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Avacyn Restored – Green review

April 28, 2012

I just got back from visiting my local game store’s second pre-release sealed event. I only played in the midnight release, but I did end up going 3-0 and drawing the last round with a buddy for 7 packs. I don’t want to judge the limited environment too much based on sealed deck, and it’s always going to be hard to follow up Innistrad in any format, but I was a bit disappointed overall. I did get a chance to see how a lot of the miracle cards played out, and how often people missed them too (myself included). With some experience watching and played, I’ll be reviewing green today for cube, which has a lot of quietly powerful cards.

Unfortunately one of the rares I didn’t see cast this weekend, Champion still strikes me as a very powerful card. The initial cost of 3 mana for a 1/1 is underwhelming, but the two abilities are outstanding together. Just as a 1/1, this stops any 0/X walls from blocking which can be relevant for your one and two drops. Past that, this card becomes bonkers with any sort of token makers. It pairs best with white, which has cards like Geist-Honored Monk and Cloudgoat to put this into overdrive quick. There are multiple three drops in Avacyn Restored that may see cube play, and I think this is the best of the bunch.

The uncommon in a cycle of oulbonding pumpers, Druid’s Familiar caught me offguard last night at the pre-release. Given the fact that Avacyn Restored has less removal than most sets, soulbond cards will need to be evaluated closely to see if the more removal in cube makes these unplayable. As with the rest of the soulbond creatures, the psuedo-haste is relevant, and the Familiar will give you two creatures that are difficult to deal with in combat. I can see it being weaker against black based decks in pauper, but you should be able to go over the top of each other color, and be out of the range of red removal. Pair it with a Mire/River Boa or Ledgewalker for best effect!

Since I have almost every one drop accelerator available in green, one thing I’ve been trying to focus on is having a lot of powerful three drops to curve into on turn 2. The ability to continue curving into a turn three 6 drop is insanely powerful, and the kind of ramp that helps give green it’s niche in cube. The fact that it taps for any color helps as well, as it will continue to push green towards fixing mana as well as ramp. I’m not entirely certain if it will stick, but I’m definitely going to be testing this out, and potentially adding a 6 drop or two to green to compensate.

Between Beast Within, Dismember and the keywording of ‘fight’, green has been getting a lot of good situational removal lately. Prey Upon has been good so far for me, and a recurring Prey Upon is probably going to be even better. Costing one mana is great as you’ll be able to find a spare mana early on to drop him and not mess up your curve much. The tracker will obviously be pretty weak against the control decks unless you’re going SUPER big, but otherwise, the ability to dominate the board makes this a must answer threat.

My biggest regret about this card is that it isn’t a snake, as hissing at people when flashing Ambush Viper into play is probably my favorite interaction in Magic right now. As I mentioned above, curving into three drops is where green wants to be at with creature based decks, and this improved Trained Armodon fits the bill perfectly. The flash is sweet for a nice threat post-wrath, or the ability to do it’s best Ambush Viper impression against other aggressive decks. The regeneration is just icing on the cake, and I have a feeling this will be a staple in full and pauper cubes for some time.

This is the rare for the +X/+X soulbond creatures previously mentioned, and it does not mess around. Assuming it stays bonded, Wolfir Silverheart is 12 power for 5 mana. The awesome thing about this, and the soulbond mechanic, is it helps turn late game mana elfs into viable threats. If unanswered, this will actually just beat the piss out of your opponent in a few turns. Much like the other soulbond cards that I’ll be testing, I will be curious to see how a format with more removal like cube will balance out the power of these cards. There will be instant speed blowouts that linger in the minds of players, but I hope best/worst case scenario mentality doesn’t have an effect on the evaluation of these cards.

And with that, the Avacyn Restored set review is done! I now know how difficult it is for pros to go through set reviews, and I did a lot less! Let me know any thoughts on the format of the review or what I can do differently, as I’ll most likely do one for M13 (which probably will only add a card or two) and beyond. Later this week I will have a cube update with what I’ll be testing and some reasoning behind why cards are coming out. Most of the reasons for cards going in will have been covered by this week’s review.

Kyle Engleson
@Kengy5 on Twitter
Kyle.Engleson@gmail.com

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One Comment leave one →
  1. randall permalink
    April 28, 2012 8:03 pm

    Sanborn had the champion in his deck and paired it with the double blink in blue. Needless to say, even though the champion got defanged it was still a force.

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