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Magic 2019 Standard Set Review: Green and the Rest

Check out the other entries in the Set Review:

White | Blue | Black | Red

We’ve reach the end. This is the last article and then we’ll be done with Magic 2019. Hopefully green gets some good cards from M19, let’s find out. Real quick, my review process.

I will not be going over cards that I believe will not see play in Standard. For example, cards like Time of Ice and Gideon's Reproach will be omitted since they are just Limited cards and saying, “This is just a Limited card” repeatedly gets old rather fast. Don’t worry though, I will be covering all the rare and mythic cards in the set. So, if you like a certain rare or mythic, it will be mentioned in the review.

Keep in mind I’m rating all these cards for Standard playability. I will mention Modern applications if I believe the card has some.

RATING — Explanation — Standard Examples

0 — Will never see play in this format (0 ratings are not listed).

1 — Unlikely to see play. (Dubious Challenge)

2 — Could see fringe play, or occasional sideboard card. (Authority of the Consuls)

3 — Commonly played, staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Harnessed Lightning, Cast Down)

4 — Format staples. Sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (Heart of Kiran, Abrade, Seal Away)

5 — Format warping. If you’re in these colors, you play that card. (Goblin Chainwhirler, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria)

Let it grow!

Blanchwood Armor
2.5 — Not a card I would expect to be a staple in the format but equipping this turn three or four on a Steel Leaf Champion will kill an opponent real quick. You're going to die to this from the same people that played Fling in their Electrostatic Pummeler decks.
Elvish Clancaller
2.5 — A two-mana 1/1 isn't exciting, but it is a lord that can fetch up other lords. Elves needs a lot more cards to become a good tribal deck, but this card is fine.
Elvish Rejuvenator
3.5 — Now this is what I'm talking about. Wood Elves but for any land! This is a mechanic that will be used so players will shuffle less overall. I'm very hyped to ramp with this card and hopefully chump some creatures while I ramp.
2.5 — Bigger than Fusion Elemental! Green just has all these big silly creatures. Not sure you need this one though in your Mono-Green deck. Steel Leaf and Ghalta seem to be enough.
Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma
3 — Hell has no fury like a bear scorned! Goreclaw facilitates an even faster Ghalta and is an excellent way to cheapen dragons, wurms, and dinosaurs. I'm a fan!
Hungering Hydra
2 — The biggest drawback here is always dying to Fatal Push, probably fine in a Green mirror match. So, I only see this card as a possible Sideboard option. Even then, I wouldn't play it.
Pelakka Wurm
3 — If Sifter Wurm is seeing play, then so should Pelakka Wurm. No need to scry anything, just go ahead and gain that seven life and if your wurm somehow manages to die, then you can go ahead and draw yourself a card!
Prodigious Growth
2Gigantosaurus into this?! Then get blown out of the water by a Seal Away, Cast Out, Vraska's Contempt, Settle the Wreckage, etc etc. Cards like this are way too risky to play.
Reclamation Sage
3 — Welcome back buddy! Reclamation Sage is a welcome addition to any Green sideboard. In fact, sometimes it's so good in the metagame that people play it main deck.
2 — A very niche card that might see play in some sort of ug The Mirari Conjecture and Recollect deck. Definitely a fringe strategy but a sweet fringe strategy.
Runic Armasaur
2 — This dinosaur is too small to see main deck play but it's fantastic to have access to in your Sideboard. Who knows, though. If we see fetchlands in Ravnica, then this little dinosaur could come out and play.
2 — Nothing worthwhile to Scapeshift into. The best play would be Tatyova, Benthic Druid into Scapeshift but I'd rather Tatyova into Hour of Promise. At least Hour of Promise is good without Tatyova. You can't say the same about Scapeshift. I would keep an eye on this card, though. Look out for nonbasic lands in the next couple of sets.
Thorn Lieutenant
4 — The body is respectable to the cost and it leaves behind a body if it dies or just gets targeted by an ability. This is great against Earthshaker Khenra and Ahn-Crop Crasher. Late game you can start cracking in for six damage. This creature is actually pretty good, though not as good as Sylvan Advocate. It's still one of the best Green 2-drops we have in Standard.
Vine Mare
2.5 — I remember Chameleon Colossus smashing Black decks left and right. While Vine Mare is no Chameleon Colossus, it's still a card heavy based Black decks don't want to see. This will be in Mono-Green Sideboards at the very least.
Vivien Reid
3 — I think Vivien Reid is fine. She'll see the same amount of play that Nissa, Vital Force does, but she's not the chase Planeswalker or anything. She can always do something, but she really encourages you to play with creatures to abuse her plus ability. I'm not a huge fan of a ton of creatures in my decks.
Vivien's Invocation
2See the Unwritten saw little play and we had some absurd dragons to put into play off it. Vivien's Invocation costs more and isn't good enough. You’re usually just better of casting your creatures normally, especially since this can miss.

