Friday 18 April 2014

Journey into Nyx Review: Part 2

I have fallen victim to my own OCD and continued to review every card in the set despite Wizards increasing ability to release all the good cards first and all the chaff at the end. As such a vast portion of the cards in this part of the review simply have “- no slot” written about them. Largely it should be obvious why those cards have no place in the cube. They are very expensive, offer nothing unique nor anything that cannot be found cheaper and better on other cards. OF the few cards that were of interest for cube the vast majority are largely unplayable niche cards that will sit in the C cube gathering dust.

Oreskos Swiftclaw – C cube

Stashed away for the cat tribal deck, gone are the days when a 3 power 2 drop was exciting.

Akroan Mastiff – no slot

Armament of Nyx – no slot

Banishing Light – A cube (2.8)

Oblivion Ring redundancy is now suffering from diminishing returns and while this is one of the better cube cards for the set it is deeply uninteresting and will cause very little change in the cube.

Dictate of Heliod – C cube

Although good as a combat trick or end of turn blow out card five mana for a card that needs others in play to do anything is really pushing it.

Eagle of the Watch – no slot

Harvestgaurd Alseids – no slot

Lagonna-Band Trailblazer – no slot

Leonin Iconoclast – no slot

Mortal Obstinacy – no slot

Oppressive Rays – B cube

For early removal this is really top notch. Sorcery speed is a downer but for one mana you will take a dork out regardless of its size or defensive abilities. Other white early removal has target restrictions or concedes some perk to your opponent which this does not. Sadly the recent increase in value to enchantment removal combined with this being very poor at dealing with the larger end game threats means it probably won't see much if any play. Only really a deck like white weenie would want this. Overall I peg this just below Oust in power and playability.

Phalanx Formation – no slot

Quarry Colossus – no slot

Skybind – C cube

Expensive and a bit convoluted but very interesting and abusable. With enough cheap enchantments and the capacity to do a load at instant speed Skybind is going to dominate a game much like Astral Slide. The cost and need to build around it do make this a niche card that will see play only very occasionally but a fun one none the less.

Skyspear Cavalry – no slot

Stonewise Fortifier – no slot

Supply-Line Cranes – no slot

Tethmos Highpriest – C cube

A mini Sun Titan that needs a heroic enabler seems tenuous but potentially very potent.

Ariel Formation - no slot

Cloaked Siren – no slot

Countermand – no slot

Hour of Need – B cube

Not often will you want to give away 4/4 fliers even though you are exiling their creatures at the same time. Upgrading your guys will be much more the thing to be planning to do with this card. Having it as backup removal for super serious fatties and a bit of extra bounce to cover yourself when taking that route seems like the thing to do. If you have a lot of cheap dorks that offer comes into play effects and poor stats then being able to suddenly have a bunch of evasive 4/4s at the end of their turn will be rather game winning. Mostly this will be played in mono blue or blue green decks due to their lack of removal. It is also limited in playability due to always needing to have a high creature count of a somewhat select group. Five mana instant speed Broodmate Dragon is hard to overlook and so fiddlyness aside this oddball should have a big impact on the games it does get to see.

Hubris – no slot

Pin to the Earth – no slot

Pull from the Deep – C cube

A two for one recursions spell that is a bit specific, sorcery and lacking in tempo to make a mainstay cube appearance. The extra power of recursion in singleton format makes me think this will be desirable in a couple of quirky storm / High Tide style combo decks.

Rise of Eagles – no slot

Thassa's Devourer – no slot

Thassa's Ire – C cube

Cool card but too much to activate to be of general use. With a way to reduce the activation cost or simply abuse with a massive mana effect then the Ire is viable for cube play.

Triton's Cavalry – no slot

Tritons Shorestalker – C cube

Merfolk decks are fairly strong and lack one drops more than anything else so this should see a lot of play in those and perhaps even some outside of tribal decks. Obviously this is only playable in an aggressive deck that also has a significant amount of creature pump effects. Agro blue decks do tend to play those kinds of effects as their dorks are the most feeble mana for mana compared to other colours. As such this will be a welcome little annoyance. It will come down early, do an unreasonable amount of damage, it will scale better than most other cheap dorks as the game goes on and they get their own fat down to block with, and it will be a huge help in sniping down planeswalkers. Not a thrilling card but a welcome addition in an under subscribed blue role.

War-Wing Siren – no slot

Aspect of Gorgon – no slot

Bloodcrazed Hoplite – C cube

I know this will never see play but it is too cute and different to not have one! Heroic is sadly just such a poor ability in the cube.

Brain Maggot – C cube

Mesmeric Fiend is too vulnerable to be good in cube most of the time, Ravenous Rats is usually played in preference and both are pretty weak and unplayed. This is no different.

Cast into Darkness – no slot

Cruel Feeding – no slot

Dictate of Erebos – no slot

Not a powerful effect in cube and the addition of flash barely covers the extra mana cost on this version of the card.

Dreadbringer Lampads – no slot

Feast of Dreams – no slot

Felhide Petrifier – C cube

The fact that this would make the cut in a 40 card Minotaur themed deck only really shows how far from viable such a deck still is in the cube...

Grim Guardian - C cube

This looks utterly unplayable at the moment but it is exactly the sort of junk that might turn out to be really strong in some form of enchantress deck and I would be annoyed to have not set one aside for that.

