Kaldheim Limited Set Review: Green
Remember to check out Introduction and White first, for all the background and specifics of this review!
I’ve been enthralled by Limited ever since I began playing Magic, almost ten years ago now. With a particular fondness for flashback and cube drafts, I’ve drafted more sets than I can count on every platform through wildly different eras. On Arena I draft infinitely, having profited 40k or so gems from it at this point, and have made top 100 mythic many times. Self-reflection and forming good habits are paramount to Limited improvement, and those themes feature in many of my articles and in each session of the Limited coaching service I provide; consider booking a session today if you’d like feedback tailored to you that you can really put into practice!
Ever since my first draft in New Phyrexia, I’ve been hooked on Limited – there’s no feeling quite like cracking, even virtually, those first packs of a new set to see what deck you can put together. Since then, scarcely a day has passed by in which the game hasn’t been on my mind. Most of my experience has been in paper, where I drafted every set extensively on release, and entered as many competitive events of it as were available, often doing rather well for myself! Online, I’ve scaled the climb to Mythic in Limited and Constructed alike, and earned a fair few trophies over on MTGO. Limited is one of the hardest things to pick up in Magic, given the innumerable deck combinations and the sub-game that is draft itself, but learning it has been the most rewarding experience I’ve had playing the game.
- S: Ridiculous bomb: has a huge immediate impact on the game and threatens to dominate it if unanswered. (Emeria’s Call, Elder Gargaroth, Luminous Broodmoth)
- A: Very powerful card: approaches bomb status, pulls you strongly into its colour. (A+: Maul of the Skyclaves, A: Scute Swarm, A-: Jace, Mirror Mage)
- B: Great playable: happy to pick early, pulls you into its colour. (B+: Journey to Oblivion, B: Deadly Alliance B-: Kargan Intimidator)
- C+: Good playable that rarely gets cut. (Sea Gate Restoration, Deathbloom Thallid, Dead Weight)
- C: Fine playable, sometimes gets cut. (Farsight Adept, Alpine Watchdog, Honey Mammoth)
- C-: Mediocre playable or decent filler, gets cut around half the time. (Living Tempest, Legion’s Judgment, Raugrin Crystal)
- D: Medium to bad filler, gets cut a lot. (D+: Inordinate Rage, D: Utility Knife, D-: Sizzling Barrage)
- F: Mostly to totally unplayable cards. (Forsaken Monument, Miscast, Blazing Volley since it’s a sideboard card)
Grades are based on maindeck power level; if a card is good in the sideboard, we will mention it in the review. Every grade can have a sub-grade, but the differences are most pronounced in the C-Category, so they have their own description. Beyond that, a B+ means it’s almost an A, but not quite.
This is an odd card, because only aggressive decks will want it, and Reach is not the most aggressive of abilities! This is a set with a lot of better auras and buffs, in fact it’s a major part of the theme for some colours (and Green has plenty itself), and this doesn’t do enough to justify the potential to be 2 for 1ed – this is a medium buff at best, and the changeling ability isn’t worth spending a card on.
It’s also a pretty mediocre sideboard card – you need to go up against a deck with fliers that’s beating down and has a major weakness to big creatures (i.e. very few ways to remove them), so really I would just pick this up in the last few picks if for some reason you want it.
This does do an acceptable suite of things that will leave you the biggest creature on the board for a turn or two, but if it dies, before long you’ll be left down a card which is a downside that auras struggle to overcome. Ironically I’d usually say this gets a mild leg up in the sideboard against Red, but with squash at common, they will likely have a way past it.
This is a fantastic statline – a 6/5 trample for 5 is great and this can come down as early as turn 4! This ability can be really annoying for them, since a lot of the big removal in the set is aura-based, which will not only net you a card, but leave this in play to draw future cards.
Still, I think it looks a little better than it actually is – a significant proportion of the time, your opponent is going to try to double or triple block this beast, since 5 toughness isn’t that hard to do that against, rather than try to expend a removal spell on it, so the ability will only sometimes come up. Still, you can just not attack with it for a while until you have tricks available, and force them to eventually use removal or just be down cards, so as long as they’re not pressuring you or have the ability to outgrind you, that’ll be fine. I don’t think this quite makes bomb territory for me, though it’s close.
On turn five or four this is going to be the biggest thing around and demand an answer. If they have it you get your card back at worst. Several of the best removal spells on the set don’t even kill it, so even if they have the instant answer if it leaves the rest of your creatures drawing you cards when targeted it really doesn’t help your opponents position much. It falls just short of an S down to the floor of ‘just’ earning you a +1 but this will be an extremely powerful card to pickup.
Blessing of Frost
Green has a good number of snow land searchers this set, that’s one of its specialties in fact, and that really pushes this card up for me. I think the point where I’m happy with this is where it’s distributing three counters and drawing at least one card (hopefully two), which takes significant set-up cost, but should be manageable enough for a snow deck. Later in the game, this just gets better and better, and you’re often going to naturally have at least one 4-power creature in play, especially in this colour.
Ultimately, this is a very feast or famine card – you should know when your deck is built to take advantage of it, but I would want at least 7 or 8 lands plus snow searchers to be really happy, or maybe 6-7 if I had at least 5 or 6 other 4 power creatures. This’ll be pretty busted in dedicated Snow decks, which will have even more than that.
I’m starting this card at an F+ and adding a letter grade for every 3 snow sources you have – if you do get to place four counters and potentially draw a few cards it’s incredible value at four mana and three is almost as good. With two snow sources it starts to get a little dicey although it’ll just about justify itself and below that I’m not looking to play it. That rounds out to around a C but this will end up being one of the best snow payoffs, while also being the most demanding.
