Greetings! Welcome to the Avacyn Reborn Complete Flavor Text Review! In this review, I’ll take a look at every card from the new set with flavor text, and show how it stacks up! This analysis will help the readers’ Magic game across a variety of different formats including Unhinged Constructed. Before I begin, in a clear LSV rip-off, let me outline how I will be rating the flavor texts.
5.0: Instant classic. Short, witty, and unforgettable. Think Null Rod, Wild Mongrel, or my favorite, Quenchable Fire. The kinds of flavor said out loud when the card is played.
4.5: Not quite an instant classic, but very good. Only a few cards from any set will obtain a 4.5 or 5.0.
4.0: Well done. These texts do a great job of telling the story, lay down a nice pun, or are otherwise well-written. This is the cut-off for flavor texts that an average player might find memorable.
3.0: These texts get the job done, but aren’t that memorable. They get a piece of storyline across, or contain some sort of average pithy phrase. With any luck, I should drop most flavor texts into this category.
2.0: These texts are somewhat poor. They are overly clichéd or do a poor job of telling the story.
1.0: Exceptionally bad flavor text. Maybe it’s a paragraph of drivel on a vanilla 2/3, or something that gives the same amount of flavor as a eating a dirty sock.
If I feel a card falls somewhere between two of the whole numbers, I will give it a “point-five” rating.
Note: I do not follow Magic’s storyline beyond the basics. I won’t be biased or knowledgeable about any story aspect of the flavor texts, so I am relying on the flavor texts to tell me about the cards.
Let’s jump into the white cards!
Angel of Glory’s Rise: 3.0
A nice pithy phrase on this one. It’s a bit too cute, but double symmetry contained (done/undone, undeath/undone) in one line pushes it up to a 3.0. I originally gave it a 2.5, but justice was not done until that rating was undone, and then subsequently redone.
Angel of Jubilation: 2.0
This doesn’t really tell me anything about the story other than that the people of Innistrad are early celebrators. The epic struggle between life and death is apparently something that should not be taken seriously. The people of Innistrad are like that intramural kickball team that goes up 10 runs and celebrates the entire ninth inning.
Angel’s Mercy: 2.0
Apparently this guy isn’t on board with the part of Innistrad that are celebrating on Angel of Jubilation; he’s still got his doubts and fears. However, there is no doubt that this is a throw-away flavor text.
Angelic Wall: 3.5
I like this one. It gives me a sort of “mythos” about the Angelic Wall. I checked out Tales of Ikarov the Voyager on my Kindle. Good Stuff.
This fail-avor text tells me that a bunch of badass angels showed up to kick some demon tail, and then… the darkness retreated?
Avacyn, Angel of Hope: 3.5
This is a good “story line” flavor text. The “golden helix” and “silver monolith” give a good sense of scale, wonder, and significance of the event.
Builder’s Blessing: 2.0
We all know that Vadvar the Stonewright is never one to mince words, but this quote comes off as overly grandiose. Back in my day, we had Castle, and we didn’t need any fancy holy wards in our mortar. And guess what? Our Trained Armodons got +0/+2 all the same!
Call to Serve: 1.0
This tells me as much about Magic as the McDonald’s Dollar Menu.
Cathars’ Crusade: 3.0
These white cards really hammer the intangibles, don’t they? Either way, this flavor text gives a good story element and shows us the “feel” of Innistrad as it after Avacyn broke out of someone’s pet rock. (Am I picking up the story correctly?)
Cathedral Sanctifier: 2.0
This flavor text is more average that the card itself, which is saying a lot.
Yes, I am sure they do, and I am sure that is incredibly meaningful in some way. Top five other things that also bow down to worship Avacyn:
5. Normal Clouds
3. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
2. Tim Tebow
1. The Knights Who Do Not Bow
Commander’s Authority: 2.0
This is actually a fine flavor text, but it doesn’t fit the card. What does this boy getting his “Totally Believed in Avacyn this Whole Time Seriously” Merit Badge have to do with Commander’s Authority?
