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CardShark Content - Aaron Swersky (7/9/2004)

This is the second in a series of articles to assist the player who has little or no experience in drafting Fifth Dawn. This new set can be difficult to draft, between the temptation to attempt a 5-color deck and maximize the Sunburst cards, and the desire to play it safe and stay with the standard 2 colors.

Since the majority of the cards you see in any given draft are commons, we'll be looking at those first. This article will be looking at the Black and Red commons in the set, ranking them in terms of playability and assisting you in deciding what's gold, what's decent, and what you shouldn't cast near an open flame.

Please note that this article will strictly be dealing with these cards in a Limited aspect. While there are some cards that will be excellent in Constructed decks (U2VydW0gVisions
Visions
VisionsSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
NéNé Thomas
Text:
Look at the top five cards of any library. You may then shuffle that library.
, I'm talking to you), those cards won't receive a high rating unless they're also useful in Limited play.

In case you're wondering, here is my rating system.
* - Do not draft this card. Ever. There must be something better in that pack!
** - Borderline playable. Never goes into your maindeck on game 1 - sideboard only.
*** - Not bad, good filler for your deck. A good standby, don't be afraid to take this.
**** - Very strong. Take these often, as long as they're in your colors.
***** - Broken. Take these whenever you see them no matter what. Uber-powerful.

BLACK
------------
Blind Creeper
Blind Creeper
Blind CreeperSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
42
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Whenever a player plays a spell, Blind Creeper gets -1/-1 until end of turn.
(1B)
Creature - Zombie Beast
Beast
BeastSet: Garruk vs. Liliana
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
1
Artist:
John Donahue
Power:
4
Toughness:
4

Whenever a player plays a spell, Blind Creeper
Blind Creeper
Blind CreeperSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
42
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Whenever a player plays a spell, Blind Creeper gets -1/-1 until end of turn.
gets -1/-1 until end of turn.
3/3
I can't say enough good things about this card. A second-turn 3/3 is extremely powerful in MD5, and will most likely remain above the P/T curve for one or two turns to come, either dealing a substantial amount of damage to an opponent or taking down a couple of his creatures - I am reminded of Blastoderm
Blastoderm
BlastodermSet: Nemesis
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
102
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Fading 3 (This creature comes into play with three fade counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from it. If you can't, sacrifice it.) Blastoderm can't be the target of spells or abilities.
in the the days of Masques block. Just remember that you want to swing before you cast your spells on your turn, more than ever before, and that your opponent's instants are twice as powerful.
Rating: ***1/2 out of *****

Cackling Imp
Cackling Imp
Cackling ImpSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Imp
Rarity:
C
Number:
44
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying. Tap: Target player loses 1 life.
(2BB)
Creature - Imp
Flying
T: Target player loses 1 life.
2/2
Another exceptionally good common for black. A 2/2 flying body for 4 mana isn't bad as long as it has an ability, and I would place this above Advanced Hoverguard
Advanced Hoverguard
Advanced HoverguardSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Drone
Rarity:
C
Number:
22
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying. U: Advnaced Hoverguard can't be the target of spells or abilities until end of turn.
in those terms because of what its power is. Essentially, Cackling Imp
Cackling Imp
Cackling ImpSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Imp
Rarity:
C
Number:
44
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying. Tap: Target player loses 1 life.
does not need to swing. It has the power to break a creature stalemate, get around damage prevention, and take a parting shot in case your opponent tries to kill it. The double-black removes it as a splash color, but black is strong enough in MD5 to where you'd want to play it as a main color anyway.
Rating: ***1/2 out of *****

Dross Crocodile
Dross Crocodile
Dross CrocodileSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie Crocodlie
Rarity:
C
Number:
47
Power:
5
Toughness:
1
(3B)
Creature - Zombie Crocodile
5/1
The first thing to remember is that this is not a creature. Sure, it looks like a creature. It has a power and toughness. But it's not a creature. When it attacks or blocks, it's basically an overpriced Chainer's Edict
Chainer's Edict
Chainer's EdictSet: Torment
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Text:
Target player sacrifices a creature. Flashback 5BB
(without flashback) - anything that blocks it or that it blocks is almost certain to die from the 5 power, and anything that blocks it or that it blocks is almost certain to kill it. Still, don't rely too much on this, especially if your opponent has lots of small creatures in his deck.
Rating: **1/2 out of *****

