Avacyn Restored Flavor Review Part 3!

In this article we conclude the finest series of set reviews in modern history. Get ready for more sweet, sweet flavor-insights brought to you by the crack team of Ralph, Jesse, and David.

GREEN

Abundant Growth

J: I find this card exciting simply because it’s a 1 casting cost enchantment that cantrips. It is surely bound for enchantress-related greatness. Flavor-wise, I dig the art and name. A very different way to approach fixing, but still playable. A good card all around.

R: I love playing this card in draft, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever play it in constructed. As for flavor, it’s a good generic card, but doesn’t really fit in Innistrad/Avacyn.

D: So you need some manna? Green is good at mana. The ivy is a good visual representation of what the card does, though I’m still trying to figure out how abundant growth turns lands into other mana colors.

Blessings of Nature

R: This card is pretty. A lot of people don’t like the wolfir. I was a huge fan of werewolves but I don’t mind them.

J: I actually am a big wolfir fan, although I do wish they had retained their werewolf status. It’s a good card, but perhaps the least ‘miraculous’ feeling of the miracles. I think miracles are probably better when they serve to get you out of a tough spot and allow you to begin fighting back (best example is probably Terminus), not to give someone an overwhelming advantage.

D: Yeah, so making werewolves stronger is a good idea? I understand what’s going on here, but really werewolves with some vapor isn’t my idea of blessing from nature. In fact, the reminds me of a white spell, not green.

Borderland Ranger

R: A great reprint.

J: Yeah, they can print this card in various forms and sets any number of times, and I’ll still be happy to see it. I just love good, green mana fixing that much.

D: Now that’s some flavor text. I’m glad this guy has made a comeback. Green is known for its mana abilities and Boarderland Ranger is a strong solid pick.

Champion of Lambholt

R: This card isn’t that creative, but it’s lots of fun.

J: This card is really unpleasant to play against. Either get rid of it real quick, or it will win the game. And it comes down on turn 3!I don’t like it when a rare feels like it’s too good for limited but not good enough for constructed. It feels like they only exist to make drafts unfun. See also:  Flameblast Dragon.

D: Love the card, especially with a token or blink strategy. What I don’t love is the awkward looking art that accompanies it. She has something like a “broke model” pose going on.

Craterhoof Behemoth

R: The flavor text is nice and simple here. A cool card, but doesn’t really fit the setting.

J: It does feel like green is a little bit lost flavor-wise since it lost its werewolves, doesn’t it? What story identity is left to it in an angel and demon themed set when it’s a color that simply doesn’t get angels or demons. Not to say I don’t like this card, I always love a good splashy ETB ability. A good mythic, will replace Overrun in my Ulasht EDH deck. Weird grammar in the flavor text.

D: I’m not impressed by this guy. It looks like a generic large creature with some sparks. The flavor text is strong, but the behemoth isn’t nearly as large as it should be.

Descendants’ Path

J: Favorite art in the set by far. I love this card and hope to someday build a deck that can use it.

R: I can’t tell what’s going on in the art, I can’t tell what’s going on in the text box. This card confuses and annoys me.

J: Philistine.

D: I know there are a lot of similar cards, but this is something I want to play with. I especially love the art.

Diregraf Escort

R: Not the best card, but pretty flavorful. He escorts you through the Diregraf, makes perfect sense.

J: Thank god you pointed that out, until now I thought this guy was just a member of the seedy Diregraf Escort Service. Imagine how different this card’s message could have been if the artist had decided to draw a female. Lucky break.

D: How does this guy run through the woods without tripping over all the junk he’s wearing? I’m not a fan of the weird tri-point hats that are abundant in the set’s artwork. I respect the cohesion, but this zombie hunter looks slow—thankfully not as slow as a zombie.

Druid’s Familiar

R: This one doesn’t make as much sense flavorfully, but its a good through back. Alone he’s just a Grizzly Bear but paired with a friend, he’s something fierce.