This starts off as Prey Upon, which is fine but not super exciting. Between the snow lands, of which there’ll be 24 opened every Draft, and the two common and two uncommon snow creatures in Green, and a couple of other Snow cards (including Shimmerdrift Vale, which doesn’t take up a land slot), I think this indestructible mode is a reasonable thing to reach in the mid-to-late game, and Outmuscle was a pretty brutal card in Eldraine draft. This has a ton of potential as a big tempo play on turns 4 or 5, and it’s cheap enough that you can play a creature and then immediately fight with that creature to improve your combat step that turn. One of the key weaknesses of fight spells is that sometimes your big creatures die and you’re left with them stranded in your hand, and this gets around that problem nicely.
This is more like a C+ if your deck doesn’t have at least 7-8 snow permanents in it, so do keep that in mind.
At zero snow sources this is just prey upon, which is a good removal spell even if it’s a little outdated these days. With three snow sources it makes for an easier kill and an even better follow up attack. I wouldn’t take this much higher dependent on the ability to generate the snow as most decks will want this anyway, but it’s a nice bonus.
Even getting a couple of free counters on your creatures is an absurd rate on an okay but unexciting body.
The main downside of this card is that you have to have a Snow permanent produce the coloured mana required for the creature spell – so if you’re a Simic deck that happens to have only Snow Islands in play, and you cast a Green creature spell, then you won’t get the counter. That can play out in a pretty awkward way, if you have a draw that doesn’t quite line up correctly. Still, the upside is massive, even if you only have one Snow land that’s online, and it’s not like this really hurts your mana usage or double spelling – you might not get quite as many counters, but you don’t need to for this to be great!
It’s worth noting for this card that every other snow card in the set doesn’t care what the original colour is, meaning you can splash a snow mountain in your Blue Green deck if you really need the snow sources, but that won’t help the Outrider. That said the above case is an outlier – assuming you can get the snow mana this just puts a counter on every creature you play without even costing any additional mana which will just allow you to scale well ahead of your opponent on curve. Seeing this makes the value of your on-colour snow sources skyrocket.
I sometimes ended up playing Broken Wings in my low removal decks in Zendikar Rising, but it was always over bad filler and I was never happy to have to resort to it. The problem is that there aren’t going to be that many good artifacts and enchantments, and while hitting fliers is nice, they often won’t have one. That definitely applies to this set, where this isn’t all that good against Red, Black, and Green – so it’s a big risk to handle a permanent type that your regular removal spells should be able to cover, or that you can just race. The idea that Green is really weak to fliers is a very overblown concept – it’s very hard for a fliers deck to keep up if you have a decent draw and are attacking well with your beefy Green monsters.
This card does get better if you have some ways to loot it away when it’s bad – I would be more inclined to play it with a couple of copies of Pilfering Hawk or Immersturm Raider. Looting is good with cards that have a powerful but situational effect, as long as that effect still comes up reasonably frequently – you’re okay to loot away the card maybe a third of the time, but you don’t want to play it if you’re looting it away more than that, since it is still a significant cost.
This is a really good sideboard card, and I would actively prioritise it in best-of-three – basically take it over anything in the D range, and some C-s. You don’t need too many though – two is probably the maximum you want to board in, and you need to see a good deal of targets even for that.
I think this still falls into the strictly sideboard category, but hitting flying creatures at least makes it rank a little higher as you will probably find at least one target per game – whether that target was worth holding out for is another question. Most decks will be happy to have access to one of these in the sideboard, but only Blue and White have enough fliers at common this can hit, meaning it isn’t quite enough to main-deck. In the end, this is the most maindeckable sideboard card, but it’s still a sideboard card.
This is low impact enough that I’m not going to go heavily out of my way for it, in a set with no Elf synergies at low rarities other than a single uncommon, but it is really nice with more generic tribal cards or those that care about tokens, like Basalt Ravager, Skemfar Shadowsage, Village Rites, and Jarl of the Forsaken. There aren’t many token producers in this set, which makes the ones we do have all the more important, and some Golgari decks will take this in the C+ range.
Still, I think the stat distribution is a little too unexciting, and there isn’t enough synergy outside Black for me to start this at higher than C.
Green has a few things that care about your elves but you can’t find them at lower rarities, so this is mostly considered for the body. Splitting this across two bodies in this ratio does make for a nice bit of value and if you can make use of the types it’s all the better. 2 toughness is a little unfortunate at four mana but the 1/1 just about makes up for it.
2/3 Reach for 3 really isn’t a card you go out of your way to play, even if it’s not terrible either (that card would be a C-), and this is a pretty steep equip cost. Still, in the decks you want this against, this will be a huge beating since it’ll invalidate their fliers turn after turn, and whatever you put this on does become a very good blocker. Ultimately, I’m still not that impressed though.
I’m a big fan of this rate. A 2/3 with reach is only slightly undercosted for 3 mana, and it’s the best stat ratio among this cycle of uncommon equipment. Once it dies, the equipment it leaves behind will make the game super tough for some opponents. If you can ever find a reason to play this without making the elf where it doesn’t kill your opponent that turn, I’d be impressed.
Between Changelings and other Elves, there are about five decent Green commons so I think many decks will have a bunch without trying too hard, not to mention that Black and Blue both have more. This is a fantastic payoff for just putting those cards in your deck, and then it has a gamewinning effect later on. Still, it does take some work to be really busted and I don’t quite consider it a bomb.
Boy, is this a reason to divert whatever plan you had to golgari elves. A free 1/1 on potentially each turn is going to add up very quickly, especially when you eventually reach 7 mana and suddenly all of your opponents creatures pale in comparison to your 1/1’s. Even if you pick this late and have literally zero other elves, a 2/2 that can attack as a 4/4 deathtouch in the lategame is serviceable, and you’ll still probably get one or two elves without even trying. Pick highly and build around, but if you don’t get there, he’s still great to have. Given Blue has changelings, having two great colour pairs squeaks this guy up to A tier.
