David, Jesse, and Ralph Review Avacyn Part 2!

Annnnd we’re back with more! This time instead of colors, we’re just going to put our first initial in front of our comments. I, Ralph, will be R, Jesse is J, and David is D. Simple enough right?



Appetite for Brains

D: This card has ton of flavor. I like the art, but the flavor text is somewhat off.  Yes, it’s funny. But is the flavor text implying that a zombie can think, and remember what a peach tastes like. I know I’m thinking too much into this, but I’d like simpler flavor text such as “nom, nom, nom.”

Okay, I’m kidding. Kind of. How about a sound effect. “Crunch!”

J: If there ever was going to be a card with the flavor text ‘nom, nom, nom’ this was going to be it. Missed opportunity, Wizards. Overall, I like this card and its flavor. I kinda wish it had a verb name rather than a noun name, since it’s a spell, but that’s a minor nitpick. Something like ‘feast on brains’ or ‘devour brains’ would have owned.

R: I agree with Dave and Jesse, name and flavor text aren’t perfect here. At least the art is gruesome enough!

Barter In Blood

D: There is a lot that’s going on here that’s interesting. Sorin killing vampires in order to protect the balance of the plane is perfect. I would have preferred something closer that a medium shot, but it’s fine work nonetheless.

J: I’m not sure there’s ever been a Barter in Blood illustration where what was happening made any immediate sense to me. It’s always some silly plane-specific thing, and for a card with such a good concept and name, we should really be able to do better.

R: Sorin is one of my favorite planeswalkers, so any card that features him is good in my book. A great reprint and great flavor to bring it into this world. This card reminds me of one of my few problems with Avacyn Restored though; What the hell is Sorin doing in this set? Liliana freed his angel, he’s kinda just hanging out doing nothing.

Blood Artist

D: What scarier than this? Not much. A vampire painting with blood hints at how vampires view humans in Innistrad. Their lives have no purpose. Humans are walking vats of color to be squeezed dry. I find this terrifying because the cards hint at the vampires sophistication. I’m also a fan of the flavor text and how it plays on the stereotype of the tortured artist.

J: Yeah, this guy is great. You can really imagine Johnny Depp playing him in an insufferably quirky movie.

R: The art here is awesome. I love that the art ties to Curse of Oblivion.

Bloodflow Connoisseur

D: We’ve seen this type of card before. We are going to see it again. Nothing new to see. Move along. There’s another enjoyable quote from Sorin here. However, I never imagined him being loquacious.

J: Agree with David, Sorin should talk less.

R: I always enjoy a Sorin quote. The art here is kind of boring.

Bone Splinters

D: This reprint is nothing special. I find art mildly intriguing and the flavor text the same. I think I’m so lukewarm about this flavor because the image is somewhat blurry. But I do like the concept of bones being chucked at an opponent’s creature.

J: I actually really like this art, but I guess this is gonna be a divisive one. How important is it that the image you have for a card’s art make a ton of sense? Not that important to me, especially when there appears to be some kind of awesome tree made of bones. Blowing up a dude to use his bones to stab something else is totally metal.

R: Disturbing art and flavor text, but fitting for Innistrad.

Butcher Ghoul

D: Again, another card that’s fine. A mindless zombie with cleavers and arrows jarring out of it is entertaining. The flavor text isn’t bad. I can’t really tell what’s going on with its head though. Whenever I see this, I think it’s a zombie with a top hat pulled down over its head. But that’s just me. I see top hats everywhere.

J: This card does not need flavor text, or even art, to be flavorful. The mechanics do all of the work. It’s a zombie that comes back to life. Bam, you’re done. All you have to do with a card like this is not screw it up too badly, and that’s what wizards did. They only screwed it up a little. Still manages to be a good flavor-card on strength of concept.

R: The art isn’t the best, but I actually enjoy the flavor text.

Corpse Traders

D: Poor Wizards. There is a preponderance of poor flavor text. He’s an example. How about some text that deal has the two men haggling? Otherwise, the art is fine. I actually like it. I would have liked it more if there was a large pile of corpses. I never thought I would have typed that.

