Magic The Gathering Articles
Born of the Gods Sealed/Draft Picks, 2 Drops
02-15-2014 Christian Schumacher
Hello everyone! I've been an avid magic player for the past 10 years and came back from an MTG hiatus early 2013. I mostly play standard and limited (either draft or sealed). Over the next few weeks I'll be writing a series of articles analyzing some of the more (and less) powerful cards in sealed and draft formats. I will attempt to cover each color as equally as possible, but some cards just have more that need to be said about them than others. This week's article will be about the two colored mana costing cards from Born of the Gods. In traditional WUBRG order I'll be covering Vanguard of Brimaz, Mindreaver, Bile Blight, Searing Blood, and Swordwise Centaur. (Please note that these are only my opinions on the cards and not some sort of definitive guide to their value. Everything in limited can be more or less valuable based on your situation.)
Vanguard of Brimaz is a 2/2 Vigilance Cat Soldier for WW with Heroic - “Whenever you cast a spell that targets Vanguard of Brimaz, put a 1/1 white Cat Soldier creature token with vigilance onto the battlefield.”. Just going over it's base stats as a 2/2 Vigilance for WW, you are getting a better bear assuming you have the double white mana. Even if he ends up being a turn 3 drop due to mana issues, he's still a formidable creature without having looked at his heroic ability. And let me tell you, it's heroic ability is very good. It's a very flexible ability that allows you to create a chump blocker or reinforce your attackers by getting an extra damage each turn. Getting an extra creature whenever you use a combat trick or bestow onto Vanguard of Brimaz makes him a very useful card. If you're assembling a deck with white as it's primary color, this is a strong early to mid game card with moderate uses in the late game creating extra bodies as needed. The only downside I see to this card is that it is WW to cast, which makes it hard to take as a super early draft pick.
Second up is Mindreaver; a 2/1 Human Wizard for UU with Heroic - “Whenever you cast a spell that targets Mindreaver, exile the top three cards of target player's library.” and “UU, Sacrifice Mindreaver : Counter target spell with the same name as a card exiled with Mindreaver.”. I am not a fan of this guy; he's a weak body with a moderately useful heroic ability and a sacrifice ability that will rarely be used in a limited format. Exiling three cards for your opponent can either be a death sentence or a great boon for them. Hitting a bomb in limited will cripple your opponent's overall power. However, more likely you'll be hitting a land and two less powerful cards, helping to thin their deck out. The sacrifice ability is very hard to judge in limited. People rarely run more than one or two copies of a single card, so the chances of exiling copy one and then sacrificing to counter copy two of a single card are very slim. Overall, I don't consider him very playable and he usually goes to the sideboard or gets passed up for a better card. In WUBRG order we'll be moving on to Black, but first we're going to finish up with Blue. Blue's SECOND UU costing card is Nullify. Nullify is an Instant “Counter target creature or aura spell.”. In limited you're likely to counter 70-80% of your opponent's cards with this. I'm not sure how much I need to say about this card... it's a counterspell... They're almost always useful and it's difficult to play around. If you're in blue in limited, Nullify is a strong card to have, and you're likely to see a few, especially at common rarity.
And now back to our originally scheduled color order.
Black has Bile Blight, an Instant “Target creature and all other creatures with the same name as that creature get -3/-3 until end of turn.” for BB. This card is absolutely NUTS! The first thing to touch on is that it's instant speed removal in a format where most removal is either conditional (i.e. Divine Verdict only in combat) or at sorcery speed. This is Lash of the Whip's little brother at a much cheaper two cost. It is playable on turn two, so even if you're on the draw if your opponent is trying to bestow on their third turn you have an answer. I cannot think of a single turn one or two creature that would survive being hit with this card. Bile Blight will kill all tokens in this format except for Kiora's Krakens and it will hit each copy of a targeted token to wipe them all off the field. Going into the mid or late game, -3/-3 is still a huge chunk to take off a creature and will negate most combat tricks entirely. I'd say that in draft it's a highly pickable card at either 1st or 2nd pick. It's a great card to run if Black is either your primary or support color, but I can't see this card doing much work until late game if you're trying to splash for it. Overall a very strong removal card.
Red's Searing Blood is an Instant “Searing Blood deals 2 damage to target creature. When that creature dies this turn, Searing Blood deals 3 damage to the creature's controller.”. This is another instant speed early game removal card with a twist. If the creature dies, the opponent takes a Lightning Bolt to the face! Two damage for two mana at instant speed isn't anything special, but a potential 5 damage for two mana on one card is pretty good. Searing Blood doesn't even need to be the source of the creature dying for the three damage to hit your opponent. As long as the creature dies some time in that turn, you get the free extra damage! If you're lucky enough to pair this with Red's Satyr Firedancer, you can get up to 8 damage casting one card. It knocks out most one and two drops and gets in for extra damage to boot. Overall I place this as a solid 2nd or 3rd pick in a draft or highly playable in a sealed pool.
Last, but not least, Green has Swordwise Centaur a 3/2 for GG. It's a vanilla flavored creature that's slightly worse than the Kalonian Tusker ( 3/3 for GG ) from M14. At common rarity you're likely to see a few of these per draft. They're decent 2 drops and they add to Green devotion which can help pump up the power of an early Aspect of Hydra. Taking one or two of them for early game is a pretty solid idea, but at common I wouldn't rush to grab any since you're likely to see a few running around in a draft. They're a decent 6th - 8th pick if you can't find any stellar cards left in your pack.
That covers the set of two drops for two of a color mana. I think that each of these cards are great early drops/answers, but the cards that shine the most in the late game would be Nullify and Bile Blight (and Searing Blood to a slightly lesser degree). My next article will cover the set of Inspired creature generators and where they fit into your drafting/sealed pool.