Born of the Gods: Playing to your Weaknesses – White
(NOTE: “Playing to your Weaknesses” is a series of articles I have been doing on my own blog since Avacyn Restored that cover all of the uncommons and commons in a new expansion and which ones I would choose to use as one of the 23 cards in a 40 card limited deck. For those of you uninitiated to limited, it simply means sealed and booster draft, where you open packs and then proceed to make a deck out of them. I’ve purposely left out the rare cards because it is much more likely that you’ll see multiples of uncommon and commons in your packs/pools.)
To many people, Born of the Gods is shaping up to be the Dark Ascension of the Theros block. That basically means that there will be a few hit cards that will demand high prices, but most cards will be available for a fraction of what Theros cards were when they first came out. However, I won’t be talking about the financial value of BNG cards in today’s article (I’ll leave that for another time). No, today I’ll be talking about drafting and sealed play with Born of the Gods cards. I personally believe that the Theros/Born of the Gods limited format is going to be a lot of fun to play, even if they set doesn’t contribute much to standard. As the title of the article says, I’ll be covering white.
A quick note about playing limited with a small set like BNG: Sealed will most likely be 3 packs of Theros and 3 packs of BNG, while Draft will probably be 2 Theros and 1 BNG. This means that all of these suggestions will largely be based on how much synergy they have with cards from the Theros set. While some will be able to stand alone by themselves in a game, quite a few will do better when operating in sync with cards from the first set. Well, without further ado, lets take a look at the best commons and uncommons of Born of the Gods for limited!
My first pick for white in limited is Archetype of Courage. I like it because he’s basically a global enchantment in creature form. Global enchantments were popular back during the day of Mirage, 5th edition, and before that. It was basically an enchantment that affected everybody, not just one player. My reason for picking this card is that it works well both on offense and defense, and if you’re playing a creature packed U/W or R/W heroic deck from your card pool, this guy will be pretty awesome. With him in play, you can block anything without having to worry about losing a creature. This will be important in match ups against green where the creatures are gigantic, as well as in mirror matches when you want the edge against other heroic decks. I don’t think he’d be a high pick in draft, but I would take him as my 6th-7th card in draft, and I’d choose him as my 15th card in sealed.
Glimpse of the Sun God is definitely a card I would want in an aggressive white deck. The problem with fast aggro decks is that around turn 4-5 your opponent can usually stabilize and then take control of the board. If the are playing against red or green, they can drop big creatures that you won’t be able to do anything about, and you’ll have to just sit there and shed a few tears even though you got them down to 4 life. With Glimpse, you can tap all of their creatures and attack for lethal. Another way to use this card would be to tap all of your heroic creatures to activate their abilities (such as Phalanx Leader), or if you’re playing with the new Inspired mechanic, this is a good way to activate it without putting your creatures in harms way. It’s pretty versatile, so I think I would take it rather early in draft, as my 4th-5th card, and it would be in my top 20 picks for sealed as well.
My next pick is Akroan Phalanx. White was absolutely shafted in Theros and almost nobody played it or regretted doing so (outside of heroic decks of course). BNG improves the color somewhat, and this card will definitely find a good home in R/W heroic decks. It has a decent body and casting cost, but what truly helps it to shine is the built in activated ability. For a measly 3 mana, he’ll imitate Purphoros for you and pump up your army. Not a bad way to keep the pressure on your opponent later in the game. Outside of RW heroic, it’s alright, but I don’t think I’d take it as highly. If you’re drafting RW heroic, take him early in draft, but otherwise you can get him as your 8th-9th card. In sealed, I think he would deserve a spot regardless if you decided that you were playing with white. A must for heroic, still an okay card in other white decks.
Well, you have the choice of playing the Calvary Pegasus in your heroic deck to give everybody flying (which sucks for your opponent), or you can choose the Skyguard. I would personally choose the Pegasus in a heroic deck for the evasion, but if you have the room for this guy, definitely put in him there. He’d be good in both RW and UW, but I think that green has a lot better heroic cards this time around as well and he would really shine there. GW heroic gives you bigger creatures to play with, as well as some powerful heroic triggers (Boon Satyr!). Depending on which heroic deck you go with, I’d take him high in draft for GW heroic, and 5th-6th for RW and UW heroic. He’ll be in any heroic sealed deck I make as well. Nothing beats a creature with evasion that gets bigger and bigger.
This guy reminds me a little of Arena Athlete from Theros, but at 3/1 this guy will hit harder while still creating the same effect. Together they will make your creatures nigh-unblockable if you have cards like Triton Tactics or Coordinated Assault. It’s a solid card for draft, and a good card to fill your 18th spot in a heroic sealed deck. It’s cards like the Skirmisher that make white a little bit more bearable to play in limited now.
Removal in any form is awesome, and since both draft and sealed are all about filling your deck with as many creatures as possible and attacking your opponent, this card has a lot of value. It’s also great against cards like Shipwreck Singer that make it a pain to play against UB due to its tap ability. I’d probably take this as my first choice in draft, and it would be one of the top 10 cards in my sealed deck as well.
