Eldritch Moon: 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.)

As for my rating system, I’ll be using a new format this time around. After a lot of feedback, I’ve decided to abandon my 3 tier scoring system of Low-Medium-High and I will instead be moving onto a 5 star ranking system. The system is as follows:

  • 1 star = a card that is barely playable, even as filler for your deck
  • 2 stars = this card could be a strong sideboard card, but is highly conditional and not always effective
  • 3 stars = a 3 star card is a solid role-player. These cards could be less than amazing removal effects, or a creature that is a glass cannon (high power, low defense). They could be good except for a few flaws.
  • 4 stars = Here’s where we get into the powerhouses. 4 Stars could be good finishers, or cards that can end a game if left unchecked. They also have multiple effects, and are all around good value for you. The only thing holding them back is restrictive costs or some small drawback.
  • 5 stars = you won’t see a lot of these at common and uncommon. These will usually be your rares and mythics because they are incredibly bonkers. Planeswalkers, massive creatures, etc., these are the cards you could build a deck around.

 

As luck would have it, I finished all of my intensive classes last week which means I’ll have a nice chunk of time to work on my Playing To Your Weaknesses articles this week leading up to the weekend’s pre-release. The full spoiler has been up since Friday, but I’ve been out of town all weekend and had a PPTQ this last Sunday. As you probably already know, the Pre-release for Eldritch Moon will be 4 packs of EMN, and 2 packs of SOI. This will be quite different in regular sealed (3 and 3), and in draft it will be 2 EMN and 1 SOI. I’ll be making my evaluations today based on my Shadows Over Innistrad’s limited experience, as well as my previous article for SOI which you can find here.

Today’s color is white, and at a first glance it looks as though UW spirits, BW humans, and GW Humans got a good kick in the pants and should be able to really compete in SOI/EMN limited if your get a good pool.

 

Subjugator Angel

My favorite uncommon/common of white has to be Subjugator Angel. It’s incredibly powerful in limited, maybe even a game ender. Tapping all of your opponent’s creatures on a stalled board makes it almost too easy to win the game. What makes the card even better are effects like Eerie Interlude which lets you blink it at the end of your opponent’s turn to tap all of their creatures down. Six mana is also very good for a 4/3 flyer. It might have some problems with a few spirits, but most of the time it will be the biggest thing in the sky. High draft pick, maybe even first pick, and playable in any white deck.

RATING: 4 Stars

 

Drogskol Shieldmate

White is NOT messing around this time. Drogskol Shieldmate is another card that is seriously powerful in limited. It fits on your curve very well in any white deck, and the ETB combat trick can really change the tempo of the game if your opponent was planning on being aggressive. It also makes blocking that much difficult or your opponent. Another high pick in limited, but probably more like a 3rd-4th pick.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Fiend Binder

We usually get this type of effect on 1/1 creatures, but putting it on a 3/2 body spells trouble for many defending players. Being able to tap down an opponent’s best blocker not only puts them at a disadvantage, but it also opens them up for effects like Murderous Compulsion if you’re playing a BW deck. The human typing also works really well with GW Humans if you have a Veteran Cathar to give it double strike, or end up drafing a Thalia’s Lieutenant to boost its power. Not an all-star but a well rounded card that will trade with a lot of other creatures and put pressure on an opponent. I wouldn’t take it first in draft, but I don’t think a card like this will table and get back to you so grab it when you see it if you’re planning any kind of white deck.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Courageous Outrider

Courageous Outrider won’t always grab you a human unless you’ve drafted a human heavy deck, but it’s a 3/4 body with the possibility of grabbing you another creature when you play it. It will block A LOT of creatures, and be able to survive multiple types of removal. I’d take it high if I was heavy in humans already in draft, but otherwise it’s a decent card that is better than most 4 drops in the set.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Faithbearer Paladin

Lifelink can be pretty useful in limited, especially if it’s on a hard to kill 3/4 body. The 5 mana might be a little high, but I think being able to block just about anything and gain 3 life in the process is totally worth it. There are a number of cards that put work alongside how much life you have (Sorin, Lone Rider), so I think Faithbearer will see a decent amount of play. The Human typing also helps it. There are probably stronger 5 mana cards out there, but for a common it’s pretty good.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Lone RiderIt That Rides as One

Speaking of Lone Rider, the card has amazing value if you can flip it. First strike and lifelink are good, and if you add trample on top of that once it flips it’s worth the investment. I don’t know if you want to play this in your deck if you don’t have a few different ways to flip it though. Having cards like Faithbearer or Markov Crusader in play at the same time is a good way to consistently flip it, but if you can’t get a hold on those you should focus on some combat tricks to boost it’s power, or play a few enchantments/equipment to boost its power. I recommend Faith Unbroken ^_^. I wouldn’t say he’s that high of a pick in draft, but if you have the pool to help him flip consistently I’d take him without a second thought. Just don’t feel the need to force him into a deck if you’re never going to see his flip side.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Ironclad Slayer

You probably won’t be returning too many equipment from your graveyard unless you’re playing a delirium based deck, but being able to get back an enchantment to use again such as Dead Weight, Sleep Paralysis, or Bound by Moonsilver is pretty strong. It’s much better than its predecessor Auramancer thanks to that extra power and second ability, but having good enchantments in this format is the game changer. There seem to be many more offensive/tempo based enchantments in this block than ever before. I expect him to show up a good amount in limited. Good roleplayer.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Extricator of SinExtricator of Flesh