J: I think he makes sense flavorfully. He gives you +2/+2. What else is 2/2? A bear. So he kinda acts as your spirit animal, giving you the strength of a bear. Why does he get +2/+2 as well? I don’t know, moral support? Look, it doesn’t have to make complete sense, alright? I also want to note that I like his art. Super noble bear.

D: I don’t understand how this card works. Guys attack and you get mana. Kinda weird. There needs to be something that affects the attacking creatures. That’s clearly what’s happening in the image.

Druids’ Repository

J: I don’t actually have anything to say about this card, but I do want to point out that this is a repository for several druids or perhaps just druids in general whereas druid’s familiar is belonging only to one druid. What are the druids gonna do with all that mana anyway? I think they’ve got a hoarding problem.

R: Not a very flavorful card, but good art and interesting name.

D: This smudgy looking bear appears as furious as I’d expect. It’s classic pose, showing us exactly what we’d get—a utility bear. I can’t complain about that.

Eaten by Spiders

J: This card has a great name and art, but I’m not sure that one could convince a spider to eat equipment. Maybe it’s just conceptualized as the equipment hanging up in the spider’s web, unreachable by any conventional means.

R: I agree, why are the spiders eating the equipment? I think this card is amazing in draft, but still doesn’t make that much sense.

D: Love the name of this card. Mediocre on the art. Laughed at the flavor text. Nice try, WoTC. You get a silver star for an awkward vocab. Word.

Flowering Lumberknot

J: I love the name of this card and what  it communicates about the changing plane, but it’s really super unexciting. I mean, how about some small mechanical connection to Lumberknot? Is that really so much to ask for? How does this concept even work, flavorfully? Gulf between my enjoyment of the name and enjoyment of the card could not be larger.

R: I think of it as just a tree that doesn’t do anything on its own. But Soulbonded, it animates and becomes a nasty force of nature.

D: I love the concept of a smitten tree-creature following hunters around. I’d like the creature to look more forlorn. How about we have the lumberknot handing a flower to a human?

Geist Trappers

J: Gonna have to put the theme from Ghostbusters on my phone so I fumble around awkwardly with it for a full minute and then give up on bothering to play it every time I cast this card.

R: I like that they have this and Geistcatcher’s Rig as Ghostbusters references.

D: Nothing says Geist Trappers like a random assortment of people walking in the woods. Completely unoriginal.

Gloomwidow

J: Why? I mean, sure, it’s a great name for this set, but just why? Shows green’s lack of identity in Avacyn Restored.

R: I do get a kick out of Green getting High Flying.

D: I’m fine with this card. The name might have fit a banshee better. We may never know.

Grounded

J: I had no idea that ‘earthbind’ needed to be significantly weakened. Couldn’t this have done something (anything) else as well?

R: The art and flavor text is pretty good though.

D: This is a solid card with strong flavor text and art. It’s a utility piece and might not see play beyond draft, but still a good example of concept and design.

Howlgeist

J: How did it die? Someone tried to staple two wandering wolves together with predictably tragic results.

R: The crossover between Wolf and Spirit here is pretty cool. I like when wizards makes cards to fill holes in different decks.

D: I imagine this creature’s first name was “Ghost Wolf.” I like the concept and the art. It’s nice to see geists in different colors. Now if someone would explain to me the difference between a geist and a ghost, I’d appreciate it. There’s probably not much.

Joint Assault

J: David, please say something about this flavor text, I would but I can’t even look at this card closely without laughing. Dat art.

R: The art and flavor text here are both pretty cheesy, but I enjoy them both.

D: What’s better than two dudes bro-ing out? Not much. It’s a little ridiculous that these two guys are holding hands. Where’s the Fast Ball Special? Now that’s a joint assault.

Lair Delve

J: I criticize the artist’s color palette for this illustration. He’s exploring a  cave! Not every green card needs to have a bunch of green.

