Saturday 29 October 2016

Commander 2016 Review Part One (The Fall of the Nephilim)

Sublime Exhalation (and all other undaunted cards) 0/10

Undaunted is a mechanic that scales the wrong way for heads up cube play. I will never be involved in any format where this isn't just a six mana Wrath. It is a bit of a shame that no undaunted will ever grace the cube as it is a cool mechanic design wise.

Grave Upheaval 5.5/10

Expensive but very powerful. This is somewhat of a best of both worlds card for Resurrect and Shallow Grave but it does cost what playing both of those cards would cost in total mana spent. While this is a highly convenient recursion spell that can kill out of nowhere, is able to target any graveyard and has no extra costs or restrictions it is still very limited by being 6 mana. You can just cast a lot of bombs when you reach six. Haste on a Grave Titan is a pretty big deal but you are essentially paying a card to do that or at least making your stuff more situational and in need of supporting. The reason I haven't just disregarded this as a super pricey, narrow gold card is that it has basic land cycling making it relevant early in the game. Being able to reliably fix with a card that can also double up as your win condition is pretty handy. Twisted Abomination has had some time in the cube (all be it a long while ago) for all the reasons that this card is decent. Grave Upheaval is pretty much better all round in terms of power and utility. I don't think I want this in my cube but I am sure it would be plenty good enough for most cubes, mine included.

Sylvan Reclamation 4/10

Much like Grave Upheaval this is a pricey gold card that has a powerful yet narrow effect which is hugely offset by basic land cycling convenience. Rather than threat plus fixing this is answers plus fixing. I think this is the sort of thing that will end up as a sideboard tool more often than it will be something you play main deck. When you hit two good things with this you have probably won (goodbye Shackles and Wurmcoil!) but not many decks will have two targets in play at once, let alone good ones. I can't see this being worth a maindeck slot if you are only getting one thing with it most of the time. For green white the value of fixing is much lower than it is for most other colour pairings. Overall this makes this card simply surplus to requirement. It is like a 20 mana card that does 30 damage, it would be far more useful it it were less mana for less damage! Say, 10 for 20... Revoke Existence and Deglamour still seem the way to go for artifact removal that skips the graveyard.

Prismatic Geoscope 4/10

This would be a total bomb if it were not for the fact it comes into play tapped. The real power of Gilded Lotus is that it is generally only a 2 mana investment on the turn you play it. This is almost always costing you five and thus takes ages longer to give a good yield on that investment. While this can theoretically tap for five that is a bit of a pipe dream. Decks that play loads of artifact mana typically have a very light colour contingent and rarely go more than two colours. Those that do rarely have the basic land types of those colours in play. The ability to mix up the colours of mana is nice and does make this a good card to simultaneously fix and ramp. Likely one of the better tools to help you cast Ultimatum's and Nicol Bolas! Powerful but far too many restrictions to make it broadly playable.

Sidar, Kondo of Jamuraa 2/10

Hard to block, hard to kill and a lot of potential reach for weenie decks. While there are plenty of situations this guy would be game winning I don't think he has enough power to stand alone. If I want reach and power I can play Sublime Archangel or Elsepth and have a card that does a lot of work all on its own for the same mana. This lacks any real bite of its own which on a four drop makes it limp.

Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder 6.5

This dude has Titan style effects bolted onto a Hill Giant. Probably best considered as a Titan themed rework of Silverblade Paladin. Provided you have some board when this hits play you will get a huge swing out of it, much more so than with Sublime Archangel or Silverblade Paladin. The addition of lifelink just makes it very low risk (as they cannot hope to race you). While Bruse is a lot weaker on defense than Silverblade Paladin and it's soulmate the lifelink again offsets this. Bruse is a must kill creature that has an effect right away. He is massive on the tempo side of things and although not offering card advantage he is still a card you can expect to get value from most of the time. He is limited mostly by his colour pairing but unlike cards like Nahiri and Ajani he is far better suited to the aggressive framework that is Boros. Lots of power and a well placed card that is only really let down by the narrow range of Boros archetypes. I very well may end up cutting this despite it clearly being better than most mono coloured four drops simply because it won't be something you can play quite as often.

