limitedratinglegend

Limited Rating Scale:

5 This card is broken in limited. Practically unbeatable.
4.5 An incredible bomb that can win you games you have no business winning.
4 An awesome card that dictates which color I play.
3.5 Very good card that makes me want to be in its color.
3 This is a good solid dependable card.
2.5 There aren’t enough good cards in my deck so I’m fine playing this.
2 I’m unhappy playing this but things could be worse.
1.5 The worst fillers – you hate playing these but for some reason you just have to.
1 A card that I’ll only bring in from the sideboard against a specific deck, maybe.
0.5 I’d probably rather play an extra shard than play this.
0 Unplayable period.

Constructed Rating Scale:

5 This card is OP and printing it might have been a mistake.
4.5 A meta defining card that will dictate the standard format.
4 An awesome card that might shape its own T1-T1.5 deck.
3.5 A very good card that will be a prominent part of a T1/T1.5 deck.
3 A good card that should see the inside of a T1/T1.5 deck.
2.5 Should be a key part of a T2/T3 deck.
2 Should be an influential reserves card for a top tier deck.
1.5 Maaaybe will be a card some try in their T2/T3 deck games.
1 Bad card, don’t play it.
0.5 Terrible card, you’ll be better off playing a Shard than this.
0 Cyber dust, shouldn’t have been printed.

Azure Fang Decree
Limited Rating: First time I read this card I think I might have spit my drink out of my mouth. They basically doubled Incubate, added Lunacy on top and called it a day. I’ve been non-stop dissing the Spider Archetype for the better part of the past year as they were all either Spider generators OR Spider enablers through mill, but here we have both in one package. This is basically one big FU to me and all the Spider archetype haters.
3.5
Constructed Rating: Spider decks don’t have much use for this kind of effect as they tend to care about Terrorantula and do the milling through Azurefate Sorceress. A mill deck though is always looking for more ways to make that archetype possible and milling plus some potential chump blockers is cherry on the top. Unfortunately the numbers haven’t been pushed enough for that purpose.
1.5
Azure Fang Hierarch
Limited Rating: Another example of how the Vennen in this set seem to have evoled. Creating two Spiderling Eggs for each Vennen has the potential to be crazy but the best part is his second ability. You basically have a permanent milling source that gets out of control if you’re running multiples.
3.5
Constructed Rating: Any card that encourages you to overcommit on the board is a red herring in constructed. Too many Crocosaur or Extinction out there for me to play a slow troop based deck that’s going to eat board sweepers.
1.5
Brood Bounty
Limited Rating: You thought Incubate was bad? Say hi to Brood Bouty, who has to get Spiders on two different turns to make this better than Incubate which alone explains how bad it is. Hatchery Cultivator might have been able to save this but you’ll have to pick these up before you know if you’re getting a Cultivator in pack 3 or not.
0.5
Constructed Rating: In constructed this actually becomes slightly more interesting as a recurring Action can be abused a number of ways. Still not anything I’m keen to explore but I will put a bounty of 100 platinum to whoever wins a constructed tournament with a playset of this in their maindeck.
1.5
Cavern Creeper
Limited Rating: Hello Shin’hare Militia, we never missed you.
0.5
Constructed Rating: This card leaves me speechless, not in a good way.
0.5
Chill
Limited Rating: Don’t imagine myself running this guy even in ‘Actions matter’ decks. I already have a tough time fitting in my bounce spells so this is a no go for me.
1.5
Constructed Rating: I guess the constructed application of this card in the current meta would be in a R/S Saavas deck where you’re able to draw a card with it through Archmage Wrenlocke, reduce the cost of Sunsoul Phoenix, and then exhaust an opponent’s blocker for example. It’s actually pretty good in that scenario but it’s pretty bad in most other cases making this a card you probably won’t want to see too often. The neat part is after you play Archmage Wrenlocke you maintain priority, so you can cast a Basic action like Arcane Focus or Scorch and even if your opponent then tries to kill the Wrenlocke you can play this as a Quick Action in return getting another card draw. Maybe it’s not so bad as a one of in the Reserves to deal with some aggro and the other stuff I mentioned.