J: There’s just something I like about a 3/3 for 4 in black with an ability tacked on. It’s a pretty boring card though.

R: The theme of the card is cool. The name, art and flavor text all go well together. The actual game text of the card seems to not quite fit the flavor. It’s a good card and the flavor almost fits it, but not quite.

Crypt Creeper

D: I’m going to let Jesse take a stab at this because he has strong feelings about this. What can I say other than: What a mess? The name is particularly terrible. Alliteration for the fail.

J: I don’t think there’s much to say about this beyond ‘look closely at the art’. Did they really try to make a busty zombie with a thin waist? I understand wanting to appeal to the disgusting dude demographic, but who is this for? Necrophiliacs? I would like to note that this is a reprint, and a pretty solid one at that, but jeeze, that picture.

R: I didn’t know it was a reprint. It’s a great spot for a reprint. I agree with Jesse, the art is bad. I like the flavor text merely for making fun of the art.

Dark Impostor

D: I like this card. But I’m not a fan of the art. I want to see the imposter’s face, not some tri-fold hat. Piss poor decision on this Wizards.

J: Repurposed art for a cut card named ‘tri-cornered hat’? But yeah, feels like the artist didn’t want to try drawing a face. Good flavor + name though.

R: I love this card. Everything comes together. The name, art, and flavor text all fit the rules text perfectly. Also, it’s a strong card.

Death Wind

D: You’ll be lucky to get one of these in Limited. For a set that’s low on removal this is a premium card. But again, the flavor text is about as enthralling as…as well this. “Run!” David screamed to his readers. “We don’t stand a chance!”

J: Another card whose art I find gross and weirdly sexualized. I mean, all you see are the angel’s shapely legs. Why can’t the legs be skeletonized too? Maybe I’m just looking for things to have a problem with now, but Magic kinda has a historical problem with this kind of thing.

R: I think jesse is overreacting. The angel is obviously in the process of dying to death wind. Part of her is being blown away, her legs haven’t been hit yet. “Sexualized?” It’s just a leg.

The art looks pretty sweet and fitting to me. The name is fine, the flavor text sucks.

Demonic Rising

D: So, what’s the main focus of this art? A demon’s back. Yawn. The point of view is poor, too. Why isn’t the demon looking down at the summoner to indicate power? The flavor text should be short. Shorter, Wizards!

J: You have a much better idea of what this art is supposed to be than I did. I assumed it was just a really weird looking demon, but you’re right, it’s facing away from us. I do really like the flavor of this card- the only time you’d be dumb or desperate enough to summon a demon is if you’re the last guy left on the battlefield and there’s no one else around to talk you out of it.

R: The art could have been better, but it’s not terrible. If it was showing the demon from the front it may be confused as a Creature card. Since it’s an Enchantment it’s doing a good job. This card feels good flavorfully.

Demonic Taskmaster

D: A 4/3 flier for three mana isn’t bad. But it comes at a steep cost. I have mixed feelings about this card and would most likely not play it. As for the art, it does convey exactly what is happening in “the pit.” But it suffers from lack of direction. This is shaping up to be a theme of the set.

J: I guess I’m glad that there are more demons in this set, but they feel very overshadowed by the angels. This guy is interesting to play with in limited, as he makes you play entirely differently when he’s out; you always feel like you’re taking a huge risk. I’m a fan of cards that make experiences like that, so good job. Art is lackluster.

R: I like the art and flavor of this card, but it doesn’t really fit the mechanics well. Shouldn’t he be making your other creatures work harder?

J: “The sacrifice triggers will continue until moral improves!”

Demonlord of Ashmouth

D: I can’t say that I like black’s mechanic. Maybe if this was a zombie it would work better. A couple of Gravecrawlers would keep it on the field. I have no complaint about the art. It is what it is; neither thrilling or terrible.

J: I keep forgetting that it flies because it doesn’t seem to be doing so in the artwork. I know you can kinda see some wings back there, but it looks like he’s just running towards you. It’s no whippoorwill, but it’s still a little confusing.

