Crimson Vow spoilers are already pouring in and I’m beyond excited about it! I always love to write these sorts of articles and I hope that they end up being helpful to you during your time drafting the format. No time to waste, let’s dive in!
- 5.0: Disgustingly powerful and basically unbeatable. Either answer it the turn it comes down or just pack up your cards. (Tovolar's Huntmaster, The Meathook Massacre, Starnheim Unleashed)
- 4.5: Incredible bomb that still gives your opponent a slim chance. (Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, Alrund's Epiphany, Grand Master of Flowers)
- 4.0: Great rare or the absolute best uncommons and removal. (Froghemoth, Morbid Opportunist, Skullport Merchant)
- 3.5: Great role filler or removal that you never cut. (Magic Missile, Cathartic Pyre, Battle Cry Goblin)
- 3.0: Good playable that I’m basically never cutting. (Usher of the Fallen, Search Party Captain, Dragon Turtle)
- 2.5: Decent playable and the bar I hope nearly every card in my deck to reach. (Mourning Patrol, Steadfast Paladin, Goblin Morningstar)
- 2.0: Mediocre filler that normally is your 20-23rd card(s). (Contact Other Plane, Vampire Spawn, Timberland Guide)
- 1.5: Replaceable, overall bad filler. Could also be decent sideboard cards. (Secrets of the Key, Spiked Pit Trap, Village Rites)
- 1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Secret Door, Mystic Skull, Funeral Longboat)
- 0.5: Very unhappy to main deck this, but maybe it has fringe sideboard applications. (You See a Guard Approach, Bramble Armor, Compelled Duel)
- 0.0: Unplayable in every possible situation. (Mimic, Fifty Feet of Rope, Curse of Shaken Faith)
This is clunky and mediocre, but it’ll still get the job done if you’re aggressive, low on removal, and in need of some ways to push your creatures through.
We’re starting off strong here with a pretty fantastic finisher for any white deck. This is a beefy, flying Saddleback Lagac that leaves behind some decent value even if it is answered. I see a lot of games ending quickly once Quartermaster hits the battlefield, so I wouldn’t expect to be passing this often. It takes a lot for a five drop to impress me in Limited since late game plays are a dime in a dozen, but this is the exception and more than delivers.
Arm the Cathars
I could definitely be wrong here, but this is giving me major Righteous Charge vibes, which was not good in its respective limited format. Giving Vigilance is nice, but sorcery speed pumps are really easy to play around and block effectively in combat. The good ones are usually only cards like Overrun because the Trample stops your opponent from being able to chump block profitably.
This downside is too low for me to ever be actively trying to assemble the wedding finery combo. Marauder’s Axe is just too bad of a card and the only way I could see myself playing both this and Groom’s Finery is if I was a very aggressive Orzhov deck that had 1-2 of each. Even then, I could see it being incorrect to ever play this because you only want so many equipment in your deck.
By Invitation Only
A five mana wrath with upside is going to be great on just about every board state. I like that you can play this and clear an opponent’s horde of creatures while still keeping your bomb in play. Not to mention that this plays around Indestructible tricks like Adamant Will since your opponent is sacrificing instead of destroying their creatures.
This will often be able to ambush a creature in combat and then start accruing a nice stream of creatures for you. If you end up exiling a land you get to live the dream of making your own Emeria Angel! Being able to hit any graveyard also makes it unlikely for this to have no targets while also making it a stellar answer to a graveyard synergy that your opponent is trying to pull off. I don’t foresee myself passing this often.
Circle of Confinement
I’ll definitely take a Silkwrap with irrelevant bonus text! A sweet situational removal spell with sweet flavor that I’m always going to play but will rarely be blown away with.
A two mana 1/3 with little upside is near unplayable in modern day limited. Gaining two or four life off of this is fine and all, but even then that’s nothing special. Don’t be tricked into trying to get this to work, the payoff simply isn’t there!
This is a great creature in any deck that should open up combat and make it way easier to Train your creatures!
White has a lot of solid common two drops, which makes me optimistic about the color’s ability to be aggressive. I’d happily play as many of these as possible since they leave behind value after trading and help grow a flier and keep Training triggering.
This hits hard and is impossible to profitably block once it’s Indestructible. I expect to see a lot of these from the aggressive human based decks of the format since this is an amazing way to Train your creatures!