Esika, God of the Tree
It’s incredibly hard to cast the Prismatic Bridge in Limited and won’t be worth it unless you can do it without hurting your deck too much, but hey maybe you’ll be fortunate enough to open a few copies of Shimmerdrift Vale, a high pick anyway, or just pick up some half-on snow duals. If you do manage to cast it, it will win any game that lasts more than a few turns longer, but you should consider it upside when it happens and be happy to cast Esika when it doesn’t. This doesn’t really factor much into the rating though, since it’s too unlikely.
The mode you’ll almost always be casting is Esika, who pairs good fixing and ramp with a good blocking statline. There aren’t enough legendary creatures in Limited that you’re very likely to have another, so I wouldn’t really factor that in, but Esika is a good card anyway.
The front half is a mildly expensive mana elf without a body that has stats in the wrong place. That amounts to a fine card. The backside of the card wins the game when it resolves unless they have an immediate answer. But being 5 colour means I struggle to give this too high a grade. There is only one other non-land card in the Green I want to play which fixes your colours without off-colour basics, glittering frost, which means making the five colour dream happen is going to be very hard. That said if you get this God absolutely pick frost higher and snag whatever dual lands you can. It’s worth the effort on the off chance you get there, even if you don’t most of the time. And remember Red has a few cards that generate treasure which is exactly what Esika needs and might just be enough to make it work.
This card is totally nuts – it immediately gives you a good rate and fulfils its own crew requirements. The turn after, you crew it really easily (they’re probably not going to get rid of your random 2/2 tokens unless you’re blocking with them, which is fine if you really have to, but often you should block with the Chariot instead since it’s very hard to crew without the cats), you get a third 2/2 and they are absolutely forced to trade with or remove it – which is hard to do in a set full of sorcery speed removal.
Worst case scenario, they can block a 4/4 profitably so you can’t actually attack with this the turn after, but whatever, I already signed my house over to the Cat Liberation Legion. Side note: I plan to brew with this card and Mythos of Illuna in Constructed, since that’s a pretty busted synergy! Stay tuned for that.
Two 2/2s for 4 mana is already a good rate. You get a vehicle with it that self-crews, meaning you can choose what set of bodies is most important to attack with, and when you decide it’s the chariot you get another cat for your efforts. This will force a trade, then you’ve ended up paying 4 mana for a removal spell and three 2/2’s. The value on this card is going to pull you ahead without much effort, and if you happen to have a token better than a cat (Drifter would dispute that this is possible) then the upside only grows.
Fynn, the Fangbearer
A 2 mana 1/3 with deathtouch is a great statline, holding back their early plays and then trading for something bigger later on. With equipment, you can make it last even longer – high toughness deathtouch units are really good.
I don’t think Fynn’s poison counters matter at all unless you’re playing Black with some specific uncommons. You could say “put Raven Wings or Rune of Flight on him!” – but honestly, you should usually put those on other creatures, because if they kill Fynn, then all the work to get those poison counters is worth nothing, whereas damage always matters.
A 1/3 body with deathtouch blocks extremely well early game, stopping whatever your opponent has early and blocking something bigger when it comes down. It’s worth the extra mana cost on the usual 1/1 deathtoucher we usually see for that two toughness.
Oh, and it has a second ability but I sincerely doubt it will actually ever come up. I would play for the most part assuming it doesn’t exist, especially since the only other cards with deathtouch in Green are at rare and mythic. That being said if you get a few attacks in and can set up a Binding the Old Gods play, it might just happen. Still, you don’t want to change any decisions in deckbuilding based on poison.
I’m not super fond of this kind of card. Usually, it needs to do something more than just add an extra mana for it to be worth the cost, and this kind of does in that it lets the land tap for two snow mana, and then this is a snow permanent itself, but that takes a lot of effort and is only worth it in really dedicated snow decks.
I don’t generally want to play a weak card to enable my synergies unless they’re really powerful and/or I have a lot of them, and I think there’s enough this set that I’m happy to enable Snow in other ways, but I won’t want to resort to this card except in quite rare decks (potentially literally with snow rares!).
Snow mana is at a premium in this set, and not only does this ramp and fix you it gives you another snow mana as well. Snow in this set often relies on activated abilities which means it is notoriously greedy with it’s mana sources. Having just one card generate snow mana will be in high demand, especially as some cards such as Icehide Troll require two by themselves. It also has high synergy with another snow common, Sculptor of Winter, enabling some very explosive early turns. And it is one of the easiest way to splash another tool, which Green does have a few ways to do that means it isn’t hard to pick up the power level of the splash.
Without the need for snow the grade goes down, but it’s just an irreplaceable effect in Green that both Blue and Black will be very happy to pair with.
I think this card is a huge downgrade on Mammoth Spider, since it dies to a stiff breeze and will never hold back fliers, but rather trade and not necessarily trade up with them. In the games where your opponents don’t have fliers, this will be walled by 2 drops and won’t do anything all that well, and you really have to consider those too.
Apparently the spiders on this realm have grown big enough to tussle with Gods, but not enough to tell the tale. This set of stats is much worse for reach creatures typically but it does come at a mana discount. It’s fine and being able to block the fliers that can get to four toughness is nice but trading down to two drops is a little concerning as 2 power isn’t uncommon in this set.
This is an okay statline, nothing too exciting, but sometimes you want a filler 5 drop. The Elf tag isn’t worth much this set.
Given the low amount of disposable token makers meaning chump blocking is much harder, meaning the stats have more impact and demand an actual answer rather than a delay. In this set I’m inclined to like this stat line enough to play it. We have got this with abilities before so I’m led to believe this format is well poised for it and the creature type has minor relevance.
Dauntless Survivor was an okay card, and the Changeling tag certainly helps a bit, but there are no counter synergies which offsets that. Usually this card will enable you a reasonable attack and be a good upgrade on a bear, but vanilla 2/2s for 2 haven’t been good enough in Limited for a long time, and this card won’t end up being super exciting anywhere. This is mostly just a filler 2 drop, that you should cut a lot of the time if you aren’t making good use of the synergy.
