Three wonderful Limited gems were revealed in the full Hour of Devastation spoiler. And while none of them were previewed by any website (hint, hint, they totally should have been), all of them are worthy of a spotlight.

Two of them are weaker versions of insanely powerful cards (which still makes them very powerful), while the third is a stronger version of a top-tier common. I’m talking, of course, about Ambuscade, Overcome, and Bitterbow Sharpshooters. Let’s quickly go over them, one by one, and why you should be excited to open them at prerelease this weekend.

Crocodile Punch

Wizards of the Coast has learned lots of ways to make fights happen. There’s the classic and hyper-efficient Prey Upon or the faster but more expensive Pit Fight. There’re the “pump fights” like Savage Punch, Epic Confrontation, and Wild Instincts. There are the permanent pump fights like Hunt the Weak and Cartouche of Strength. There are “fights with upside” in Time to Feed and Unnatural Aggression. There are also the one-sided fights, like Fall of the Hammer (which should totally get reprinted the next time Koth shows up) and the insanely powerful Clear Shot, which was one of the best uncommons in Eldritch Moon.

Ambuscade is certainly weaker than Clear Shot—it will let you trade up in combat or fight down something just a bit bigger than your creature, but will never give you a 2-for-1 by letting you win in combat and pick something else off. That said, the card is still very, very powerful. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ambuscade is a top tier common, because creature kill at instant speed with upside for three mana is great. Then again, Ambuscade could be just one mana too expensive for its effect in an aggressive format. Time to Feed and Unnatural Aggression were notoriously underwhelming at three mana, but then again, neither was one-sided. Only time will tell, but I’ll be eagerly looking to draft these highly in the first week.

And speaking of underwhelming…


Overcome is basically a strictly worse Overrun (it doesn’t cost triple green). Of course, Overrun is one of green’s most powerful finishers in Limited, so even a diminished version of it should be plenty powerful. Anthem effects and evasion are powerful, and combining them has a tendency to win the game.

Overrun‘s buff is 50% more efficient than Overcome, which means you’ll have to go wider to get the same effect or have beaten down more for it to win you the game. We can probably glean more information by comparing Overcome to a more recent card: Trial of Solidarity, one of white’s best uncommons in Amonkhet. Trial of Solidarity is cheap, interacts favorably with cartouches, combos obscenely well with exert creatures (which often meant it was giving creatures an additional +1/+1 from exerting freely), and exists in a format where blocking is bad (diminishing the weakness of the small toughness boost). Overcome has none of those benefits and costs a lot more, but Trial does demonstrate that that kind of a buff is plenty strong in Amonkhet.

Of the three cards in this article, Overcome is the one I expect the least of (and expect to be the most overvalued, as well). It will absolutely win games, and if the format is defined by going wide and board stalls, it could be very strong. However, it will rot in people’s hands when it’s not swinging the game to their favor, and suffers from the same problems as Press the Advantage and Overwhelm: it just costs too much for too small of a boon.

Serra Archers

This card is incredible. Sentinel Spider was a top-tier common in M13—sure, it was a core set with less emphasis on synergy—but it was Serra Angel at common. Bitterbow Sharpshooters is the same card, except it’s splashable. Pardon the overzealous use of italics, but this card seems bonkers for a common. It blocks almost everything profitably and is too big to be blocked by a single creature most of the time (forcing a two-for-one or for your opponent to play into a combat trick). The combination of vigilance and reach means it can shut down your opponent’s offense while potentially pressuring them right back. It eats afflict creatures for breakfast and comes down sooner than your opponent can eternalize their creatures into something that can trade for it.

I fully expect Bitterbow Sharpshooters to be very, very strong (and fantastic for sealed). I also fully expect it to be undervalued initially, just as Sentinel Spider, Nessian Asp, and Tajuru Pathwarden were. Take this card early and be happy when it’s in your sealed pool, because it will win you games and pluck Gust Walkers out of the sky.

The Beauty of Limited

I understand why none of these three cards were given out as spoilers—they do exactly what we’ve seen before, they don’t communicate much of a story, and they don’t feature known characters. However, for those of us who love Limited, these cards are incredibly exciting. They invite evaluation, both on their own merits and the comparative context between Amonkhet and their forebears’ formats. Will the speed of Amonkhet render the new Sentinel Spider too slow? Will the loss of a point of toughness fail to counterbalance the ridiculousness of making Clear Shot a common? Will Overcome be awful, decent, or nuts? Only time will tell, but those of us who answer these questions first are rewarded by victory and the fantastic feeling of being good at evaluation.

Here’s looking forward to this weekend. It’s always great to play with new cards and find out how right and wrong we were about them. And, as always, thanks for watching.

—Zachary Barash

Zachary Barash is a New York City-based game designer. He has an MFA in Game Design from NYU, is a game designer for Kingdom Death: Monster, and does freelance game design.

His favorite card of the month is Mark of Mutiny. It’s not the most beginner-friendly design, but it teaches players that Threaten are for ending the game, not doing a medium amount of damage. If you play the card as a finisher, its downside is actually upside, and that inversion is really cool.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.