Tuesday 12 February 2013

Testing Gatecrash Boros

Boros Reckoner
This is sort of the same idea behind the evolve.dec and the extort.dec I did however they were more about the mechanic and finding out how that worked in cube and with what. This deck was more specifically about the cards and not the battalion mechanic which is fairly easy to assess and has no beneficial reason to be stacking it. Essentially this list is just a vessel that can sensibly contain as many of the new cards I want to test in the cube environment as possible. Basically this is a white weenie deck splashing red rather than a Boros deck wins deck although the difference is minor. To my mind anything with the "Deck Wins" suffix should be winning with inevitability and should contain a good amount of reach while anything with the "weenie" suffix is much more small creature based aiming to win quickly with an overwhelming tempo swarm.  Using such a safe core for my deck as the powerful and consistent white weenie I was able to pack a fair number of disjointed  and lower power cards into the list without making it too weak to give good games in the cube.

Boros Elite24 Spells

Mother of Runes
Student of Warfare
Champion of the Parish
Elite Vanguard

Boros Elite
Figure of Destiny
Chain Lightning
Path to Exile

Land Tax
Gideon's Lawkeeper

Lightning Helix
Boros CharmBoros Charm
Loyal Cathar
Precinct Captain

Honour the Pure
Knight of  the White Orchid
Daring Skyjek

Frontline Medic
Boros Reckoner
Hellriaser Goblin
Ajani, Caller of the Pride

Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Hero of Bladehold

Aurelia's Fury
Hellraiser Goblin
16 Lands

Boros Garrison
Clifftop Retreat
Arid Mesa

Battlefield Forge
Sacred Foundry

8 Plains

Legion LoyalistI probably should have played a Legion Loyalist as well to give it a good whirl but I was light on red and haven't picked one up yet so never mind. I think it will excel in goblins more than a deck like this where lots of your dorks already have first strike and most are too small for trample to be relevant. As this is obviously a sub par list of a well understood archetype I am only going to talk about the new cards and how I am finding playing with them different to my initial thoughts on the cards.

The Daring Skyjek is fine filler and much like other fine tempo two drops with one toughness. I don't really see him getting much more play than this however as battalion is not something that gets better the more you have (although it does make it more effective playing more supporting cards to go with them) nor is it a card that enhances your other cards. Not much change from my initial thoughts on this one and so he will sit in the C cube taking up space and doing little else. The Boros Reckoner I never saw so am no better informed than I was, although slightly more curious as other people seem to be getting a bit over excited about the card.

Frontline Medic
Frontline Medic did not impress and is not looking good for keeping an A cube slot. The best thing about him was that he is a 3/3 for which if you just wanted something fat we could find many better cards. Blade Splicer was always what I was wishing it was. It is so easy to turn off battalion that any attacks you set up assuming you can swing in carefree with indestructible guys end up not happening and costing you tempo. This is probably also a facet of incorrect play from me but it is still a danger associated with this sort of effect. I think just not quite good enough on his own and just too unreliable and underwhelming when used with other dorks.

Boros Elite was a card I was fairly brutal to in the review but was persuaded to try out based on its performance in a mates pre-release deck... While a card may be good in sealed deck it is a far cry from making it cube material. I was overly harsh in my initial review and now rate the little fella as playable but not amazing. When good he is very good but when bad he is very weak. You have to have lots of dorks and a cheap deck to really abuse him and have good odds on the busted starts. The problem is this makes him less viable in many of the slants on his only archetypal homes. As such I rate him below Savannah Lions overall despite him being a good amount better in perhaps two specific decks, those being human/soldier themed ones and the super swarmy cheap creature builds of white weenie and Boros Deck Wins. The best comparison of the kind of card it is would be Steppe Lynx which is somewhat better, both for having more powerful synergies and also for being slightly better however they are both cards that are brutal when good and terrible when not. Savannah Lions while more comparable in power level is a different kind of one drop that is far more consistent, never broken but never a disaster.

Aurelia's Fury
Boros Charm failed to excite much, it sat in my hand lots wishing it could in some way take out dorks and the one time it was actually useful it suddenly allowed me to win the game in a selection of different ways. This also does not bode well for the A cube life of this spell as it had to be an auto include in RW agro decks and has so far not lived up to this at all. Hellraiser Goblin did however impress me and this seems like quite a good deck to play him in despite me originally thinking it could only work well in combination with fatter dorks that you might find in a RG beats deck. Haste is something that works very well indeed with battalion and is not something white weenie decks are used to. Having to pre-emptively use Mother of Runes before combat might sound tedious but then getting to use Mother when she comes into play on the other hand sounds really naughty. Another very naughty white card who shouldn't be allowed haste is Hero of Bladehold however just throwing down more one drops and sending everything sideways was highly satisfactory and got the job done in short order. Either the Goblin got killed or he ended the game in a turn or two.

The final new card I managed to cram into this list was Aurelia's Fury which is a curd I really didn't like at first condemning it to a live fit only for standard. This is very much not the optimal deck for the card to shine in however it performed well for me. I had to kill a Grim Lavamancer with it in my turn three once while behind in tempo which at the time felt so awful with me wishing it was an Arc Trail however it was a winning play in that instance and in many others it performed much more than you could get out of an Arc Trail. While it was rarely abusive when I used it it was never dead and never straight up bad and that goes a really long way in a card, even Black Lotus is straight up bad now and again. When you do rip it off the top in the late game it has a good shot of ending it there and then and so it probably will earn an A cube spot and be ranked a little below Lightning Helix but above Ajani Vengeant. The more limited the format the more the card will shine and the fact that it performed well in an agro deck in basically a constructed format gives it a really good chance of being outstanding in midrange and control decks.

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