Fill With Fright (3B)
Sorcery
Target player discards two cards from his or her hand.
Scry: 2
There isn't anything wrong with this card, really. By the time you and your opponent have four mana, both of you are likely to be running a little slim on the number of cards in your hand, and this could take out cards that could present a real threat. The problem is that there isn't a whole lot right with it, either. It's four mana for a spell with no immediate effect on the board, and while taking two cards out of your opponent's hand isn't bad, it won't save you if you're currently taking a beating either. Considering the power level of black commons in this set, you can probably do better.
Rating: ** out of *****

Fleshgrafter
Fleshgrafter
FleshgrafterSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Warrior
Rarity:
C
Number:
51
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard an artifact card from your hand: Flesh Grafter gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
(2B)
Creature - Human Warrior
Discard an artifact card from your hand: Fleshgrafter
Fleshgrafter
FleshgrafterSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Warrior
Rarity:
C
Number:
51
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Discard an artifact card from your hand: Flesh Grafter gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
2/2
Definitely one of the better black creatures in the set. 3 mana for a 2/2 body isn't bad
at all, and in an artifact-heavy set, you'll often have ammunition to pitch to him. As long as you have cards in your hand, your opponent is going to have a hard time deciding whether or not to block, and if they do, what with. If your opponent DOES decide to block, any artifact in your hand becomes instant-speed removal...and since his ability doesn't cost any mana to activate, you can cast spells without worrying about it. That being said, make sure that you have food for him if you're going to play more than one or two; without artifacts in hand, he's just a 2/2.
Rating: ***1/2 out of *****

Lose Hope
Lose Hope
Lose HopeSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
52
Text:
Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn. Scry 2
(B)
Instant
Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.
Scry: 2
Probably the best black common in the set, this card makes combat unfavorable for your opponent, takes out anything with a toughness of 1, straightens out your library, and does everything but kill your opponent for you. I can't count the number of times this has hosed an opponent who was relying on a Myr for off-color mana, ruined a creature trade, and otherwise wrecked an opponent's day. This is one of the few commons in the set that will get the rating it gets, simply because it's almost impossible to have too many of these in your deck.
Rating: **** out of *****

Vicious Betrayal
Vicious Betrayal
Vicious BetrayalSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
60
Text:
As an additional cost to play Vicious Betrayal, sacrifice any number of creatures. Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn for each creature sacrificed in this way.
(3BB)
Sorcery
As an additional cost to play Vicious Hunger
Vicious Hunger
Vicious HungerSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
74
Artist:
Massimilano Frezzato
Text:
Vicious Hunger deals 2 damage to target creature. You gain 2 life.
, sacrifice any number of creatures.
Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn for each creature sacrificed this way.
This card is absolutely awful, easily the worst black common in the set. You couldn't possibly send a clearer signal to your opponent about how to solve a very temporary problem, while Wrathing yourself in the process. The only possible reason you could have to play this spell is to feed all of your guys to a flyer if your opponent had nothing to block with, and if that's the case you can usuall crush him anyway.
Rating: *1/2 out of *****

RED
------------
Goblin Brawler
Goblin Brawler
Goblin BrawlerSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Goblin Warrior
Rarity:
C
Number:
66
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Goblin Brawler can't be equipped.
(2R)
Creature - Goblin Warrior
First Strike
Goblin Brawler
Goblin Brawler
Goblin BrawlerSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Goblin Warrior
Rarity:
C
Number:
66
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Goblin Brawler can't be equipped.
can't be equipped.
2/2
Don't let that last line of text fool you - read the line above it, the one that says ´´First Strike´´. That means that in multiples, these guys make a ground assault almost impossible to win, and even one is fairly rough. Lots of X/2 bodies exist in MD5, and this little guy will show them who's boss. If he could be equipped, he'd be incredibly powerful...probably TOO powerful, which is why they had to put a limiter on him. You should never worry about drafting a couple of these guys.
Rating: ***1/2 out of *****