R: This card is pretty cool. Demons are awesome, but at a high price.

Descent into Madness

D: I wonder if this card should be called “Chicken.” Because who’s going to destroy it first, you or your opponent. It’s interesting and I like the stairs theme.

J: I’m a fan of more abstract representations of things on magic art, so I’m a fan of this card’s art. Thank god it’s not another guy screaming and grabbing his head. Also a flavor plus- despair counters! This is in my Endrik Sahr EDH deck and I can’t wait to see how it plays (probably not so great, but I’m gonna try it!)

R: David, I think you’re confused about how this card works. Only the controller can decide to exile it…  I’m not a fan of this card.

Dread Slaver

D: I love the flavor text. And the card isn’t too shabby either. I want to give it a go with some pumps on it to make it more dangerous.

J: I think his stats are kinda weird. He’s exactly as strong as an elephant or some (indeterminate number of) hounds? Whatever, I like that he’s swinging around chains that are driven through other zombies. I wish this awesomeness carried over to his abilities.

R: This card is awesome all around. It looks good, it sounds good, and it’s scary to play against. My only problem with it are the rules questions it brings up.

Driver of the Dead

D: Look at that stiff! No, the driver, not the corpse. I like that the driver is so rigid. The guy doesn’t scream vampire though. The flavor text is excessive–again.

J: I really love this art, it is completely ridiculous. This wax museum escapee is precisely who I imagine when I think ‘driver of the dead’. Who says horror can’t be a little funny?

R: I’m bored by this one. Not a bad card mechanically but the flavor does nothing for me. Boring art and boring flavor text.

Essence Harvest

D: Love the name of this card. It conjures the idea that humans are grown like cattle. What I don’t love is lead-footed flavor text. It is uninspired and bland.

J: All the pieces of this card work ok together for me. It’s not something to get excited about, but it’s not offensive. Wouldn’t it make more sense if it drained a creature though?

R: I agree with Jesse, this should drain a creature, but I do like the name and art. The flavor text is random and lame.

Evernight Shade

D: A shade with undying, now that’s something I like. I think this card does a good job of showing readers what is happening. The shade is hiding in the shadows. I’ve always thought shades have their place in Magic and this card is no exception.

J: It is nice to see a shade now and again. Good creature type.

R: Perfect card. Art could be a tiny bit better, but that’s my only complaint.

Exquisite Blood

D:The eyes are what make this art so perfect. I’m not as excited about the name. Wizards faltered with aligning the cards ability with flavor. This should have been a static ability centered on creatures.

J: I’m feeling more and more like rolling my eyes at every vampire-themed card here (Driver of the Dead excepted). Back fiend! Back to hot-topic!

R: The art is pretty sweet. My biggest problem with this card is that it doesn’t cost 3BB. It’s a combo with Sanguine Bond which is the perfect match for this card, but that costs 3BB and this costs 4B? Really Wizards? So close to perfect!


D:When I first saw this card, I thought the zombie was smoking opium. It’s a good card, though not entirely relevant in this set. The art is strong, and while the flavor text is long-again!-it does capture the feel of the concept.

J: Wait, he’s not smoking opium? That is one listless zombie.

R: This card is pretty cool. I love the throwback to animate dead. When something turns undead, it gets slightly weaker.

Gloom Surgeon

D:I’m putting this guy in my Laboratory Maniac deck. Or, I’m telling myself that. I like the art and lukewarm with the flavor text. I’m not sure how exactly I would play this card. Maybe with Misthollow Griffin.

J: It’s a card I would have a hard time playing in anything, but I do like the whole ‘ghostly doctor comes for a visit’ thing. He’s super creepy in concept, but he doesn’t do anything ghost-doctory. Do some creepy ghost-surgery on my opponent’s creatures or something, come on dude.

R: This card is ok. Not the best, not the worst, just ok.

Grave Exchange

J: This art is kinda silly. That’s a very expressive skeleton. This maybe could’ve been grosser, which is not something you’ll see me asking for often.

