M14: Humans

Humans are interesting as a tribe in M14 for 2 reasons: Door of Destinies (dicussed in my last post) and Xathrid Necromancer. While both cards are rare, you want to know if they’re sufficiently powerful in the right deck that they’re worth drafting early as a speculative pick.

Gatherer shows that most of the Humans in M14 are in white and black. Blue and red each have only one Human at common and another at uncommon/rare, and there are no green or artifact Humans. (Before you laugh, Magic actually has 16 artifact Humans, all but one from the Shards of Alara block.)

Of white’s 8 Humans, 5 are common, 1 is uncommon, and 2 are rare. Of black’s 5 Humans, 2 are common, 1 is uncommon, and 2 are rare. This spreadsheet sorts them by mana cost and lists my prior evaluation of them (I’ve changed my evaluation of Capashen Knight from unplayable to filler). Unfortunately, we have yet to determine how good several of the cards are because we have yet to determine how good enchantments and lifegain effects in M14 are. I will get to that in my next few posts. Meanwhile, I’m going to assume that Soulmender and Dawnstrike Paladin are filler, that Auramancer is playable (it works especially well with Quag Sickness, also a common), and that Blightcaster is exceptional (most colors have several good common/uncommon enchantments).

We can see that the common white and black Humans are either playable or filler, with only Shadowborn Apostle being completely unplayable. While you wouldn’t be excited if those were the only creatures in your deck, you’d probably do quite well if you had a couple of the uncommon/rare Humans and some removal. So I believe Xathrid Necromancer is quite playable and worth spending an early pick on. However, I would probably take most white or black removal spells over it since those would be exceptional in any W/B deck and not just a W/B Humans deck. Also, a sizeable amount of the removal in this set is in the form of enchantments, which makes any future Blightcasters, Auramancers, and Ajani’s Chosens you draft better.

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