Amonkhet: 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, 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.

 

Yeah yeah yeah, I know I got another late start on the Amonkhet evaluations. They were out on Friday but I didn’t have a chance to really look through them and organize my choices until Sunday. Some people I’ve talked to seemed to be slightly underwhelmed with the set, but at first glance I believe it’s rather complex and seems to be more rewarding to those players with a higher level of play skill than those with deck building skill. I’m not saying you can put together a crap deck and still win if you’re a good player, but rather that there are a lot of interactions such as combat tricks and knowing when to use removal that will benefit the player that has the higher skill level. With Aether Revolt, I felt like the gimmicks like Revolt really depended on being able to build decks to incorporate it and relied on synergies more than skill level. I didn’t really play it too much because I felt like I couldn’t build decks right in sealed/limited. Anyways, it’s time to get a move on and see how white will treat us in Amonkhet limited.

 

Vizier of Deferment

Since we’re talking about combat tricks and skill based plays, I think I’ll start off with Vizier of Deferment. This is a great tempo card in the right situations. If your opponent is double blocking your strong creature to kill it, once defenders are declared you can flash this in before damage is dealt to get rid of whichever creature you want while letting your creature kill the one that gives you the best advantage. You can do this on an attacking creature as well. Don’t forget you can use this ability on your own creatures to reactivate an ETB effect or save them from damage or a combat trick as well. I like it. High draft pick.

RATING: 4 Stars

 

Binding Mummy

I wasn’t too sure of this card at first, but after seeing how many zombies there are in this set (both the regular and the embalmed kind), I’m convinced this will be an effective card in limited. I’m guessing people will be playing about 4-5 Embalm creatures on average, which means you get 5 combat tricks when they come back from the dead as mummy “zombies”. In a devoted BW zombie limited deck, it gets even better. I see it as a limited all star and a sought after draft pick.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Oketra's Attendant

Speaking of Embalm cards, Oketra’s Attendant screams value. It’s a solid flyer at 3/3, can draw you a card if you cycle it, and you can bring it back from the graveyard if it either died or if you drew a card from it. Another high pick for draft and strong limited card. I have a feeling that flyers are going to be good in this format due to how few there are compared to Aether Revolt.

RATING: 4 Stars

 

Unwavering Initiate

Not amazing but fits on your curve well and gives you value late game as well after he’s done his work early on. Limited roleplayer. He should see a decent amount of play in white decks.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Anointer Priest

With all of these embalm effects, removal isn’t going to be as effective as you think it’s going to be, and games are probably going to get grindy from time to time. Life gain will help you to gain an edge, especially if you’re playing a lot of other embalm effects. Good on curve and a good blocker.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

In Oketra's Name

Keeping with the synergy, In Oketra’s Name works really well with all of those embalm effects and is extremely easy to cast. This will help you to break those stalemates late in the game, and can also help you to be really aggressive early on with a BW zombie deck. ION has my vote as one of the best white combat tricks in the set. It won’t be a first pick card, but you don’t want to let this pass you in draft cause you won’t see it again.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Tah-Crop Elite

The next batch of cards I’m impressed by are the “Exert” ones. You have to know when to use the ability and when to hold back so you don’t find yourself tapped out and wide open for an alpha strike the following turn. That will take a lot of trial and error, but once you get used to it, Exert should make a big impact on your deck building. My first recommendation is Tah-Crop Elite as it is basically a creature anthem with wings. It can attack as a 3/3 flyer when you exert it by itself, but hopefully most of the time you’ll be pumping up your best attackers and putting some real pressure on your opponent. This is a great card if you’re able to make lots of creatures quickly, especially with some kind of evasion. It feels incredibly powerful for a common card. Grab it quickly in draft. I think it will go fast.