Just as with Lone Rider, Etricator of Sin takes some work to flip, but becomes pretty powerful once it does. I could see this doing well in a GW or BW delirium based deck. Black has a lot of good discard outlets like Ghoulsteed, Elusive Tormentor, and Heir of Falkenrath, while green has lots of effects that let you pour cards into the graveyard such as Grapple with the Past. If you don’t want to sacrifice a permanent when it comes into play that’s fine, but getting rid of a card that’s lost its value for a 3/2 creature along with a 0/3 is worth it. After he flips, you can create an army of 3/2 Eldrazi with any creature that is going to die anyways. You can also attack with him since he has vigilance and still make a token later. Good way to take control of the game from an opponent.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Desperate Sentry

Think of Desperate Sentry as a supercharged Doomed Traveler. Sure DT was a 1/1 that cost one mana and had much better value in the one drop slot, but the Sentry gives you a 3/2 creature when it dies, and if you’re able to activate Delirium relatively early you get a 4/2 guy that turns into a 3/2 when it dies. I don’t see a disadvantage of playing him. The only time I wouldn’t play him was if I was in a non green/black deck that would be hard to activate delirium, but even then I would consider him as a 23rd card in my limited deck because he’s 2 bodies in one. Solid card.

RATING: 2.5 Stars

 

Thraben Standard Bearer

It’s pretty rare for white to get a discard effect, but this ability is welcome. Thraben Standard Bearer works great in a WB Delirium/madness themed deck, and also wouldn’t be bad in RW deck if you have some Fiery Tempers to toss away for value. It’s a good card to have if you’re mana flooding and still want to stall the board until you can get the win. One of the better one drops that isn’t a rare.

RATING: 2.5 Stars

 

Choking Restraints

Moving on to the non-creature spells of white, Choking Restraints has to be THE BEST Pacifism effect I’ve ever seen. Lock a creature down early, then exile it when you have the extra mana. Great way to get rid of those creatures that still have formidable abilities, and it combos VERY nicely with Ironclad Slayer. Draft a few of these and a few of the Slayers, and you got a pretty sweet way to lock down your opponent for good. Relatively high pick in draft. Top 5 I’d say.

RATING: 4 stars

 

Faith Unbroken

I talked about it a earlier, but Faith Unbroken turns any of your creatures into a Fiend Hunter when it comes into play plus gives it +2/+2. I used to hate using auras because it made it easy for your opponent to 2 for 1 you, but with most of the removal at sorcery speed now and burn out of the question, you should get at least one good attack in with their creature exiled before they try to kill your guy. Another good pick in draft early on.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Blessed Alliance

I think that most players will be using the last effect to kill an attacking creature for 2 mana at instant speed, but Escalating it to the next level and untapping two of your creatures to block and kill their other attackers is downright cruel. If you have the extra mana to do all three you might as well gain 4 life, but I think those two abilities for 4 mana alone make this a very powerful card. Possible first pick in draft. 

RATING: 4 Stars

 

Spectral Reserves

The last card I’d like to talk about today is Spectral Reserves. It’s not overly powerful, but it gives you 2 flying creatures for 4 mana and gains you 2 life. It plays well alongside of Lone Rider, especially if played after combat when it was unblocked. Good, not great value, and worth having in one of those 23 limited deck card slots.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Other Cards that will Probably See Play

  • Dawn Gryff – a simple Wind Drake, or 2/2 flyer, that fits well on a curve. Goes in any deck.
  • Geist of the Lonely Vigil – If you’re playing a devoted delirium deck with a few ways to get delirium it’s pretty good, but otherwise you’re stuck with a 2/3 flying wall most of the time.
  • Guardian of Pilgrims – I like this in UW spirits, especially if you have Rattlechains and can give it Flash. It would work best in a flyer heavy deck.
  • Ironwright’s Cleansing – Having enchantment or artifact removal in your SB is always a good idea, but now it’s more important than ever. There are lots of good enchantments in these sets.
  • Steadfast Cathar – If you’re an aggressive deck with lots of combat tricks it’s pretty good, and of course with human buffing creatures like Thalia’s Lieutenant it’s definitely playable.

 

Coming Up Next

 

The weekend the full spoiler came out lots of people were talking about how powerful white has become and I have to agree. The color has a very aggressive curve, with some powerful cards at 2 and 3 mana. I expect WG/BW humans, UW flyers/Spirits, and WG/WB Delirium based decks to be some of the best archetypes in Eldritch Moon limited. I think things like combat tricks are going to be more viable as well. If you end up not being able to draft any good removal for your deck, focus on grabbing instant speed tricks and strong creatures to push damage through and let you take over the game through attrition.

Any scores you disagree with? Anything you would add or take away from my list? If you have any other comments on the white cards in EMN and how they’re going to affect deckbuilding in EMN/SOI limited I’d like to hear them down below. I’ll be working on blue next, so expect it tomorrow at the earliest, and by Wednesday for sure. Thanks for reading and stop back in soon!

 

 

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