M13 2013 Core Set Review – Green by Grant Hislop

M13 2013 Core Set Review – Green by Grant Hislop


Welcome back!

I’m well and truly out of interesting things to say in the introductions now, and for that I’m sorry. I’m assuming you’ve read the previous articles on this subject, and that’s why you’re here. Things seem to be going relatively well; I don’t think I’ve gotten any cards wrong, and don’t seem to have made any false predictions based on my being unable to read properly, so that’s a plus. This is my third attempt at a set review, so it’d be nice to manage one without any glaring mistakes.

Anyway, we’ve done the other 4 colours, so now it’s Green’s turn. Enjoy

Acidic Slime

This is pretty much a perfect card. It’s costed efficiently enough to be playable, and not obnoxious enough to be ubiquitous. It’s a wonderful card, that I’ve certainly cast in constructed, and I’m absolutely delighted to see it’s still in the Core Set. I think this is one of very few cards that sums up what a Core Set card should look like. This is presumably the defacto land-death spell that people are going to be casting, and it’s certainly nice to have the same card serve as an answer to Akroma’s Memorial, Honor of the Pure, Wurmcoil Engine and Gavony Township.

In limited, it’s at least a 2 for 1 every time, which can’t be bad. It clearly gains in value depending on whether your opponent actually has something you want to destroy, or if you’re attempting to cut them off a splash, but as above, 2 for 1’s are seldom something that you pass on. A solid card, that serves multiple purposes, and will always trade up in combat. I’d be happy to have Acidic Slime in Core Sets from now until the end of time.

Arbor Elf

So we don’t get Llanowar Elf or Birds of Paradise, but we DO get Arbor Elf. From this, the conclusion that I’ve drawn is that the Shocklands – Hallowed Fountain etc will be coming back in the next block. It’s set in Ravnica, and there are far too many ‘basic land types matter’ cards to believe otherwise, in my opinion. Had Modern not already had a season, or just been announced, I’d be recommending stocking up on these in preparation, as once Extended rotated them out, they were at their lowest prices ever, but now they’re back being realistic again.

Reprintings clearly affect values, so these will probably end up dropping in value. I’d speculate, depending on how they’re printed that the blue ones will end up at £10-12, and the non blue ones from £5-7 depending on playability and colour combination, which is certainly reasonable to expect people to pay for a mana-base. I haven’t looked recently, but I recall Seachrome Coast being worth in excess of £10 at one point, so the precedent is there. The only caveat I’d mention is that if they don’t use the original art, the original Ravnica versions will retain their value a lot better. People love the art of Rob Alexander. I can’t see them not using such beautiful art when they’ve got it, but then I don’t understand a lot of things that Wizards do.

Anyway, in current standard, outside of Mono-Green, this is strictly worse than Llanowar Elf, so clearly will not be as widely adopted. He has no home in Naya decks, as they’re not running enough Forests that this is actually, reliably a mana-accelerator, so will likely see nothing but the fringest of play.

In limited, these are pretty sweet on turn 1, and lose in value every turn after that. You really want to be using these to ramp into Craw Wurms and the like as quickly as possible, as a 1/1 for 1’s never impressed anyone. Use with caution.

Bond Beetle

Were this an Elf or an Human, it’s possible that this might see some play in constructed. As an Insect, there is no chance whatsoever of that happening.

He’s a lot better in limited though, as putting a +1/+1 counter on a guy and acting as a roadblock makes him relevant in both the early and late game. It’s not the most exciting card in the set, for sure, but it’s better than it might appear on first glance.

Boundless Realms

I can’t see this making any splashes in constructed, outside of fringe combo decks. Scapeshift was only playable because it was able to get Valakut, and that cost 4. I can’t see any deck that can reliably get to 7 mana wanting to double that, but perhaps you can? This isn’t a card with boundless potential, I think it’s one for 100-card aficionado’s only.

No limited applications outside of 5-colour monstrosities, and even then, it’s debateable.

