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Avacyn Restored First Thoughts – April 24, 2012 Spoiler Catch-Up (white)

April 25, 2012

The remainder of Avacyn Restored has been posted to Wizards full Card Image Gallery! I had a bit of a hiccup keeping up with the spoilers over the weekend, but I’m back, and I’m going to pick through to the ones I have yet to review, and do just that. Today I’m tackling white!

I’ll go straight through the visual spoiler and review the cards I’ve missed:

Angel’s Mercy is a flavorful reprint, but isn’t going anywhere near my cube.

Angelic Wall is another reprint, and it’s a cheap blocker, but most cubes should be playing Wall of Omens instead.

Archangel, yet another reprint, is now pushed to uncommon rarity, with another new art (which IMHO, is not nearly as nice as Quinton Hoover’s). The creature is underpowered compared to its cost. I would love to see another Baneslayer-caliber creature like this (X/X flying, vigilance, [abilities]) with an appropriate cost for a mythic rare.

Builder’s Blessing is a functional reprint of Castle. It’s an impressive battlefield anthem, but not as impressive as traditional anthems that boost power.

Cathedral Sanctifier is weak, even for limited standards. It’s possible there will be interesting ways to repeat the enter-the-battlefield ability in Avacyn Restored limited, but if you want this effect in your cube, Lone Missionary does the job better.

Devout Chaplain is a neat human tribal source of repeatable removal for limited, but doesn’t have the support in most cubes, and is slow to activate as well.

Divine Deflection has one of my favorite effects that white has access to: damage redirection. I’ve enjoyed playing many an Honorable Passage in the past, and I currently run Harms Way in my cube. Divine Deflection doesn’t scale well with higher amounts of damage, and I don’t suggest it for cubes.

Farbog Explorer is not very interesting, though it will be one of the more splashable evasive creatures in Avacyn Restored limited.

Goldnight Commander may be one of the few cards that can break stalemates in Avacyn Restored limited. If you can play at least one creature per turn after him, you almost get a consistent anthem effect. Cubes should be looking to play Pianna, Nomad Captain or Soltari Champion instead.

Goldnight Redeemer is an angel that is roughly as powerful as its Serra Angel core set counterpart. Slightly more expensive, and its worth is really dependent on how many creatures you can manage to keep on the battlefield. It’s potentially a neat budget finisher for uncommon cubes. Edit: I just realized I reviewed this already, whoops!

Leap of Faith is one of the set’s common combat tricks. Combat tricks are few and far between in cube (removal usually serves this role in cube) and this one does not have a very aggressive cost, either.

Nearheath Pilgrim is on my radar as a possible sleeper. Lifelink on a two-power creature (plus any paired creature) for two mana is pretty decent. It has the potential to make big life swings with other creatures in cube as well as making the race against other aggro decks very favorable.

Riders of Gavony is definitely a card built with the tribal overtones of Avacyn Restored and Innistrad‘s Standard environment in mind. It’s just barely on the curve power-wise for a human tribal deck and makes sure that any other tribal decks you run into are no issue in combat. As a four-mana 3/3 in cube, it has a lot of competition. Glimmerpoint Stag has more favorable interactions in most cubes, and is already at the low-end of cubeable four-mana creatures, since the available slots are slim due to white’s very powerful spell suite.

Righteous Blow is actually not that bad of a card, considering white does not get many direct damage spells. It has the usual combat-only rider attached to a white Shock. While not a strict analogue, Harm’s Way is a stronger card because of its higher timing versatility and as its function as a creature-saving spell as well as a way to protect your planeswalkers.

Spectral Gateguards is one of the later spoiled creatures with Soulbound. It fills the ground-stalling role that Siege Mastodon does, but adds Vigilance to itself and its creature pair. It’s a very significant effect in limited, but does not really have a role in cube.

Thraben Valiant is the kind of limited common I can get behind. It’s just a simple 2/1 french vanilla, but it is efficient enough for most limited environments. It may actually be a trap card in Avacyn Restored, which seems to be full of 3-and-greater toughness creatures. I won’t be putting it my regular cube, but it may have a spot in my rarity-limited one, that is more of a collection of good limited commons and uncommons.

Voice of the Provinces is an expensive common creature that is considerably worse than Cloudgoat Ranger in practice, but may still have a role in some larger pauper cubes.

Zealous Strike is another combat trick in the vein of Mighty Leap and Moment of Heroism. First strike is very good with the pump effect, but it’s still not good enough for traditional cubes.

That concludes today’s update. There’s not much for cube I’m afraid, since most of the splashy cards were spoiled early on in the initial offerings. Moving forward, I’m going to try to pick up another color per day. Tomorrow may not have a review update, as it’s Commander night at my local game store, but I’ll make my best effort to be back Thursday with blue!

Have any thoughts on cards from Avacyn Restored? Maybe I missed a cool interaction for cube? Let me know in the comments!

  1. Jason permalink

    Great post as always.

    One suggestion, I would love if you made some visual distinction or quick way to see which cards are actually worth reading about. For example, at the bottom of each paragraph, on a new line, something like:
    Rating: ________

    It doesn’t have to be a specific numeric rating, but something along the lines of how does it. “Cubable” or “360 Cubable” or “Test Card”, etc.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks for the feedback. 🙂

      I wasn’t completely prepared for doing a full spoiler review for this set but I wanted to try it out. I’m going to have to check out my options for visual spoilers and such (though this may mean waiting until the full official spoiler is up before starting) the next time around, since I’m also disappointed at how it is hard to follow my thoughts, especially with the large majority of the cards being brand new, and many with complex effects.

      It’s a learning process. 🙂

      I’m also planning on a “best picks” post after the pre-release that should have what you’re looking for and will give me more experience with some of the cards. I’ll take a closer look at the ones that I think deserve testing (or are just slam dunk staples) and give a basic rating for them, like I’ve done for single-card evaluation posts.

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