2
Chilltail Guide
Limited Rating: Oculus of Azathoth was a card that saw play in limited in Set 3 and Chilltail Guide is just as good if not better. Those Chill cards you create are really going to swing the momentum of the game and potentially give you a few extra turns to get your evasion damage in.
3
Constructed Rating: Nothing really exciting here from a constructed perspective. I do like the potential of filling your hand with Chills and then playing something like Moonsong Oracle but that’s a combo for the casual room.
1.5
Cloudwalk
Limited Rating: Giving a troop permanent Flight in limited can be the difference maker in A LOT of games. Doing so without costing any card and activating some of the ‘if you play an action’ cards makes this a solid card in my book. Would only pick more than one if I’m in a heavy Wild deck because you don’t want your hand full of this with no troop to target early on.
2.5
Constructed Rating: There’s no troop in Sapphire in constructed that makes you want to say ‘damn, I wish I this had Flight’. I think some of the combo decks that try to get Reginald Lancashire or The Killipede will not mind the card disadvantage to play something like Arcane Zephyr instead.
1
Cry of the Eagle
Limited Rating: Nightsky Stargazer has half of this card attached to a nice 3/3 body so just the ability to play for free or giving a troop Flight does not entice me to pick this card whatsoever.
1.5
Constructed Rating: Even if this had a cantrip attached to it I don’t think it would see play.
1
Cyclone Rider
Limited Rating: A 2/1 with Flight for 3 in limited is usually good enough. The Cyclone Rider has a neat Prophecy ability on top which will be a good tempo booster in an archetype which can make great use of it. Look for this to be an important cog in the Coyotle Flight archetype.
3
Constructed Rating: Cyclone Rider allows you to do some interesting things like cheap Countermagic or helping his older brother Cyclone Shaman fetch more spells (like a 3 cost Mastery of Time for example with perhaps Thunderfield Elder and Thunderfield Seer buffs on it?) but none of those strategies are top tier so don’t expect it to ride you to victory in a serious match any time soon.
1.5
Cyclone Shaper
Limited Rating: The action cost reduction is not that relevant in limited but the Flight body certain is. 2/3 Flight early on or 4/6 Flight for 6 in the late game are both among the best cards you could be playing at that point in your curve.
4
Constructed Rating: This is an excellent card that is bound to see constructed play. It can be a big Flight troop and essentially serve as your finisher but it’s applications run deeper than that. The best part about it is how it basically makes you much better suited to win counter wars. You could even drop this on turn 4 and Verdict of the Ancient Kings one of the Kill spells. You could Countermagic, Verdict of the Ancient Kings, and Time Ripple all for 4 resouces! Chaining Peeks together on your opponent’s turn to find the answer you’re looking for is also much more likely.
3.5
Flashpaw Elder
Limited Rating: A 5/5 Flight for 6, yep that sounds like a card that’s going to win me games.
4
Constructed Rating: Being able to eat an attacking Vampire King or Angel of Dawn is an attractive proposition but for 1 resource more you have Arborean Rootfather which is bigger and more importantly, protects itself with the Spellshield gem. Also Crocosaur probably does a better job at removing problematic troops while Windsinger Master of the Hunt is just too good at the cost. So where does Flashpaw Elder fit in? That’s an answer that will take time to figure out but its Quick ability allows you to keep Countermagic open so it’s definitely going to be in the consideration for Mono Sapphire players that only want to be playing things on the opponent’s turn.
2.5
Forbidden Tomeseeker
Limited Rating: Even by itself this card represents a ticking time bomb for your opponents. If you shift it onto a troop with evasion then their clock becomes a real factor. It’s great that you can leave this ability for a few turns and then Shift it onto something else – creating two threats in the process which Shift abilities don’t normally allow. All this for a 2 drop? I forbid you to pass this.