Bountiful Harvest

I have never cast this spell. I doubt that will change.

Centaur Courser

I don’t think that a vanilla 3/3 for 3 is going to send shockwaves coursing through the top tables of constructed Magic, but in limited, I’m a big fan of these guys. I’ve spoken about my cube before, and at one point, I had this, Nessian Courser and Trained Armodon all in there. They’re never exciting, but they’re remarkably solid, and it’s an important part of Green’s ability to just keep the pressure on, and have its creatures being a turn or so ahead of their opponents.

Deadly Recluse

I’ve seen these used in Sideboards of constructed decks before, when the format is right, but they’re pretty low impact, on the whole. I can’t see them being any better this time around, not when we’ve got so much competition at the 2-drop slot in the curve. This is very much a control creature, and the green decks aren’t showing any signs that that’s what they want to be doing.

I always play these in limited though. They’ll always trade up, and serve as a 2 mana answer to some of the best cards in the format. This is a way to deal with Thundermaw Hellkite without actually taking any damage, which cannot be understated. Solid card, and glad it’s back.

Duskdale Wurm

The more ramp spells you have, the better these are. I’m a big fan of the ramp decks in limited, and these are reliable, solid guys to ramp into. Sure, it’d be nice to have something slightly more flashy, but this is almost always at least a 3-for-1, assuming your opponent is able to deal with him at all, and any instant speed removal you’ve acquired makes it more and more likely that they’re just not going to be able to deal with him.

This is, incontrovertibly, not worth ramping into in constructed.

Elderscale Wurm

As above in limited, but much much much better. Farseek and Ranger’s Path are in the environment, so casting this isn’t a pipe dream.

This is a reasonable card to either pod into, or for ramp decks to actually cast. Once this is on the table, there are a lot of decks that just can’t beat it. How is RDW ever supposed to deal with this? Short of Zealous Conscripting it, we’re not looking at a card that they can realistically beat.

Elvish Archdruid

The support isn’t there for this to be a constructed card, especially when Scars block rotates. Elves have 2 standard playable lords, in this and Ezuri, Renegade Leader, but other than that, there’s just not enough playable Elves to make it worthwhile.

There are 4 green elves in the set, so it’s unlikely that it’s going to do much other than tap for a mana. Not the worst card, but certainly not a windmill slam first pick, as it could have been in a tribal set, like Lorwyn, for example.

Elvish Visionary

I wonder if the designers at Wizards expected that this would be the centre of one of the best Legacy decks, and in a Pro Tour winning decklist? The Visionary doesn’t have the support to see much standard play, but there’s definitely possibilities there in older formats. Again, we’ve seen this before, we know what we’re getting.

In limited, it thins your deck while being a reasonable road block. It’s hard to get excited by them, but they do serve an important purpose.


The replacement for Rampant Growth is not as good currently, obviously, but adds more fuel to the fire re: Shockland speculation, upon which point this will be a lot better than Rampant Growth was. Plays an important role in the format, as Wizards seemingly wants us to replace the ‘Combo’ part of the spectrum with ‘Ramp’, and we certainly do need these two mana ramp spells if that’s going to be the case.

Solid in limited. Helps you ramp, find your splash and fix your mana. Again, it’s not new, we know exactly what we’re getting here.

Flinthoof Boar

I think this is the member of the ‘other basic lands’ cycle that has the most constructed potential. It’s effectively a Watchwolf, which was certainly a widely played card back in its day, but this has the added value of being easier to cast, and to find the requisite Mountain on the following turn. The conditional haste means that it’s a far better topdeck than Watchwolf ever was. I’d be surprised if this didn’t see tournament level play.

In limited, it’s fine as a bear, so it’s fine in non-GR decks, but this is a very powerful creature if you happen to be in the right colours. I’m not a fan of commiting to both my colours early in a draft, but I think this will end up being quite a high pick.


