Top Commons and Uncommons in HOU Limited

by Zen Takahashi on 10 July 2017, Monday

Zen Takahashi


Top Commons and Uncommons in Hour of Devastation Limited


Hello everybody!

As I did with Amonkhet, I will be covering what I believe are the best commons and uncommons of each color in Hour of Devastation. This is written in the perspective of drafting, but most of it will hold true for sealed as well. I expect many of my initial evaluations will be off, but hopefully this provides you with some introductory direction in an unexplored format. 



Top 3 Uncommons


Desert's Hold Steward of Solidarity Vizier of the True


1) Desert's Hold
Arrest effects are usually some of the best uncommons in a set, and I expect Desert’s Hold to be the same. It also has the additional life gain bonus with a Desert, which I predict will not be too hard to trigger in this format. 

2) Steward of Solidarity 
White was a very aggressive color in Amonkhet, and that seems to be the case in Hour of Devastation as well. One issue that aggro decks have is that their early drops are quickly outclassed in the mid-to-late game. However, Steward of Solidarity will continue to be relevant even in later stages, as it will pump out tokens which will help the aggro deck go wide – especially as this format has a lot of anthem effects (Pursue Glory, In Oketra’s Name, Tah-Crop Elite, Trial of Solidarity, Overcome).

3) Vizier of the True 
The white aggro decks, especially when paired with green or red, has a lot of exert creatures. Vizier of the True will help set up lethal attacks where you are able to tap all your opponent’s blockers and trigger exert bonuses on your attacking creatures. 

Top 3 Commons


Dauntless Aven Oketra's Avenger Mummy Paramount

1) Dauntless Aven 
A three mana flier with two power is usually appreciated in an aggro deck, as it helps provide some evasion. However, Dauntless Aven has an additional bonus, which is powerful in combination with the high number of two drop exert creatures that exist in the format. Imagine casting a turn two Gust Walker into a turn three Dauntless Aven and swinging for five in the air from turn four! 

2) Oketra's Avenger 
Oketra's Avenger is the premier white common two drop in the set. Though it is weaker than Gust Walker, Oketra's Avenger does a good job of getting through the two and three drop blockers. If you can give it additional power, such as with a Cartouche, it will quickly become a serious threat that your opponent will have difficulty blocking even with their bigger creatures. 

3) Mummy Paramount 
BW Zombies was one of the best archetypes in Amonkhet, and Hour of Devastation looks to add more support. In a dedicated Zombie deck, this will almost always be swinging in as a 3/3, which is great for a two drop. Even in a non-zombie deck, there are enough zombies in the format that this will likely be playable. 



Top 3 Uncommons


Vizier of the Anointed Ominous Sphinx Riddleform


1) Vizier of the Anointed
This card can generate some serious card advantage, as it is represents at least a three-for-one, with potential for more if it sticks around. If you have a powerful embalm or eternalize creature such as Honored Hydra or Adorned Pounder, I can see this card singlehandedly taking over games. 

2) Ominous Sphinx 
Air Elemental would always be one of the best uncommons in a set, and Ominous Sphinx is just that but with an added bonus! There are few big flying creatures in the set that can stop the sphinx, so I imagine it will close out many games on its own. 

3) Riddleform 
Picking the third best uncommon was tough, as blue seems to have a lot of good uncommons. While Riddleform is more archetype specific than the others, the power level of the card is so high that I imagine it will be one of the biggest draws to being in a spell-based deck. The set also seems to have a decent amount of support for UR Spells, which makes me believe that this card will be a high pick as you know you can support it. 

Top 3 Commons


Aerial Guide Unquenchable Thirst Spellweaver Eternal


1) Aerial Guide
If Dauntless Aven is the best white common, then Aerial Guide has to be the best blue common, as it is even better! This card singlehandedly provides a lot of evasion for the aggro decks, and curving a two drop into Aerial Guide will let you run away with games as your opponent’s big ground blockers won’t be able to do anything but look up as your creatures fly over their heads. 

2) Unquenchable Thirst 
How good this card ends up being will largely be based on how consistently you are able trigger the tap clause. Due to the common Desert cycle and the set being small, I suspect that picking up Deserts will not be too difficult, so this should be a pseudo-Pacifism most of the time. 

3) Spellweaver Eternal 
Spellweaver Eternal seems to be the perfect two drop for UW Tempo and UR Spells. The card can trade up to a three drop, but will still get through for two damage. Alongside Aerial Guide, I believe that blue will be a good, aggressive color. 



Top 3 Uncommons


Banewhip PunisherAccursed Horde Merciless Eternal


1) Banewhip Punisher 
At its worst, this card is a 2BB sorcery Murder, which would be enough to make it one of the best removal spells in the set. When you consider its flexibility of also being a creature, it becomes apparent just how good this card is. Against an aggro deck for example, this card can come into play and kill an Initiate's Companion or Oketra's Avenger, then trade with another creature. 

2) Accursed Horde 
This card seems very powerful in a dedicated Zombies deck, and I can see it being a nightmare in combat for your opponent. The fact that you can give multiple creatures indestructible can make it difficult for your opponent to set up good blocks. 

3) Merciless Eternal 
While Merciless Eternal is decent, I do think that black’s uncommons are relatively shallow for this to be the third best uncommon. Nonetheless, this card is a good three drop for any aggro deck, and will be especially fitting in a Zombie deck. 