R: Wizards actually hues cards, after the artist has turned it in, to fit the color of the card.

D: This is a solid card, all around. It’s not something I’d pick high in a draft, but in the right circumstance it could easily put cards back into a green mage’s spell book.

Natural End

D: Whenever I look at this card, I think she’s wielding a chainsaw—and nothing is as awesome as re-enacting “Evil Dead”. Otherwise, Natural end is a good card. I don’t think the art fits, not when the flavor text implies some awesome geist’s ascension.

Nettle Swine

J: I’m glad they printed this card so I can continue to make my ‘boar you to death’ joke.

R: I’m not sure which is worse, Jesse’s joke or the flavor text.

D: This guy is dangerous, flavor-wise. I like the idea of a swine eating an entire cottage. As and aside, I know what a red card called Swine Bacon.

Nightshade Peddler

J: Too bad we used up all our Resident Evil 4 merchant jokes on Nearhearth Pilgrim. What were we thinking?

R: This card creeps me out. Good job Wizards!

D: This guy is fantastic in limited. His giant head has stopped me front acting and winnowed away my health. Unfortunately, he looks like MODOK dropped into medieval times. Seriously, this guy’s head is huge. Second worst looking card behind Leap of Faith.

Primal Surge

J: Weird viral marketing for an defunct soft drink. Some kind of contractual obligation?

R: I used to drink Surge, that stuff was terrible. This card’s flavor isn’t as bad as the Soda’s.

D: This card holds a special place in  my heart. I want to combo this off Lab Maniac. This alone makes me want it.

Revenge of the Hunted

J: I wish that the rare and uncommon green miracles had a more significantly different effect. Having them both be power/toughness boosts feels a little lame, even if this card does play more like a plague wind than a pump spell. You know what would have been a cool miracle? Massive life gain.

R: I agree. I can’t even tell what this card is trying to tell story wise. A giant guy (maybe a werewolf?) attacking some ruins? WTF?

D: This isn’t what I wanted for my birthday!

Sheltering Word

J: It’s 2 useless effects in one! I believe they call that Card Advantage.

R: This card might be played in that Wild Defiance Infect deck.

D: This should be a man ensconced in burch.

Somberwald Sage

J: Would like this card better if she made a wolf, owl, and bear token when she was summoned, as her art would seem to imply.

R: I think the art is fine. It implies that she likes creatures, which she does.

D: This card isn’t quite hideous, but it’s close. It look like wizards picked some random art and threw it on this card. Yawn.

Soul of the Harvest

J: It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that this and Harvester of Souls were related not only mechanically, but in name. Super cute, I approve. I warn you though, you can’t do this kinda thing every set. I give this card a pass on not being related to the setting in any way because I like it so much.

R: I never realized that! That’s pretty awesome.

D: This is a great card for green with excellent flavor. This works great in Innistrad.

Triumph of Ferocity

J: Oh this art. Where do I even start? Garruk stands above a prone Liliana, his knee thrust between her legs. He is choking her as she scowls up at him in a low-cut, skin-tight top. He’s about to punch her in the face. And the card is called ‘Triumph of Ferocity’. Nice job Wizards. There’s just so much more I could say, but I’ll leave it there.

R: I want to point out that Liliana wins this fight.

Ulvenwald Tracker

J: “Hey, you! Bear! Fight that guy!” Bear shrugs, says “ok.”

D: This card had ruined my game plans more time than I’d care to admit.  Druid? Shaman? Whatever they both love bears.

Vorstclaw

J: Strictly better than Kindersnatch?! I demand all of the money I spent on Kindersnatches back Wizards, you’ll be hearing from my lawyer. (PS- I am now on FBI Watchlists for typing the  word ‘Kindersnatch’)

R: I just love it when people say Worstclaw in a bad German accent.

D: Swampthing! Sorta? There’s not a lot of flavor happening here. The art is bland. And the flavor text. Har, har, har.