Kraum, Ludevic's Opus 3.5/10

Basically this is a Stormbreath Dragon and all told I prefer protection from white to this thing's effect. Stormbreath isn't even that good or that often played in cube being so massively overshadowed by Thundermaw. This hits quite hard but it is only really on a par with the cube expectation. For a gold card to shine it really needs to be above par. The effect this has is slow to come into effect and your opponent has control over it making it unlikely to do much at all.

Atraxa, Preator's Voice 5/10 (7/10 power and 3/10 playability)

The first of our new Nephilim upgrades. This is an awfully long way above what I require of a four drop in cube. It is nutty good but balancing that power off against its playability based on colour requirement is really hard. I am still not great at knowing which three colour cards are cube worthy. All I know is that very very few of the three colour cards make the cut. They have to be well above the curve in power, they have to be in good, commonly played colour combinations and they have to be so well suited to the archetypes that can play them that it is basically an auto include. Now, there are no four colour archetypes in cube. Occasionally people end up four or more colours but they are always crazy extensions on two or three colour archetypes typically splashing for the odd specific thing.

So, the question is something like"Would you splash blue into your Abzan deck for this? Would you splash black into your Bant deck for Atraxa? How about white in your Sultai deck? And lastly would you splash green into your Esper deck for her? For the first two the answer is quite possibly yes. As for Epser I am a lot less convinced but two out of three potential homes is not a bad start. Sultai decks are done and are generally pretty good but they are themselves typically a two colour archetype in which extend upon with the third colour. As such I don't really see white being the thing, you will likely end up as an Abzan deck archetype witout any disceranble Sultai core. Regardless of what arcehtype they look like, the decks with a base of green can very realistically look to play this. They are midrange archetypes that rely on super high card power levels which Atraxa suits very well.

So what does Atraxa bring to your deck? Breaking it down it is two things, she is a source of ongoing value from the proliferate that has some nice interactions and synergies but requires paying a lot of attention to how you build your deck to get much return from. The more stuff you have with counters on them the better she becomes. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, Verdurous Gearhulk, Umezawa's Jitte, Experiment One, Scaving Ooze and any planeswalker are all examples of good rounded cards you can pair with Atraxa to up her worth. With the right stuff in play you can get enough value right away to be worth four mana but it is pretty situational. Even with a deck focused around it the odds are that you will just give a dork +1/+1 each turn and as such you are not getting near enough value from the proliferate to make Atraxa that much more impressive than Baneslayer Angel or Gisela the Broken Blade.

The second part of Artaxa is her body and keyword abilities that make her very comparable to the previously mentioned mythic white angels. Four mana is always a good deal for her body even when nothing proliferates. She is like a Batterskull in that she is near impossible to race but with the addition of flying she is also a fairly solid threat that should end the game if not dealt with. Deathtouch is the least useful ability, she already kills most stuff in combat and the stuff she wouldn't without deathtouch will generally kill her. If you are playing a card like this you probably don't want to be trading her even if it is for a big flier. The deathtouch is obviously a bonus on the card but it is just worth a lot less on Atraxa than it is on most other cube cards. Clearly something like a Vampire Nighthawk gains way more from it than Atraxa but perhaps more surprisingly it is also worth more on a Wurmcoil Engine than Atraxa too. First strike would have been far more use as it would allow for much safer attacks and blocks with your high value four drop. As she stands you are quite vulnerable to trading her off for low value low impact cards. Trading with a Shock and a 2/1 might be a two for one but it is far from a good trade with a card like this. If Gisela has the same four toughness as Atraxa (and was therefore that much more resiliant to burn) I think Gisela would be a better body. That means you are pretty much paying three extra colours of mana for the proliferate effect.