4
Constructed Rating: Two drops in constructed are extremely valuable. They fly under the radar of countermagic and it can take your opponent significant time to deal with them – in which case Forbidden Tomeseeker delivers punishment. It’s no Living Totem (which I considered the best 2 cost troop in the game through 3 Sets) but it does have the significant advantage of requiring no resource investment to become a bigger and bigger threat. It’s extremely fragile on the turn it’s played being susceptible to just about every removal but being a Sapphire troop you’re able to protect it with Countermagic and Verdict of the Ancient Kings should you desire. Don’t sleep on the Tomeseeker, there’s a reason he’s forbidden.
2.5
Frenetic Doppelganger
Limited Rating: A 0/3 for 2 is below curve but still probably going to do some work early on in preventing damage in your Flight or Spider decks. I guess it has potential to be better later on but it’s just so random that you’re more likely to play this for the fun factor rather than anything else.
2.5
Constructed Rating: Copying your opponent’s Azurefate Sorceress or Arborean Rootfather for the turn is fun, but I’d rather own than rent in constructed.
1.5
Hatchery Malvoker
Limited Rating: A 2/1 for 2 is fine but what makes this guy standout obviously is the powerful Spider generation effect. All your removal and tricks now essentially play a free Incubate for you and you can afford to play more removal and bounce cards and still stick true to your strategy.
3
Constructed Rating: Constructed decks are bigger and a Spiderling archetype has thus far not taken off as a core strategy. There’s little chance this guy changes that since his frail body and lack of pressure will not intimidate opponents as much as other options.
1.5
Inventive Saboteur
Limited Rating: We know by now that 3/2 with Flight for 4 is great in limited and it’s probably the best body as far as the race hate cycle going on in the set. The replica you created is colorless and has a slight boost on it, meaning you’ll be able to outclass your opponent’s Elf should he be playing that archetype.
3
Constructed Rating: Our hosers in constructed should be more punishing than this. The best potential use I can think of in a Sapphire deck is bringing this in against Periwinkle and then casting Mastery of Time with it. Inventive but not very good.
1
Lamprax Lurker
Limited Rating: This has got to be one of the worst cards in the set. Double threshold 2/1 for 4 is abysmal and his ability isn’t even permanent. I don’t know what Lamprax are, but it’s currently sitting as the race with the lowest power level in all of Hex.
0.5
Constructed Rating: Listen to the wise Lord Dunthrope in the flavor text: “Avoid at all costs.”
0.5
Lanupaw’s Sight
Limited Rating: Personally not a fan of playing card draw spells in limited as usually tempo is what ends up deciding games, not card advantage. In this case you won’t create the card advantage for a few turns so it’s only something I’d play in a control oriented Winter Moon deck.
2
Constructed Rating: Drawing 3 for 3 is above Oracle Song so this has got that going for it. I think the most interesting aspect though is it giving permanent ‘draw a card’ to potentially anything in your deck. Could there be a D/S deck where Starlight Pathfinder is your only troop and hence you create a recurring troop that draws you cards? Probably more thought needs to be put into this but the possibilities are pretty strong.
2.5
Mackerel Mitts
Limited Rating: This is an interesting way to come back against many Aggro or evasion based troops, greatly slowing down the powerful Spider archetype. With the Empower ability it becomes strictly better than Cripple in my oppinion because it deals with everything, including Spellshield troops.
3
Constructed Rating: This ain’t no Mass Polymorph: Dingler, but it’s aimed at a different crowd anyways. Mono Ruby aggro troops will get set back if you play this against them but I don’t think it does enough as those decks have evolved to have more dynamic troops and more explosiveness than a card like this can handle.