I can’t see (get it?) this being popular. Turbo Fog is always awful, and we don’t have nearly enough Howling Mines in the format for that to be any different.

Its limited applications involve blanking Alpha strikes, and protecting your creatures to kill on a swing back. It’s narrow, it’s niche, but I’d be surprised if I didn’t cast it a couple of times while drafting this set.

Fungal Sprouting

It’s not going to sprout up in constructed decks, as it just smacks of a ‘win more’ card. If you’re wanting to cast this, it implies that you’ve already got a big creature, so why don’t you just win with that?

Probably one best served for the ramp decks in limited, though any time you’re making around 3-4 tokens you’re coming out well. Consider curving Flinthoof Boar into Centaur Courser into this, and you’re looking at potentially 10 power attacking on turn 5, which is not the slowest of clocks, by any stretch of the imagination.

Garruk, Primal Hunter

This hasn’t seen much play outside of Wolf Run, and with Primeval Titan all set to leave us, it’s tough to see Garruk getting any better. One of his biggest problems is that there’s another Garruk, Relentless, who’s better at what the Green decks are trying to do at the moment, and he’s a lot easier to cast, as well as cheaper. It’s clearly a powerful card, but it’s just not got much of a home at the moment, and it’s tough to see that changing in the short term.

It’s a Planeswalker though, and it protects itself. Windmill first pick, for sure. Probably middling in terms of the cycle though. I put this higher than Liliana and Chandra, behind Jace and similar to Ajani for limited play. I think my ranking is:-

1. Jace, Memory Adept
2. Garruk, Primal Hunter
3. Ajani, Caller of the Pride
4. Chandra, the Firebrand
5. Liliana of Dark Realms

But I’d have to play more with the new ones to be sure. What do you think?

Garruk’s Packleader

It’s still here, and it’s never seen the light of day in constructed. That probably won’t change. The format’s based on small, cheap, efficient creatures, not plodding bomby types, so it’s not the most receptive to slow, fragile engine cards like this.

It’s a reasonable curve topper in non-ramp green decks, and solid in those that do. It’s almost always going to be played in a green deck, as the vast majority of creatures you want to be playing will trigger it. Even if you don’t, a 4/4 for 5 certainly isn’t the worst deal going.

Ground Seal

Yeah, it’s a sideboard card for Graveyard decks, and another card for me to open with my Battle of Wits in Sealed. Wonderful.

Mwonvuli Beast Tracker

This is the card in the set that most screams ‘ABUSE ME’. It’s seemingly innocuous, but it fetches Geist of Saint Traft, Acidic Slime, Primeval Titan as well as a slew of other cards. This is one that definitely slots into the Birthing Pod decks, both as a form of card advantage, but also as a way to diversify the angles of attack. Very interesting card for deck builders to have access to.

Limited decks will fluctuate on how much they want this guy. Clearly if you’re a ramp deck, and you’re trying to get your Duskdale Wurm on, you’ll want this, but really, even if you’re just pulling out Deadly Recluses, you’re still drawing a card, and a 2/1 body isn’t completely ignorable.


The green Disenchant stays with us for another year. Pretty sure this is in Innistrad anyway, but it’s nice to have access to in Core Set as well.


Still hanging around. Still solid at what it does. Personally, I prefer Crushing Vines, as it pulls double duty, but I definitely see the argument for Plummet, for mana concerns.

Predatory Rampage

While Revenge of the Hunted is around, this doesn’t warrant discussion.

It’s no Overrun. Hell, it’s not even Overwhelming Stampede. This card will generally end the game as soon as it’s cast, even if it’s not as powerful as its predecessors. I hate these types of cards being in a limited environment, as short of playing permission, there really isn’t any way to play around it. Either they have it, or they don’t. If they do; you lose, if they don’t; you get to play some Magic. It’s a sorry state of affairs.

