Sunday, September 20, 2015

Evaluating Fertile Thicket

The full visual spoiler for Battle for Zendikar is now available, but before I offer some thoughts on the set and get to work on my review for Standard Pauper, I need to finish up my post from last time concerning the new Common cycle of spell-lands.

Interestingly enough, the full spoiler also revealed Swell of Growth, a Green Common which allows you to play any Land onto the virtual battlefield at Instant speed. This is a considerable boon, as it allows you to potentially play any of these spell lands at Instant speed.

For today, I want to consider Fertile Thicket, the last of the five spell lands. In Alex Ullman's article that I reference last time, he seemed optimistic about this card's ability to almost guarantee your ability to find a Land that gives you access to a second color. Since this ability is tied to a Land card and not a spell, it would greatly increase the ability for aggressive decks to run multiple colors. However, there are two important caveats I'm not sure he considered.

First, this card itself enters the battlefield tapped, which is exactly the situation that hyper aggressive decks are trying to avoid. Second, Fertile Thicket can only search up basic lands, which means it doesn't work well with any of the other Common dual lands or Evolving Wilds.

As such, I fail to see how Fertile Thicket significantly improves the ability for aggressive decks to get access to multiple colors without having to slow down their access to mana. Yes, it's great when you desperately need to find one more land and can reasonably expect that you have a basic land in your next five cards. But outside of that scenario, you're not getting much value for the penalty of having Fertile Thicket come into play tapped.

If this placed the basic land into your hand, that would be be pretty decent value. As is though, I'm just not excited at all about this card.

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