R: I like the flavor here. It’s got good synergy. Art, name, flavor, and rules text, all fit together nicely.



D: Awesome card, with awesome art. I’m not sure why it cost four black mana. I’ll trust Wizards on this. The flavor would have been better if it was something along these lines: “Avacyn’s freedom came at a price.”

Note to Wizards: Do you see how that works? Same concept, less words.

J: I work at Wizards creative, so let me try my hand at writing new flavor text to address your concerns: “Avacyn, your freedom came at a price, and it’s me! I am Griselbrand and you’ll pay for your freedom now! I am a bad guy and I DON’T like Avacyn!” -Griselbrand, fluttermage.

R: Awesome card. Oozing with flavor. My only issue is that he should have cost 7, not 8.

Harvester of Souls

D: Facepalm! “He’s judge, jury, and executioner because he killed them all!” Way to regress to crap!

J: Maybe I’m a doofus, but this flavor text got a chuckle out of me. I also like that it doesn’t make any sense unless you accept the concept that you get the job of whomever you kill in the world of Innistrad. (Well, maybe that’s true with all these Evil Twins and Dark Imposters running around.)

R: This card is great. I love the art. I like this kind of Black card draw.

Homicidal Seclusion

D: I don’t see the worth of this card. It costs too much to make a viable deck centered around the “loner mechanic.” I enjoy the art.

J: Awesome card, totally cool. You go nuts when you’re locked up in your creepy mansion all by yourself. Makes perfect sense to me.

R: Great flavor, awful card.

Human Frailty

D: This is an example of strong flavor, and one my favorite Black cards in the set.

J: A boot stomping on a human face skull forever. Good, visceral, removal-art.

R: Love the art here. The flavor text isn’t great, but better than most.

Hunted Ghoul

J: I guess this means we’re permanently past the days of 1/1’s for 1 with no abilities? Not sure how I feel about that, I’ve got a soft spot for ‘Merfolk of the Pearl Trident’ and ‘Mons Goblin Raiders’.

D: The art’s strong. I especially like the depiction of the zombie. Again, the flavor text fails hard. It seems as if Wizards is afraid of negative space.

J: This card is negative space.

R: I wish this was a 2/1… Black does 2/1, White does 1/2.

Killing Wave

J: I really like the art here, plus some legitimately badass flavor text from Liliana. And very cathartic for anyone who isn’t thrilled with the angelic theme of the set.

D: I agree, Jesse. I’m not a fan of angels and want to hold this up as my calling card.

R: I love angels and I still love the flavor text here. Pretty sweet card. If you top-8 at Game Day next week you can win a foil full-art version of this card.

Maalfeld Twins

J: Good flavor here, once again. I doubt that I have to explain why to anyone, which is part of the reason it’s such good flavor. The ideal card is one in which everything clicks flavor-wise for a person looking at the card for the first time, and this card does that. Just out of curiosity though, what does ‘Maalfeld’ mean? Is it their surname? The name of the guy who made them? Some kinda fantasy word meaning ‘conjoined?’ Actually, why wasn’t this named ‘conjoined twins?’

D: I want to know who are the twins? Is it two Maalfelds or is it one Maalfeld that’s been cleaved in half. I really want the second option.

R: Great card. I thought the name wal Mal-Fed Twins, as in they weren’t fed enough… I guess Maalfeld is their name? Jesse, Conjoined Twins is harder to copyright. Also, the flavor text is actually entertaining here.


J: Hoo boy, do I dislike this flavor text. This is, perhaps, set-worst for me (block-worst is still Ancient Grudge, if you were wondering). It’s like someone was reading a wikipedia article about snakes right before they went into work that day. The art doesn’t do it any favors either. Perhaps it’s the black ‘Leap of Faith’?

D: The flavor text makes me hungry for creativity, but I am never sated.

R: Worst Flavor Ever. I do like the name…

Polluted Dead

D: I like the idea of a plagued zombie. When it comes to land destruction this is better than most. Overall, black’s evasion is weak. I don’t have a problem hurting myself to hurt my opponent. My normal gripe stands about the flavor text.