While Atraxa may be very well rounded because of her high value body she is not that much better than the alternatives given her difficulty in casting. I might quite want her in my three colour midrange deck but am I splashing a fourth colour when I could just throw in some other good flier? Probably not often enough to be worth a drafting cube slot. I don't think that answer changes until you have such good support for the proliferate mechanic that rather than averaging out at a +1/+1 counter a turn it is averaging over a cards worth of value. Say three +1/+1 counters or two loyalty to plainswalkers. I will play with this and build around it as I am a total sucker for proliferate. It will be a total house in those decks but they will not be the sort of thing you can expect to get in a draft. For a drafting cube Atraxa feels far too fair in her always good portion and far too narrow in her value portion to be seeing enough play as a four colour card. I think she might even struggle as a 3 colour card in that setting. Ultimately while you may occasionally splash and include her she is not the reason you are splashing. Perhaps you just have suitable lands to afford a painless splash, or more likely your deck is missing some things and you are covering those gaps as best you can with another colour which enables you to also play Atraxa.

Silas Renn, Seeker Adept 1/10

Good luck connecting with this one buddy. You might force a decent trade if you have a scary thing in the bin but then why are you not playing a removal spell? Being an artifact himself is a good bonus making him potentially more playable in some synergy based deck but I still highly doubt it. Even if you could case the card for free this still wouldn't be much more than a Grey Ogre on the board.

Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix 2.5/10

This is like Karametra's Acolyte, a limp four drop that can produce massive amounts of mana. It is infact worse in almost all ways, 1/4 is better than a 2/3 for a utility body you want to tap and use rather than get involved in combat. Being just green and tapping for green also make Karametra's Acolyte more useful and playable. Most of the decks that want loads of mana will naturally obtain a high devotion to green, with Kydele you have to do work each turn in order to have her tap for a significant amount and none of that is retained for her next tap. I guess if you draw seven cards and make that much mana additionally then you should probably be winning there and then but equally you can pair card draw with the Acolyte and be in the same winning position. The only hope I can think for Kydele is in some storm deck which doesn't have any real sources of devotion but that does have a whole bunch of card draw and perhaps even some good ways to untap her too. Kydele into Time Spiral seems like good games. Again though there are some things in the way of this in the form of Oracle of Mul Daya. Oracle also ramps you but does so with lands which are typically what you are abusing to generate massive amounts of mana. Oracle is a much better stand alone card as she also gives ongoing value herself.

Vial Smasher the Fierce 7.5/10

Here we have one of those multiplayer cards where the mechanism scaling is in favour of reduced players and as such we have a bit of a bomb. There are a lot parallels to be drawn with this and Jori En, Ruin Diver. Both cost the same, both are the exact same shape and size and both trigger a value effect when you play your Nth card each turn. Jori En is the 2nd card while Smasher is the 1st. Jori En is card draw and Smasher is face damage. These latter facts make them very different in how you want to use them. Smasher is pretty much a pure aggressive card in many ways not unlike Sulphuric Vortex. Leave it in play and it will kill you very fast regardless of your ability to block. In some ways the trigger on the 1st spell each turn is a drawback as it gives them a window in your turn to kill it before you can get any triggers from it at all. I guess you could Aether Vial it in but that isn't a good synergy pairing...

So basically, you make this and they kill it right away with an instant and all is well with the world. Perhaps they kill it with a sorcery giving you a chance to get in some free damage as well as a reasonable chance of retaining the tempo lead. Or perhaps they can't kill it at all in which case you should have them dead in very short order. I expect this will goldfish kill far far quicker than Goblin Rabblemaster which itself is one of the most dangerous and ruinous cheap threats to leave unchecked. In actual play Vial Smasher will piss all over Rabblemaster for impact with blockers being so irrelevant.

This last part is something I wouldn't be shocked to learn I have had a rules fart over. As I understand it you can Fireblast someone with the pitch cost and do them 6 with Smasher, Stoke the Flames will be 4 extra to the dome regardless of the convoke and Treasure Cruise will be a nice fair 8 to the face. If these kinds of cost reduction synergies do work as I think on Smasher then he is filthy good in cube. Build around him well and you can probably (effectively or actually) win most games with your first trigger.

