Friday, 6 April 2018
Dominaria Initial Review Part XI
Ghitu Chronicler 0
The versatility on this card fails to help it be good. The option on a 1/3 for 2 is just poor, no one wants a Lumengrid Warden. While the kicked version is very much something desirable it is cost such that it is low power and basically unusable. At two mana total (kicked) Ghitu Chronicler would look a little better than Snapcaster Mage. At six mana we can move on.
Well, I have been asking for more of these for a long old time so lets see what we can make of Divest. The cards we can best look to compare Divest to are Harsh Scrutiny and Despise. Firstly we have Despise, a card that didn't perform very well in my cube and was cut. There are not loads of planeswalkers and they are not super important cards to take with this sort of crd, especially on turn one. You are better off taking a card they could play prior to the walker and put them in a position where laying it would be weak. And that is only on the few occasions you get to take a walker. Divest compares very well to Despise I would say. Not only are there nearly twice as many artifacts in cubes as there are planeswalkers but those artifacts are generally much more relevant things to pull out of peoples hands for a swathe of reasons. A Talisman for example is a whole lot less powerful than a walker but it is a curve play and taking it away could well be Time Walk levels of good. Black can't kill artifacts in play at all easily while it is the best colour at killing walkers directly. Turn two Jitte is usually a poor play, especially if you didn't make a one drop that can hold it. Turn two Jitte however is a common play against a black deck because once in play the Jitte is far safer than it is in hand. Another black one drop that can hit those Jittes is most welcome! Overall Divest seems far more useful than Despise and should easily outclass it but it needs to in order to have a shot at the cube what with Despise not itself being good enough.
Harsh Scrutiny is a more awkward comparison as it is much more akin to playing an Opt than it is playing a Thoughtsieze. It is included in builds to increase the number of turn one plays and consistency a deck has. Harsh Scrutiny is a one for one in most cases that provides a lot of information and that is why it is good. Specifically taking a creature is quite varied, sometimes it is disruptive but that is not the norm. What makes Scrutiny decent is the fact that it doesn't miss too often in the early stages of the game and it is for this reason I think Divest will just about cut it in cube. It shouldn't miss that often in the early game due to hitting creatures while it gains a decent amount of value from the ability to hit artifacts. Divest feels like a card you play when you want a bit more hand disruption or one drops and lack alternatives. It will never be used as a tool to help force things through as is the case with the actually established good one mana black hand disruption cards and that will hurt its playability. Most other colours can deal with artifacts and creatures, it is typically for instants and sorceries that people look to black hand disruption. Divest feels like it is probably at its best in a black or Dimir setting. Divest will certainly have quite a different set of parameters defining it's quality to Duress, Inquisition etc and if it is ever a choice card over those it will be in a different sort of deck or for a different sort of role. We can at least all agree that Shattered Dreams and Ostracize are done! I think Divest is probably a Shock level of power but the lack of depth in what it does in black should help secure it a cube slot.
Memorial Lands 3ish
These are very much like the Blighted cycle from BfZ. Some have better effects than their counterpart and others worse. The only consistent difference between the two cycles are that you get either a coloured mana source (Memorials) or you get your land untapped when you lay it (Blighted). As a general rule these kinds of lands are too narrow to be good inclusions in drafting cubes. Even the ones that are not narrow typically offer too marginal an effect on games to be worth the slot. That is the thing with lands in draft, they have to significantly outclass a basic land else you rather wasted a pick. If you are light on playables you never want to be taking something that is mostly just going to be a sub par basic. Barbarian Ring is a superb card that gets lay in every constructed aggro red cube deck but it doesn't enhance a draft and so despite its archetypal auto include status it isn't in my drafting cube.
So while none of these are worth running in a cube most of them are things that could well see a decent and varied amount of use in a cube setting. I can see some white tokens decks quite liking the white option. Some red Wildfire decks into the red one etc etc. When you have a good reason to run one of these then it is a pretty low cost inclusion in your deck. Spell lands are a nice way to increase late game consistency, especially in limited, and this cycle does that fairly well in all cases bar the War Memorial. Genius is likely the least likely to see cube use as blue decks wanting 6 mana effects and card draw barely ever want to reduce their land count.
Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep 0
Really close to great but falling at two key hurdles. Firstly, just being an 8/8 makes this pretty weak, you might as well jsut run Crush of Tentacles and have a token dork for the difference it makes. Past about 5 power lacking evasion means you are pretty capped in performance in cube. Either some tedious shroud or some nice evasive key word would have helped make Slinn appealing outside of the kicker. The Evacuation effect Slinn offers is lovely but it just costs rather too much. Cyclonic Rift hits more of their stuff, costs 3 mana less and is instant. If you could kick this for 8 total it might be in with a shot but at 10 it has no hope what so ever.
Two-Headed Giant 0
Well this is elegant and flavourful design if nothing else. Easily the best coin flip card design I have seen in magic. It wouldn't need to be all that much better to be a consideration for cube which is not something any coin flip card has achieved.
Daring Archeologist 0
Great effects but just too far up the curve for this sort of card in cube. As a 3 mana 2/2 this would be a strong consideration but at four it is competing with game ending cards. Value cards like this don't compare well to game enders. Either play a cheap card with the effect you want like Argivian Find or play an actually powerful card like Sun Titan.
Adventurous Impulse 6
At first glance this might just seem like a bad Oath of Nissa and in many ways it is. In a number of ways this will actually outperform the Oath. Green loves delirium things but green is rather lacking in instants and sorceries. This is an Oath of Nissa that adds one to a delirium count or indeed reduces the cost of a delve spell. Seek the Wilds was very nearly good enough and this is quite a lot better than Seek. Imagine how much better than Impulse Anticipate would be at 1 mana! I think this will see enough cube play to merit inclusion. While it is the lowest power effect of all the green card quality offerings it is one of only three one mana card quality effects in green and arguably the best to play on turn one for the immediate setup. It is certainly better than a turn one Traverse the Ulvenwald in the general sense. Cards like this are rather at their best in green as they offer lovely synergy with Sylvan Library, Courser of Kruphix and that sort of thing. I expect to see plenty of this little green card padding out green lists.