Abandoning his sword to return to the lush forest of Pendelhaven, Jacques le Vert devoted his life to protecting the creatures of his homeland.
Jacques le Vert, or Jack the Green for us anglos, is probably one of the considerably more playable Legends legends, with his home arguable being the best of the Legendary lands. I recently acquired one, and started building an EDH deck around him. With a cut off of Alliances, it was full of removal and beaters! Like any good OS deck should be.
Playability: While a castle effect, even a permanent one, isn't the most amazing ability in the game, it does share some unique qualities, and the fact he pumps himself, effectively makes him a 3/4 for 4, not bad given the time period. The most notable thing, when compared to other castle effects, is he pumps only your creatures, a unique aspect in OS, and the fact he pumps himself, is a notable good aspect. Now a 3/4 for 4 isn't going to turn heads by it's own, but it does put a few classic green creatures out of Bolt range, and as stated above, a toughness boost is always a criminally underrated effect. In 95, you can also utilize him to good effect with Pyroclasm, and he works well with Earthquake as well, assuming the X is a relatively low number. Playability 3/5.
Art: It's a shame Andi Rusu only did art for a few sets, because he's one of the better classic artists of the game, with a thick story book look. I already gushed over him in the Sir Shandlar article. Jacques stands there on what I must assume, is the English channel (or the Dominaria Equivalent), looking good for his inevitable portrait. The washed out colors, the facial features, the minimal but distinct background features. The art looks like an old worldly attempt to capture the color and cold of the coast on a foggy morning.
Lets not forget Jacques himself, standing there with his Sword of the Meek, his tunic and armor show he's, at the end of the day, a warrior. The art is easily the best piece part of the card. It gets a 5/5 from me.
Flavor: While both him, and his home, pump creatures, they do it differently. Sadly, most cards that reference him, actually reference his home, Pendlehaven, a tournament staple even to this day. I do like the idea that Jacques Le Vert's mere presence increases your green creatures resolve simply by his presence. I also like the idea of him pumping himself, but if he loses his green (say to a lace), his heart goes with it, and his resolve shrinks as a result. It's like an alignment shift, and it's something I wish came around more in MtG, but alas...
Oddly enough, he's not the only Green Legend that has an effect like this. Kaysa and Meng Huo have a similar +1/+1 effect that effects themselves as well. Just food for thought.
So according to my ultimate rating system, he'd be a 12/15, making him a 4/5. In other words, a good card. Not bad, for a Legends legend, and certainly not the worst Legends legend by any grade. Sure, there are more efficient beaters at 4 mana, there are better lords as well. However, for someone looking to spice up a deck, he's a solid inclusion, and as a gold card, you get style points!
I will end with this quote:
"...in one sordid case, Kaysa—wherein so much life was bid that we had to question the appropriateness of the player's relationship with the card. We found him two weeks later in a hotel room with a jar of peanut butter and a play set of Jacques le Vert."--Geordie Tate, A Magic Journey