Top 5 Green Cards

  1. Thorn Lieutenant
  2. Elvish Rejuvenator
  3. Reclamation Sage
  4. Vivien Reid
  5. Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma

Green did very well here. We still have Pelakka Wurm as an honorable mention. Thorn Lieutenant should be able to punish Red decks even more now, hopefully enough that Red decks die down a bit in popularity.

Next up, we have the multicolored cards!

Arcades, the Strategist
2.5 — Where is Assault Formation when you need it? Arcades needs more support to be a contender in Standard and right now we just don't have it. Super fun card in Commander and other casual formats though!
Chromium, the Mutable
3 — The best finisher control decks have seen in a while. I like Chromium a lot more than Nezahal, Primal Tide, especially since it flies, has flash, and isn't as vulnerable to Disallow as Nezahal is.
Heroic Reinforcements
3 — Not only a token generator but one that pumps the rest of your tokens? This is scary on its own but it's terrifying if you have more creatures / tokens. It also plays favorably with Path of Mettle.
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
4 — I'm excited for Bolas. Coming down and generating card advantage by forcing your opponent to pitch a card is fantastic. It also doesn't die to Glorybringer and whenever you are able to transform him, the game is basically over. Nicol Bolas plays favorably with Liliana, Death's Majesty, that's actually a pretty solid way to make sure your opponent gets hellbent quickly, so you can safely transform the elder dragon into his rightful planeswalker form.
Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner
2.5 — Play Palladia-Mors with Onward // Victory for a one shot kill! Just be aware that after first strike damage, they can kill her with a removal spell since she'll lose her pseudo "hexproof" ability. Could also be fun with Helm of the Host.
Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire
2.5 — Destroying my opponent’s good cards and my lands then spinning the wheel to see what pops up is fun but very random. You can build around this, so it benefits you more than your opponent but it's still random and I don't want that in my competitive Standard deck, especially if I don't have a way to put Omniscience on top of my library.

No need to rank these since we have so few. Chromium and Bolas are the two best Elder Dragons in this set, and Heroic Reinforcements will add a different twist to token/aggro strategies that we haven’t really seen before. Tokens with haste are a great way to combat battlefield wipes.

Let’s go on to things that Abrade blows up!

Amulet of Safekeeping
2 — A card printed more so for older formats, but if tokens somehow becomes a deck and you're not playing Goblin Chainwhirler, then maybe you can play this in your Sideboard.
Chaos Wand
2 — Board this in against any of Ali's big mana decks, cast that Mastermind's Acquisition or Hour of Promise for free over and over!
Crucible of Worlds
2.5 — I really like this card but Abrade is a thing, hopefully after that card rotates we can see a sweet ug or bg deck that plays Crucible of Worlds alongside some powerful utlitly lands.
Desecrated Tomb
2 — Unique card, not sure where it belongs and it's also hard to build around. It can be a nice Sideboard card for God-Pharaoh's Gift decks since you can tutor it up with Trophy Mage. That way if your opponent is exiling your graveyard you can make 1/1 bats?
Dragon's Hoard
3Abrade, why you got to be legal?! Dragon's Hoard is a powerful card and one, alongside Sarkhan, makes Dragons worth playing. This card is great, but I think it'll really shine once Abrade rotates.
Fountain of Renewal
2 — Possible sideboard card, decent in control sideboards since burn should be taking out their Abrades against you. Once a turn Sun Droplet that you can sacrifice to draw a card when you feel safe enough.
Magistrate's Scepter
2 — This card seems fun, but you need a lot of things for it go right. Paradox Engine and mana rocks seems like the best way, that or Winding Constrictor. It's also tutorable by Trophy Mage.
2 — Solid plan in the Sideboard for control decks for the mirror match but outside of that, Millstone is outdated.
Sigiled Sword of Valeron
2 — All these swords that cost three to play and three to equip always look powerful but rarely see play, look at Sword of Vengeance for example. Sigiled Sword of Valeron won't see tier one play in my opinion, especially with Abrade running around.
3Pilgrim's Eye but instead of finding you a land, it draws you a card! I actually really like this card and I think it's the best artifact in the set.
Transmogrifying Wand
2 — Really wish this bad boy exiled so we could remove Gods. It's still a solid sideboard option to kill pesky big pesky creatures. I'd rather stare down a 2/4 goat then a Ghalta, Primal Hunger. Also, tutorable with Trophy Mage!

Top 3 Artifacts

  1. Skyscanner
  2. Dragon's Hoard
  3. Crucible of Worlds

Finally, let’s round things out with the nonbasic lands from M19.

Detection Tower
2 — This card is playable main deck or in the sideboard if hexproof gets big. White based control decks don't really need this card though thanks to Settle the Wreckage and Fumigate. However, Black based decks could want this to deal with Carnage Tyrants but I'd rather just play Gifted Aetherborns or Gonti, Lord of Luxury.
Reliquary Tower
2.5 — Maybe in some sort of Mono-Blue Pull from Tomorrow deck? Even then, do you really need more than seven cards in your hand? Maybe you do, this would be pretty sweet in the ub Mirari deck since you end up drawing a ton of cards when copying Divination and Secrets of the Golden City.
Rupture Spire
2.5 — This card has seen play before in three-four color decks. It's not exciting but it does fix your mana perfectly, especially if you're a slow deck to begin with. Currently it's nearly unplayable because Red is the best deck and they don't give you time to set this up.

We’ve seen better lands the last couple of sets, especially since some of our spells turned into lands, regardless these are a welcome addition. Especially Detection Tower for Modern.

Let’s Rank the top 10 cards for Standard play from M19.

Top 10

  1. Thorn Lieutenant
  2. Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
  3. Resplendent Angel
  4. Nicol Bolas, the Ravager
  5. Stitcher's Supplier
  6. Bone Dragon
  7. Graveyard Marshal
  8. Elvish Rejuvenator
  9. Tezzeret, Artifice Master
  10. Chromium, the Mutable

Honorary mention goes to Cleansing Nova as that will also see play. It will compete with Fumigate but it’s still a great card. I don’t have any Red cards in the Top 10, the closest ones are Sarkhan, Fireblood and Demanding Dragon. Right now, Red decks have such good cards that it’s hard to replace anything in the deck. The only card I’m questioning now is Tezzeret, Artifice Master. It’s a good card but Chainwhirler kills all those thopters and Cleansing Nova is going to be a house against the artifact deck. Still, drawing two extra cards a turn will bury your opponent very quickly in card advantage. I’m pretty excitied for M19, I can’t wait to play Nexus of Fate until it rotates out!

That’s all I have for you today. Make sure to tune in next Friday for some more brews!

Until then,

Ali Aintrazi

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Magic Core Set 2019 is available for Preorder!