2
Mad Robomancer
Limited Rating: A 3/3 Flight for 5 with an extra ability is good enough for me but the replicate power allows this to be really broken if left unchecked. Every action in your deck creates another relevant evasive troop and that advantage should ultimately lead you to win the game.
4.0
Constructed Rating: I was already duped with this type of self-cloning card when I gave Starsight Oracle rave reviews last time around in the Armies of Myth Set review. I won’t fall for that mistake again.
1.5
Mesmeric Chant
Limited Rating: Well if you’re going to have a dedicated 5 color chant deck, I guess this helps you out as you get to exhaust your opponent’s troops and have more time to establish your engine. What I don’t like is how the target is random which means that not only will you potentially exhausting the same troop twice, but you might never hit the annoying evasive troop that’s killing you.
1
Constructed Rating: Again targeting a ‘random’ troop helps us hit the Spellshield troops and this technically deals with something like Arborean Rootfather, which not many other cards are able to say. That’s not a good enough application on its own since Zygmunt’s Game does a much better job in that role.
1
Midnight Hour
Limited Rating: Time Ripple for 5? Ok it’s probably going to cost your opponent a pretty penny to replay it but at this cost I rather just play any old removal.
1.5
Constructed Rating: This card should have made each troop with the same name to cost +x more and then we’d be talking. As it stands even something crude like Polymorph: Dingler seems better.
1
Moonsong Oracle
Limited Rating: 4/5 Flight for 5 is obviously unpassable but do note that this card’s ability can at times be a big drawback. Perhaps if you have a critical removal in your hand you’re saving up, you might not be able to play this as soon as you’d like. In the late game it’s absolute gas however, turning even your shards into 2 cards.
4
Constructed Rating: This card is not far off Jadiim level stats and for a non-Dragon card that is pretty impressive. The downside we had for limited is even more pronounced here as you’ll be trashing away your Countermagic or mass removal when that’s the last thing you want to be doing. I don’t know, maybe something silly like a Syzygy deck could turn this into something pretty busted though.
2.5
Poet of Gla’aki
Limited Rating: Poet of Gla’aki is an interesting card able get your opponent’s cards (and play them if you get his shards too) and is unblockable. It’s slow but it will eventually win you the game, especially in a Spider deck where the ability to mill will synergize very well.
3.0
Constructed Rating: 7 drops get a bad rep, and for good reason. They pretty much need to be game changing cards that win you the game. Poet of Gla’aki is able to do that with a single multi-escalated Chronic Madness in your hand. If there was a way to straight up turn your cards into damage like Avalanche Giant but in repeatable form, this could be an interesting combo deck sometime.
2.5
Prestidigitator
Limited Rating: A 3/2 for 3 is decent and if we can hit a lucky Arcane Focus then even better.
3
Constructed Rating: At the moment there’s 8 1 cost Sapphire actions and at least half of them would be pretty much dead cards for you. I don’t see enough upside here and its likely to only get worse as more cards are printed and the percentage of constructed playables like Arcane Focus or Transmogrifade get diluted.
1.5
Refute
Limited Rating: Countermagic spells are rather tough to make work in limited where you’re constantly playing stuff on your turns but it’s flexibility in threshold requirements and Empower ability might lead you to bring this in against an opponent with a bomb or maybe even maindeck it in the right control deck.
2
Constructed Rating: It’ll depend on the meta if this card has any place in maindeck or is retired to reserves against Sapphire control mirrors but I’m sure one deck that’ll appreciate its existance is Servant of Shathak, with each passing set gets closer to being good.
2
Runeweb Cultivator
Limited Rating: Seriously, these cards are just ridiculous now. I’ve always had a fond place for 2/4 Flight troops for 4 and now we get 4 eggs to add to their deck as well. At this point, I’m more than convinced that the Spider archetype is extremely powerful.
3
Constructed Rating: Doesn’t compare well against Indigo Dreamwalker in terms of stats and we’ve already discussed the downsides of a Spiderling strategy such as this in constructed.