Giving your Runeclaw Bear the ability to help tribal synergy and put the counter somewhere else at will is enough of an upside that this effect has often found its home in enough draft decks. I’m not sure this warning amounts to much but it’ll at least enable a few things you want to do.
A 3 mana 3/2 that offers fixing and card advantage is exactly where I want to be in Limited, especially in a format where it’s searching up snow basics. If you can ever get two lands, you’re probably just set on them for the rest of the game, and this gets better with looting effects, especially Pilfering Hawk. Mostly you’ll trade with it the turn you attack, and get one land, which is absolutely fine. This is a high C+.
This slots on the curve just right – while two mana is going to take up a lot of your turn, the card advantage will be worth it and foretell gives you flexible ways to use your mana alongside this. This also fixes your colours and can fetch a splash or your snow land if required, which does just enough that I’m into a B. If you can use that mana to cast some combat tricks or removal to protect it and get multiple attacks, you will be in good shape.
There are enough ways to fetch snow lands in Green that I don’t foresee turning this on being a huge problem in the decks that want to, although it’s always going to cost you a little deckbuilding power, unless you get the especially good cards like Sculptor of Winter and Spirit of the Aldergaard – and even then, you still have to go out of your way to pick all the snow lands.
When turned on, this is really hard to block, and they’ll probably have to remove it (which they can’t do if they just chump block or take the damage, and don’t force you to use the ability!) or start throwing stuff under the bus before long, unless they have a really big blocker. In the late game, a big blocker isn’t going to cut it anymore, since this will sometimes be able to attack as a 6/3.
Double snow is a hefty requirement outside of Green, but the common snow generators in this colour leave the troll in a good position. Cudgel Troll was a very hard card to deal with and while this is worse it does a pretty good impersonation for a common and two sources should be easy enough for the average Green deck with even a slight inclination towards trying.
In Search of Greatness
The combination of potentially setting up some high-tempo early turns and scrying 1 every turn you don’t use this ability is interesting – this is still a pretty bad card late, but all you need it to do there is scry away 2 lands over a longer game. The problem is sometimes you won’t have the time, if you’re behind or they’re doing more with their mana. The main problem with this card is that this ability is very restrictive – it will only let you cast a limited range of spells, since it’s not “up to 1+the converted mana cost”, but is instead just that mana cost.
All in all I could potentially see it being good in a slower deck with lots of good 3s and 4s, and also plenty of ways to produce card advantage, since the potential mana gained is pretty huge and gives you a lot of time to cast your card draw. I think a very limited range of decks will be interested in this card.
This does allow you to skip mana costs if you can keep creatures on board and if it works you’ll gain an explosive advantage. But reliably getting the double Green on turn two is going to be hard for most decks, and then you have to wait a further two turns before you gain advantage of the mana from this. The best case scenario is good, but it’ll too often be a do-nothing. The Scry 1 is a constellation prize but it isn’t worth the full card given how hard it is to make work otherwise.
This is an awful statline, and that won’t do anything in most games, so the ability has to be really good. This ability is really not it – you need another full creature and to tap them both on your turn, for this to do anything, and the payoff for that cost is mediocre. You can play this in a deck where you’re really desperate for fixing and have enough disposable 1s and 2s, but you still need high end to cast with it and probably specifically card draw to make up for the card disadvantage this will eventually lead to – the decks where this is decent are very rare, if they even exist at all.
1/2 reach does nothing, and giving up two bodies for a mana isn’t worth the ramp. If you have Esika, this goes up from almost unplayable to merely mediocre but it leaves you too exposed for my liking on the defence unless you have a plethora of instants…then, of course, you may struggle to find another creature to tap and be even worse of.
Jorn, God of Winter
A 3/3 for 3 that untaps some of your lands and has Vigilance is a pretty good front of this card, and the mana generation can be pretty big – being able to Foretell a 2 drop after you attack, or just have mana up for a bounce spell on your opponent’s turn or whatever will definitely come up, and Jorn is especially good in Simic as a result.
The back half is a really powerful payoff if you do have some snow permanents in your deck that you can keep casting, but they have to die first, and preferably keep dying for you to get continuous card advantage. That’ll be pretty hard to set up in games of Limited, since there just aren’t that many snow permanents other than creatures that go to the graveyard a lot, and your opponent will certainly do their utmost to stop you from getting value from this – they’ll take damage, or they’ll leave back a big creature, or they’ll wait to build out their board before they attack you – plus, the creature enters tapped, so you can’t use it as a recursive blocker every turn. The dream is to cast this late in a long game, when there’s already several snow permanents in the graveyard, or to have self mill with it, but the former gives you a pretty narrow window where it’s good, and there isn’t much self-mill in the set. That being said, it is a really good reason to include support in your deck – it’s especially good in Black and Blue Green (which are the colours that can splash it anyway!), with cards like Priest of the Haunted Edge, Hailstorm Valkyrie, Koma’s Faithful, Pilfering Hawk, and Strategic Planning, and is really powerful when enabled.
I think you’ll almost always cast Jorn, who is just a good card anyway, and then you should try to include a few sources to cast Kaldring (not that hard to do in Green) but not rely on it too much unless you do have plenty of synergy.
Despite being in the Green section, this grade comes mostly for Kaldring. This is the a great reason to want to stock up on snow creatures – even if you have no other synergy beyond the card type. Knowing that your snow permanents will never truly die gives a great edge going into a long game, and if it’s a little too early in the game for it to do anything, a 3/3 for 3 is a good rate that might even ramp you with some snow basics and let you play multiple basics or get essentially free activations from a card like Icehide Troll. This does get major props for being in Green, since if you draw your splash sources, you can play the flip side and if not then Jorn won’t disappoint. You could even play no islands or swamps and expect to cast Jorn in most games. Then when you happen to draw two Glittering Frosts, suddenly you get to play the flip side.
