Hour of Devastation: 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.
As always, you can check out my previous picks for AKH limited white cards in this link. Before we start today’s article I do want to apologize for the late start on the series. If you’ve been following my Twitter at all, then you might be aware that I’m flying out to Australia this weekend with my wife for summer vacation. I’ll be leaving on Sunday night, but before before I leave I had A LOT of paperwork to take care of for work. I’ve been doing reports pretty much whenever I had free time from Sunday until Tuesday night. Now that they are finished, I can finally get around to finishing these articles. I most likely won’t have them finished before my first event, but I should be able to knock out a few of them before that. I don’t plan on doing the midnight Friday pre-release this time because it will wreck me before my flight on Sunday, but I will try to do an early one at 7am Saturday and another one after that if possible. Anyways, lets not lose too much more time and take a look at the playable white cards in Hour of Devastation.
While I really liked the Exert mechanic from Amonkhet, Eternalize feels like a distinct upgrade to Embalm. You end up paying a little bit extra mana, but you get added power for the investment. Good embalm creatures were great in AKH limited, and I think that the Eternalize cards will see a lot of play as well. Sunscourge Champion is slightly more desirable because of the life gain and cheaper Eternalize cost, but Steadfast Sentinel might be good as your 23rd card if your curve supports it and you need some more late game cards.
Sun Scourge Champion – RATING: 3 Stars
Steadfast Sentinel – RATING: 2.5 Stars
Exert gets a few more cards in HOU, which should got a long way in fleshing out the strategy in RW or GW. These cards are all aggressively costed and will fit perfectly in any exert deck you make. Oketra’s Avenger is my favorite because you can attack for a nice amount of damage early on and you don’t have to worry about her dying to chump blockers like all 3/1s have done before. Steward of Solidarity is a bear early in the game, but later on in the game the warrior becomes a serviceable token maker.
Vizier of the True also seems to be like a very powerful card. If you’re playing an Exert deck in draft or get enough of the effects in your sealed deck, this card is downright broken. Play your exert creatures fast and in large numbers and any slower deck will fold extremely quickly. It’s the perfect top of the curve for GW or RW Exert. Out of these 3, I’d take the Vizier very high in draft, but each of them will do well in limited.
Vizier of the True – RATING: 3.5 Stars
Oketra’s Avenger – RATING: 3 Stars
Steward of Solidarity – RATING: 3 Stars
The other archetype that saw a lot of play during AKH limited was BW Zombies. There aren’t too many cards to add to it this time, but both Mummy Paramount and Disposal Mummy are solid additions. The first one is good for a zombie heavy limited deck that gives you a lot of triggers to pump him up, but would also work well in a strategy that has a lot of Embalm/Eternalize effects for later in the game. The Disposal Mummy might not seem that good at first glance, but being able to stop an opponent from bringing back a troublesome Embalm/Eternalize creature on turn 5 or 6 could come in pretty handy. I think it will be underestimated at first, but become a limited roleplayer later on.
Mummy Paramount – RATING: 3 Stars
Disposal Mummy – RATING: 3 Stars
I’d like to call this next group of cards enablers. They all work well within a certain archetype but might not be that powerful outside of those strategies. For example, Unconventional Tactics would be pretty damn sweet in a BW zombie deck. Being able to cast it and get it back in the same turn, and possibly casting it twice could let you swing for a huge amount of damage in the air. But just like I said above, don’t pigeonhole it into only that type of deck. Embalm and Eternalize can fulfill pretty much the same zombie requirement for return to hand trigger. It won’t always work in your decks, but it will be like throwing gasoline on a fire when you have a strong zombie archetype.
Daunntless Aven and Act of Heroism both work really well in Exert decks and would be strong roleplayers in that archetype. The problem with the Aven is that it won’t be able to fight much in the air, but if the skies are clear you can continuously uptap your exerted creatures and punish your opponents turn after turn. As for Act of Heroism, I would really only use it in a GW or RW Exert limited deck. I like combat tricks in this format, especially in Exert decks. I don’t know how many times I was able to pump up creatures in AKH limited on both offense or defense to swing the tempo of the matches into my favor. Heroism will win you a few games both on offense or defense if it’s in your arsenal. Not a first pick but not something you want to look over if you want to be aggressive.
Unconventional Tactics – RATING: 3 Stars
Dauntless Aven – RATING: 3 Stars
Act of Heroism – RATING: 2.5 Stars
The other unique effect in HOU limited is the “desert” effect. For the first time ever, playing deserts makes an impact in your limited deck. Solitary Camel’s lifelink could help keep you alive a little while longer, but the Arrest effect of Desert’s Hold is even better. It’s a great pseudo-removal effect already, but getting 3 life on top of pacifying a creature is icing on the cake.
Solitary Camel – RATING: 2.5 Stars
Desert’s Hold – RATING: 3 Stars
Getting down to my last few picks, we have 2 flyers that add to the already swollen ranks of flyers in AKH limited. The more the merrier I think. Aven of Enduring Hope is slightly overcosted but has a decent sized body and a nice ETB trigger. Angel of the God-Pharaoh is a little more intimidating and should be a force to reckon with in the skies. I would think that it would be a high pick in draft, so don’t feel bad about taking it early in your pod. Great card for the top of your curve.
Aven of Enduring Hope – RATING: 3 Stars
Angel of the God-Pharaoh – RATING: 3.5 Stars
I don’t remember Sandblast much from Fate Reforged, but it’s made a much bigger impact on me now than it did then. During Kahns block we had cards like Murderous Cut and Ultimate Price, but in the recent dearth of good removal in any color, a card that does 5 damage at instant speed for 3 mana is downright amazing. This card will take out just about every creature in AKH/HOU limited. Definitely a high draft pick. Not quite first pickable, but still impressive in this environment.
RATING: 3.5 Stars
Other Cards that Will See Play
- Dutiful Servants – decent tank type creature that can take hits, will see play in zombie archetypes
- Gideon’s Defeat – Amazing sideboard card if you’re facing white.
- Saving Grace – Interesting Fog Effect, but I don’t think it’s great in the mainboard.
Coming Up Next
I kinda feel like Exert got the biggest upgrade in Hour of Devastation. I love combat tricks and there are more than enough to give your opponents constant headaches. With that being said, I feel like BW zombies will be pretty balanced as well, and flyers will be more than up to the task of going over your opponent’s ground army consistently. If you have any other combos that you think will be powerful in white, be sure to leave a comment below.
I luckily have a day off on Thursday, so I’ll definitely be working on another article and should have blue finished by the end of Thursday, maybe even before. Thanks for reading and for being patient and I hope you’ll come back to continue the Playing To Your Weaknesses series!