J: Polluted Dead was just partying too hard at the zombie kegger over at Lord of the Undead’s house. BLAAARGH, sorry, killed a land.

R: Flavor works, art is cool, not a great card though.

Renegade Demon

J: Mass of Demons is okay. I’m glad they fit at least one demon into common, but I don’t really feel like it’s enough for a set that’s at least partly demon-themed.

D: Developer: Designing this flavor text was a walk in the park. All I had to do was not think about it.

R: Not bad. This is about as good as it gets for a vanilla card.

Searchlight Geist

J: I like this guy and his white brother a lot. How does white deal with a problem flier? Block it forever. How does black deal with a problem flier? Take it out with you. I like how it illustrates their color-pie philosophies and how each method has its own strengths and weaknesses that play to their color. Good job Wizards, this is one pair of commons that is more than pulling its weight.

D: The art with this is strong. I’m not sure why the geist is carrying a light, but I like it. I wonder what the difference between a shade and geist is? Can anyone enlighten me.

J: Actually, the difference between a shade and a geist is that a shade could not enlighten you, because it is a creature made out of shadow.

R: I agree with Jesse, I love the pair of geists. Maybe they should have done an angel/demon pair also.

Soulcage Fiend

D: What do you say about a guy who looks like he has fish sewn to his stomach? This art is fishy? Bad art deserves a bad joke. On the upside this card has its place in draft if you are running an aggressive deck.

J: Excuse me, but you are woefully uneducated in matters of magic flavor. That is clearly a soulcage you are looking at (souls look like fish).

R: I think this is a pretty cool card. The flavor text though, is nonsensical and terrible.

Treacherous Pit-Dweller

D: This has great flavor, but I’m not sure why anyone would play this. I guess you could screw up another player’s loner mechanic.

R: This little guy isn’t nearly as treacherous as he may have you believe. I played him in draft this week and he never betrayed me.

Triumph of Cruelty

J: I have to say, I really like what they were going for with the Triumph pair; trying to fit a little story into the set and have some neat, symmetrical, color-appropriate effects. They make a little game-within-a-game, which is always cool. I will have a lot to say about this card’s brother’s art.

D: Liliana has some great quotes in this set. Here’s an example. It does show the storyline developing, which is nice.

R: I like the pair of this with Triumph of Savagery, but I think the green one is better. The two showing the fight of Garruk and Liliana is cool.

Undead Executioner

J: I have nothing to say about this card, but yeah, common removal in this set is REALLY bad.

D: The flavor text is good here. I’m surprised. Really surprised.

J: Continuity Error: Early, it was stated that Harvester of Souls was the executioner because he killed him. Later, in the same set, there is an Undead Executioner visible.

R: Best black flavor text.

Unhallowed Pact

J: Colorshifted False Demise. I agree that the effect makes more sense in black, but did it really need to go in this set, where almost nothing is dying?

D: I like the flavor of this card, all of it. The text and the art go perfectly together. You can place this on another player’s creature. So, I’m sure there is a use for it.

R: This card has great flavor. It loosely ties into the fact that Liliana made pacts with demons.



J: I like this card just for the concept of hurling a bunch of coals at the vampires while they have one of their stupid fancy suares. Take that, you fops!

R: Hilarious flavor text. Probably a waste of a good card name, but not a terrible card.

Archwing Dragon

J: Scene: at Wizards of the Coast headquarters

Hooded Man 1: Here’s that folder full of generic dragon designs from 1998 you asked for boss.

Hooded Man 2: Perfect, we can always count on The Folder when we’re short on contractually-obligated dragons.

Hooded Man 1: I was wondering though, why don’t our dragons ever have anything more than even the slightest connection with the block they’re in?

Hooded Man 2: You know what? You’re right! We’ll throw some crappy flavor text on this one.
In Unison: Cheers!

The men drink from giant goblets filled with blood in celebration of another successfully created card.

