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My Beef With Avacyn Restored Limited

Alex Stephenson
Monday, June 18, 2012 - 21:30

If you’ve been watching me and Randy’s videos, you’ve probably been hearing us complain about this set.  I wanted to write down what my complaints are instead of just saying half-assed words-in-passing that you would hear in a video.  Like Innistrad and Dark Ascension, I’ve made some charts that show the playable commons and uncommons that I want my decks to be comprised of.  I’m going to discuss the archetypes I believe are the strongest in Avacyn Restored limited.  I’m also going to  be making some brief, embittered comparisons in card quality of Avacyn Restored to Innistrad and Dark Ascension, so you can get a better idea of why I believe the latter was a much better limited environment.  My main complaints of Avacyn Restored limited are two things: I believe that there is high variance in the card quality within the set.  More specifically, there are really good cards and abysmally horrible cards, but not a lot in between.  I also believe there is less diversity in effective strategies compared to Innistrad and Dark Ascension, which really let you go any direction because there was a lot of cheap, efficient creatures and removal in all colors.  Avacyn Restored is much more narrow.

            The main aggro archetype in Avacyn Restored limited is R/W Humans.  It utilizes cards like Kruin Striker, Thatcher’s Revolt, Riot Ringleader, Vigilante Justice, and Goldnight Commander.  R/U Humans is also a legitimate archetype in my opinion.  Wingcrafter with Riot Ringleader can end people pretty fast.  Unfortunately, that’s about it if you’re looking to go super fast aggro.  Your pool is very limited and if you’re getting cut on any of those cards mentioned, your deck will be severely hindered and will very easily fold to the much more powerful mid-rangey decks.  Green with anything is another archetype in this format.  The three main soulbond creatures in green are Trusted Forcemage, Druid’s Familiar, which are both wrecking balls, and Geist Trappers, which effectively locks down almost everything relevant in the format.  These three alone make green worthy of a splash.  Expect to be cut in green in every draft.  It’s very overplayed, but c'mon, hugely powerful soulbond guys in a set chock full of narrow removal spells, why shouldn't people play green?.  Black with anything is also an archetype, but it’s only viable because of Bone Splinters, Death Wind, and Human Frailty.  If you’re playing black and don’t have any of those three cards, your deck probably sucks.  Avacyn Restored is a format where you want to actively hunt for good two card synergies because they do exist all over the place.  Examples of good two card synergies:

Latch Seeker + Elgaud Shieldmate/Tandem Lookout

Nephalia Smuggler + Mist Raven

Thatcher’s Revolt + Goldnight Commander/Vigilante Justice/Kruin Striker/Riot Ringleader

Lightning Prowess + Tandem Lookout/Nightshade Peddler

Unfortunately, the overall quality of cheap creatures in Avacyn Restored is terrible.  You have a stall element in Cathedral Sanctifier, Angelic Wall, Butcher Ghoul, and Alchemist Apprentice, but where's the pressure?.  Compare this to Innistrad and Dark Ascension where you have creatures like Gatstaf Shepherd, Cloistered Youth, and Diregraf Ghoul that piss all over the cheap Avacyn Restored creatures.  I recommend filling up on the much more quality 3-4 drop creatures, and not putting all your eggs into the aggro strategies’ basket.  Midrange seems to be the most consistent winning strategy, and I'm pretty sure that's where you want to be in these drafts.  I’d love to debate more on this topic, or hear input from you, so write me!






Converted Mana Cost








Cathedral Sanctifier

Nephalia Smuggler,










Angelic Wall,

Moorland Inquisitor,

Nearheath Pilgrim,

Thraben Valiant


Alchemist’s Apprentice

Blood Artist,

Butcher Ghoul,

Crypt Creeper

Falkenrath Exterminator,

Kruin Striker,

Lightning Mauler,

Scalding Devil

Nightshade Peddler,

Timberland Guide,

Wandering Wolf





Devout Chaplain,

Emancipation Angel,

Moonlight Geist


Latch Seeker,

Scrapskin Drake,

Tandem Lookout

Bloodflow Connoisseur,

Demonic Taskmaster,

Searchlight Geist,

Soulcage Fiend

Fervent Cathar,

Hanweir Lancer,

Kessig Malcontents,

Riot Ringleader

Borderland Ranger,


Trusted Forcemage,

Wolfir Avenger





Goldnight Commander,

Holy Justiciar,

Seraph of Dawn

Elgaud Shieldmate,

Mist Raven,

Stern Mentor

Corpse Traders,

Driver of the Dead,

Evernight Shade,

Undead Executioner

Havengul Vampire,

Heirs of Stromkirk,

Mad Prophet

Druid’s Familiar,

Nettle Swine






Spectral Gateguards,

Goldnight Redeemer,

Voice of the Provinces,


Gryff Vanguard

Marrow Bats,

Renegade Demon,

Maalfield Twins

Gang of Devils

Geist Trappers,

Wildwood Geist,

Yew Spirit,


Pathbreaker Wurm,










Converted Mana Cost










Righteous Blow

Fleeting Distraction

Human Frailty,

Bone Splinters

Pillar of Flame

Joint Assault




Zealous Strike,

Call to Serve,


Peel From Reality,

Ghostly Touch,

Spectral Prison

Death Wind


Sheltering Word,

Terrifying Presence




Crippling Chill


Thatcher Revolt,

Lightning Prowess

Triumph of Ferocity





Geist Snatch,

Amass the Components,

Into the Void

Barter in Blood,

Mental Agony





Banishing Stroke,

Defy Death


Grave Exchange,

Homicidal Seclusion

Thunderous Wrath

Blessings of Nature



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