This is very difficult to attack through early on, and then turns into a Serra Angel a few turns down the line. That alone is a fantastic deal for three mana. However, what makes this insane is that your opponent can’t kill it unless they have an answer to an enchantment or are able to end the game incredibly quickly. Seven is a lot, but this is insanely hard to answer and is going to be near unbeatable on most board states, so I would never under any circumstances pass this and would not be surprised if it was the best limited card in the entire set.
Both of these modes combine to make a solid removal spell. If you’re behind you’re able to kill an attacker and manage the board, and if you’re ahead you can pay the Cleave cost and push your advantage. I think you’re going to be seeing a lot of this card throughout your time playing the format.
This isn’t nearly as good as Adanto Vanguard or Seasoned Hallowblade, but it still looks good to me! Discarding a card to blink it makes this a decent blocker at times, but what really interests me is giving this First Strike, picking off their attacker or blocker, and then blinking out Fleeting Spirit to save it. Three cards is a real cost though, so I don’t think you’ll be able to activate this more than once or twice a game. Fleeting Spirit is still an insanely cool design that I can’t wait to play with in draft!
A solid flier that grows as the game goes on is the exact kind of card that you’re going to be gunning to have as many copies as possible in your aggressive decks. It’s also nice that even if you don’t trigger Training, this is still serviceable as a 2/1 Flier. I love prioritizing cards with a high floor and a high ceiling, especially when they’re so good at fueling other cards with the set mechanic!
Training this feisty bird is going to be trivial since you can give flying to whatever huge beater that you want this to train with. The initial body is small, but this is so good at beating down that I have high hopes for it.
I want to give this a 0/5, but if you have like 12 enchantments then I suppose that this could be powerful. A super strange card that’s meant for EDH and not for Limited play.
Heron of Hope
A nice bread and butter playable right here. Gaining three life per hit is good, and a 2/3 Flier for four is passable. For reference, I would assume that this is about as good as Sunmane Pegasus was in Theros Beyond Death.
A 3/3 Flying for five is playable but unexciting, but being able to turn this into more fliers after it dies brings it’s value way up. Needing to have an enchantment is annoying, but it’s nice that by the time you want to get the spirits out of this, the game will probably already have dragged on to the point where you have an enchantment or two out.
Training this early on is when it’s going to overperform, but I worry about how mediocre this is later on in the game when the board gets clogged. I do like that it provides incidental answers to artifacts and enchantments and that this can use counters from any creature, but I doubt this is going to perform as well as I’m hoping for.
Katilda, Dawnhart Martyr
This is fine even as a 1/1 Flying, Lifelink, Protection from Vampires, but I can see this getting big in the late game as you deploy more spirits and enchantments. The disturb side is also great because it makes another huge threat for you, so I expect this to be a very powerful rare to start a draft with.
Nothing too flashy or powerful here, but a nice filler for whatever deck you’re playing, especially if it’s going to be slower. Also look at the flavor, it’s so sweet!
Only being able to hit creatures is a bummer, but this is still a solid removal spell whether you’re Boros or just playing white. It’s going to be especially brutal in racing situations when you can pay the Cleave cost though now that’s for sure!
My goodness, why does white get these stinkers? This is a worse Centaur Courser, which isn’t even all that great nowadays. There’s way better cards than this and I’d only play this if I had a bunch of human synergies to back it up with.
Armored Cancrix unfortunately is atrocious by today’s standards. This being a tapper and a good blocker make it playable, but it’s way too small for the cost for me to ever want to willingly play this.
Two mana for a 1/1 Flier isn’t great, but this could help buff a creature and get it profitably attacking and triggering Training, which makes this somewhat interesting. I’m skeptical and assume that this will underperform, but I’ll need to try it out in order to confirm that it is indeed mediocre, but still playable.
Holy beans, and the award of the creepiest card in the entire set goes to… Panicked Bystander! My goodness is the flavor here beyond scary. This is still an excellent card that every white deck will want considering that it turns into a huge, near impossible to profitably block Zulaport Cutthroat.
Now this is a two drop that I’m happy to play! It should be easy to start Training this up, and it’s great that you get value after it trades off. This is exactly the type of creature that I want to be filling my aggressive white decks with. Keep in mind that the Training mechanic makes fliers way more valuable because they are way more likely to be able to attack profitably and trigger all your Training creatures.
Righteous Blow was always mediocre but playable, and I assume that adding a Scry one won’t change much. Creatures are a lot bigger nowadays, but I still like that this is able to kill Training creatures with ease because they tend to start out small.