King Harald’s Revenge
This is a very situational effect – it’s sort of like an edict effect (which aren’t that good in Limited) that won’t kill what you want, and requires you to have a bunch of creatures in play. The payoff is kind of there, since it’ll push through a bunch of damage while killing a creature in the good case scenario, but usually it’ll be either a small creature that wasn’t doing much anyway, or they’ll double or triple block and you’ll still lose your creature, and it’ll be a 2 for 2 or whatever.
None of that sounds very exciting to me, and while having this card be good isn’t a total pipe dream, I think it’ll be very medium or actively bad more of the time.
If you can go wide and keep creatures on board this can often act as a bad removal spell, and if you’re able to get +3 or +4 ,this will get your mana’s worth. However this is a punisher effect in disguise, given your opponent can always lose their worst creature – snagging them while they have just one creature on board is the best case scenario, but then you might not be too likely to have enough creatures to pump it either. If you have just one creature of your own, this will likely be a dead card in hand.
Kolvori, God of Kinship
This may be the only mediocre modal card in the set, because I’m not especially happy with either of these halves.
To make good use of Kolvori’s front side, you really need some of the uncommon or rare Legendaries in your deck, preferably at least three. That’s not because you’re looking to turn on her first ability – that’s just flavour text – but if she’s likely to net you some card advantage, then she’s worth playing. Her statline is bad, so realistically whether you play her is based entirely on how many Legendaries you get. I think it’s going to be hard to get three or more, and I don’t want to spend my mana on her turn after turn, when it’s a sacrifice to put a 4 mana 2/4 in my deck in the first place, if I don’t have a reasonably high chance to hit. With three, assuming you haven’t drawn one, you’re about 54% to hit with her ability, and it’s more like 40% if there are two left. So the sacrifice you’re making is you put a bad card in your deck, to potentially draw a decent card three turns from now, after you’ve sunk 6 mana into it.
Her crest side really doesn’t strike me as very good – it just doesn’t cast enough stuff. Sometimes it will come up if you’re in a very dedicated tribal deck, but playing it will mostly be a feature of your specific draw rather than your deck.
Legendary creatures are notoriously hard to find in limited and I wouldn’t expect you to have three in the average deck, never mind out at once. That said if you have just one more, Legendary Creatures will tend to be among the better cards of your deck and six cards is deep – paying 4 or 6 mana over the course of a few turns searches almost your entire deck and means you will find that bomb. 2/4 stats are a little underwhelming but given you have at least one other legendary it’s a worthwhile inclusion in your deck – and obviously if you get more it becomes all the more desirable.
I’m not too fond of the Crest side unless you manage to make a deck with a 12+ of the same creature type, but it does gain points for being on the flip side – if you happen to start your opening hand with the 4 elves in your deck and this, you can decide to play the Crest – it’s a worthwhile option at least.
This is a truly powerful late-game ability, since it makes any creature into a threat and any evasive unit demand a removal spell. It should be natural enough to get creature cards in your graveyard by the late game, if you have a decent number of them to begin with, and Green should. This gets even better if you have ways to fill your graveyard in Blue and Black, such as Koma’s Faithful, Pilfering Hawk, or Strategic Planning, but it’s just a good card in any slower deck.
Not quite a bomb, but there won’t be a better use for creatures in your graveyard and you’ll be very happy to trade wherever possible. Two counters is enough to turn most mediocre creatures into a threat, so you can continue to give your opponent threats they must answer…which just enables your next threat!
This is one of the best combat tricks in the set, and really Green seems to have a monopoly on good common ones, but it’s still pretty unexciting. Being able to hold it up for one mana is nice, but I honestly just think it’s going to be significantly worse than Giant Growth, which is not a busted card by any means in Limited – that card was a D+ in War of the Spark, and is a C- in most sets, and you certainly don’t want too many. Having to Foretell this is a real cost, and while +4/+4 will kill most of what you want, 3 mana +4/+4 is just not that good.
I would’ve ordinarily given this a D+, but Boast decks do want combat tricks and there aren’t that many good ones in the whole set, so I’ll start it slightly higher.
Getting to hold up combat tricks for just one mana is the premium and this is a sizeable improvement on the boost – the biggest since Groundswell for one mana. Granted you need to foretell it first, but having just one mana on the crucial turn is most important, even if the 3 mana option is quite underwhelming.
I’m pretty fond of Reclamation Sage in Limited, and I like this card too. It blocks decently early on, and you can save it for the late game where there’s quite a lot of good artifacts and enchantments to hate on this set, between Sagas and Equipment. The Changeling type is a little gravy on top, but you shouldn’t play cards just for that.
I’m going to start this at high C, since it gets a ton worse in multiples so I don’t want to pick it as highly, and the sets with Reclamation Sage often have more ways for slower decks to make use of the body. Unlike Reclamation Sage, faster decks just don’t want to play this card, since Reclamation Sage can still attack reasonably and hold buffs, but this doesn’t at all.
If you get to hit a target, this is great and often you’ll want to hold it on turn two once your opponent plays an island or a plains, given their best removal is enchantment based and you can expect to run into it at some point, but it’s nice to be able to play it out against the mountain and have the body still be relevant. Side this out readily if you don’t see any targets, but it’s playable main deck removal.
Most of the time you’ll be casting this card on turn 5 or 6, and it’ll still be absurd there – it’s a 4/4 trample that makes another one when it dies (I doubt you’ll want to leave it as a land aura for very long), and that is a ridiculous rate, especially since you can still Foretell cards and use non-Green spells so you’re still benefiting from it costing 3 later in the game. Plus some of the time, you will be able to land this earlier on and it’ll be totally nuts.
Still, this does have some drawbacks: you need to be heavily invested in Green and to be playing minimum like 9-10 Forests to realistically get there on this. Land searchers will help, but I think you’ll want to be splashing in Green a lot, and this will compete with that – you really don’t want to get Forests with your land searchers in decks that are splashing. Finally, a lot of the removal in the set is good at answering this without killing it – if they stick an aura on it, you may never get that second 4/4 (though perhaps you can draw a fight spell later and still make it happen!).
