Limited Power Rankings: Battle for Zendikar Week One

The biggest comment that I got last week was that people wanted me to do more explaining about why I made the choices I made. There’s always going to be a tension between wanting to explain things vs. trying to make this as easy as possible to make sure that it happens every week, but I’ll try to write a paragraph on each section to explain salient details.

You can check out last week’s Limited Power Rankings here.

This weekend, I played in one Battle for Zendikar prerelease. I’m planning to write a walkthrough for my sealed pool at some point this week. The short story is that I had a pool with two main options. One was a chance for a UR Devoid Aggro deck, but I could also build a 5 Color Green Ramp deck. I was very torn, but I decided to put my money where my mouth is and build the UR deck after my ratings from last week. I went 4-1, only losing to another UR deck that had all my good stuff, minus all my bad stuff, plus the best commons in blue and red. The top 8 consisted of UG, UG, UGr, UR, UR, BG, BG, and RB.

No changes here. I didn’t find any real reasons to change my color ratings. That’s not to say that my perspective didn’t shift. Basically, Red, Blue, and Green all tightened up their race a little bit, and white came a little bit closer to black. Using numbers I just picked out of the air, f they’d been rated with R = 9, U = 7, G = 6, B= 5, and W=3 last week, then this week they’d be something like R=8, U=7.5, G=7, B=4.5, and W=4. In our top 8 specifically, five of the top 8 decks were blue and five of the top 8 decks were green. However, I’ve also been following closely the results of other prereleases, which is why I think the numbers might be closer. My thinking is that red is probably more rewarded in draft where it can power more of the aggressive decks that just don’t work as well in sealed.

Only a few changes here. UR was very good for me, despite the fact that I had a very mediocre sealed pool. I ran over every opponent except the other UR player, who ended up taking down the entire event in the top 8 after beating me a second time. One major change was moving BG up 6 places on the chart. This was mostly a result of seeing BG at two of our seats in the top 8. I underestimated how well the BG deck would be able to power out Eldrazi, especially in sealed. I anticipate that BG will lose some slots once drafting starts in earnest. UB fell several slots, and that is because I think there is only room for so many Blue/Green/Black decks at the top. It’s hard for a draft to support UR, UG, BG, RB and a UB deck, so it seems like it will just get shifted out a lot of the time.

I made very few changes to this list. Mostly, this is because I just didn’t face very many rares during my prerelease, and I didn’t get to see very much of any of the rares in play. The exception is that I got to watch some games with From Beyond, and that card was even better than I expected. Blight Herder also got played against me several times, and it was an absolute house. I moved Munda and Drana off the list in light of these cards, but I expect this list to change a lot when I actually get drafting.

The first two cards on this list were as absurd as anticipated. Rolling Thunder is just bonkers. There are a few major changes here. First, Turn Against got shifted down. It turns out that 5 mana is just a lot. Vile Aggregate was in my prerelease deck and it was as absurd as I thought it would be, attacking as a 3/5 on turn 4, and then turn into a 7/5 in short order. Tajuru Warcaller got put on the list because, well, it should have been there last week and I just kind of overlooked it. Herald of Kozilek also got moved up based on what I saw of it in the prerelease, where it led to several absurd starts. Meanwhile, Roil Spout got shifted pretty far down because it is in two colors and in a color combination that I don’t think is particularly good.

The last list is the common list, and it sees the most change, mainly because these are the cards that I got to play with the most. Eldrazi Skyspawner got moved up. I thought it was good, but it turns out that it is even better than I had thought. Both creatures are incredibly useful, and it is such a powerful tool in every strategy. WU wants flyers and it wants ways to hold the ground and ramp out awaken spells, and Skyspawner and Incubator Drone together actually enable a WU Inspired Charge deck. UB wants evasive creatures with Devoid and it wants sacrifice outlets. UR just wants colorless aggressive cards. UG wants ways to ramp out Eldrazi. The Skyspawner does all of these things, and it just impressed me over and over. New to the list is Outnumber. It was a card that I knew had potential, but I wasn’t sure how many creatures we would normally have out and also how large of creatures it would need to kill. But every time I saw this at the prerelease, it was dealing 3-6 damage, and doing so for 1 mana. Granted, I probably just didn’t see it when it wasn’t big enough to take things down, but even with a fail case of 2 damage for 1 red, it would be a top common. Lifespring Druid got moved up the list mainly because of how essential it is to the Green ramp and 5 Color strategies. And the other two new additions were Kozilek’s Channeler and Incubator Drone. I faced these several times over the weekend and they were a beating each time, both holding down the board and ramping out huge Eldrazi.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments!


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