Primeval Protector 1/10

Perhaps you might want this in some kind of Tooth and Nail nonsense, fairly confidant I don't ever want it though! Much as I love a cost reduction this one is unreliable and unlikely to be very significant most of the time. Untill this is down to around the 5 mana range it is just another one of those cards that sits in your hand while you die to one and two mana cards. A global pump and a 10/10 is nice enough, it should significantly shift the tempo but it isn't nearly as game ending as you need it to be for such a costly and situational card. It isn't really a finisher as it has no evasion so it is just value. Poor.

Charging Cinderhorn 2/10

Four power haste dorks for four are at least interesting. The low toughness on this one is a bit of an issue though. It is easy to kill both in combat and with removal. While I like that you can be getting value out of the card in stalemated boards it is rather slow and symmetrical on that front. It needs to be cheaper or more resiliant as a four drop for the stalemate breaking capacity of the card to be that exciting. Cute but give me a cheaper ongoing damage source (Ankh / Vortex etc) or a terrifying meaty four drop haste dork instead.

Reyhan, Last of the Abzan 5.5/10

All the convoluted names of all the many legendary cards in this set make it feel like Kamigawa block again. This set will have me wasting a lot of time in the future looking up the names of cards. They also all seem to have this weird near rhyming quality that makes you want to sing them or at least say them wrong.

Naming aside we have this Trained Armodon that gives all your dorks modular. On its own it is quite a lot weaker than undying or persist as you are still vulnerable to mass removal however in an interactive midrange game this dork is a total nightmare. He is a bit of pain for spot removal as well as he ideally wants killing last. Awkwardly however should you have multiple dorks with +1/+1 counters on them you cannot use spot removal to clear Reyhan without conceding some value. There are an awful lot of cards that scale very well with Reyhan in these colours. The best of which is likely Carrion Feeder which somewhat becomes an Arcbound Ravager. Even with all the creature tutor and recursion in Golgari I would be reluctant to do too much of a build around deck for Reyhan as a single exile effect ends all your fun and synergy. While you likely will have other +1/+1 counter synergies there are no other ways to make your dorks modular and so that aspect of your design will instantly fold. Again, Carrior Feeder and similar effects can help protect against exile but then you are going to quite a lot of effect for what should be a somewhat free to include bonus. For a generic drafting cube I am pretty sure a simple Dreg Mangler is all round the better card than Reyhan however the potential for Reyhan is obviously a lot higher. Although he is at his best when built around Reyhan is not exactly a bad card when he only works with himself.

Tana, the Bloodsower 0/10

Really? This? Reminds me of Fungusaur, a card that was unplayably bad back when all creatures were terrible. Not quite sure how you are planning to get value from this when you made a 2/2 for 4 mana... You could substantially improve on what you have here and still be a long long way from something you would play in cube.

Tymna, the Weaver 5/10

At least this reminds me of a much more viable card than Fungusaur. This little Grey Ogre feels like another Edric. While Edric is generally better there are a few things going for Tymna over Edric. In cube Tymna is at best one card draw per turn and will cost you a life for the privilege. Edrics cards are free and can be as many as you have guys. The reality is that Edric is very few cards on average. Simic has poor removal and is not that great in its capacity to attack well with cheap dorks. Blue has some evasion but on poor tempo cards and green only has it on massive game ending cards. Black and white however have loads of removal and loads of good weenie dorks that attack well early in the game. One card reliably a turn is a whole load better than a Grey Orge with low odds on return. Lifelink on a 2/2 you don't want to die isn't great but it probably does enough to offset the life cost on the draw. Far from a bomb but a nice rounded little card for the right deck. The ability to drop her on turn three and draw a card right away combined with her ongoing threat of more value and the bonus body result in a fine enough card. I would say this is better than Edric but that is entirely based on her colours. I also think Edric is pretty overrrated in cube. Fine but a little narrow. Both are very low powered when at the low end of their performance spectrum and that is their main problem.