Krark-Clan Ogre (3RR)
Creature - Ogre
R, sacrifice an artifact: Target creature can't block this turn.
3/3
A fairly substantive body, slightly overcosted, with a borderline-useful ability. 3/3 is a little above the curve for MD5, though 5 mana is a little much to pay for it. The ability isn't a bad investment at times, as throwing the right artifacts at the right time could let you swing for the win, but the ability will often go unused unless you manage to push some flyers through at tactically important occasions. Having one in your deck isn't too bad; two is probably overkill.
Rating: **1/2 out of *****

Mana Geyser
Mana Geyser
Mana GeyserSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
75
Text:
Add R to your mana pool for each tapped land opponents control.
(3RR)
Sorcery
Add R to your mana pool for each tapped land your opponents control.
I honestly can't imagine why anyone would ever play this card in any deck, ever. For Limited purposes, this has to be the worst card in the set, hands-down. By the time you have five mana in play to cast this spell, it probably won't do anything at all for you. It might make for aone or two mana profit if you're lucky, but it'll almost never do anything for you that you couldn't do without it. Never draft this unless it's the last card in the pack.
Rating: * out of *****

Rain of Rust
Rain of Rust
Rain of RustSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
76
Text:
Choose one - Destroy target artifact, or destroy target land. Entwine 3R
(3RR)
Instant
Choose one - Destroy target artifact, or destroy target land.
Entwine: 3R
This card seems a lot like Shatter
Shatter
ShatterSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Shatter destroys target artifact.
. And it is; any card with 'destroy target artifact' in MD5 deserves a look. Upon second glance, it looks like an overcosted Shatter
Shatter
ShatterSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Shatter destroys target artifact.
, with an option and a high Entwine cost. But look again. Fifth Dawn has a strong five-color element, and Sunburst rewards players for having several colors of mana. And how do we get off-color mana? Off-color Myr, or a splashed land or three. Rain of Rust
Rain of Rust
Rain of RustSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
76
Text:
Choose one - Destroy target artifact, or destroy target land. Entwine 3R
takes down either one, shrinking your opponent's Sunburst spells and even shutting down an artifact or artifact creature. It's like Befoul
Befoul
BefoulSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
116
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Destroy target land or nonblack creature. It can't be regenerated.
, costing 1 more mana for the benefit of Instant speed. Not a first pick, but don't underestimate its power, and you should see about picking one up in an otherwise lean pack, especially if you've had poor luck finding Shatter
Shatter
ShatterSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Shatter destroys target artifact.
, Molten Rain
Molten Rain
Molten RainSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
101
Artist:
Hugh Jamieson
Text:
Destroy target land. If that land is nonbasic, Molten Rain deals 2 damage to the land's controller.
, or Echoing Ruin
Echoing Ruin
Echoing RuinSet: Darksteel
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
59
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Destroy target artifact and all other artifacts with the same name as that artifact.
.
Rating: **1/2 out of *****

Screaming Fury
Screaming Fury
Screaming FurySet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
78
Text:
Target creature gets +5/+0 and gains haste until end of turn.
(2R)
Sorcery
Target creature gets +5/+0 and haste until end of turn.
This is basically a pumped up version of Reckless Charge
Reckless Charge
Reckless ChargeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
215
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Text:
Target creature gets +3/+0 and gains haste until end of turn. Flashback 2R (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)
from Odyssey, and is used the same way, with some minor changes. First of all, no flashback; it's a one-shot. Second, it means you need 2R open AFTER you play your creature for Haste to have any effect. And thirdly, the power boost is higher. Generally speaking, this card will serve the same purpose as Vicious Hunger
Vicious Hunger
Vicious HungerSet: Nemesis
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
74
Artist:
Massimilano Frezzato
Text:
Vicious Hunger deals 2 damage to target creature. You gain 2 life.
- It tells your opponent, ´´Block this creature or else.´´ Still, a good player will seldom leave himself defenseless, which limits this card's uses. You can usually find a better card for your deck than this, but if you've drafted strong flyers, this can double as a lower-cost Lava Axe
Lava Axe
Lava AxeSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
84
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Lava Axe deals 5 damage to target player.
.
Rating: ** out of *****

