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Shards of Alara White October 16, 2008

Posted by Norm in Casual, Shards of Alara.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Part of my Shards of Alara exploration, here is my review of selected white cards, found on the full visual spoiler.

I really like this card because I think it is a great defense for two mana. Especially in limited this can be a great late draft pick and potential surprise when your opponent turns all their guys sideways. In the event that you don’t need to use this ability or you need another answer Cycling is going to be there. I’m glad they brought back Cycling as it give cards more flexibility. I do think that people won’t expect to see this so it could be a great surprise. 

Battlegrace Angel
Obviously this is one of the best mono white cards in this set. It is a must have in any exalted theme deck. We all knew that. I see this as a great addition to other creature decks that could benefit from the exalted and lifelink ability. I was looking at some of the W/B Eventide builds and I this might be an interesting addition. 

At first I was concerned that Battlegrace Angel was a bit of a win more card. Maybe in constructed, but in limited this angel can hit for 5 with evasion and lifelink keeping you far ahead of your opponent. 

Ethersworn Canonist
I opened one of these guys in a pack last week and I am really excited to build around this guy. I think that this little 2/2 has the potential to be a staple in artifact control. I am really looking forward to making a shards block constructed deck around it as well. This could be really great with the some of the new bounce effects, and has a cool synergy with Scourglass. Since I haven’t fully explored Esper I don’t even know all my options. Has anyone had the chance to use this in draft or block constructed? Is it too limiting in limited without enough artifacts?

The reason I picked this card is because I really don’t know how I feel about it. To me it seems it is good for tempo and control but unless my opponent spends a lot of resources (like devour) in playing a creature I really don’t see this card as a strong source of removal. Sure it can deal with threats and facing that really big monster can buy you some time, but I don’t know. I would rather have (for the same mana cost) Oblivion Ring or Unmake or maybe even Resounding Silence. Also this card is a sorcery. Which I didn’t even realize at first. I don’t know am I missing something here? I’ve seen people draft and play this card so I guess it is an outlet. 

Sanctum Gargoyle
I’ve got to say I didn’t have much respect for this guy at first glance. But after playing against it a few times this past week I’ve got to say that if there are artifacts in the graveyard then this guy is going to help you with some card advantage. Also his flying and power/toughness make for a pretty nasty little guy. 


See below: I’ve implemented this new polling feature on wordpress. We’ll see how it works out. 




1. CopySix - October 16, 2008

Yet another solid write-up Mr. Norm.
I should think that the poll results to date speak volumes.
I specifically got the Bant Intro for Battlegrace – – luv’n it !
By-the-way – I have nightmares about an opponent dropping Scourglass – this card is intensely dangerous.

2. Dillon - October 16, 2008

Sigiled Paladin and Knight of the White Orchard are both amazing white additions into shards. Battlegrace and Canonist win this race by far. Excommunicate is a nice control card for the things with great activation costs like battlemages and heralds. Also all of the cards in the set that get +1/+1’s like anything with devour can be handy to place on top. I have been using excommunicate on Broodmate Dragon’s token and Sprouting Thrinax just before I attack.

3. Michael Rawdon - October 16, 2008

I assumed Angelsong was created because Dawn Charm just rotated out of standard. I like Dawn Charm a little better.

Excommunicate seems useful in limited, maybe even in block constructed. White removal always tends to look a little wonky. It seems clearly inferior to Crib Swap and arguably also Neck Snap, although it does provide some tempo advantage.

The plus to Sanctum Gargoyle it it provides a little card advantage for artifact decks. The minus is that it’s only a 2/3 flier for 4. Then again, with Etherium Sculptor on the table it’s a 2/3 flyer for 3, which is a little better than an Avian Changeling.

How about Cradle of Vitality? Seems like a great card combined with Soul’s Grace, especially in an Exalted deck and/or some good evasive creatures.

4. cadenadebronce3 - October 17, 2008

Good article. I also think Scourglass, Knight of the White Orchard and exalted white creatures look great, as well as Elsphet… Bant is more focused on white cards than blue or green ones. And nothing to add to Esper cards, the best shard indeed!

5. Luka - October 20, 2008

I’ve played a lot of SoA drafts lately, of course it’s true that a draft deck is something a lot different than a constructed one but most of those cards were still late picks for me.

Scourglass, Metallurgeon and Resounding Silence are really missing in your list I think 😉

Also, there is a lot of very good gold cards that require some white mana. I’m pretty sure the Esper Charm is going to be extensively used in many formats, and probably so will be the Naya one.


6. shine - October 24, 2008

Ive fallen in love with ethersworn canonist the first time ive seen it. brilliant artwork, cheap to play and what a nasty control effect. I think it not only glances in esper, but also in control decks, since you only play 1 spell, and thats the counterspell for your opponents non artifact spell, so hes basically locked down.

my 2nd favourite is battlegrace angel. at first i also thought 5 mana to be a little costly, but i think its worth it. 4/4 flying is solid after all, and exalted and lifelink must not be underestimated. Im currently working on a bant deck, and i have to say that it really fits in nicely. Imagine: 1st turn birds of paradise, 2nd turn rhox monk, 3d rafiq, swing for 4 double strike, you gain 8 life, 4rd turn angel, swing for 5 double strike, double lifelink for 20 life!. tasty I think ^_^

kind regards


7. Jura - December 26, 2008

Ethersworn Canonist is used in U/W affinity along with Force of Will in Vintage/Legacy like formats. I need a set..

8. Nick Davis - January 9, 2009

I’ve been having fun with excommunicate lately. I made a casual deck that consists of 4 Excommunicate, 4 Cathartic Adept, 4 Drowner of Secrets and 4 Aethertow. I need to find a finisher, but it’s fun screwing around with people’s creatures!

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