Crytalline Crawler 3/10

This is somewhere between a Solarian and a Pentad Prism. You can have a four mana 5/5 that can offer burst mana, do some fixing, slowly grow or just beat someone's face in. While this does a lot of stuff for not much mana it also seems a bit out of place. I am not sure where you would play this. In an aggressive deck with access to four colours a 5/5 is pretty unexciting for four mana. The fixing might be the best thing there and you shouldn't be fixing with 4 drops... Affinity could be built in such a way to make this interesting but it would be a fairly midrange style of affinity that used more Talisman than normal. While this might fit in such a list it is far from a reason to go towards a midrange direction when you have the most explosive aggressive deck in all of magic as an option.

Breya, the Etherium Shaper 5.5/10? (power 9/10, playability 2/10)

Speaking of reasons to take affinity in a midrange direction we have this immense pile of card. I think this is the most card I have ever seen crammed into a thing before. It makes Seige Rhino look limp in comparison, it makes Seige Gang look pretty limp... It makes a lot of the Titans seem pricey! Four mana for 6/6 worth of stats spread over three bodies. As a starting place that already makes most of the value bodies and one man army cards look pretty weak. Then we give the tokens flying, why not. That only makes them like two or three times as valuable. Breya is like a 2/2 and a mana better than the par for cube worthy one man army cards.

So, lets take the best one man army card in the game and give it built in Umezwa's Jitte utility. In a lot of artifact decks being able to sacrifice them is an advantage. The return you get with Breya for sacrificing artifacts is significantly more powerful than the others commonly used. Ravager is great because it is free and has self synergy and Thopter Foundry gives a fairly good return however both of those are weak cards on their own. Breya is a beast of a card and a top rate sac outlet. If you have four disposable artifacts and you get to untap with Breya you probably win. Although not exactly disposable ones she does provide three all in one go herself (instant metalcraft!). That means you only need one extra to be able to deal 12 face damage with Breya on the turn of her first attack.

Breya has great reach, she in a fantastic defensive card and great board control. She offers a good amount of synergy and is the power level I think you need from a four colour card for it to be cube worthy. Basically, you can't really cast Breya and fail to get loads of value from her. There are no decks in which you could cast her in which she would not be really good. Even in some sort of random combo deck that she helps in no way she is exactly the kind of card that either wins you the game when your combo fails or acts as a double Time Walk while you get your combo in line. Four is something most aggressive decks are happy to go to and so Breya is basically playable anywhere you can exepct to have those colours of mana relatively reliably.

So, power level we are off the charts but are we close on playabilty? Where might you be able to house this? It is not unreasonable that Breya seems so much more rounded and powerful than the others given she is non-green and thus that much harder to fix for. I am not sure Grixis Delver style decks would want to splash white for this as they rely a bit more on cheaper things. Jeskai shells are probably more likely to consider a blacks splash. Four colour control has been an archetype (of sorts) ever since my cube has been around. It is what you do in things like sealed deck where you have good mana but not enough playables. You just build a blue X control deck but instead of X being white or black or red it is all of them! It is the Vindicate Fire/Ice deck basically, the kind of stupid shell you build when you are doing a Battle of Wits deck... So between four colour control and tempo/midrange Jeskai decks with a black splash there are some possible homes for this card.

On the more aggressive side you have five colour Zoo which is a pretty good deck but incredibly hard to actually get in any cube format. The lands are so contested you need a meta of mono or at least no green X players to have a chance of getting it. In a good Zoo list (ie one with a perfect mana base!) you could expect to cast Breya consistently on  turn three and she would be good but she still wouldn't be as exciting as a Bloodbraid or Thundermaw simply because they do that much more right away. Haste is a pretty big deal for the top end of cube Zoo lists. Affinity is the other possibility for this. It has access to the colours but would need to focus much more on fixing than usual to be able to cast this reliably enough. It is also rather top end for affinity. Certainly exactly what the deck wants but perhaps too awkward and late in the plan to exactly what the archetype wants. Aether Vial is a good card to use with this and would increase the potential for it in affinity which is already pretty reasonable. Clearly the best of the new Nephilim for power but awkward beyond just her colour requirements in terms of playability. This will get some play and it will do well when it does but it will be far from often. I am sure there are some drafting cubes where this would be worthy of a slot but I not convinced mine is one of those even with all the fixing I pack.