A non-evasive one mana 1/1 isn’t great, but this does get better once you start filling your deck with a bunch of creatures with Training. Still, I see a lot of situations where this is unable to protect the creature that I want it to, which is disappointing and why I’m not too high on it.
The backside of this is fine, but the front side is atrocious. I wouldn’t recommend playing this since it’s so easy to get blown out by bounce or exile and have this not flip. Even when it does slip, only the most aggressive decks will be able to take full advantage of it.
Now this is a white three drop. This is a top notch three drop in any human deck seeing as a three mana 3/2 that draws a card is way above rate. I know that I’m gonna roll my eyes in disgust when my opponent curves a two drop human into this!
This is probably better than Disenchant in Limited because gaining three is quite relevant, but this should still only be a board card.
Savior of Ollenbock
Wow, you better kill this quickly otherwise your board is going to be decimated and your window to profitably kill this will close. Sure this exiles your opponent creatures, which is great, but what really interests me is exiling creatures from your own graveyard with this so even if it is answered, you still get a bunch of value from reanimating some of your creatures. It’s also nice that this clears the way for itself when you attack and Train it, so I foresee this playing incredibly well and being very difficult to beat.
Oh no, my favorite Innistrad angel ain’t doing too good! Ah jeez, regardless this is just Luminous Bonds with upside, which I’m always going to play in my white decks.
Really expensive, situational, and being easy to blow out makes this all risk and no reward. This doesn’t even have Flash all the time, so that means that it’ll often just be a way more expensive and clunky Abandon the Post, which saw little to no play in Midnight Hunt.
This is going to be awful in most decks, but if you have a lot of Train and counter synergies then feel free to play this and try to live the dream! The payoff is definitely there if you get it to work. This kind of reminds me of Divine Visitation, so keep that in mind when you’re trying to build around it.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
One of my favorite cards of all time! Unlike in constructed however, her second ability isn’t normally that stellar since most Limited decks (including yours) will have 7+ noncreature spells in it. Regardless, a 2/1 First Strike is still solid and this is going to be particularly punishing if you end up playing against some of the slower blue and black decks of the format.
This feels very difficult to accurately evaluate, because I’ve honestly never seen a card that’s similar to this. Personally, I think that it’s going to perform well because it pecks in early on, gains a decent chunk of life, and then opens up a lot of attacks that trigger all your Training creatures. That’s a lot for only one mana! I love the design here and am looking forward to trying it out!
This works very well with Drogskol Infantry, Traveling Minister, and a whole bunch of commons in white which makes me optimistic about the power level of Fencing Ace in this set. The Disturb side should also be especially difficult to beat when it’s on a big flier or lifelinker.
It feels like every weak card nowadays is given Vigilance in an attempt to boost its power ever so slightly. This is way worse than Traveling Minister and feels like a way worse Anointed Chorister too, which was decent but rarely fantastic. There’s better early plays than this that don’t take a ton of mana before they’re able to impact the board. I love how white is getting some vampires in this set though!
Another really sweet reprint right here. Creature protection and situational removal stapled together end up making a very solid spell, so I’d happily play this in every white deck. It’s just so versatile and it never hurts to have extra answers to some of the huge demons and dragons of this set.
There are a lot of vampires in Crimson Vow, but at the end of the day this is still going to just be a 2/2 for two with Deathtouch like 25% of the time. That’s not great, but also not bad so don’t be concerned about filling your curve in with this when you’re in dire need of some early game.
Voice of the Blessed
This more often than not is just going to be a harder to cast Ajani’s Pridemate, but that’s not a bad floor to have! If you end up having a consistent way to gain life, then this will easily take over the game once it gets four counters on it. If you take this, definitely start taking Traveling Ministers way more highly.
This either draws you cards or makes 1/1’s, both of which are solid. By the time this flips into Glorious Anthem, you’ll either have made three 1/1’s, drawn three cards, or some mix of the two, all of which seem very good. Global pump effects are always at their best in limited, so I expect this to be fantastic nearly every time that it’s cast. The only downside is that this can be a little slow to flip, but it is nice at least that this triggers on your end step instead of upkeep.
I’ll definitely take a Mentor of the Meek with Flying! You trade being able to trigger Mentor of the Meek as many times a turn as you want with a way better body and no activation cost, which makes this a good amount better in my opinion. You should never run out of cards for as long this lives, which make it a must answer, insanely powerful bomb.