The triple Green holds it back but Green has multiple ways to ease that requirement in this set. And even if you assume you don’t cast it until turn 6 or 7 it’s still a very efficient creature – one 4/4 often causes a problem and the second is going to still be relevant at any point in the game.
Path to the World Tree
I think spending two mana on this effect is something you only do if you’re desperate, and it strikes me that Green has enough better ways to search up snow lands that I very rarely want to run this. This effect ordinarily costs 1 mana, after all – check out Reclaim the Wastes or, god forbid, Attune with Aether.
This five colour payoff mode is going to be really hard to actually pull off in Limited, and it’s a good effect but is hardly gamebreaking when you do – if I’m going to go to all this effort to enable my five-colour 7 mana abilities that have a bad front side, I feel like they should do less incremental value and lots of small effects, and more “win the game”.
This can fix another colour or find your snow mana – the latter of which makes me happy to play it in this format at two mana, even if it’s a little pricey. The second ability is great additional value if you ever get it off, but it’s not worth building around – it’ll be more like happenstance if your Glittering Frost enables it in one game in a Blue moon, but I wouldn’t consider it in deckbuilding.
Honey Mammoth is always a decent card in Limited, since slower decks really want lifegain and it isn’t always that easily accessible. This one won’t trick me into thinking it has trample quite as often, which is definitely upside… fine playable, don’t pick it too early, don’t include too many 6 drops without ramp/land searchers, but do take it reasonably highly.
It’s worth noting that Green doesn’t have many other ways to use lots of mana at common, so with all its ramp, you might want to take Ravenous Lindwurm higher than you otherwise would.
With Honey Mammoth, we found that the combination of big dumb creature and lifegain was enough to stay relevant throughout the format and this Wurm is…well, the same card. Given this format looks a little slower, I expect it’ll be able to do just the same and although I won’t want multiples ,you should find time to cast it. If you can give it any keywords with a rune or equipment, it’ll be a pain to deal with.
As a 2/3 Changeling for 3, you don’t have to draw more than one card to be really happy with this, and to do that you just have to know what the most common type remaining in your deck is. In some decks, it’s going to be absurd and you’ll be able to cast more than half your creatures off the top with it, but even in the average deck, just the potential to draw one card later down the line, and then threaten a second one, is well worth playing this. Your opponents will feel pressured into removing this a lot of the time, especially in slower decks, which is very valuable from your 3s.
The body is fine and if you manage to cast one creature from the top, it’s paid for itself. You don’t need a mass to play this card although it certainly helps. This is one card that particularly benefits from a specific review of your types before the draft, as you’ll want to know what your most likely/efficient type to name is depending on what you’ve drawn so far. And while it isn’t worth a card, being able to look at your top card regardless is a good bonus to have, it can inform your decisions on whether, for example, you need to chump block this turn or if the right answer is just around the corner.
You really need to prioritise picking up a Ravenous Lindwurm when you open this card, because there really aren’t that many creatures with 6 power or toughness to get, new Honey Mammoth being the only one in Green, there being one each in Red/Blue/Black, and two in White. The payoff is certainly here, since this is a 5 mana 5/4 that draws you a good card when it dies, but you do have to alter your pick order quite a lot when you have one of these. Also even with one target, sometimes you’ll just draw that target and be sad.
Sometimes you’ll just have some rare 6 drop and be over the moon, but I think this card’s average case will merely be good rather than busted.
The rate is acceptable for the mana cost but not stellar if you don’t find anything with 6 power or toughness. Each colour has at least one at common that fits the bill, so you should be able to find a card to search in any combination but green only has one at common. Even if you don’t, it discourages your opponent from killing your 5/4, which has value in itself as they try to find a way to play around you finding something even worse for them. If you don’t have a target, finding one for Yew becomes a priority.
Roots of Wisdom
This is one of those classically mediocre cards that you generally don’t have room for in Limited – it just doesn’t do nearly enough to warrant this effect, unless you have lots of synergy, perhaps in Black Green with graveyard stuff or if you have a couple of really good uncommon or Rare elves alongside a few more medium ones. You must take a land with this, making it a really bad topdeck in a lot of decks.
I’m more inclined to play this if I have exactly Littjara Glade-Warden or one of the rare/mythic elves in my deck, but otherwise I’m not interested. You must get back a land if you can, which means this doesn’t dig you to an answer in the late game unless a good elf has already died. If it can feed the warden, that might just be enough, but even then it’d be scraping in as my 23rd playable.
Rune of Might
Rune of Might is the second best Rune, and offers a really good rate. +1/+1 and Trample is a solid boost to any reasonably-statted creature and will allow it to brawl well, saying nothing for the times when you put it on Ravenous Lindwurm. Trample is a good ability on a lot of Green creatures, but this wouldn’t be that great without the buff too.
If you can land this on an Equipment, you’re in the money, since it’ll often be +2/+2 and Trample, which makes any creature a real and scary threat.
This does enough to justify its mana cost with the cantrip, with two mana being a low cost to boost a creature up. The power/toughness boost is even bigger if you can enchant an equipment with a low equip cost. That said, I’m assuming the default state for these is on a creature and while a Ravenous Lindwurm needs the confidence boost, it will often let you get a free attack in and with the cantrip, that’ll be enough.
This card is totally nuts, an improvement on Joraga Visionary in multiple ways. It’s big enough that they’ll have to trade real cards with it, and won’t just be able to ignore it, so you’ll certainly get your value, and the Foretell cost lets you double spell with it on turn 4, making for some massive tempo swings. It might look understatted for aggro decks, but it’s worth it and I would play it in any deck.