Prey Upon

I think this is going to be seen as the premier green removal spell for a while, and it’s pretty good at what it does. While it leaves you open to blow outs such as your creature getting Murdered, for example, it’s the best way green has to deal with opposing creatures, especially given that, by and large, the green creatures are bigger than their opposing counterparts.

A solid card, and one that probably has fringe applications in constructed as well. Ulvenwald Tracker’s probably better, if you’re in the market for that type of effect.

Primal Huntbeast

As frustrating as I find Hexproof, I don’t think this is one I’ll ever get tired of seeing in constructed.

There are plenty of playable Auras to stick on him in limited though, as well as some nice equipment, so he’s likely going to be a high pick in draft. I’ve Armored Ascension’d my fair share of Sacred Wolfs, and this isn’t going to be any different.

Primordial Hydra

I thought this was a new card, but it’s actually a reprint. That should tell you how viable it is in constructed…

It can’t be bad in limited though. It’s a really fast clock, and demand an answer. People with this in their decks should definitely be picking Naturalize higher than they might otherwise, as Pacifism would be one of the better ways to deal with this, but can’t stop the growth. I can certainly envisage games where this grows to Epic Proportions under a Pacifism, and a timely Naturalize wrecks my opponent.

It’s clearly a solid limited mythic, but other than that, it’s got a touch of the bulks about it.

Quirion Dryad

Could Miracle-Gro make a comeback? It’s not the first time it’s been reprinted since its original heyday, and it didn’t do anything that time around. I’ll keep my eye on this, as it’s certainly a lot better in a format with free spells, like Phyrexian mana affords. I could see a UG Delver type deck in the short term, which makes use of this and a ton of cantrips etc. Very interesting card, and one to keep an eye on.


Oh boy, this is the biggie. This seems really dangerous to have in the environment, due to all the Hexproof guys. I can see a UG Delver type deck that uses Delver, Quirion Dryad, Invisible Stalker, and possibly touching white for Geist of Saint Traft making use of these, though basically every green aggro deck will want at least a couple of them. There are so few good answers to this, and with Go for the Throat and Doom Blade leaving us soon, we mightn’t be miles away from seeing Erase as a sideboard answer to Rancor.

I’m excited to try Rancor, as I’ve never cast it outside of Cube draft, but I’ve got my set of Urza’s Legacy ones ready to go.

This is definitely one of the top 5 cards of the set, and will have a massive impact on constructed deck building for the next year, at least.

Ranger’s Path

Skipping from 4 to 7 isn’t as important as from 2 to 4 mana, so it’s tough to evaluate how good this is going to be in the modern world. Assuming shocklands are coming back, you can expect this to be part of a 4-5 colour green control deck that uses this to ramp and fix mana, but the fact that it specifies Forests means that, in the foreseeable future, its applications are pretty narrow.

It’s very deck dependent in limited. If you’re aggro, you don’t want this, but if you’re ramping out 7-drops, on the other hand, you’ll want these. A curve of Farseek into Ranger’s Path into Duskdale Wurm isn’t unreasonable, and it’s tough to imagine many decks being able to deal with a turn 4 7/7 trampler.


We really couldn’t have gotten Regrowth? Or even Recollect? Really?

Roaring Primadox

This just isn’t good enough for constructed. Even if you’re building your deck to abuse ETB triggers, there are better options available.

Possibly the worst card to play into an empty board in limited possible, but if you pick him early enough, and build around it, it’s probably fine. It shouldn’t be too difficult to pick up a couple of these too, as nobody else is likely to want them.

Sentinel Spider

None but the most dedicated tribal Spiders players will want this. Too underpowered, and too much competition at that point of the curve for any serious constructed considerations.

It’s unusual to see a spider with the same power and toughness, and it’s certainly not the worst curve topper in aggressive green decks. I think this is a deceptively powerful card, as cards with Vigilance often are. This is JUST short of being a green Serra Angel, which is certainly has a solid limited pedigree, if nothing else.

Serpent’s Gift

If you were in the market for this type of effect in constructed, Nightshade Peddler would be a better call.