That is quite the buildup. That is very significant. Who the hell is Sigrun?
Okay, that’s not fair. Not everyone can be significant. But this text tries way too hard to get more than a 2.0 out of me.
I like this text. Gives a neat story tidbit, and is creative and slightly humorous to boot. I can’t decide whether or not I like the word disarm in the text or not. I guess using the card title defang there would sound a bit strange.
Defy Death: 1.0
Okay, first of all, how the hell does one corner a demon in a graveyard? If the graveyards on Innistrad at all resemble the ones over here on the Earth plane, that is suspicious. Demons are normally equipped with wings, right? Secondly, using four lines of text to set up a bit of irony just isn’t going to cut it. Finally, what does this have to do with bringing a creature back from my graveyard, or defying death? Was that angel a 15:1 underdog to that demon? My head is spinning.
Devout Chaplain: 4.0
After that mess on Defy Death, I’m happy to see a solid flavor text on Devout Chaplain. While it isn’t particularly memorable, referencing of both story elements and the card itself in a tight quote gives it my stamp of approval. This is funny because Devout Chaplain looks like he is holding a six-foot Stamp of Avacyn’s Approval.
Emancipation Angel: 2.5
A forgettable flavor text, not so sublime
a bit of symmetry and a half-assed rhyme
Farbog Explorer: 3.0
While it doesn’t exactly explain how swampwalking gives the tortured ghosts eternal rest (I’m guessing it’s not about the destination, but the journey), this flavor text shows that this Explorer is genuinely committed to her cause.
Goldnight Commander: 3.5
While a bit cliché; this text nods to the card’s ability, and seems like something that a Commander would say.
Goldnight Redeemer: 2.0
Why did this angel suffer? I thought being an angel was easy. Also, I’m not sure if this angel is a chick or a dude. The strange “it’s” in the text leaves it up in the air (ha). I’m leaning towards dude angel, because if it was a chick angel the flavor text would have said The Hostess. The art appears to state otherwise.
Holy Justiciar: 3.5
This is a solid text. It shows us where this certain Justiciar is coming from, and touches on the card’s ability and some story elements with The Blessed Sleep.
Leap of Faith: 4.0
This text doesn’t tell us much about Innistrad, but that’s OK on spell such as this. This is witty, memorable, and fits nicely with the art- that’s three dimensions of awesome flavor text.
Midnight Duelist: 2.5
It’s not an awful text, but it leaves something to be desired. Defang mentioned these Midnight Duelists as well. Who are they? Why do they want revenge? Calling them Twilight Duelists would have been an insane real-world reference.
Midvast Protector: 3.5
This text gets the job done. It appears that one underlying story of this set was the Innistradians’ faith while Avacyn was gone. This is a nice wrap-up for that. I guess he gets rewarded for his faith with a gigantic yellow magical shield. Thanks, Avacyn, it’s exactly what I’ve always wanted. Also, looking at the art, which is less realistic, the magical shield or this dude’s hair/beard combo?
Moonlight Geist: 1.5
Wails and whispers, huh? You really sold me, WotC. Can’t wait to jam this in every deck.
Moorland Inquisitor: 2.5
While it’s nice to see a white card make light of some of the intangible values, this has been done many times before.
Righteous Blow: 3.0
In a quick ultimatum delivered by an important character, this text shows that the tide of monsters is losing, and uses a place in the story to do so. Righteous.
Seraph of Dawn: 2.0
I’m sorry, but this is just lame. And duskiest is a highly suspicious superlative. I couldn’t imagine being an Angel and getting put on Dawn Duty. “Dawn Duty agaaaaiin? Gabriel over there got to corner demons in graveyards and I’m stuck parting all these stupid clouds.”
Thraben Valiant: 3.5
I like this one. It shows that she really is valiant, while using some of the other creatures on Innistrad to do it. A touch of humor pushes this up to a solid 3.5.