Joraga Visionary was already an impressive card, and apparently adding both a toughness boost and a flexible foretell cost is in any way fair at common. At least the creature type is irrelevant, but this is an extremely efficient body that frankly I’m surprised hasn’t lost a point somewhere. It even makes keeping two land hands easier, as if you miss that land drop after a foretell, it gives you an extra dig. I will take just about every one of these I can.
Sculptor of Winter
Obviously, this is a fantastic card for Snow decks, but it’s not quite so good elsewhere – you really want to have a snow land available in the early game to get good use from this card. For it to ramp you consistently to 4, you need 6-7 sources (practically the same number as to cast a 2 drop in the first place), and while Snow decks will definitely get there, I don’t think it’ll be trivial for other decks. The failcase of a vanilla 2/2 bear hasn’t been good enough in Limited in years, and being a Snow permanent is nice but not worth enough, so I do think there will be some pretty awkward draws with this card.
The grade falls down to C if you don’t have about 5 snow sources, but the mana ramp on a good body as well as providing more snow sources is a great combination. If you can add in some Glittering Frost, this card can enable some insane ramp while contributing to snow in multiple ways. This will be one of my favourite ways to start a game in Green.
I was never that happy to put Ranger’s Guile in my decks, but this is significantly better. The counter persisting gives a creature a real and permanent buff, and could add up to several damage or enable some solid attacks in the turns after you use the Veil. Still, this is the kind of card that’s a lot worse in Limited than Constructed – people just won’t be casting removal spells nearly as often, so you really have to bide your time and wait for the right moment for it to do anything. It’s an effect that’s devastating when you do get to counter something but very situational and requires you to hold it up for multiple turns. You also generally don’t want multiples – the games where you draw 2 will often go very poorly.
Ultimately, I’m happy to take the first copy at C-, but still expect to cut it half the time, especially in decks where I don’t have a lot of high value targets to protect in the late game. Still, this is a solid sideboard card against Black decks, and you can go up to two copies there.
The bonus it gives is minor, but the fact the counter sticks around is a world above Ranger’s Guile. If you catch off a removal spell and improve your creature at the same time for just one mana the tempo will often swing wildly in your favour. That said +1/+1 will only help in a limited amount of combat scenarios since casting this for the counter isn’t enough by itself, you need to bide your time for the right chance and have a spare mana at that point which means I can’t rate it higher than a C, but I will look to include a single copy in most of my Green decks – but generally no more as I’ve held two blossoming defense in hand without a creature to boost and felt quite embarrassed before.
Spirit of the Aldergard
The floor of this is a 4 mana 1/4 that draws you a card and provides free fixing (note that it says “other” snow permanent), and that’s a card I’m happy to play in my deck, but it can get so much better. This can even get snow duals and Shimmerdrift Vale. Where it really shines is obviously in dedicated snow decks with lots of lands, where it can easily be a 3/4 or 4/4 (especially with Green’s two common snow creatures, and more in Blue), and at that point you’re just getting an amazing rate. That being said, you really don’t need to be – you’ll have snow permanents and duals in your deck naturally if you’re drafting well, and you don’t need this to be all that big for it to be good.
You need two snow land cards for this to be a reasonable addition and from there it only goes up in value. Given Greens multiple ways to make use of snow this can draw you a card and be even more efficient than Sarulf’s Packmate without much of an effort – but I’d always be wary in combat with variable power cards that your opponent destroying your Sculptor of Winter doesn’t give your opponent an easy two for one.
Struggle for Skemfar
Hunt the Weak which actually Foretells for cheaper seems like a fantastic common – it can set up some really nutty turn 4s, it counteracts a major weakness of fight spells (that they’re not good when you don’t have creatures) by allowing you to fight with a creature on the same turn as you play it, and it permanently buffs a creature and makes it all the more threatening.
I’d struggle to find a deck that doesn’t want multiple copies of this common – getting a counter before fighting is the standard at this kind of mana cost, but foretelling offers quite the extreme discount that means I’d probably be taking this over Blizzard Brawl unless I had a significant snow investment most of the time and be happy with several copies.
Toski, Bearer of Secrets
I’m quite fond of this card – they have to leave something back to block it every turn, it can immediately draw cards the turn it comes out, say if you go 2 drop -> 3 drop -> this, it’s an amazing bearer of Runes and equipment, and it makes all your fliers and evasive creatures into terrifying threats. If you’re able to go wide at all, this will enable some dangerous alpha strikes, and it does help stabilise the board the turn it comes out. That being said, the failcase without synergy is kind of mediocre – it’s essentially trading for a 2/2 since that’s all they have to leave back.
I think this is much better than Reconnaissance Mission or the enchantment versions of this effect, purely because they have to leave stuff back for it. I’m starting this probably a little too high, but I really want to believe in this card, and I do think this set has much more support than average for it.
Maro finally found a way to make a legendary squirrel and it’s set to be the bane of Blue control decks in a standard near you. In limited…it’s functionally a reconnaissance mission without cycling, which isn’t a very high starting point. The 1 power isn’t going to get through anything, although it does force your opponent to keep back a blocker each turn, functionally removing their worst creature each turn.
The real spice comes in if you can find anyway to take advantage of the indestructible by buffing him up – even a second point of power will be enough to make Toski a nuisance for your opponent. I think Toski requires a bit of work to really shine so you need to build accordingly and I can’t bring him up to B for that, but if you do find a few ways to enhance him, he will get there.
I don’t think Tyvar is nearly as reliant on getting other Elves as he looks – he brings his own army with him, and his worst case scenario is as an enchantment that makes a 1/1 every turn, which is actually pretty good in Limited! He can then start untapping the Elves he creates and making them bigger, and should have a relatively straightforward path to his ultimate. That ultimate is obviously only good if you have other Elves, but I think it should be trivial for most Green decks to end up with some naturally – there are just a bunch of good common ones, including Changelings.
Obviously you should prioritise Elves a bit if you have Tyvar, since that can lead to some pretty busted turns where you play him and then have mana left over, and his ult doesn’t seem that hard to reach in Limited and is gamewinning with them, but I think he’s just a great card, whatever you do with him.
