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Alara Reborn Review Part 3: Limited First Picks April 27, 2009

Posted by James in : all, reviews, previews, strategy, tips, limited, draft, sealed , trackback

Yes, there are several rare first picks, but this is nothing unusual. What makes the big difference when playing in sealed and draft events are the common and uncommon first picks. (These are cards good enough to pick as your first card when playing in a draft event.) The most important first picks tend to be creature removal spells. Here are the top 8 first picks found in Alara Reborn:

Eighth place: Wall of Denial

wall of denial

It is a little defensive for my taste, but it is terribly annoying against large monsters.

Seventh place: Vengeful Rebirth

vengeful rebirth

A little costly, but you get your money’s worth. A two for one removal and potential finisher. Sounds good.

Sixth place: Bituminous Blast

bituminous blast

A two for one that is less reliable than Vengeful Rebirth, but also a little less costly.

Fifth place: Crystallization


Easy to play. Early game removal can be very important. It’s not the best against pingers and other creatures with a powerful ability. Works great when you control pingers.

Fourth place: Slave of Bolas

slave of bolas

Easier to play than Bituminous Blast and a potential game finisher.

Third place: Intimidation Bolt

intimidation bolt

Early game removal plus a great bonus. Unfortunately this will generally only work in Naya.

Second place: Terminate


Early game removal that takes care of anything.

First place: Behemoth Sledge

Behemoth sledge

This is the closest thing to a bomb in the uncommon slot in all of Alara Block. One more reason to play bant or naya, but it’s worth splashing for.


1. Isauro - April 28, 2009

I pulled two Behemoth Sledge(s) in my sealed prerelease pull. Devasting. Also, anything with cascade is awesome in limited.

2. James - April 28, 2009

Sounds like you got some good stuff. I agree that cascade is good, but some are a lot better than others. The hasty elf is probably the best one other than Bituminous Blast. I would consider taking some of them as a first pick.

3. Tom - April 29, 2009

Yeah, I must agree on Behemoth Sledge being a bomb, because it is. What’s more it is uncommon and has devastating effect in limited. Terminate, Slave of Bolas, Bituminous Blast are also very decent. I’m not a 100% sure about Intimidation Bolt and Crystalization. They are good, no doubt, not too sure they are good enough to be first picks (I’d pick the former ones - Terminate etc. - first).

Cascade is also uber-powerful if the card is not too bad itself (Enlisted Wurm is just sick in limited, but I wouldn’t use Captured Sunlight).

4. James - April 30, 2009

I just had Wall of Denial ruin me in a draft on Monday. I drew both of my Wretched Banquet cards right away. If I could have played Wretched Banquet, I would have won.

I suspect that people undervalue Crystallization. It is quick removal that stops almost any threat, such as Flameblast Dragon or Battlegrace Angel. It is also easy to play. However, I admit that it is hard to take a Crystallization when you can take that or a two-for-one. I love two-for-ones, but it is important to have a decent mana curve at the same time.

5. Recoculous.com: Magic the Gathering Articles » Drafting Alara Reborn Part 1 - May 6, 2009

[…] Although you will probably already know what colors you will play before opening the Alara Reborn pack, the colors you choose to play can be influenced based on what you hope to get in Alara Reborn. The most notable influence is probably Loxodon Warhammer. I mean Behemoth Sledge, which is a green-white uncommon. This is relatively easy to splash, so that alone isn’t going to make you want to play a green white deck. (But it can help you decide to play green or white.) Considering the top 8 first picks that I have already mentioned, there are 4 cards you can use while playing jund, 3 for Grixis, 3 for Bant, 4 for Naya, and 2 for Esper. At this point Naya and Jund sound best. The fact that Behemoth Sledge can be usd in Naya is a bonus, so Naya sounds like it is still the best deck in general. It should be noted that Grixis has the biggest shortcoming with the top 8 first picks because Jund can use all of the cards that the Grixis deck can use and more. Grixis loses. What about when we expand the first picks to include 12 more cards? (These are the cards I called “second picks” here. Naya gets 8 more cards, Jund gets 4, Bant gets 7, Grixis gets 2, and Esper gets 4. Naya clearly wins here, and Bant isn’t far behind. Grixis still loses out. Here are the current total first picks in each color combination: […]

6. Recoculous.com: Magic the Gathering Articles » Drafting Alara Reborn Part 2: Naya - May 23, 2009

[…] The cards you want for your Naya deck when playing in Alara Reborn. You might want to read about Alara Reborn’s bombs, first picks, and second picks. This article discusses Reborn’s mentionable cards for Naya. […]

7. Yobbo - July 12, 2009

Behemoth Sledge is the best limited card in the entire block.

It’s miles better than any of the cards you list as “bombs”.

8. James - July 18, 2009


You might be right that Behemoth Sledge is a bomb, but I’m not sure if it is the best limited card in Alara Block. The bombs I listed are great cards. Lavalanche in particular is very good. After playing Alara Reborn drafts and sealed events for around three months, I don’t remember ever losing to any of the bombs I listed except Lavalanche, and I might have lost to Thraximundar once. I can’t remember if I ever lost to Behemoth Sledge, but I know people found it very helpful some games. Karruthus and Defiler of Souls also had an impact when they were seen. I heard that Sens Triplets ruined some games, but it never did much in any of the games that I saw it. I think I might have won at least one game because of how good Behemoth Sledge is.

I think Lavalanche is the potentially most broken card in the entire block while playing limited. It can pretty much win games all by itself and it decided the winner of multiple games I was part of. The blades are some of the best cards in the entire block as well, but they aren’t game winning.