Voice of the Provinces: 2.5
Couldn’t even make the Angel’s Trumpet reference? For shame. How often does she blow this not-trumpet? That has to get annoying rather than uplifting after a while. Anyways, it’s a cool story tidbit, but it just isn’t that interesting.
Zealous Strike: 4.0
Another combat trick, another good flavor text. I’d imagine that these are probably the easiest to write, since they have the fewest story constraints. This one is quick and effective. It hints at the humans prevailing in the story, and at the card’s name and rules text.
Wrap-up: White got some cool story elements, and did a generally good job working them into the text in a meaningful and interesting way. Some idiosyncrasies and pervasive abstracts held white back from flavor greatness.
Alchemist’s Apprentice: 3.0
This real-world reference seems a bit misplaced on a creature, but it’s funny enough. Spontaneous nonexistence is a bit over-the-top for me, and I’m not sure where the scalding steam would be coming from. Gross.
Amass the Components: 3.5
Crazy blue researchers always make for good flavor text, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Medina was all over the newt spittle futures, so he’ll be cashing in on that real soon.
Captain of the Mists: 2.5
Always one for the not-so-humble-brags, this Captain’s quote is more overdone than my dad’s steaks.
Crippling Chill: 1.0
I’m no paramedic, but my basic understanding of anatomy tells me that if my heart and blood freeze I am an odds-on-favorite to quickly drop dead. This doesn’t exactly fit a card that taps a creature for a turn. Does river of ice strike anyone else as odd?
Devastation Tide: 2.0
Wait, who’s the divinity? Is it Avacyn? Why is she casting blue spells? Who sent this tornado!? Someone answeerrr meeeeeeeeeee…!
This flavor text has a liquid connection between function and a locale in the story line in a neat sentence. All the excess was washed away.
Favorable Winds: 3.0
I like the simplicity of this card. Cool name, simple ability, and a quick story tidbit. Without beating me over the head, it tells me that as soon as some angel broke out of a giant rock, all these pelican-horses started coming back. Makes perfect sense.
Who are them? The fettergeists? The living? Who are the living? Damn you, ambiguous pronoun!
Fleeting Distraction: 2.5
A bit wordy, but it gets the job done. I think a Look! It’s a (something ridiculous) would have worked better.
Top 5 Avacyn Restored Fleeting Distractions
Look! It’s a:
4. Completely normal tree!
2. Zombie with the correct number of body parts!
1. Planeswalker from Kamigawa!
Geist Snatch: 2.0
I’m not following this one. Is that ghost answering my prayers? Or am I catching him in that pot? And if I wanted to do that, wouldn’t I just use my Geistcatcher’s Rig? Who is answering me? Pray tell.
This is a good one, but two things bother me (and those two things aren’t the unblockables). Firstly, why is this in quotes? I feel it would have been perfect without them. Secondly, I like the form ‘Impenetrable’ is just a word better. I guess the there’s no such thing goes with the “ghost” part of ghost form, so I can allow it.
Ghostly Touch: 2.5
TALK TO THE HAND.
Gryff Vanguard: 3.0
This text does a good job of telling a story element from a first-person perspective. This Gryff looks more like a swan-horse.
Havengul Skaab: 2.5
This text is on the worse side of average, and I think that the concept of trembling at something violent is strange. An abomination so fearsome sounds better.
Into the Void: 3.5
This one is long and uses the card’s ability as a context crutch, but the payoff is humorous. My take: You two stop fighting or I’ll turn this gravity right around!
Mass Appeal: 3.0
This flavor text is solid, but it sounds more white than blue. Maybe I wanted the words to have a little more of a “propaganda” tweak to them.
