Limited Use – Theros, Part 2

More Limited Theros fun! After yesterday’s traipse through white and blue, today I’m going to look at gems from the colours of Erebos and Purphoros. Unfortunately, there’s not too much great stuff in black, but red more than makes up for it.

merchantThis guy is a little bit on the pricey side, but I have a weakness for Exsanguinate effects. At the absolute worst, i.e. you have no other black permanents on the field, this guy will still drain your opponent for two, and serve as a chunky roadblock. Like all the devotion cards, he’s probably more suited to a casual constructed deck where you’re guaranteed to get mono-colour, rather than the normal multicolour mishmash of Limited.

marchLimited games usually come down to attrition, and any form of recursion is good, especially a two-for-one card like March. Get back your fatties after they’ve eaten a removal spell, or your useful utility creatures. Heck, even getting back a chunky blocker is going to be a pain for your opponent. It’s a good, solid common, and if you’re running black, you should run this. Theros Limited looks like there’ll be creatures dying left and right, so this will be great for keeping you supplied with bodies.

bonesI love Sign in Blood, and I really liked Toil in Dragon’s Maze (it served me well), so I utterly love this. Combining  card draw with scry is like combining Christmas with Disneyland. There’s been a lot of excited chatter about “black Preordain” on forums, and I think it’s well-earned. I think this will definitely find uses beyond Limited.

rescueAside from the goofy hoops you need to jump through, this serves as a perfectly functional instant-speed Zombify, and lets you get some benefit out of a creature that’s about to die anyway, or that has a death trigger. And OH GOD, THE FLAVOUR, and also DAT ART. Probably one of my favourite cards in the whole set, just for the fluff and art alone.

assaultThe red teamwork spell is an excellent and cheap combat trick. First strike is amazing on both the offence and defence, so giving that, and a power boost, and potentially hitting two Heroic triggers for one mana is excellent. Remember, never underestimate how useful a +1/+0 boost can be, especially with first strike. A good start for red in this set.

fanaticQuick question; would you play a 4/2 for four mana with no downside that hits each opponent for (on average) 3-4 damage when it enters the field? Of course you would! Would you include this card in your Limited deck if you were running a lot of red? You’d be a fool not to. The Fanatic here is not as great as the Merchant above, but he’s a lot more aggressive, and shows those Boros posers that sometimes you don’t need to add white mana to make a good Minotaur.

adeptOh sweet goodliness, YES. There’s so much scry in this set, that you may easily get the benefit of her ability twice a turn, maybe even three times. You know what will be disgusting in Limited though? This lady, plus Aqueous Form, which I looked at yesterday. Unblockable 4 power with repeatable library manipulation? I hear that’s pretty good.

lightningSearing Spear was excellent in Magic 2013, so I’m very happy to see a functional reprint of it. Opening lots of these should really push you into running red, as it’s efficient and readily available. Yes, it suffers against the bigger creatures (of which there are many), but it’s going to be super-useful for picking off enemy Heroes before they get out of hand, and sneaking that last bit of damage to your opponent.

magmaTake Shock. Make it cost 1 more mana. You’re not impressed, are you? What about if I throw on scry 2? Oh, now you’re listening. This, along with Lightning Strike and the other assorted red burn, is making red look very strong. Normally I’m not wild on reprints in big sets, but I’m more than happy to see this Fifth Dawn alumni, especially with shmexy new art.

minotaurVery similar to Viashino Firstblade from Dragon’s Maze, except with no toughness boost. Doesn’t matter, I love this guy. Most opponents won’t be expecting to deal with a 4/2 swinging at them on turn three. After that he’s nothing special, but who cares? You want him to get a “wait, what?” from your opponent, and to start the clock ticking. I could really see a blue-red aggro deck with this guy, Flamespeaker Adept with Aqueous Form support, aaaand…

cerby… this guy! Good boy! Or is that boys…? Whatever. Double strike is one of the most potent creature abilities in the game; it’s not evasion like flying or intimidate, but it does ramp up your damage, and make your pump spells twice as effective. Cerby here is one of the few double strikers in the set, and certainly the only one at common. Get some bestow guys attached to him, and he will utterly dominate combat.

 

So, black seems like a bit of a letdown, but red is looking very strong. But what will green offer, along with the multicoloured and artefact cards? Find out tomorrow!

Gareth

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