R: Jesse’s probably right that this card doesn’t fit at all, but I like what they did with the flavor text. Although dragons don’t fit well in Innistrad, there have been some very fitting dragons: Invasion cycle, Kamigawa Cycle, Jund dragons, Niv Mizzet, and Nicol Bolas to name a few.

Banners Raised

J: I think this is good expository flavor text. It’s not going to wow anyone, but it serves an important purpose.

R: This is a good flavorful card for something so basic.

Battle Hymn

J: Nils Hamm cannot draw people that don’t look like zombies. Also, this is regrettably bad flavor text. Everything else about the card is fine?

D: I thought these guys were zombies, too. Or pirates. With the nautical theme, why aren’t there more pirates.

R: Yeah, I don’t really get this card. I guess it’s fine.

Bonfire of the Damned

D: How much are you willing to spend to kill your opponent’s board? Seven, nine mana? I like this card and think it has definite potential. But I can only guess as to what’s happening with the art. Maybe there should have been a pile of roasting zombies not a couple of strangely drawn creatures stumbling around.

J: Art Description: Draw a thing on fire
Mood: Gosh, I really wish I weren’t on fire
Focus: The thing that is on fire
Repeat 41 times- congratulations, you’ve just illustrated all the red cards in the set.

R: The name of this card is pretty sweet. The art isn’t terrible, they’re zombies piled in a fire. Some refuse to die just yet and are trying to walk away.

Burn at the Stake

J: I’m glad that red gets an overrun and that this is what it looks like. Good job on this design, from my point of view. Hope this gets a core set reprint at some point, one of the strongest red designs in the set.

R: I hadn’t thought of it like an Overrun, in that context it’s a really cool card. Sadly, the name makes me a little uncomfortable, and I don’t feel it would fit well in a Core Set.

Dangerous Wager 

J: I like the flavor of this card a lot, it seems like a very red way of drawing cards, and I’m glad such an interesting effect made it to the color. However, that’s some pretty euphemistic sounding flavor text there. Reads like the entire text of a Craigslist ‘Casual Encounters’ Ad.

R: I really like the name and flavor text here, the art though looks like he’s spilling something? How is that gambling?

J: I assume that’s a dice cup. Come on yahtzee!

R: I figured it out: after the guy has won all the money, some thugs beat him up and he drops his winnings.

Dual Casting

J: His powers returned TWICE as strong as before! Because he’s DUAL CASTING now! Ha ha he he! It is a card that copies things.

D: This is some cheesy computer art going on here. I don’t mind the card. But the art is bad. I just don’t like art that looks like its come straight from a tablet.

R: I think the art is fantastic. The flavor of this card is awesome. Everything fits perfectly.

Falkenrath Exterminator

J: This guy is totally awesome. He is so happy about all the people he’s about to shoot with his crossbows. You can’t be mad at a guy like this, he just loves what he does so much. I’d say ‘great art’, but I want to leave something for Ralph to say.

R: Great art. A lot of people have confused the handheld crossbows with guns in this block. Yes, they look kinda like guns, but they’re not. They’re fantasy guns… I wonder if this card is a Blade homage, a vampire that likes to shoot things.

J: This Blade topic brings up an important question for me- Are vampires in this block susceptible to sunlight? I would assume so, but there’s at least one or two that are pictured just walkin around like it’s no big thing.

Fervent Cathar

J: This guy looks a lot like Don Quixote. He’s a really sweet little design though, often acting more like a burn spell than a creature.

R: This card is tons of fun! I hadn’t actually read his flavor text until now, it’s not half bad. The art even feels 2/1 to me. Great card.

Guise of Fire

J: Humorous concept and flavor text (although I wish it wasn’t attributed to Rem Nonsenseword, noun of the plural noun). What does a zombie do when it’s on fire except stagger around and mindlessly bash into things.

“Ya know what would make this creature better? Lighting it on fire.” This is how a red mage thinks. I would, however, have a hard time justifying casting this one on one of my, for example, white or blue creatures. Hold still Gryff Vanguard, I’m gonna just gonna ignite you real quick. Yeah, it’ll totally hurt them more than it hurts you.