Wild Defiance

R: Weird art and flavor text, but a fun card.

D: From here on out I call ban on using the world wild on green cards. We get it, green is ferocious, unlike this set’s flavor.

Wolfir Avenger

J: So, I’m torn about these cards. I really like the Wolfrir- they’re kinda cool storywise and obviously good cards, but I kinda wish they had kept their ‘werewolf’ status. I mean, look at this guy, he is clearly a werewolf. The same story message gets across by removing their ‘human’ side. Also, shouldn’t we have gotten one or two of these in white? I wanted more wolfrir.

R: I think Wizards wanted all the werewolves to be transforming cards. Luckily, they did make all the werewolf matters cards care about wolves too.

Other than not being a werewolf, this guy is awesome. Great art, mechanics and not terrible flavor text.

D: Wolf Warrior! Not a werewolf. Not a wolf. It’s some type of combination. Let’s not think how that happened. Why is this guy’s right arm so long?

Wolfir Silverheart

J: More like Wolfrir SilverFART! Booya! *Collects check, flips down sunglasses, gets into convertible, revs engine, tears off, crashes into pole immediately, car explodes*

R: This card is awesome. I love the fact that it comes foil in an Intro Pack. Wizards, please print more awesome cards in Intro Packs.

D: Everyone loves this card. It’s great. The aura surrounding this creature makes it worth it.

Yew Spirit

J: Was right about to talk about how little I care about this card, but then noticed it was a treefolk spirit. Well done Wizards, well done.

R: I like how the roots kinda explain the doubling in size… That’s about it.

D: First we got a zombie treefolk and then we got a spirit treefolk. So much flavor! The flavor text is bland, but I’ll overlook it.

MULTICOLOR

Bruna, Light of Alabaster

J: Ralph, I suggest you write a haiku or poem dedicated to each one of these, because I know you love them and I don’t really have anything to say. It was necessary to put some cool legendary angels in the angel set, so good job on meeting that expectation.

R:

The light of my life
Enchanting the world with love
Life Alabaster

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight

R:

Sharpest blade around
Taking everyone else down
Beautiful Goldnight

Sigarda, Host of Herons

J: Was in the bathroom when Avacyn was giving out cool titles to all her angels. As revenge is  completely annoying to play against.

R:

Super party host
There ain’t no fowls in this house
Herons be crazy

ARTIFACTS & LANDS

Alchemist’s Refuge

J: I love utility lands, this is no exception. Makes me want to build green/blue decks.

Desolate Lighthouse

J: Whoever first came up with calling this ‘loothouse’ is a pretty clever guy.

R: Loothouse is just perfect.

Haunted Guardian

J: He is haunted by the fact that his card will never live up to the ‘haunted suit of armor’ trope that inspired him. He is haunted by the fact that his art is way cooler than he is. But most of all he is haunted by the fact that he is a Coiled Tinviper with a drawback.

Moonsilver Spear

J: There’s something wrong about the way this card lets you equip it onto the angel token it just made. I don’t really know what the ideal way to fix  it is, but I don’t like it. Another card that’s just brutal to play against. Removes all decisions from the game and replaces them with ‘1) put spear on to something, 2) swing 3) go to 1’

Narstad Scrapper

J: Really cool art and flavor for a borderline unplayable artifact creature. Wish they had pushed this to rare and made it a really cool artifact beater.

Otherworld Atlas

J: Should have been called ‘Otherset Atlas’ because it belongs in another set. Seriously, what is this doing here? Clearly a filler-rare. This slot could’ve been a g/w human lord!

Scroll of Avacyn

J: What does the Scroll of Avacyn say on it exactly? I’m assuming it’s “Gosh I really hate that Griselbrand!”

        

Scroll of Griselbrand

R: I like the symmetry with Scroll of Avacyn, but I think this one isn’t as good.

 

Thanks for joining us! Jesse will be back with a new guest for Magic 2013 flavor review!