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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Ordeal of Heliod
Image from Wizards.com

 Ordeal of Heliod
- Born of the Gods

Reviewed March 11, 2014

Constructed: xx
Casual: xx
Limited: xx
Multiplayer: xx

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 being the worst.  3 - average.  5 is the highest rating

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Ordeal of Heliod

Speaking of white Heroic decks, today's card is one of their favorite Auras to throw on a creature. The Ordeal cycle has really helped the general strategy of "throw Auras onto cheap attackers" for a number of reasons. First, it encourages you to swing with your souped-up creature, not just hold it back because your opponent has a 1/1 and MIGHT have a trick. Second, because they each grant their benefit in the form of +1/+1 counters first and then a secondary effect unrelated to their target, they aren't vulnerable to a mid-combat disenchant suddenly leaving you with an undersized creature charging into a bad block. Third, the "three swings until payout" format forces your opponent to deal with them NOW-- if he doesn't draw the kill spell in time, then it doesn't matter if the original target dies-- you've already got your extra 10 life (or two lands or so on.)

Heliod's ordeal is interesting in that its secondary payout is 10 life. Traditionally, life gain is a weak effect, merely prolonging a game without putting you any closer to winning it. As I've said before, a card that gains you life needs to do something else in addition to it in order to be worth a spot in your deck. The Ordeal does that handily-- it's +3/+3 to a creature first and foremost, and maybe 10 life second if you're lucky. Of the five secondary effects provided by each Ordeal, I'd count this as among the worst. The two lands granted by Ordeal of Nylea will almost always come too late to be of use, but Purphoros, Erebos, and Thassa's Ordeals pay out so much better. So why is Ordeal of Heliod the one drafters inevitable scramble to pick up? Because Ordeals excel in Heroic decks, and all the best Heroic decks are at least part White. Ordeal of Erebos is a better Aura in a vacuum, but it's likely landing on a creature less capable to taking full advantage of it. And since white's Heroes usually put +1/+1 counters on themselves, Heliod's Ordeal tends to pay out sooner than any other. (Except possibly Nylea's, whose creatures often put more than one +1/+1 counter on themselves, but those creatures also tend to hit the board later.) As for the 10 life, it's most useful in a "racing" situation, where you and your opponent are swinging as fast as you can to get the other down to zero, and that comes up most often in Limiited. There, a big chunk of extra life really is worth a card, especially when that card also makes your creature better at racing.

Constructed- 1.5
Casual- 2
Limited- 4
Multiplayer- 2

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Ordeal of Heliod

The Ordeals are in an odd sort of place as beneficial Auras go. Part of the appeal of that sort of card is casting it eagerly onto a creature that's ready for action and launching it in your opponent's general direction. From that point of view, the impact of the Ordeals is significantly less than most other Auras (compare even Eland Umbra, or something). If you're playing one, you're probably hoping to build up to the payoff, which is generally kind of insane by most standards. Ten life? Really? Five wasn't enough to make sure you can rebuild from whatever your opponent was doing and win the game? Still, the fact is that game time is not on the Ordeals' side, and it's difficult to use them in larger card pools outside of relatively obscure combinations.

Constructed: 2/5
Casual: 3/5
Limited: 3/5
Multiplayer: 2/5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Ordeal of Heliod which is a two mana White aura that when it is sacrificed gives the controller ten life and it adds a +1/+1 counter to the enchanted creature when it attacks and if it has three or more +1/+1 counters on it sacrifice the aura.  While gaining life by itself isn't a major benefit, combining it with other effects is often a viable play and a potential ten life for two mana is extremely efficient.  Getting all three triggers from Ordeal may be difficult, so combining it with any source of two +1/+1 counters already on a creature turns this into a +1/+1 counter and ten life for two mana after the attack.  Effects that trigger from life gain, targeting a creature, and counters all work well with this and it will see play in a variety of decks including those using Heroic and multiple auras.
In Limited this can trigger Heroic and is at worst a +1/+1 for two mana if instant speed removal isn't played.  The ten life bonus is a big boost in the format, especially if behind on life from early attacks, and this can potentially mitigate payments of life in a Black/White deck.  A decent second pick in Booster and an easy inclusion for any White using Sealed build as more often than not it will trigger itself or another card.
Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 4.0
Multiplayer: 3.5

Skid Rambo

Ordeal of Heliod is a pretty easy way to gain 10 life. If you play Ordeal of Heliod on a creature that already has +1+1 counters on it then you’re almost guaranteed to gain 10 life on the first attack. The knock against this Aura is that it is not permanent like other Auras. I can understand why some players don’t like Ordeal of Heliod, but gaining 10 life is hard to overlook. If you’ve been paying attention to Pojo’s MTG card of the day, then you should know that Hero of Iroas is a perfect creature for Ordeal of Heliod. If you want to be evil, then try Sanguine Bond with Ordeal of Heliod. Overall, this Aura is not the best one out there but it can change a game very quickly.

Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 4
Limited: 5
Multiplayer: 2

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