Your opponent has two choices: 1) You put a 3/3 flyer into play and 2 1/1 flying tokens, or 2) You put a 5/5 flyer into play. Both choice are BAD for your opponent (especially if they don’t have removal). I like this card a lot in a white deck. UW flyers was a limited deck that needed something like this, and with it the deck won’t be as horrible as it was before. The 5 mana makes it a little too much for a heroic deck (where you want to keep the casting cost low), but I could see this getting play in GW, BW, and other midrange decks that need a solid finisher or something with evasion. I’d take it as a 3rd-4th pick in draft if I was going white/x midrange, and it would be one of my top 20 cards for sealed too.
During GP Kyoto, I played a quick, well balanced RW heroic deck in team sealed which used quite a lot of bestow effects to activate heroic triggers. I went 8-1 (my team went 3-5-1 though) and it made me a believer of heroic decks. Ghostblade Eidolon is an aggressive card, or at least it wants to be. 3 mana for a 1/1 double strike is pushing it, but the bestow mechanic makes this card playable. There were other 5 and 6 mana bestow creatures such as Spearpoint Oread and Observant Alseid that I played in order to build synergy and to fill my last few spots, but Ghostblade’s power/toughness is a little scary for me. I almost want to be playing this as a 6 mana enchantment most of the time, which makes it a little less steller and probably a later pick in draft. However, there are situations where I think this card would excel, namely in a GW midrange deck that has trample and heroic, as well as other heroic decks where it’s easy to beef up Ghostblade’s power and toughness. I don’t think he’s an automatic add to your sealed deck, but if you have the cards I think he can be really strong for you and worth the 22nd or 23rd spot in your deck.
Due to the sheer number of bestow creatures in both Born of Gods and Theros, this card is a must have in your main board. I guarantee this card will have at least 3-4 targets in your opponents deck, which basically makes it a white removal spell for 2 mana. Being able to take out a God like Purphoros or Nylea is also a plus. It would probably be my 3rd-4th pick in draft if I was going white midrange, but I’d probably take it later if I was playing heroic. As for sealed, saving a few spots for removal in your 23 is definitely a good idea. Good card, worth a spot in your deck.
Vanguard of Brimaz works great in heroic decks, especially if you want to be aggressive and attack. In a race against an opponent, the Cat Soldier will let you get the advantage by building up your army. I’d probably take this card over the God-Favored General due to being able to cast this on turn 2, then playing a creature and a one mana instant on turn 3 to let you put a token into play while also giving you a bonus while attacking with him. He’d be a top 5 pick in draft for a heroic deck, and he would take one of the top 10 slots in my sealed deck as well. He’s a well constructed card that has a lot of utility.
Other Cards that Might See Play
- Nyxborn Shieldmate – this is basically a Holy Strength on a stick. It’s a good card to have if you need a 23rd card, and 1/2 for 1 mana is good, but it will be outclassed quickly. Play it if you want another heroic effect for cheap.
- Dawn to Dusk – If you’re playing a deck with a few enchantment creatures, this might be a good sideboard card. It acts as both removal against other enchantments, as well as bringing one of your cards back. I’d use it more as removal than anything else, so if you’re removal light and want more, use it in your sideboard.
- God-Favored General – He’s a 1/1 for 2 mana, but all you have to do is untap him ONCE to get value out of him. If you have something like Aqueous Form in the same deck with him, you can let him go crazy and put an army of tokens into play. I wouldn’t take him early in draft (maybe a 10th+ pick in a draft), but if I was playing an aggressive UW or RW heroic deck with good evasion spells, I would include him as my 23rd pick.
- Oreskos Sun Guide – While I don’t think this is anything more than a “bear” with bonus, my friend said that it would be a good sideboard card to use when you are facing a mirror match and need something to give you an edge in the race.
Coming up Next
I’m pretty happy that Wizards decided to release the spoiler list earlier than usual. The weekend before the pre-release was always a dead weekend, and by doing this players have 2 more days to work on strategies, and it also gives them more time to read articles (or write them in my case!). I’ll be playing some standard this weekend, trying to win a few packs so I can do an extra sealed tournament with my friends after the pre-release on Saturday, but I will also be working on putting out the article for the BLUE cards as well. Look for it on Sunday night. I always love it when new sets come out! February is going to be a very busy time for The Japan Hobbyist!
After I finish my “Playing to your Weaknesses” articles, I’ll be working on my “Bang for your Buck” series that covers which cards I think will go up in value during Born of the Gods standard, and after that I will be talking about which cards will have the biggest impact on standard. After February, I’ll be focusing on practicing the Theros/BNG limited format with my friends for GP Nagoya (which is on April 12th-April 14th), so you can expect a good balance of both standard and limited articles to help you with your future tournaments.
As always, if you think there is a card I should have added, or a choice you disagree with, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!