Spark Elemental
Spark Elemental
Spark ElementalSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
C
Number:
79
Artist:
John Avon
Power:
3
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample. At the end of turn, sacrifice Spark Elemental.
(R)
Creature - Elemental
Trample, Haste
At end of turn, sacrifice Spark Elemental
Spark Elemental
Spark ElementalSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
C
Number:
79
Artist:
John Avon
Power:
3
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample. At the end of turn, sacrifice Spark Elemental.
.
3/1
This is one of those skill-tester cards. At first glance, it looks like a smaller version of Ball Lightning
Ball Lightning
Ball LightningSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ball Lightning
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Power:
6
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample Ball Lightning can attack the turn it comes into play. At the end of any turn, bury Ball Lightning.
. And in a sense, it is. It even has a better mana ratio; Ball Lightning
Ball Lightning
Ball LightningSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ball Lightning
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Power:
6
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample Ball Lightning can attack the turn it comes into play. At the end of any turn, bury Ball Lightning.
is 2:1 (6 damage for 3 mana) and Spark Elemental
Spark Elemental
Spark ElementalSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
C
Number:
79
Artist:
John Avon
Power:
3
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample. At the end of turn, sacrifice Spark Elemental.
is 3:1 (3 damage for 1 mana). But take a closer look. Ball Lightning
Ball Lightning
Ball LightningSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ball Lightning
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Quinton Hoover
Power:
6
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample Ball Lightning can attack the turn it comes into play. At the end of any turn, bury Ball Lightning.
was so strong because 6 damage is always a substantial chunk of your life total, and even if your opponent blocks, it often tramples most of its power over. But playing Spark Elemental
Spark Elemental
Spark ElementalSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
C
Number:
79
Artist:
John Avon
Power:
3
Toughness:
1
Text:
Trample. At the end of turn, sacrifice Spark Elemental.
is worse than playing Lightning Bolt
Lightning Bolt
Lightning BoltSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Lightning Bolt does 3 damage to one target.
on your opponent. In the early game, it's pointless because 3 damage is insignificant, especially when it costs you a turn and a card. In the late game, it's actually worse than Lightning Bolt
Lightning Bolt
Lightning BoltSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Lightning Bolt does 3 damage to one target.
because it can be blocked, making it completely ineffective. This card is NOT as good as its brother, and should be played sparingly.
Rating: ** out of *****

Vulshok Sorceror (1RR)
Creature - Human Shaman
Haste
T: Vulshok Sorceror deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
1/1
I like this card, quite a lot. It's almost a direct improvement over good ol' Prodigal Sorceror, and turning one of the colorless into R is worth getting Haste. It's not unlike a red version of Lose Hope
Lose Hope
Lose HopeSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
52
Text:
Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn. Scry 2
, in that it turns what looks like a good creature trade into a bad creature trade, so long as you're the one doing attacking. ´´And in my second main phase, I make a Sorceror and shoot your guy for the last point.´´ Also takes down problem X/1s your opponent played during his last turn, and can push through a creature stall. In a real way, it combines the best aspects of Cackling Imp
Cackling Imp
Cackling ImpSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Imp
Rarity:
C
Number:
44
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying. Tap: Target player loses 1 life.
and Lose Hope
Lose Hope
Lose HopeSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
52
Text:
Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn. Scry 2
(though it won't Scry for you). Never worry about taking several of these, and putting them into your deck.
Rating: ***1/2 out of *****

And there you have it. In my next installment, I'll look at green cards and artifacts.


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