Mist Raven: 3.0
Oh, Sved, your knowledge of Innistrad’s spectral weather is so rustic and practical. Ghost-tide is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read so far. What is that? A wave of ghosts? A particularly frightening surge of water? Did they hyphenate that simply to avoid a pair of t’s in a fake compound word? I guess Innistrad’s moon was so busy turning humans into werewolves that the ghosts have to take care of the seas. Whatever it is, the ravens will warn us of it, and that’s pretty cool.
Top Five Other Spectral Weathers on Innistrad (also excluding Griptides):
5. Dust Devils
2. Hot/Cold Spells
1. Snow Angels
Lunar Mystic: 3.0
Aha! So the moon does affect the tides! This ghost-tide makes less sense than it did previously. In summation, this moon turns humans to werewolves, the normal tide business, AND draws cards from instant spells! No wonder Tamiyo is here, this moon does everything!
Nephalia Smuggler: 4.5
Our first trip past 4.0 is this beauty. It’s a wonderful application of the “blink” ability, and the flavor text is snappy and memorable.
This text gets the job done. It’s quick and flavorful for the card’s ability. I don’t like the awkward way ends it, though. The master ponders what punctuates it. There, that’s an easy 3.5 with the 0.5 Alliteration Bonus.
Peel from Reality: 1.0
I don’t know who is delivering this quote, but they must have graduated from the University of Extremely Overly Excessively Grandiose Discourse. If I were that demon, I’d be all like, “come on man, this hurts badly enough without you shouting like a Literature Nobel Laureate.” A simple you’re coming with me! would have easily scored a 4.0. Keep it Real.
I CAN’T WAIT for the “sick peel” jokes.
Rotcrown Ghoul: 1.0
Thanks, Captain Eberhart, I was distracted by this Creature-dash-Zombie’s good looks. You’ve saved me.
And what do this zombie’s thoughts have to do with me looking into its eyes? Maybe it has something to do with “Rotcrown.” Wizards sure loves its fake compound words. I’m not getting it.
Scrapskin Drake: 2.0
Wow, Ludevic, good thinking. You’re really revolutionizing the battlefield out there. (Apparently Ludevic has figured out how to raise the dead and stitch them together, but just recently figured out that zombie drakes will fly over humans.) Stitcher Geralf beat you to the punch on the whole Zombie Drake thing with Stitched Drake two sets ago. And if you’re just looking for something that dies-n-flies, might I suggest Skaab Ruinator? You’re late to the party, Ludevic. You should just stitch with your Test Subjects.
Second Guess: 3.0
Snappy counterspell quotes have been done before, and this one isn’t that special, I guess. Also, I love the name of this card. “Second Opinion” might have been even better.
Spirit Away: 4.0
This text has everything. It gives story and flavor to both of the card’s abilities, and adds a touch of humor. I was uplifted when I read this.
Temporal Mastery: 2.5
The flavor text fits the card pretty well, a slight twist to an old favorite. The boilerplate impalpable noun is a ball of yarn to a cat just doesn’t resonate. That said; it’s not awful by any (time) stretch of the imagination.
Misthollow Griffin: 2.0
I’m putting this one down here because it has all the same cliché problems as Temporal Mastery. This text gets demoted to a 2.0 for taking up more space and being more annoying for some reason. Another annoying thing is thinking of what “Misthollow” could possibly mean.
Ghostly Flicker: 2.0
Yup, this one’s out of order, too. I am throwing all these stupid “existence is a plaything” texts down here so they can ponder what it’s like to exist at the bottom of the list.
Wrap-up: Blue did a decent job with a lot of its flavor texts. Many of them were average, and while there were a few head-scratchers, Blue dropped the excellent Spirit Away and the superb Nephalia Smuggler. Blue was also hampered by three existence and time texts that tried too hard to be cool.
Hop on! It’s time for black!
Appetite for Brains: 3.5
Gross (awesome). This zombie trope finally made its way onto a Magic card, and the flavor text is gruesome enough to match. I don’t especially like the formal-sounding just as with a peach to introduce a joke, but at least my brain is intact.
