroas’s Blessing. Flicker is an actively solid card in Azorius, more like a high C, but in general I would take it around low C.
Heliod’s Pilgrim C+ -> B
White has solidified itself as one of the best colours, in part because it rides on the back of Heliod’s Pilgrim. There are enough great auras that the card is a busted toolbox that can fetch whatever you really need, and if you have something like Staggering Insight, will easily warp the game around it. It’s still a fairly low B but I certainly think it merits the grade, and would be happy to both take it early and have it in any colour pair.
Omen of the Sun C+ -> C
This particular Omen is still a C+ in Azorius, but isn’t all that exciting anywhere else. There are just better ways to use your mana in decks that aren’t relying on flash synergy; enchantments are so rampant that having this as an extra one isn’t really worth that much.
Transcendent Envoy D -> C
Transcendent Envoy has been a bit better in some decks than I gave it credit. I maintain that you do still need a lot of Enchantments it makes cheaper/good auras to put on it, but that recipe isn’t as hard to make happen in this format as I thought so I’m raising it to low C.
Blue is still very solid, and Azorius is in the running for best colour combination (though I suspect Orzhov still wins by a bit). I think I correctly rated Blue for the most part; there’s just a rare and an uncommon that I revisit here.
Sea God’s Scorn C -> D
The tempo advantage of this card is rarely actually worth it in this format; the blue decks really don’t want to be tapping all their mana on their turn this late in the game. If you’re an aggressive Blue deck, you can consider it but I doubt it’s worth it if you have other reasonable options at all.
Thassa’s Intervention C + -> B
Thassa’s Intervention is better than I gave it credit; it turns out there aren’t so many instants in Blue decks that the utility of having it is all that diminished, as I had feared.
Black is still busted and I’m happy with my grades for it; there’s just one uncommon I’m making a slight adjustment to.
Enemy of Enlightenment B -> C+
Enemy is still great, but it’s not quite as great as I thought. Against the Blue decks, it’s sometimes hard to play it on turn 6 (you need them to have three or fewer cards in hand, and ideally fewer so they can’t kill it with Thirst for Meaning), and there’s plenty of competition in the 6 drop slot. I’m still very happy with the card, that being said. Remember that Enemy synergises well with Aspect of Lamprey, and that is a reason to take it a little higher!
Red has proven a little worse than I thought and is the worst colour, though not by a huge amount.
Arena Trickster C+ -> C
Izzet hasn’t been as good as I thought (though Trickster is still great if you are there), and Trickster tends to suffer in the other colour combinations. He grows a bit too slowly and the payoff isn’t busted enough to make worse instant speed plays to play into.
Blood Aspirant C+ -> C
Blood Aspirant can be decent in Rakdos but not really elsewhere, and even that requires a specific deck. The card is pretty mediocre in this format and I am at the point where I’m only taking it at low C.
Furious Rise B -> C+
It’s a testament to how blurry the grades line can be that I keep going back and forth on this one! I raised it to B last time, but I think I rated it correctly originally. It’s a solid card and an easy B in Gruul, but sometimes a bit hard to turn on in the other combinations. I still really like it and don’t mind taking it early though, especially if I already have a 4 power guy or two in mid pack 1.
Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded A -> B
Devotion has been a little hard to turn on this format than I anticipated; there just aren’t a lot of good double colour cards especially in Red. Purphoros’s abilities still really don’t do very much, so he gets knocked down.
Skophos Maze-Warden C -> C+
Maze-Warden lines up really well with the format; a lot of creatures tend to have solid defensive statlines and he rips right through them. Taking hits from him is a really scary proposition, since they can buff him up to dealing as much as 6, and the format’s creatures aren’t great at blocking him profitably. As a side note, I made a sweet play recently where an opponent tried to Flicker their Dreadful Apathy on my Maze-Warden while I had 4 mana up, so I pumped him four times in response for a savage blowout!
I’ve been mostly happy with how I rated Green, and there are only a couple of changes this time round (and not particularly significant ones either).
Setessan Champion A -> S
I thought Setessan Champion would be a little too clunky and vulnerable in a removal-heavy format to make S. I was wrong – the problem is that it scales up fast enough that most removal in the set cant keep up with it, and you can play around Mire’s Grasp by waiting until as early as T5 to play it + enchantment. Enchantments that merely take it out of combat don’t work; enchantment removal itself doesn’t work. There’s removal for it once it has a counter, but that tends to be on the expensive and awkward side; all in all, it’s just ridiculously good.
Mystic Repeal C+ -> B
Mystic Repeal has done enough Swords to Plowshares impressions in my games to justify moving it up – it’s ridiculous tempo at instant speed at such a cheap cost; absurd swings like 4 drop + Repeal your 5 drop on t5 can decide many games. Additionally, with the number of auras around, it makes putting them on Enchantment creatures against Green always a nerve-wracking proposition and being so cheap means it’s very hard to play around .
Entrancing Lyre C+ -> B
I thought that the run-on hate from Enchantment removal would be enough to keep Lyre out of B, but the card is just too good. When you’re attacking, it locks down two creatures, it’s insane late game, and it will always lock down their best threat if you have enough mana, even if their best threat evolves into something scarier.
Staggering Insight B -> A
I’ve been overwhelmingly happy with Insight, and a lot of that has to do with how busted it is with Heliod’s Pilgrim. It’s also fantastic with Karametra’s Blessing and Starlit Mantle, and a reason to play those cards higher. Make no mistake: this is one of the best uncommons, a great splash, and I am always happy to take it early.
Thanks for reading! I highly recommend everyone jams as much as they can of what is probably the best format on Arena so far (though you can read about my soft spot for War of the Spark here) before it leaves, especially if you haven’t done it for a while. May the Dream Trawler be with you and never against you!
As always, you can find all my content here with links to our original set reviews and the tier list: