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Zendikar Rising Limited Set Review: Red and Green

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Check out the other entries here!

White | Blue and Black | Gold, Artifacts, and Land

Welcome to day three of our Zendikar Rising Limited set review! So far, this set looks like a lot of fun with a ton of major themes and subthemes throughout each color pairing. I can't wait to see the different synergies in today's cards.

This article is the third of four, and in it I will be evaluating every Red and Green card and scoring it on a scale of 1-5. These ratings are purely based on Limited formats and have no bearing on Constructed play. I would also like to note these ratings are based on how I believe the card will perform in an AVERAGE Sealed or Draft deck. Often this means a lower score for cards with great potential in a highly synergistic deck.

Rating - Explanation

1 - Ideally not making the cut in any of my Limited decks.

2 - Not good, but a necessity for curve filling and smoothing out draws.

3 - Value cards I am happy to fill my deck with.

4 - Cards to get excited about and Premium Removal.

5 - Reserved for cards that will win the game if left unanswered.

Red

Akoum Hellhound
Akoum Hellhound - 2 - A dangerous attacker in aggressive landfall decks but will not make the cut in slower more controlling decks. You will often want this card in rg or rw. Look for effects that let you make multiple land drops in a turn or that can trigger landfall at instant speed.
Akoum Warrior
Akoum Warrior - 3 - All the spell-lands are playable as being able to replace a basic land with a card that can also be a spell helps to mitigate flooding at a low cost. This is expensive for a 4/5 trampler but when you want this to be a spell late game, you can afford the cost and this is a large creature that impacts the board.
Ardent Electromancer
Ardent Electromancer - 2 - Not excited to play a 3-mana 3/2 but the ability can occasionally help you double spell and it is a Wizard which helps with party synergies as well as being good in the ur Wizards/Spells deck. Still filler but you can move it up a notch if you're already in ur.
Cinderclasm
Cinderclasm - 2 - Always hesitant to rate cards like this highly because they are inconsistent. However, the flexibility of it being 1 or 2 damage helps set up favorable combats and landfall creatures often have a lower toughness than normal creatures do for the same mana cost, setting up board states where you can get a 2-for-1 more often than usual.
Cleansing Wildfire
Cleansing Wildfire - 1.5 - In most sets this is straight unplayable but it does trigger landfall without costing a card and in an emergency can find your splash color. Still don't want this card often but it will be a consideration in the right spot.
Expedition Champion
Expedition Champion - 2.5 - Base stats are filler but it fills a party slot and with enough other Warriors in the deck it will often be a 4/3 for 3 mana. This is best in rw as those colors have 13 common or uncommon warriors between them and Boros wants to be aggressive.
Fireblade Charger
Fireblade Charger - 2.5 - If you have equipment or other ways to pump this card it can be threatening but on its own it is just a 1/1 that pings on death. Playable on its own as a Warrior but I only really want this if I have a 4 or 5 ways to pump this and make sure it is shooting something for at least 2 or 3 when it dies.
Fissure Wizard
Fissure Wizard - 2 - Another card that goes up if you have Wizard synergies but playable on its own as a 2/1 that can filter away a land or help dig for one if needed.
Goma Fada Vanguard
Goma Fada Vanguard - 3 - A great card in any Red aggro deck it is particularly strong in rw Warriors. Look for tricks that help to keep this alive through combat because it has to attack to get value.
Grotag Bug-Catcher
Grotag Bug-Catcher - 2 - This Bug-Catcher is a poor blocker but playable if you are aggressive. It helps with Warrior synergies and can also be a cheap way to fill out a party. It counts itself so it will always attack as at least a 2/2 trampler.
Grotag Night-Runner
Grotag Night-Runner - 2.5 - If you can reliably get this to connect, the ability is solid. The fact that you may have to spend mana to get this card through makes the ability a little worse since you may not have enough mana left to cast whatever you hit off the trigger. Also one of only 2 common or uncommon Rogues in Red so helps to fill out a party.
Inordinate Rage
Inordinate Rage - 2 - 2 mana for +3/+2 is a little overpriced and while scry 1 is nice, I'd rather find other cards to play. If your deck is aggressive enough you may want this.
Kargan Intimidator
Kargan Intimidator - 3.5 - Great card but not quite bomb level unless you have a deck filled with Warriors. Can help push through damage but it is mana intensive to keep doing that every turn.
Kazuul's Fury
Kazuul's Fury - 3 - Fling effects are narrow in application but they can get some value out of a creature targeted with removal. A narrow put powerful effect is exactly the type of effect I want on one of these spell lands since it gives you flexibility. Keep in mind it is free to play over a Mountain and will smooth your late game draws.
Leyline Tyrant
Leyline Tyrant - 5 - This dragon kills people in so many ways I am not even sure where to start...make sure you tap any unspent mana each turn. It might even be a winning line to kill your own dragon after a few turns...
Magmatic Channeler
Magmatic Channeler - 4 - A 2-drop that is great on turn two and still impactful on turn seven is a great card to have. This lets you pitch lands or low impact cards to find something better off the top and becomes a great threat late game as a 4/4.
Molten Blast
Molten Blast - 1 - Far too expensive to use for the shock ability. Overall this is a sideboard card.
Moraug, Fury of Akoum
Moraug, Fury of Akoum - 3.5 - Powerful card but it needs to survive to have a serious impact on the board. Note that you only get a second attack phase if you attack and then trigger the landfall ability in the second main phase. Best as the top end in an aggressive landfall deck.
Nahiri's Lithoforming
Nahiri's Lithoforming - 1 - This is more of a Constructed card. In Limited it is an expensive way to dig through your deck at the cost of a card and your lands. If you have an intensely dedicated landfall deck it might be playable but mostly save this for 60-card formats.
Pyroclastic Hellion
Pyroclastic Hellion - 2.5 - On its own it is filler with a poor ability. If the deck has a few spell lands or landfall cards you can consider this a nice way to enable those things while also landing a sizable body.
Relic Robber
Relic Robber - 3 - I love this card's ability - super cool. I just have no confidence we can get it to connect enough to consider him a bomb. If the deck has a lot of removal this might put in an insane amount of work early.
Rockslide Sorcerer
Rockslide Sorcerer - 4 - One of the bomb uncommons of the format. If you untap with this in a ur deck you get an insane amount of value as nearly every card in your deck could trigger it. A build around card. Did I mention it says "any target"?!
Roil Eruption
Roil Eruption - 3.5 - The kicker is a bit expensive, but this is still a really good removal spell without it. Killing off early party members is important to stop opponents from casting things for cheaper in the future. I am sad it is sorcery speed.
Roiling Vortex
Roiling Vortex - 1 - This is not a Limited card. Not even worth building around.
Scavenged Blade
Scavenged Blade - 1.5 - No toughness boost on this equipment means the overpriced equip cost is going to come up frequently. If you have some equipment synergies then it could make your deck but most decks won't want to play this.
Scorch Rider
Scorch Rider - 2 - Kicker isn't something to get excited about. Filler card that is also a party member. Ideally looking for better 4-drops.
Shatterskull Charger
Shatterskull Charger - 4 - This is really a 5-mana 5/4 trample, haste creature as you will rarely want to cast this on 3 since without the counter it returns to hand. Having the ability to play it for 3 is nice flexibility as a way to force through some damage or if you have other ways to put counters on it like Felidar Retreat.
Shatterskull Minotaur
Shatterskull Minotaur - 3 - The deck needs a lot of party members to make this good, but even without them it's fine. It is also a party member itself for a nice bonus.
Shatterskull Smashing
Shatterskull Smashing - 5 - A removal spell that can kill two creatures, including big threats in the late game is a great card for any deck to begin with. Just to make it better, it can be played as a land if absolutely necessary or if you have effects to pick it back up later.
Sizzling Barrage
Sizzling Barrage - 2.5 - Letting an opponent block before getting to kill their creature kinda sucks, but this is cheap enough that you can still add to the board after casting this. It's awkward, but does the job.
Skyclave Geopede
Skyclave Geopede - 3 - Even thought this is overcosted for its base stats, this is a nasty attacker in a landfall deck. This attacks as a 5/3 trampler many turns and can easily attack for more with the right cards. Everything you want in a beatdown deck.
Sneaking Guide
Sneaking Guide - 1 - This type of ability is good when you have creatures that grow after using it, but not at two mana. Slight consideration for the fact that this is one of only two Rogues in Red, so keep an eye out for him if you need to fill a party.
Song-Mad Treachery
Song-Mad Treachery - 3 - Normally spells that take creatures are not worth playing unless a deck has a fair amount of sacrifice outlets, but this is free. /shrug
Spikefield Hazard
Spikefield Hazard - 3 - Another narrow effect that comes stapled onto a land which is exactly what you want in these cards. There are a decent number of X/1s in the format this can trade for and it can also help finish something off in combat. The exile effect won't matter often but is a nice bonus.
Spitfire Lagac
Spitfire Lagac - 2.5 - Its stats are fine for the mana cost, but nothing I am excited about. The games in the format do seem to go a bit long, so the ability could make a huge difference. So many cards allow a deck to get bonus landfall triggers, and that makes it worth playing this.
Synchronized Spellcraft
Synchronized Spellcraft - 2.5 - A little expensive but 4 damage at instant speed is still worth it even at 5 mana. It does hit the opponent for potentially a couple damage as well which is a nice bonus.
Teeterpeak Ambusher
Teeterpeak Ambusher - 2 - This is a filler 2-drop with an overpriced ability. It does count as a party member, so that is a perk and could make it worth playing if you have any payoff cards.
Thundering Rebuke
Thundering Rebuke - 4 - A premium Red removal spell. Has the ability to trade up in mana and is cheap enough to play it and add to your board in the same turn. Hitting a planeswalker rarely comes up in Limited but it will feel good if it does.
Thundering Sparkmage
Thundering Sparkmage - 2.5 - Most of the time this will end up being a bonus two mana shock, but any time you can kill a creature and get a body of your own you should do it. If you get any more than two members in a party this card gets way better.
Tormenting Voice
Tormenting Voice - 2 - This is fine to play if a deck needs to trigger abilities by casting spells, but it is filler at best. Even though you get to pitch a land late game you don't actually get any extra card value, plus lands are more valuable than ever in this set.
Tuktuk Rubblefort
Tuktuk Rubblefort - 1 - Giving all your creatures haste is something you want in an aggressive deck...which is exactly where you don't want a 3-mana 0/3 Wall. Pass.
Valakut Awakening
Valakut Awakening - 2 - Normally I would not play this card, but because it doubles as a land it's free. What is better than drawing a Mountain late game? Drawing 1-2 other cards! If you don't have too many other tapped lands you can play this in place of a Mountain.
Valakut Exploration
Valakut Exploration - 4 -Land draws turn into re-draws and other landfall triggers, and if you don't use the cards you draw an opponent is slowly burned out. What's not to like about this card? This is very splashable.
Wayward Guide-Beast
Wayward Guide-Beast - 2 - A 1-drop that you don't really want to play and attack with on turn one. It is cheap enough that it can help you add two bodies to the board in one turn and keep the pressure on an opponent. Remember that you can use this to pick up spell lands later in the game.

Top 3 Red Commons

  1. Roil Eruption
  2. Synchronized Spellcraft
  3. Pyroclastic Hellion

Green

Adventure Awaits
Adventure Awaits - 2 - This is a filler card that will often be cut early when trimming down to 40 cards. Unlike other cards with a similar effect, this one will draw a card even if you miss, and that is a huge bonus. I would consider this card more if I have 2+ game winning bombs I wanted to dig for.
Ancient Greenwarden
Ancient Greenwarden - 3.5 - This card is almost a bomb. On its own he is a huge body that stops fliers. If a deck has a few solid Landfall cards it becomes a bomb. Some of the landfall abilities are really good as is, I can imagine triggering them additional times.
Ashaya, Soul of the Wild
Ashaya, Soul of the Wild - 4 - Green has the ability to dig out extra lands, and that can make this creature HUGE. Getting to tap smaller creatures for mana is a decent bonus, but getting to trigger landfall for lands and creature spells drawn will make landfall nuts!
Bala Ged Recovery
Bala Ged Recovery - 2.5 - The value of this card goes up as the overall value of the deck goes up. Normally this isn't something I would want to play unless I had a few bombs, but it's free to play over a Forest! No reason not to add it.
Broken Wings
Broken Wings - 1.5 - Look to pick these up late for the sideboard and not play them in the main deck. If you are short on playables I can see keeping this in if needed. There are a few equipments and enough fliers in the set to make it not a dead card in most matches.
Canopy Baloth
Canopy Baloth - 3 - Always happy to play the 4-mana Baloths that seem to be in most sets. The landfall ability makes this creature really big and hard to deal with early. Make sure to look for abilities that allow you to pick up lands if you have a few cards like this.
Cragplate Baloth
Cragplate Baloth - 4 - I was torn on how to rate this card. The mana cost makes it hard to cast, but in Limited that isn't an issue most of the time. The thing I like most about this card is the Hexproof, if this Baloth hits the battlefield it's going to win games. Look for ramp and mana producers to help make it happen.
Dauntless Survivor
Dauntless Survivor - 2 - This is a basic bear unless you have party / +1/+1 synergy cards. A fine playable with some upside.
Gnarlid Colony
Gnarlid Colony - 3 - Green has a lot of +1/+1 counter synergy, so getting extra value out of the trample lord won't be hard.
Inscription of Abundance
Inscription of Abundance - 4 - The 1st and 3rd abilities are great for 2 mana instant speed, and if you get to kick this late game it can be an absolute blowout. During the streamer event I was able to play this and get it back with Murasa Sproutling and it was insane!
Iridescent Hornbeetle
Iridescent Hornbeetle - 1/2.5 - It only counts counters that were put on that turn, so for it to be really good a deck would need an absurd amount of counter synergies. It is cute as a small bonus if you have a few triggers, but building around this will leave the deck weaker overall.
Joraga Visionary
Joraga Visionary - 3 - In most formats this would be too slow, but Visionary actually plays really well in this slower / low to the ground format. The card advantage is really nice, and it also counts as a party member.
Kazandu Mammoth
Kazandu Mammoth - 3.5 - It is hard to find a better 3-drop creature than this. Honestly it might be higher than a 3.5 if you get to play it on three, but the double Green mana cost will stop you from curving out a fair amount of the time.
Kazandu Nectarpot
Kazandu Nectarpot - 2 - Filler if you need a 2-drop spell. It isn't a party member, so it doesn't have a lot of synergy potential. I might consider this with cards like Attended Healer and Marauding Blight-Priest in the deck.
Kazandu Stomper
Kazandu Stomper - 2.5 - This can be a good top end card if you have any landfall in your deck. Creatures are much smaller than they have been in the last few sets, so this is actually a rather large body.
Khalni Ambush
Khalni Ambush - 3.5 - This is a bit expensive for a fight spell, but it is free to play in place of a Forest so it gets a nice value bump. Another nice thing about this spell is it can be cast at instant speed, and a lot of fight spells are sorcery speed.
Lotus Cobra
Lotus Cobra - 3 - Stats are a bit low and it is not a party member. That said it is still a great card to help roll out a bunch of creatures a turn early. If you are always playing cards a turn early it will be hard for an opponent to keep up in the early game.
Might of Murasa
Might of Murasa - 2 - These pump spells are always fine to play if you have room. It does have some flexibility with the added kicker bonus, and it could synergize with cards like Murasa Sproutling.
Murasa Brute
Murasa Brute - 2.5 - Simple creature with fine stats. It is a party member so keep that in mind when getting to the middle or end of a pack - could be a good spec card should you find synergy cards later.
Murasa Sproutling
Murasa Sproutling - 3.5 - Great stats without the kicker, but the kicker is so cheap it won't be hard to get value for it. Try to wait to cast it until you can find a kicker spell. It will be worth the wait.
Nissa's Zendikon
Nissa's Zendikon - 3 - Making a 4/4 for 4-mana is fine. After getting the land back you could be getting an extra landfall trigger, and if you put this on one of the spell lands you could turn it back into a spell later in the game when you no longer need the mana. This is fine to run in most Green decks.
Oran-Rief Ooze
Oran-Rief Ooze - 3.5 - The value of this card goes way up if you have 3 or 4 other cards that add +1/+1 counters, but even without them this card is really good value. On its own it will be hard to attack more than once, but that means this is 4/4 worth of stats for 3 mana.
Rabid Bite
Rabid Bite - 3 - Rabid Bite is always a good card in Limited. It is sorcery speed so try to play it when an opponent cannot respond and get a 2 for 1. Keep an eye out for Tajuru Blightblade to maximize value.
Reclaim the Wastes
Reclaim the Wastes - 2 - Decks with a lot of landfall or splash cards will want to play this card. Ideally this will always be played with kicker to help thin the deck and get enough value. The average deck will cut this most of the time.
Roiling Regrowth
Roiling Regrowth - 3 - This is a great tool to trigger landfall during combat or on an opponent's turn. Decks without landfall see this as just a way to thin the deck or find a splash color, but getting to turn it into a combat trick with all those other perks is amazing.
Scale the Heights
Scale the Heights - 3 - Another big synergy card. This card fits nicely into both landfall and counter synergy decks. It also helps ramp into any big Green idiots the deck might have on the top end.
Scute Swarm
Scute Swarm - 4.5 - This is a bomb. So many cards help create extra landfall triggers. Green ramps into 6-mana really quickly allowing you to double and triple insect generation... This is nuts. Look for Vastwood Surge to crush people with spectacular flare.
Skyclave Pick-Axe
Skyclave Pick-Axe - 2 -Not a huge fan of this equipment. It does nothing on its own and will require a lot of cards that allow you to enable landfall additional times. The average deck will not want this equipment.
Springmantle Cleric
Springmantle Cleric - 2 - Filler in a 2 color deck. It is a party member that gets a slight value increase as you add splash colors. Likely this is just a party enabling idiot.
Strength of Solidarity
Strength of Solidarity - 1.5 - I doubt there is a number of party members that will make me WANT to play this card, but it's not horrible if you have a fair amount and need playables.
Swarm Shambler
Swarm Shambler - 3.5 - A bit of a slow build up on its own, but if the deck has any counter synergy this might just be a homerun. This is a fun build around card that can win games.
Tajuru Blightblade
Tajuru Blightblade - 2.5 - This is a cheap creature that trades up and helps enable party cards early. This also works really well with cards like Rabid Bite.
Tajuru Paragon
Tajuru Paragon - 3.5 - Great stats for the mana cost. This low mana cost card will fill parties quickly and give card advantage. Great value.
Tajuru Snarecaster
Tajuru Snarecaster - 1.5 - The stats are not great, but it does fill a party if that's what the deck needs. Picking these up for a sideboard is reasonable to combat aggressive flying decks.
Tangled Florahedron
Tangled Florahedron - 2.5 - This spell-land is a bit off. If you draw it late, a 1/1 is better than a Forest, but not by much, and it is a bit expensive for the ability early... This card is awkward, but I am likely to add it as a generic ramp spell to get out my big Green beasties early.
Taunting Arbormage
Taunting Arbormage - 2.5 - 6-mana is a bit expensive for the ability, but it can come in handy to get value out of larger creatures or push through final damage in an aggressive deck. Stats and mana cost are filler, but it gets a bonus for being a party member.
Territorial Scythecat
Territorial Scythecat - 3 - I love that this landfall ability is permanent. This is great curve filler that can become a huge threat. This is more valuable than the typical 3-drop. Consider playing this on turn four rather than 3 if you have any other plays - this will play around cards like Subtle Strike.
Turntimber Ascetic
Turntimber Ascetic - 2.5 - The life gain is not very relevant to most decks, but it is a top end "big dumb idiot" that fills a party and works well with other Clerics. Ideally, I am looking for better 5-drops, but this is fine.
Turntimber Symbiosis
Turntimber Symbiosis - 3 - A bit expensive and will be played as a Forest more than most of these spell lands, but the ability is actually really nice. Getting to play this late game rather than drawing a land is really good value. No reason not to play this card in any Green deck.
Vastwood Fortification
Vastwood Fortification - 3 - Instant speed means this works as a combat trick that leaves permanent value on the board. It can also take the place of a Forest in the deck to smooth out late game draws and help with the counter subtheme in the set.
Vastwood Surge
Vastwood Surge - 3.5 - Not kicked this card is fine, something we often see at 4-mana, but the kicker bonus is HUGE. Once you get enough mana to kick this spell you are getting the 2 +2/+2 counters at the normal price (Wild Onslaught) and getting to thin the deck / trigger landfall for free. There is nothing I don't like about this card.
Veteran Adventurer
Veteran Adventurer - 3 - This card can hit the battlefield really early in a party deck. It also counts as any party member you are missing in the late game allowing you to trigger any of the full party abilities easier. This is likely to cost 4 or 5 mana even in a party light deck.
Vine Gecko
Vine Gecko - 2.5 - The Gecko is a bear with upside. Even if the deck isn't filled with kicker spells this will still likely find some value in the text box. If the deck does have a fair amount of kicker spells this little guy is going to be very good.

Top 3 Green Commons

  1. Rabid Bite
  2. Territorial Scythecat
  3. Canopy Baloth

Overall, I am impressed with Green, but Red fell a little flat for me. The creatures seemed to have a steep drop off in value. The bombs in Red are great, but there seems to be more chaff than we have seen in any other color. Thanks for reading today's article.

These articles are used for draft ratings on Untapped.gg, and because of this we will be updating them periodically with new information and insight. Comments and discussions help me improve the articles and provide the best information for both other readers and Untapped.gg. So please feel free to comment below and give me your thoughts.

We have almost made it to the end of the set review! Tomorrow I will be looking at multicolored cards, artifacts, and lands. See you then!

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