Barter in Blood: 3.5
It’s back! And the AVR version is strictly better with its huge flavor text upgrade. Referencing the card’s ability and the story in a short quote gets my stamp of approval. I’m sure my opponent will feel much better when I tell him that we all have to make sacrifices.
Blood Artist: 1.0
What? That’s quite the claim. Although, given his macabre hobby (there can’t be much of a market for blood paintings), Sanguidor Dali over here is probably crazy anyways. And how does painting pictures drain life from my opponent? Perhaps having superior culture on the battlefield is becoming more important than having superior creatures. Soon we’ll all be packing Blood Artists and Musicians to try and win Land Aid ’04.
This vampire isn’t even that refined. Hell, even the Orcs figured out that art. Orcish Bloodpainter.
Bloodflow Connoisseur: 2.5
This is an interesting quote. Looks like Sorin isn’t too happy at some of his vampire-kin. These Innistrad vampires have it too good. They’ve become royally fat (not literally, they’re obviously all sexy) and complacent. What’s a planeswalker to do?
Bone Splinters: 3.5
Another black reprint, another flavor text upgrade. This one pushes the 4.0 mark, but it’s hurt by the rambling Decisions, decisions… at the end. Sacrifice that, and you’d have a cleaner, better flavor text. No bones about it.
Butcher Ghoul: 2.5
This text is completely unspectacular. It gets the 0.5 Symmetry Bonus, but that’s the only positive here. Also, this thing looks more like a ButcherED Ghoul than Butcher Ghoul.
Corpse Traders: 2.5
This one is quick, but more beaten to death than the commodities that these guys pedal.
Crypt Creeper: 2.5
Again, this one could have been better with less! Drop the I guess what they say is true and stick with the good part! This probably could have done without the quotes, too. There are two things I don’t want to read surrounding a great bit.
Dark Impostor: 2.0
Something about this seems incredibly cliché. I can’t help but think of Dimir Doppelganger’s text. Maybe I don’t like how he’s talking. I guess he’s just talking to a corpse? That’s normal. Another thing, the desperate means that there was a valiant struggle. The victims aren’t supposed to know the assassin is even coming, let alone fight for their lives.
Demonic Rising: 4.0
I really like this one. Rhetorical questions make for good flavor texts, and this one has a really “black” feel to it. Works great with the demons in the story. Well done.
Descent into Madness: 4.0
You can tell that is going to be a good one just based on the space at the end of the card text. I don’t think that they would normally have a flavor text on a card with this much rules text, but this one was good enough to squeeze it. In one line, it references the “Madness” in the title, the two-sided negation ability, and the art. Insane.
Dread Slaver: 3.5
I had half a brain to give this a 4.0, but I stopped myself.
This is a reference to the platitude of “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” I would have liked to see a full reference to the proverb, but they didn’t have much space to work with. Still, a good text.
Driver of the Dead: 2.5
Wait, are these vampire being persecuted or living in vanity as seen on Bloodflow Connoisseur? Maybe it is both, and the vampires are headed for some class warfare. Ever since the bloodhall market collapsed, those ruling-class Falkenrath Aristocrats are living the life, sipping blood out of the Chalice of Life itself in their Blood Art Gallerias while the rest of us vampires are stuck driving corpses around for minimum wage. Needless to say, we’re going to talk to the Warden of the Wall Street and get some legislation put into action.
Essence Harvest: 2.0
I feel for Captain Lewenheart (sorry about your, uh, essence, man) but I just don’t care that much.
Exquisite Blood: 2.5
While not exactly exquisite, this text gives a neat story tidbit in a decent amount of space.
There’s a good flavor text somewhere inside of this husk. I don’t like the setup, or the execution. The punch isn’t bad but it is ruined by the rest. My revision is more gruesome, but I mean so is GHOULFLESH.
The intact brain feels every pustule, every sinew as it falls away from the body.
Gloom Surgeon: 1.5
You know what else needs to be put out of its misery? This flavor text.