My rule of thumb in Limited is not to build around my most powerful cards too much, since I’m more likely to be winning when I draw them anyway, and to instead focus on my synergies that enhance the greatest number of cards, especially my more medium ones.
Tyvar isn’t doing anything incredibly powerful at any point of the game – even his ultimate only helps if you’ve drafted a fair share of elves (which of course you should if you see Tyvar.) But he does protect himself with Elves and forces the game to revolve around him in that Planeswalker-y way we all hate. He does just enough that you can’t leave him around, and if you get to untap you can ramp twice with the elf and untap or just keep amassing an army.
It may seem obvious but it’s worth stating – you don’t need to be in Black or have any other elves to play him – that colourless and elves he makes mana will work just fine.
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
I think Vorinclex is mainly just Colossal Dreadmaw with haste, which is really good! He puts on immense immediate pressure, and then buffing your counter abilities a bit/hurting your opponents is a little upside, but nothing too major. He is especially good with Struggle for Skemfar and Snakeskin Veil, which will come up sometimes since they’re two fine commons, but I really just wouldn’t worry about that too much – the set just doesn’t have major enough counter synergies.
Vorinclex would probably be a bomb in M21 or Zendikar Rising, but he’s merely a great card here.
You had me at trample and haste. Swinging for 6 immediately is a skill our good friend Colossal Dreadmaw can only dream of and even if the rest of the text is unlikely to come up it will nerf a few of your opponents cards randomly and Green does have a few ways to apply counters if you happen to have not killed your opponent in two attacks, but that’s merely icing on the cake that doesn’t really need to be considered in deckbuilding – it doesn’t affect how often I’d play any other card beyond maybe wanting to wait until 7 mana to cast with a Snakeskin Veil.
Green has an odd mix of themes this set, since a lot of its identity is involved in the snow ramp archetype, but it also has this theme with combat tricks, buffs, and other creature enhancements. Those plans don’t have much crossover, which I think will hurt it some – its cards seem to belong in very different directions. It does have really good fixing and I think it’s going to want to splash a ton in this set – some of the power it’s lacking can easily be made up for by simply taking the best parts of the other colours. Green does splashing by far the best, the fixing looks great and the payoffs totally absurd this set – it’s a very top-heavy one, with uncommon quality being extremely high across the board, and Green is best placed to jam as many of those busted Sagas into as many of its decks as possible.
One problem I have is that it doesn’t actually have that much to do with the ramp – the only 6+ drop it has is Ravenous Lindwurm, which is just fine, and it has some good uncommon mana sinks, but it’s not really enough to justify putting a bunch of meagre ramp cards into your deck, and it really doesn’t have that many snow payoffs. Green’s common quality strikes me as kind of weak, since it has a lot more at the low end than other colours, with cards like Arachnoform, King Harald’s Revenge, Jaspera Sentinel, and Roots of Wisdom. Only Sarulf’s Packmate really stands out as amazing to me, so I suspect Green drafters are going to have to rely on opening good uncommons – and its uncommon quality is very good, so maybe that will work out – and being a bit more concerned about playable counts than is normal in modern Limited formats. The snow ramp deck doesn’t strike me as great outside of Simic, so I think Green will be the worst colour if you aren’t splashing in it a lot of the time – but you really should be!
That being said, Green Blue and Green Black seem to have some good paths of synergy, since Blue and Black both make far better use of the Snow mana generation, and you should be able to snap up some good cards from whatever colour you want, since there’s so much fixing. Blue has card draw and evasive units to hold Green’s buffs, alongside a surprising amount of high end this set, and Black adds on solid removal, enablers for the “exile a creature card from your graveyard theme” (though I think Blue actually still has more good ones!), and ways to make use of the bodies Green leaves lying around (although there’s only one token generator in Elderleaf Mentor). Green Red likes Green’s decent 4 and 5 drops like Sarulf’s Packmate and Grizzled Outrider, and can make best use of some of its buffs and tricks, and Green White likes its ability to set up big tempo double spell turns, and its access to better tricks than White is getting.
Ultimately, I think how good Green is has a lot to do with how many Sarulf’s Packmates, fight spells, and great uncommons of other colours you’re passed, but the power of this format’s splashes leaves it in a good place regardless.
Green is the color most set up to take advantage of snow, with two great commons that synergise with each other – Sculptor of Winter and Shimmering Frost – but it only has one direct payoff at common so it’s not going to be an overarching theme you can run every draft. If you go along with this theme, you have a heavy incentive to go into blue or black so that you can take advantage of their requirements for snow mana. Picking snow basics has a real cost as you need some amount for this theme to work, costing you power level that the snow payoffs need to make up, and there’s not enough to do that in the lower rarities of Green. It can paint an awkward relationship between payoffs and enablers that you need to strike right as you draft – but generally, you want to take the payoffs much higher.
The best commons being Sarulf’s Packmate & Struggle for Skemfar at B and Glittering Frost at B- do rate lower than all the other colours, and as such the power level is a bit lower. Sarulf and Skemfar will always be good value and most green decks will need them, but the Frost really needs you to have something to ramp into, a splash or a heavy snow requirement to make tick, and Green is without good ramp targets at common this set – Red stole its premier expensive creature in Cinderheart Giant. This does seem to relegate Green to more of a supporting role between colours, as it has quite a few good tools to enable things, but if you don’t find those then even a deck with good cards can end up playing out decidedly average at best.
However, if you can make sure your other colour carries its weight, I did give Green five cards at B- or higher which does represent that the power level is there; you just need to make it work. The five colour payoffs aren’t very realistic, but there are two uncommon cycles of multicolour cards at uncommon, which Green will be well poised to splash, where no other colour can really pick them up with ease.
It looks like Green will require a little extra work than normal to pull together in this set, but when you do the extra tools it gives should pay dividends in the end.