RATING: 4 Stars

 

Gust Walker

It doesn’t have a sweet anthem effect like the Tah-Crop Elite, but Gust Walker is great on curve and being able to turn into a 3/3 flyer every other turn is pretty useful. Like I said up above, I believe flying creatures will be really important in gaining the upper hand in Amonkhet limited. It’s not amazing, but Gust Walker will be a workhorse and get some early damage in while continuing to put pressure on an opponent later in the game.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Rhet-Crop Spearmaster

I’m never a fan of glass cannon creatures that die to everything, but being able to give Rhet-Crop Spearmaster first strike when a creature is threatening to block it makes it playable in my book. It fits on your curve, can trade with a lot of cards on defense, and is extremely good at putting pressure on an opponent’s empty board. Definite roleplayer you won’t be unhappy to draw at any point of the game.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Devoted Crop-Mate

In the right deck, Devoted Crop-Mate can be rather effective, getting back cards such as Harsh Mentor, Doomed Dissenter, or a Channeler Initiate when it Exerts itself, but most of the time I think you’ll be getting back some chaff that fits on your curve well at 2 CMC, but isn’t overly powerful. Being able to get a card back again and again and putting it directly into the battlefield is pretty good though. If it doesn’t die, the Crop Mate can give you a good amount of card advantage.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Supply Caravan

While it isn’t an Exert creature, it works well with them. Beside being a good blocker, it also puts in a token creature rather consistently be it from your creatures attacking or from you using some kind of ability. Heck, you could tap a Channeler Initiate for one mana, cast this for 4, then get that token that way. Amazing blocker, and great value for a common. I think this is a high draft pick in limited, so grab as many as you can get. Its only draw back is the 5 mana it costs to cast it.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

Cast Out

The last part I’m going to talk about is the removal in white. I like Cast out the Best because of the exile effect. Between reanimation spells and the Embalm ability, you really don’t want to be using your one time removal effect just to have it come back again. I have a feeling that effects like these are going to be incredibly important in limited, so I’m recommending a first pick if you can get it. The bonus of being instant speed, cycling, and hitting any permanent is nice, but I like it first and foremost for the exile effect.

RATING: 4 Stars

 

Impeccable Timing

Impeccable Timing is back in this set, and it should get the job done well most of the time. Sure you have to wait until your opponent attacks or blocks and it’s easy to play around once they know you have it, but it’s still a strong removal effect for white. It will kill pretty much all of the 2 and 3 mana creatures, and quite a few of the 4 mana ones as well no matter if they’re flying or not.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Winged Shepherd

Six mana is a bit much for a 3/3 flyer, but you do get the cycling effect which is nice. It’s nowhere near as good as Oketra’s Attendant, but having a flyer is still rather important. I don’t see it going early in a draft, but if you’re at pick 4-5 and are leaning white, it’s a good pick up. Flying is going to be so good that having a 3/3 on turn 6 is probably better than a 5/5 beater on the ground that can be blocked relentlessly by reoccurring zombie tokens.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Other Cards that Will See Play

  • Compulsory Rest – an alright pseudo-removal spell if you don’t have anything else in your colors to stop/kill creatures.
  • Fan Bearer – I’m not sure it’s a main deckable card all of the time, but these kind of effects of tapping a creature down can be good in the right deck.
  • Forsake the Worldly – Great card if you’re playing against some tough enchantments or artifacts.
  • Sacred Cat – Play it cause it’s cute (and if you have the cat lord!)
  • Sparring Mummy – should be great for a BW zombie build with Lord of the Accursed. A 3/3 body for 4 mana isn’t anything special though.
  • Seraph of the Suns – I really want to say it’s main deckable, but 7 mana? It’s a Serra Angel on Steroids and will dominate air battles . . . but 7 mana? Not sure how much of this you’ll see in limited.
  • Trial of Solidarity – good combat trick, especially if you’re playing a Cartouche. Not sure if I’d use it over the Tah-Crop Elite thought. The more Cartouches you’re playing the better. I personally like the green one.

 

Coming Up Next

At first glance I think flyers will be strong, but I could be wrong once the pre-releases start. They are always good to draft though, even if they don’t end up in as many decks as I thought they would. So far BW zombies seems like one of the archetypes, and I think we might be looking at a RW Exert deck in MTGAKT. Grab those exile effects when you can too. 

I’ll be working on the next article as soon as possible so hopefully you’ll get a chance to read over my blue article late Tuesday or early Wednesday. I hope you can agree with most of the choices I made, but if you have some other ideas that I didn’t mention, feel free to talk about them down below! Thanks for reading and look back soon for more content!

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