What isn’t to like about this card? At worst, it represents a two-for-one. Grind is effectively a cheaper Splendid Agony (yes, I know this isn’t entirely true, but it’s close enough). In this environment, Dust is incredibly busted. When used in tandem with Grind, you exile two creatures for six mana over the course of two turns if need be. But even that is underselling the card–Grind can polish off x/1s all by itself. Additionally, there are several other ways for players to end up with -1/-1 counters on their creatures. Some decks even take advantage of these synergies, opening up the potential for Dust to be a complete blowout for just four mana. This is a card you always want to play.
I think, especially at this stage, that I value cards like Chaos Maw a little higher than most people. I’ll be the first to admit that seven mana is a lot, especially if Hour of Devastation shakes out like triple Amonkhet. Fortunately, the card has a lot to offer for the mana cost. 6/6 worth of stats is Ok, but what really gets me interested is that it acts as a Sweltering Suns effect, wrathing away smaller creatures and clearing a path. 6/6s tend to end games rapidly, especially if they clear away a whole host of chump blockers. This is also one of the cards I’m most interested in ramping into, if that deck can come together in this format.
Pride Sovereign continues the trend of busted Rares that care about Cats, which I’m all for. Like Regal Caracal before it, Pride Sovereign is an efficient threat that can create a ridiculously high amount of power and toughness for a relatively low mana cost. Sure, having to Exert it rather than just tap it is a cost. The same goes for it effectively being a gold card. Nonetheless, Sovereign is a card that is good on nearly every board state–it catches you up when you’re behind, breaks open board stalls, and slams the door in your opponent’s face when you’re ahead. I would be ecstatic to open this card in any Draft or Sealed event.
Angel of Condemnation
I imagine that this is the card topping most people’s lists as best Rare in the set, and for good reason. A 3/3 flier with vigilance for just four mana is already an excellent deal. The Angel’s two activated abilities simply add an exorbitant amount of power to an already exciting card. It’s a removal spell, either flickering creatures out of combat, or taking them out of commission semi-permanently. This card just creates so many board states where its controller can sit back on mana, and get ahead on board every other turn. The only real downside is that it’s relatively fragile, but it demands a removal spell. It completely takes over the game otherwise.
Kefnet’s Last Word
Mind Control? Is… is that you? This effect is incredibly powerful, and tend to always be among the best cards in Limited. It should be no surprise, then, that Kefnet’s Last Word tops this list. Sure, it comes with a downside that other versions of this card certainly don’t have. It will often result in having to take an entire, or at least most of, a turn off. But that doesn’t change the fact that this card will be a 2-for-1 every time. Plus, it hits more than just Creatures. The additional upside of nabbing an Artifact or Enchantment in this set is marginal, but there are certainly some strong targets.