R: While it doesn’t make sense to use this on your own creatures, it is a perfectly flavorful card. What does lighting a creature on fire do (other than kill it most of the time)?

Hanweir Lancer

J: Wish that the guy with first strike didn’t look like he was about to get chopped with an axe, but hey, I guess he wasn’t soulbound yet.

R: Hah! I didn’t notice that guy in the background. Other than that minor caveat, this is a sweet card. Not super flavorful, but it gets the job done.

Hound of Griselbrand

J: I really like this card. I like that Griselbrand is a dog owner, and I like that this is his dog, and more than anything I like how there’s no flavor text. This is also a pleasingly simple design. French-vanilla rares are a beautiful thing when done correctly (see also: Simic Sky Swallower, Akroma, Kodama of the North Tree, Vizzerdrix).

R: I think this is a minor reference to Cerebus. I love that two heads equals double strike.

Kessig Malcontents

J: When Kessig Malcontents come into play, they boo your opponent loudly, causing all humans you control to throw old shoes and tomatoes at them for one damage apiece. I sometimes wish that cards were actually worded this way in real life, not just in my games.

R: Flavor text is awful. There should really be 3 guys not 4 in the art, it has 3 power.

J: Maybe each of them has roughly three quarters of a point of power.

Kruin Striker

J: Two thoughts; I like that they’re pushing the limits now of what you can do with a 2 drop, and I’m not sure how I feel about them conceptualizing red as the color of fundamentalist conservatism (that’s clearly white’s territory).

R: While I don’t see how the flavor text fits this card, I do like how it tells a story. Of course not everyone is going to be happy about the werewolves that killed their families joining the cause.

Lightning Mauler

J: If only we could have fit some flavor text on here to point out to people that he has a literal lightning maul and his name is Lightning Mauler. Oh well, nothing is perfect.

R: This art is sweet. Slight reference to cards like Lightning Elemental (Lightning=Haste)?

Mad Prophet

J: I’ve heard some people say that they like the flavor text on this card, but I think they’re all mad.

D: I’m one of those who loves the flavor text. It takes a reference to a card and turns it on its head. Of course, I’m a red mage. I like me some bizarre and random happenings.

R: Mad Prophet is awesome. I love Wayne Reynolds.


J: Estwald, nooo! Where will my villagers live now? It’s weird how I find nothing to say about the red mythics, but they’re basically flavorless, so what can one do.

D: Hey, I’m a big blue flame thing! Yawn! It looks good, I guess. I think I’ll try this in Commander, but I don’t see it staying.

R: Probably putting this in my Gisela Deck. One-hit-kill! Flavorwise, ok flavor text, cool art, name is kinda weird.

Pillar of Flame

J: I think it’s always a good look when you can imagine a D&D wizard shouting the names of your red spells. Lightning Bolt! Fireball! Pillar of Flame! Now I’m just waiting for them to finally go ahead and print Magic Missile.

R: Another Shock, yay! Not bad for how simple it is.

Raging Poltergeist

J: Yeah, this is ok and all, but why didn’t they try to fit another 4 mana 2/2 here?

D: I want to know what is burning. Is the ghost’s form burning? Is it it’s soul? This would have been great if it came in much larger and then took damage the longer it was in play. Instead of going to the graveyard, the card would be exiled.

R: What I like about this card is that no matter what, when you die, you’re screwed. If you’re buried you can come back as a zombie, if you’re cremated you come back as an angry geist.

Reforge the Soul

J: Good to see that Fire Elemental is still getting work these days. I don’t like this art very much.

R: While the flavor text here isn’t great, it’s a nice try to tie this effect into the story.

Riot Ringleader

J: Wow, someone really upset Sarah Jessica Parker. This is also some really bad flavor text, by the way. Anyone else noticing the prominence of women in this set’s art? It seems like more than any other set in memory a random combat dude is likely to be depicted as a woman in Avacyn Restored. And while it has its share of appalling sexist art (sup Triumph of Ferocity), it’s also more likely to depict women fully clothed and in positions of power/aggression than any other set I’ve seen.