1.5
Runeweb Recluse
Limited Rating: There’s a ton of removal that deals with 2 defense in this set as well as a ton of lower costed 2 attack troops with Flight. Not something that’s likely to pay its cost in value.
2
Constructed Rating: How’s this big fat spider able to fly? He’s not even flying in the card art…
1
Runeweb Weaver
Limited Rating: There’s not many troops with Flight in the Spider archetype and that’s not the method in which you chase victory anyways. This will likely be played in your Diamond/Sapphire Flight decks that have a very aggressive nature with a ton of early troops with Flight.
2
Constructed Rating: We might be interested in a 2/1 that has permanent Flight for 2, and even that might not be good enough.
1
Shadestalker
Limited Rating: We’d be happy with just an unblockable 2/3 for 4 but the option to pass it on to a bigger troop has all kinda busted written on it.
3.5
Constructed Rating: In constructed we’re usually less concerned about having our troops blocked and more concerned about having them countered or removed.
1.5
Solemn Cryptguard
Limited Rating: A 6/6 for 6 is good stats but even in the case you shift the Defensive off to a small troop, Sapphire decks will prefer playing finishers with evasion. You might bring it in against a Wild deck but otherwise you should have better options.
2.0
Constructed Rating: If only we could pass Shift abilities to our opponent’s troops…this still wouldn’t get played.
1
Soothsaying
Limited Rating: Not my cup of tea but this being a Basic Action is less problematic in limited. If you’re playing B/S and have a ton of Festering Decay this could be the card for you. I also like drawing 4 cards and discarding two because you’re likely discarding Shards that late into the game. Pick it if your deck needs it otherwise it’s a safe pass.
2
Constructed Rating: Basic speed card draw is not something you can really afford in constructed. It does play nicely with the Hereafter + Knightsbane Ovo_ reanimator deck I’ve mentioned before though. Getting a Storm Colossus online on turn 4 sounds pretty hot.
2.5
Starcaller Ancient
Limited Rating: There’s really nothing bad you can say about this card. A single threshold 2/2 for 2 in any shard is playable but this has the completely busted ability that allows you to repeatedly get card advantage drawing extra copies of your prohesied (always thought it would be prophesized) cards. The copies retain the prophecy buff by the way, if you were looking for any extra value out of this 2 drop.
4
Constructed Rating: This has a ton of room to be busted but as with all things busted, it requires quite a bit of work. There’s already Sapphire decks that try to buff a Mastery of Time with Thunderfield Elder and this gives those decks an extra tool to work with. Thunderfield Seer turn 1, Starcaller Ancient turn 2, Thunderfield Elder turn 3 is nice and all but your Starcaller Ancient needs to live to generate its effect. You would have to throw something like Augur of Sirion or Dreamsmoke Mystic in there to maybe play this and draw a card on the turn where your Prophesied card comes out but that’s too many moving things that have to line up. Probably simpler is this + Lanupaw’s Sight, that I quite like.
3
Startouched Watcher
Limited Rating: If you want to see a damage soaking 0/4 for 2 that is limited playable see Cloudspeaker.
1.5
Constructed Rating: Startouched Brave wasn’t good enough so they made a 0/8 version.
1
Tale of Destiny
Limited Rating: Seeing as there are no Uniques in this game below Rare, this card is just never going to be limited playable.
0.5
Constructed Rating: Having to wait for your next Unique troop might take a while. The only thing that makes me not immediately dismiss this card is that once you do get this troop, each time you play it you take an additional turn. So your bounce spells act as Mastery of TIme. Too bad there’s no legitimate deck around this concept.
1.5
Time Flux
Limited Rating: Reversion and bounce in one makes this card something you’ll often play whereas the cards that only do one of those you sometimes hesitate on.