Nightmarish End – no slot

Nyx Infusion – no slot

Pharika's Chosen – no slot

Returned – Reveller – no slot

Rotted Hulk – no slot

Spiteful Blow – no slot

Thoughtrender Lamia – no slot

Tormented Thoughts – C cube

I don't rate this at all but do have to concede that it is about the cheapest way possible to annihilate someone’s hand even if it is tedious to set up. I wont be playing this card but I totally see others going for it.

Bladetusk Boar – no slot

Blinding Flare – no slot

Flamespeaker's Will – no slot

Flurry of Horns – no slot

Harness by Force – C cube

Great blow out potential but a rarely played effect where a variety of other interesting alternatives exist.

Gluttonous Cyclops – no slot

Knowledge and Power – no slot

Lightning Diadem – no slot

Pensive Minotaur – no slot

Rollick of Abandon – no slot

Rouse the Mob – no slot

Sigiled Skink – B cube

I am looking forward to Skinks bouncing off Starfish in a sigiled orgy of scrying. Much as I love a cheap scrying thing I am not convinced this has the legs to compete with other red two drops. Without removal or support this card is not getting you more than one scry very often at all. To make it into the A cube this would need first strike or something so as to make more impact on the board. Despite not quite being there for cube I think this is exactly the sort of card needed in MtG and I hope to see much more of the same sort of idea.

Starfall – no slot

Wildfire Cerebus – no slot

Bassara Tower Archer – B cube

Hexproof is a very powerful ability and works particularly well with bestow, equipment and auras. As much of the cube quotient of those things are from the most recent block the cube meta is still a little unsettled but I can easily see a desire for some more hexproof dorks. This is cheap, a fine tempo play and comes with free reach to help cover a green weak spot. A dull role filler but a fine enough card, mostly dull by virtue of hexproof being dull.

Colossal Heroics – no slot

Consign to Dust – no slot

It seems a little odd to leave no slot for this but I think when you want to kill loads of artifacts or enchantments in green for a lot of mana you do so with a fat dork of some description. These kinds of Naturalize effects are strong as early removal and instant disruption for which there are many vastly better alternatives despite their lack of card advantage potential.

Desecration Plague – C cube

A bit of a Befoul and only really playable in a deck planning to kill a lot of lands. A far from great spell but not totally disastrous redundancy.

Goldenhide Ox – no slot

Humbler of Mortals – no slot

Market Festival – no slot

Wild Growth effects are good in some enchantress archetypes however I think they lose a lot of their value when priced at four, even if they do offer twice the return in any flavour you like.
Nature's Panoply – no slot

Oakheart Dryads – no slot

Pheres-Band Thunderhoof – no slot

Reviving Melody – B cube

Yet more recursion that offers two for one potential and this bad boy costs just three and doesn't exile itself! This is cheap enough that you would happily just use it as soon as you get a two for one as a green card draw spell. Grim Discovery is both cheaper and easier to fulfil both portions and that does not see much play however green is far less able to draw cards than black. The limiting factor for Melody is enchantments, without a good number, say five or so, it will not be worth playing.

Satyr Grovedancer – no slot

Solidarity of Heroes – C cube

I hate this card a lot, not the sort of thing I want to mess around doing at all in cube. That said, I can't get over how much this and a Kalonian Hydra seems like a one shot kill a lot of the time. Hopefully this will never be a thing but it has the potential to give a lot of whack for very little mana.

Strength from the Fallen – C cube

A very very powerful effect in a deck full of enchantment creatures and perhaps some self mill. Not so many of those are cube worthy and so this seems like it is too lacking in appropriate synergy to be played. Perhaps after “Return to Theros” block...

Swarmborn Giant – no slot

Cheap and fat but an overly precarious drawback and a total lack of any complimentary abilities to go with the fat. Not even trample.

Fleetfeather Cockatrice – no slot

Revel of the Fallen God – C cube

This is cool but a lot of mana and a bit gold for my liking on this kind of niche card. There are certainly places I would play this but only really because the card is fun and cool, not because it is best in slot.

Stormchaser Chimera – no slot

Armoury of Iroas – no slot

Chariot of Victory – no slot

Deserter's Quarters – no slot

Gold-Forged Sentinel – no slot

Nessian Game Warden – no slot

Just a bit too underpowered for the mana cost, very nearly there and a nice card but not today.

Agent of Erebos – no slot

Desperate Stand – no slot

Disciple of Deceit – C cube

Powerful tutoring effect but overly awkward to trigger without anything else interesting going on. Cool card but I only see this cutting it in inspired themed decks or at least those with a vast array of self tapping effects such as Opposition.

Nyx Weaver – C cube

Although slow and terrible as a regrowth effect it is a great extra thing to have on the card. If you are all about the self mill and quite want a defensive three drop dork then this card is perfect (assuming you are black green as well...). Niche doesn't really cover this card fully but it still just gets a slot.

The Font Cycle – no slot

A nice enchantment take on the Spellbomb theme that I would like to have seen more of in this block. While a like the set a lot none of them are cube worthy, the blue one comes close but is ultimately too much mana for the return. They are a great way to build up safe devotion early but they are not going to be doing that in the cube.

In no specific order these are the only cards that are likely to stay in the cube long or see much play.

Temples of BG and UR

Master of Feasts

Prophetic Flamespeaker

Dictate of Kruphix

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes

Mana Confluence

Gnarled Scarhide

Dictate of Karametra

Doomwake Giant

Sigiled Starfish

Banishing Light

No comments:

Post a Comment