Outside of the fringest of cases, I’m really not comfortable 2-for-1ing myself as often as this leads to to play this with any regularity in my limited decks, and I’d encourage you to do so with caution as well. Gets silly if you’ve got a Silklash Spider though, for sure.

Silklash Spider

I’ve cast this before, in UG Tron, and it was pretty sweet. There sure are a lot of Delvers, Lingering Souls and Angels flying about, and assuming you can hold the game off long enough, this can act as a 1 sided wrath. Bonfire of the Damned has taught us exactly how powerful a cheap Plague Wind can be. This is definitely a card to keep your eye on. I know I’m happy to see it again.

It’s basically impossible to kill through damage in limited, and its ability is relevant against some opponents too. Definitely still a first pick worthy card, but I’m not sure if I’d take it over a Searing Spear or a Murder, due to never having drafted it before. I’d favour the rare, as I usually do in the early stages of the format, but I’m not sure that’s right. What do you think; Silklash Spider or Murder?

Spiked Baloth

I can’t see there being much argument that this is just a limited card, and even then, I’m not the biggest fan. He’s not got the large behind that we traditionally associate with Green creatures, and outside of the most aggressive decks, I can’t imagine wanting this all that often.


Thragtusk compares quite favourably to cards like Sigarda, Host of Herons and Wolfir Silverheart, which are presumably its main competition. You presumably want this in a GW shell, as a way to gain access to Restoration Angel, and possibly even Cloudshift. One of the best cards of the set, for sure, though I’m unconvinced this is the ‘Answer to Delver’ that I’ve seen other people proclaiming it to be. It’s solid, but untested.

It’s relatively balanced for limited, I think. It lacks evasion, which is bad news bears, and dies to most of the common removal of the set. While I do think that leaving behind a 3/3 is pretty good, it’s a bit behind the curve for turn 5.

Timberpack Wolf

This isn’t Squadron Hawk for constructed. No thanks.

These obviously get better the more you have of them. My record for a single copy of the same common was, I believe 7, in draft, and that was Oran-Rief Survivalist. This is basically the same thing. These will be fun to draft in the limited environment, but still a 2/2 for 2 isn’t bad, per se.

Titanic Growth

It would take a titanic effort on my part to say something about a pump spell that hasn’t been said before. Having written around 20,000 words on the set so far, I’ll decline to attempt to reinvent the wheel.

Vastwood Gorger

It’s something to ramp into in limited, and nothing more. It’s not flashy, but it’s certainly solid. Didn’t get much time in decks the first time around, as Zendikar wasn’t exactly friendly to the fatties, but it’ll probably be better this time around.

Yeva, Nature’s Herald

Yeva definitely interests me. I’m not sure if there’s enough payoff to being half a Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir for your green creatures to make this truly worthwhile. The fact that it costs 4 means that it’s a reasonable sink if you’re UG, and have held up Rewind, and means that they have to at least consider it when attacking. People should be relatively familiar with this game now, thanks to Restoration Angel.

Basically, Flash is too powerful a keyword for it not to see some play, so I’m definitely keeping my eye on it.

This is what you want in a limited rare. It’s basically a removal spell the turn you cast it, and make combat maths essentially impossible for your opponent. Wonderful card, and an easy first pick.

Yeva’s Forcemage

Not for constructed. Not at all.

These are fine in draft. You’ll be able to get 1-2 of them with regularity, and you’ll usually run them too. It’s pretty tough to get excited about what it, for the most part, just a Grey Ogre though. Sorry to end on a downer.

Top 5 cards I want to play with in constructed:-

1. Rancor
2. Thragtusk
3. Yeva, Nature’s Herald
4. Quirion Dryad
5. Acidic Slime

Top 5 commons

1. Prey Upon
2. Farseek
3. Primal Huntbeast
4. Sentinel Spider
5. Timberpack Wolf



Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing.



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