Arena Review: Planechase 2 Savage Auras

Planechase 2 (2012) Reviews
Chaos Reigns | Night of the Ninja | Primordial Hunger | Savage Auras

The final Planechase 2 deck personally offends me. As someone who has been playing white-green aura decks for the better part of the last 15 years, I have no idea how Wizards thought they could make a white and green aura deck and not include Armadillo Cloak in it! Is it because it doesn’t actually have lifelink? Is that why Wizards? Why don’t you just keep rubbing salt in my wounds!

Savage Auras is a deck that will teach people just how terrible many auras are. With elements of Voltron decks, Savage Auras looks fine on paper but after playing a few games with it, I quickly realized it doesn’t work. Totem Armor helps and Rancor is always awesome, but most of the time you’re still just hoping people won’t immediately exile your cards.

Like the other Planechase 2 decks, Savage Auras includes 8 new planes, 2 phenomena and six brand new cards (five of which are exclusive to this deck).

Dreampod Druid

This card has a lot of potential, especially since there are now plenty of auras that will help keep this guy alive. Being a bear makes him okay on his own, but that certainly isn’t anything to write home about, but the ability to get a free 1/1 saproling on your turn is a decent bonus. But in my experience, this guy is just a cheap lightning rod that results in card disadvantage for you.

Elderwood Scion

This guy is weird. A 4/4 trampling lifelink creature for 5 isn’t a bad deal, but it’s the super weird take on hexproof he has that keeps me interested. Knowing your opponents’ Terminates are suddenly much less useful or that Dismember is near worthless against this creature, he’s basically a creature that must be traded with in combat.

The second half of the ability is where I really get excited. Making your instants and sorceries cheaper is a plus and making your auras dirt cheap doesn’t hurt either. If you’re playing white and green, consider running this Scion.

Krond the Dawn-Clad

I love this guy but good lord is that casting cost a pain! After a few games, it became really frustrating on turn 6 when I realized I had two plains and four forests (or vice versa) and wasn’t able to cast this fantastic six drop. Once enchanted, Krond brings his own Argentum Armor along – and being a 6/6 vigilant flier doesn’t hurt either.

As a commander, I see Krond being a great alternative Uril the Mistwalker that won’t draw nearly as much hate. While expensive, Commander offers plenty of mana fixing opportunities to ensure that you can cast and enchant this bad boy.

Felidar Umbra

A card that feels like it was printed in Rise of the Eldrazi, Felidar Umbra is a fascinating piece of anti-removal. Being able to jump between creatures you control at instant speed makes trying to kill your creatures a real challenge. The bonus of lifelink isn’t anything terribly exciting, but the totem armor and reattaching clause makes this rather unique.

Indrik Umbra

Indirk seems like an odd choice, part of me almost thinks this art was already done and they were just trying to find a home for it. A crazy expensive aura, this is one of those spells that if it resolves you should win. Combining +4/+4, first strike, Lure and totem armor into a single aura makes for a massive creature that should hopefully allow you to alpha strike someone out of the game.

But the cost of six mana just makes me weep when this will invariably resulting in your creature dying upon targeting.

Fractured Powerstone

The final card also happens to be the only one printed in all four decks. Fractured Powerstone is an interesting glimpse of how Wizards will be treating these summer multiplayer releases going forward. While not a great card, at least it isn’t completely useless in non-Planechase games.

Other notable cards in Savage Auras include Armored Griffin with new art, Celestial Ancient for you enchantment lovers, Kor Spiritdancer to keep your hand full, Ghostly Prison for when you want to stall the game, Predatory Urge which almost just gives fight, Rancor because you always need more, Sigil of the Empty Throne so you’ll have creatures to enchant and Three Dreams to draw. I still can’t believe there isn’t Armadillo Cloak. Now onto the planes!

Akoum

Nine times out of ten, this plane isn’t going to do anything until someone rolls chaos and destroys target creature. I’m okay with that.

Aretopolis

In Wizards continuing quest of finding out how small of a font is too small, Aretopolis is a fascinating card. The life gain attribute encourages people to stay (while stalling the game), and the forced planeswalk clause prevents people from abusing it too much. But then there is the Chaos which is amazing mid to late game and absolutely frustrating in the first two turns.

Astral Arena

Dueling Grounds is back but brings along Pyroclasm every now and then to keep exalted decks in check. My biggest concern with this kind of card is how much it slows the game down.

Edge of Malacol

Speaking of slowing the game down, the Edge of Malacol is weird. My biggest concern is getting unlucky and facing down a huge army. And where is Belenon? This is the second plane from there we’ve seen!

Grove of the Dreampods

All upside Oath of Druids and Chaos raises the dead? I fully support this magical place that will hopefully result in you amassing a terrifying army and praying that no one in your group is actually running a Blightsteel Colossus Polymorph deck.

Kessig

It’s about time changelings got some love! I love the flavor of the Chaos rolls here since it gives you an unkillable army for a single turn.

Onakke Catacomb

The fact that this is in Shandalar is awesome. The fact that this is in Shandalar and doesn’t use random abilities is less awesome. A plane that ruins combat math for everyone, the Catacomb turns every attack phase into a rout. I’m content with that predicament.

Talon Gates

Our first game resulted in this being flipped on turn 1 and the results were hilarious as everyone knew in six turns the battlefield was going to be a mess of baloths, wurms and demon ninjas. But the wait is a very, very long time. I really like how this allows people to risk playing cards in advance, while the Chaos just encourages it. My biggest gripe is that this is the ONLY plane set in Dominaria! Seriously Wizards?

Chaotic Aether

Now this is a phenomenon! The sheer insanity that this card triggers is delightful as absurd ability after absurd ability continue to spiral out of control. This is a perfect card for this format.

Planewide Disaster

Day of Judgment is a solid choice for a phenomenon but this card doesn’t exactly do anything new.

As a whole, Savage Auras is probably the most disappointing deck out of the box. The aura subtheme doesn’t work as well as it should, but some extensive modifications could make it really work. Or maybe I’m just really bitter about the absence of Dominaria and the Armadillo Cloak.

Savage Auras

Lands
Forest
Graypelt Refuge
Krosan Verge
Plains
Selesnya Sanctuary
Terramorphic Expanse
Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
Creatures
Armored Griffin
Aura Gnarlid
Auramancer
Auratouched Mage
Bramble Elemental
Celestial Ancient
Dowsing Shaman
Dreampod Druid
Elderwood Scion
Kor Spiritdancer
Krond the Dawn-Clad
Lumberknot
Silhana Ledgewalker
Thran Golem
Spells
Boar Umbra
Cage of Hands
Felidar Umbra
Fractured Powerstone
Ghostly Prison
Hyena Umbra
Indrik Umbra
Mammoth Umbra
Pollenbright Wings
Predatory Urge
Quiet Disrepair
Rancor
Sigil of the Empty Throne
Snake Umbra
Spirit Mantle
Three Dreams

Planar Deck

Zendikar – Akoum
Kephalai – Aretopolis
Kolbahan – Astral Arena
Belenon – Edge of Malacol
Fabacin – Grove of the Dreampods
Innistrad – Kessig
Shandalar – Onakke Catacomb
Dominaria – Talon Gates
PHENOMENON – Chaotic Æther
PHENOMENON – Planewide Disaster