Top 3 Commons


Lethal Sting Torment of Venom Khenra Eternal


1) Lethal Sting 
Unconditional removal is always great in limited, as you need a way to deal with powerful bombs. The drawback of a -1-1 counter is minimal for a cost of three mana, and some decks, such as GB Counters, may even benefit from the drawback. 

2) Torment of Venom 
Torment of Venom does a good job of killing small creatures, and can hinder bigger creatures so they become beatable in combat. In most situations, your opponent will likely choose to lose three life, so this would be best in an aggressive deck. 

3) Khenra Eternal
Similar to black’s uncommons, black’s commons dry up in quality very quickly. Khenra Eternal is decent, as it’s a two mana bear with an upside and is a zombie, but it is underwhelming for this to be the third best common. 



Top 3 Uncommons


AbradeBurning-Fist Minotaur Sand Strangler


1) Abrade 
A two mana three damage removal spell is already enough to make it one of the better removal spells in the format. The option to destroy an artifact may not come up often, but when it does, it will usually be important as the artifacts that are playable in this format tend to be game winning, such as Oracle’s Vault and Oketra’s Monument. 

2) Burning-Fist Minotaur 
Similar to white, red was an aggressive color in Amonkhet, and that seems to be the case in Hour of Devastation as well. Burning-Fist Minotaur is an amazing two drop, as it can basically get through any blocker due to having first strike and its ability to grow its power. Its main weakness is the one toughness, which makes it vulnerable to cards such as Cartouche of Ambition, Splendid Agony and Banewhip Punisher

3) Sand Strangler 
Of the cards that trigger off Deserts, Sand Strangler looks to be the one with the highest payoff but also the most underwhelming if you can’t trigger it, as a four mana 3/3 is well under rate in modern limited. As mentioned above, with the Desert cycle being at common and the set being small, I suspect you can trigger it with high enough probability that this is more like a Flametongue Kavu than it is a Hill Giant. 


Top 3 Commons


Open Fire Puncturing Blow Khenra Scrapper


1) Open Fire 
We are well past the days of seeing Incinerate or Searing Spear at common, but Open Fire is still a great card and will find a home in any red deck. Hour of Devastation also has a lot of support for UR Spells, and having high quality spells such as Open Fire is fundamental to the archetype. 

2) Puncturing Blow 
I wasn’t a fan of Electrify in the hyper aggressive decks in Amonkhet draft, but Hour of Devastation seems slightly slower, so I suspect the aggro decks will slow down a bit and Puncturing Blow will be appreciated. Five damage is enough to kill most creatures, and the exile clause is important against creatures with embalm or eternalize. The only drawback is its double red in mana cost, which makes it hard to splash for it. 

3) Khenra Scrapper 
Like blue, red seems to run deep in commons, which made it tough to pick the third best common. Though Thorned Moloch and Firebrand Archer are both good cards, they are more archetype specific than Khenra Scrapper, so I decided to go with the latter. I imagine Khenra Scrapper will be a key three drop in any aggressive red deck, as blocking a 4/3 menace creature will often be a headache for your opponent. 



Top 3 Uncommons


Overcome Devotee of Strength Tenacious Hunter


1) Overcome
I imagine R&D tested this card a lot, to make sure that it isn’t as powerful as Overrun. That being said, I assume this card is still very good and will singlehandedly win many games. It would likely be at its best in a GW deck, as white has a decent number of cards that help you go wide, such as Steward of Solidarity

2) Devotee of Strength 
Black’s issue with the quality of its uncommons drying up fast is even more prominent in green. Devotee of Strength is a fine three drop, especially in an aggro deck, but is nothing more than that. 

3) Tenacious Hunter 
Similar to Devotee of Strength, Tenacious Hunter is a fine card, though in a deck without -1-1 counters, I would say it is worse than your average four drop. In a deck where -1-1 counters does matter, it would be a one of your better four drops as it is good at both attacking and blocking. 


Top 3 Commons


Ambuscade Rhonas's Stalwart Frilled Sandwalla


1) Ambuscade 
Clear Shot was one of the best uncommons in Eldritch Moon, and it is now back, only this time it is at common! I expect Ambuscade to be green’s best common, and one of the best commons in the set. 

2) Rhonas's Stalwart
R&D seems to have pushed the power level of common two drops quite a lot over Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation. Naturally, this leads to a more aggressive format, as the two drops can size up well against even the three and four drops. Rhonas's Stalwart is no different to the various common two drops we’ve seen, though I do rate it slightly lower because of its color. 

3) Frilled Sandwalla
I had a tough time choosing the third best common, as I was largely torn by the direction of green in this set. Frilled Sandwalla is a good creature for any aggressive deck, while Oasis Ritualist is good creature for a slower, ramp style deck. While I am not confident about this, I think the format is aggressively slanted enough, that I have chosen the tiny lizard over the mana ramping four drop. 

Like many of you, I can’t wait to draft this format! I thoroughly enjoyed Amonkhet draft, and I am excited to see how the addition of Hour of Devastation will shake things up. Once I play the format, I am sure many of these rankings and evaluations will change, but hopefully this can act as a good initial guideline.

Until next time!

Zen Takahashi
@mtgzen on Twitter

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