Grave Exchange: 3.5
There’s something poetic about this text that I like. It works well in conjunction with the art and the ghastly nature of the ability.
You know what I don’t want on the flavor text of the baddest demon ever printed? References to TWO other legends that aren’t Griselbrand! What the heck!? I want to know about this dude! How mean is he? What’s he holding? What does this guy mean for Innistrad? Why does this mythic rare need to be contextualized by its counterpart?
They should have just gone all-in with Avacyn, Thalia, Mikaeus, Bruna, Gisela, and Sigarda don’t find him particularly appealing. “He’s a nincompoop,” they said in unison.
Homicidal Seclusion: 2.0
The black “slipping into madness” texts have been done time and time again, and this one isn’t particularly memorable. I love the flavor of the card, just not the text.
Human Frailty: 2.0
I get it, Olivia. You’re immortal and we’re not. Must be.
Hunted Ghoul: 3.0
This is a good flavor text for a common. It gives them a cool story. I don’t know what Hanweir is, but I am getting to know Gisa after (s)he (these gender-ambiguous names are rough) spoke on Bone Splinters. I am beginning to like him/her.
Killing Wave: 2.5
This one was so close. I think you could drop the whole first sentence and have a better text. Or maybe an Angel’s. “I hate Angels.” would work better.
Maalfeld Twins: 5.0
Shut it down – done and done! This is the best flavor text in the set. This real-world line fits perfectly; the text touches on the name, art, and ability while being succinct, instantly memorable, and gruesomely hilarious. The whole card comes together like a delicious stew. I’m glad it made its way onto a very good uncommon so it will at least get some recognition in limited. Bravo.
Marrow Bats: 2.5
I had a couple of these in my prerelease deck. They were pretty good. Which is a better story, that one, or the one on this card? It’s close.
Mental Agony: 2.0
This text just tries too hard. Certainly black can find something better to do with a below-average IQ than make bat food. This coming from the guys that fight with brain-dead zombies.
Top Five Better things to do with a feebleminded person:
5. Make him into a bat.
4. Kill him, and then conscript him for the Army of the Damned.
3. With a little tweaking, he’d probably make a great Deranged Assistant.
2. Perhaps Ludevic needs another Test Subject?
1. Have him come up with a better flavor text for Griselbrand. Even this idiot could come up with a 2.0.
See? You gotta recycle these people. I’m thinking green here. Well, black-green.
I like this one, if only because I had to read into it a few times to understand what it was saying. The art helps out.
Renegade Demon: 2.5
I learned two things.
1. Renegade Demons are tougher than wounded vampires. How do renegade demons compare to intact vampires? The world may never know.
2. Walks in the cathedral gardens are not that difficult. (But if a Chapel Geist is a 2/3, how big are Cathedral Geists? Over/under is 5/7.)
Searchlight Geist: 2.5
I’ll give credit for the extinguish/darkness/searchlight symmetry, but this text tries harder to be cool than a professional wrestler.
Soulcage Fiend: 1.0
Souls must be like quarters on Innistrad. It seems like they are of similar value, exchanged just as easily, and if you’re not careful, yours might fall through a hole in your jeans. Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife, cause they takin’ errbody’s soul out here.
Who is Kastinne? Sorry about your kids’ souls.
Triumph of Cruelty: 3.0
Wow, Liliana is so capricious. A battle between planeswalkers must be important, and Liliana wins (in this Triumph) and is all like “yo, by the way, you ugly.” It truly is Cruel.
Undead Executioner: 3.0
Cliché, but the symmetry and brevity pull this up to a 3.0
Unhallowed Pact: 3.0
Truer words were never spoken.
Wrap-up: Black did a good job. Staying true to its demonic and macabre flavor, it delivered good scores all around, with several all-stars and above-average texts. Maalfeld Twins is the best text in the set, and Demonic Rising and Descent into Madness are great as well.
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