This means, probably, quite a few things about the setting, but also about the direction Wizards would like the game to head in. It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues forward in a set that isn’t themed around a powerful female entity being freed from a phallic prison, but I certainly hope it does.

R: This card is a lot of fun. Flavorfully, it’s alright. Art is fitting, flavor text is acceptable.

Rite of Ruin

J: Thank god Red is starting to flirt with card filtering, because it’s pretty clear that the color has run out of interesting effects to have. Some more redundancy for your Wildfire themed Commander deck, I guess.

R: The flavor here is all over the place. I guess the art fits? An ok card with pretty bad flavor.

Somberwald Vigilante

J: Bill Murray? Is that you? What are you doing on a magic card Bill Murray? There are no groundhogs here for you!


J: There are two ways you get the (R): +1/+0 ability in this game; either you can literally breathe fire, or you have hands with rocks on them. I challenge you to find an example that  is not one of these. Maybe work a little harder on this one, Wizards.

D: You’re right Jesse. But I do like the dragon gauntlets. Perhaps we could have a red giant who steps and sends earthquakes. That might be one way of spreading the concept around.

J: I personally hope to see a dragon that breathes fire AND has rocks on his hands. He would have (R):+1/+0 twice, it would be hecka flavorful.

R: I think Firebreathing being done as Earth Bending is pretty cool. It helps connect Red mana to mountains.

Thatcher Revolt

J: These thatchers are revolting! Really great card that works well with a lot of the cards in the set in subtle, clever ways. A good ‘cog’ type card.

R: Three Angry Humans is one of my favorite cards. Probably could have had a better name but I love the art.

Thunderous Wrath

J: Does anyone else think there’s more than the usual amount of electricity in red in this set? Thunderous Wrath, Thunderbolt, Lightning Mauler, Lightning Prowess. I like when they do this, it helps define the flavor of red from set-to-set. Remember when red had all those cold-themed spells in Coldsnap? I’d like to imagine that direct damage can sometimes be more than just ‘thing made of fire, thing made of lightning.’

R: I don’t understand how this Wrath is a miracle… Maybe it’s killing evil things?

Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded

R: I really wanted Dack Faden from the Magic comics to appear in Avacyn restored. When I found out they were making Tibalt and Tamiyo instead, who have no story relevance, I was pretty upset. After some time, though, I’ve come around. Tibalt is a cool experiment, he has awesome art and abilities that make flavorful sense.

D: I like the idea of a two-cost “Placeswalker” as much as everyone else. What I don’t like is that my beloved goblins (second only to my first love, noggles) weren’t given the right to a deliciously low cost planeswalker. Looks like I’ll have to wish for a one cost goblin planeswalker.

J: Not holding out for the noggle planeswalker? And you call yourself a noggle-fan!

Tyrant of Discord

J: A lot of the red rares in this set feel really generic and flavorless to me, but maybe that’s just because red is my least favorite color. Maybe David has something good to say about these guys, but they just aren’t inspiring much of anything in me, which is particularly egregious in such a flavor-centric set.

R: Looks like David doesn’t have anything to say… I like the art, but I can’t tell what the creature is other than a giant fiery blob.

Uncanny Speed

J: This picture is profoundly silly. I mean, am I watching Blade 3 or am I playing Magic here? Trick question- I’m doing both.

D: I enjoy the concept of this card. Though I think the flavor text was close, but not quite, great.

R: I like that the quote is from Sorin’s grandfather. Also, I wish there were more Blade references in this block.

Zealous Conscripts

J: I don’t care how good at conscripting you are, it’s highly unrealistic to allow this guy to convince a land or an artifact to come and join my cause for a turn. I can just imagine her speaking passionately and movingly to a goblet or a hill about the plight of the working class. This is still a great card, despite that flagrant flavor-foul.

D: You’re spot on Jesse. The other thing I’d like to point out is the sword she’s carrying seems ludicrously large.

J: She targeted the concept of perspective with her ability and got it to change sides.

R: She doesn’t conscript objects, she steals them!