As someone who is a huge fan of the Heroic mechanic, especially with Herald of Torment and Hero of Iroas being released in Born of the Gods, I’m happy to see Tormented Hero getting the promo foil treatment. It has pretty decent artwork, too. If white/black Heroic becomes a deck, Tormented Hero is a staple in that deck. Essentially, he’s a Diregraf Ghoul with a Heroic ability.
For those of you that don’t know, Diregraf Ghoul was a 2/2 Zombie that came into play tapped, and only cost one black mana. Tormented Hero, from Theros originally, has an additional ability. Whenever you cast a spell that targets it, each opponent loses 1 life, and you gain life equal to the life lost this way. That little Extort ability doesn’t sound like much, but in a deck based around the Heroic mechanic, every little bit of life-swing helps. It’s already a good card in the Xathrid Necromancer Humans deck, simply because it’s a Human. But I think in a post-M14 format it will maintain its value fairly well. It’s definitely a decent promo to print.
~ Elspeth for the Win
As far as dual lands go, the Temple scry lands of Theros (and Born of the Gods) are not the most exciting. But being able to look at the top card of your deck is definitely a useful ability. But is it worth that land always coming in tapped? Looking forward to a post-Return to Ravnica block Standard, shock lands will be no more and the scry lands could well be the only duals that players will have access to.
Right now, many of the scry lands are between $2-4, with Temple of Silence (white/black) and Temple of Deceit (blue/black) being the most expensive. Esper Control doesn’t mind its lands coming in tapped so much and the scry element is even more useful in those decks that need to make sure they constantly are drawing answers while also fixing for mana. Even an aggressive deck like Big Red Devotion needs the Temple of Triumph (red/white) to make sure the deck is fixing for the red and white while also making sure you can continue to draw gas. Guildgates simply are not good enough.
Born of the Gods will bring three new Scry lands to the table: Temple of Enlightenment (blue/white), Temple of Malice (red/black), and Temple of Plenty (white/green). Temple of Enlightenment will also definitely see play in Esper Control. Temple of Plenty should definitely see play in Selesyna Aggro which is relying on Selesyna Guildgate right now for its mana fixing. It’s hard to say if Temple of Malice will see a bunch of play unless Rakdos or Jund gets stronger with Born of the Gods. But they’re all three very playable lands.
If you can pick up any scry lands for $2 a piece, you definitely should. At the very least, they will always be sought after by Commander players looking to mana fix at a discount. Also, they will definitely see lots of play after October 2014 when there are no more shock lands in Standard (even if buddy lands become reprinted). While scry lands aren’t exciting, they’re definitely playable and you should pick them up cheaply and often.