2.5
Constructed Rating: While on surface this looks like a worse version of Time Ripple, there are times when it can be significantly better. Probably the two most important cards it deals with much better than Time Ripple are Soul Marble and Reese the Crustcrawler. These cards see enough construced play that Time Flux should at least have a role in Reserves.
2
Transmogrifade
Limited Rating: In limited we’re essentially playing with a bunch of average rated cards (there are hopefully worse ones if you’ve done a decent job drafting but also better ones that are at rare or legendary) so transforming a troop is often not going to achieve much even if its a card of 1 less cost. But as far as a removal for your opponent’s evasive, fatty, or bomby troop you have no way to deal with this is going to be a nice option in your backpocket.
3.0
Constructed Rating: Playing Sapphire, you’re likely most afraid of scary 1 drops or big time bombs like Reese the Crustcrawler or Windsinger Master of the Hunt which take over games. This card deals with both and should be a part of a lot of top tier Sapphire decks.
3.5
Tribunal Magistrate
Limited Rating: Insane. At 0/5 this blocks everything under 5 cost. All of your Spiders are going to have +1 attack minimum and likely much more making even one single Spiderling a short clock for your opponent. As if this card didn’t have “I win the game” baked enough into it, you also generate Spiderling Eggs each time your opponent plays anything other than a shard.
4.5
Constructed Rating: This along (and Xentoth’s Malice) are likely the cards trying to push the straight up Spiderling Egg archetype into constructed relevancy. There’s a lot to like here and I’m interested to see if it can become more than just a T2/T3 deck.
2.5
Vexstorm
Limited Rating: Too expensive and chaotic in limited to be worth a place at the top of your curve. It’s also very hard to take advantage of the symmetric effect.
2
Constructed Rating: This is a sweet card that has a great home in Chronic Madness mill decks. There it basically functions as a better Purge and them drawing cards might in certain cases be an advantage. It even works well with your Phoenix Guard Messenger. I feel the archetype is not too far off from viable.
2.5
Vision Quest
Limited Rating: You’re likely not going to be a position in limited to either discard three cards or have the game go long enough for you to sufficiently profit from it.
1.5
Constructed Rating: Can you imagine playing this and getting slapped with a Time Flux? That’s like the TCG equivalent of getting kicked in the nuts. I mentioned in the Blood Set review that control Mono Blood decks might be making a comeback, if they do, this card could be quite good off the reserves.
2
Wakuna Brave
Limited Rating: A 2/5 Flight for 5 is fine and giving your next troop in your deck Flight can be good too. If you’re playing Sapphire, many of your troops already have Flight so this Prophecy could be self-fulfilling only. There’ll be better Flight troops you can pick up but this is an ok addition if you’re leaning Wild/Sapphire.
2.5
Constructed Rating: No lengthy reasoning or explanation can make this be viable for constructed in any way.
1
Wrenlocke’s Apprentice
Limited Rating: It’s hard to make an Action-heavy deck work in limited but Morgan McBombus_ and Wrenlocke’s Apprentice might just allow it. You don’t need to pick these early however and only move into the archetype if you already have good actions and see this card late in the pack.
2.5
Constructed Rating: Why not just play an Oracle Song instead? The 1/3 for 3 comes out too late against aggro and doesn’t do anything against anyone else. The randomness doesn’t help.
1.5
As a decade long MTGO player, Bootlace made the permanent switch to Hex in 2013 when he realized it was the future of digital TCGs. He beat out nearly 300 competitors in the largest Invitational Qualifier tournament yet and earned his spot in the first major tournament for Hex: Shards of Fate. He writes on just about every topic, with a focus on the limited side of the game.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Brood bounty is an activator for Malvoker. Seems better than rated if you have that combo. Got two of each in my free evo draft.

    Mesmeric chant is also under rated in my opinion. Had an evo draft with two of those along with 5 other chants/constants, the elf that creates chants, and recoiler bot to replay chants and it locked up the board to the point the opponent couldn’t do anything in several of the games.

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