Saskia, the Unyeilding 5/10? (power 9/10, playability 1/10)

This is a little easier to do than Breya as she is much more direct. Basically this is a top rate pure aggressive card with one potential home. Saskia is like a Hellrider gone utterly nuts. It is probably a better comparison to Craterhoof Behemoth. Being what it is however there is only one place you can play this card and that is in a Zoo deck. I actually prefer a blue splash to a black one in Zoo (which I think is optimal when base Naya) but the raw power of this might merit a black splash alone. While Saskia doesn't improve the combat potency of your dorks it means any that connect are doing double damage. Just on her own she hits for 6 and is still a 3/4 blocker if they feel they can race her somehow. If you curve into her at all well with a Zoo deck she will always represent lethal without a fair amount of blocking going on. Saskia is not rounded in the same way that Breya is. Breya is good in most decks and in most situations while Saskia is only really good in Zoo. Saskia just wants to attack and do so with other hard hitting dorks. She is exactly what a Zoo deck wants at the top of its curve and is incredibly powerful in that capacity. I still suspect it will be too infrequent that you can actually sensibly play her that Saskia will also not remain in the drafting cube. My usual criteria for midrange CMC cards in the cube that only have one archetypal home is that they are mainstays. While you would always play Saskia in Zoo if you could I don't think you will be able to enough of the time for her to qualify on those grounds.

There was a short period of time where my failings at reading combined with my foreign language Boros Charm where we thought it gave all your guys doublestrike rather than just the one. It seemed too powerful so we rechecked pretty quick. It was too powerful like that, it made the Zoo deck utterly bonkers. While a silly mistake it has prepared me fairly well to evaluate Saskia. The 3/4 vigilance haste you get with your doubling up the power of your teams attacks is well worth that two extra mana, not to mention the fact you can do it again should the first swing somehow not have been for enough. I reckon this card will have one of the highest win to resolved ratios in the cube. I reckon it will outperform Emrakul, the Promised End on that front too but a lot of that is down to the kind of decks you can house those cards in. It seems reasonable too, Emrakul is somewhat easier to cast for a lot of decks than Saskia... Much like Emrakul both cards can be incredibly undercost for their effect however just like Emrakul you should not really be considering their low CMC as much as the various hoops you have to jump through first to be able to actually play it. Both cards pretty much read "dead weight or win the game". Saskia may win the game more but it is actually far harder to sensibly play and whole pile more narrow.

Cruel Entertainment 0/10

Very cool for multiplayer I guess, no use elsewhere. I guess this is a cheaper way to kill someone with a Necropotence than Mindslaver or Emrakul.

Selfless Squire 6/10

This is either a do nothing that sits in your hand clogging up space or it is a Time Walk on the back of like a 10/10. In cube you can get hit really rather hard in quite short order. Much as I hate situational cards this one does offer one of the biggest swings you could ask for. Selfless Squire wrecks attacks that include first strike and normal strike creatures as you can probably get a good block out of him as well. Making a 6/6 and killing something is probably better than making an 8/8. There will be occasions you have to make this as a 3/3 but in those situations a flash Hill Giant with gain two life is likely better than most of your other cards. For working out safe attacks this card is a pain, if you are facing four untapped mana Cryptic Command, Wing Shards, Restoration Angel, Venser and now this all need to be considered. They can all be ruinous and they are all pretty different in how you play around them. Again, I really don't love this card but I fear it may well out perform Wrath of God in a lot of ways. A potent tool for midrange, control and flash decks to keep an handle on aggressive decks, alpha strikes, surprise attacks and heavy hitters.

Deepglow Skate 3/10

Here we have a one hit Doubling Season for your counters that rides on the back of a 3/3 fish. Doubling Season is a great fun card but it is not a cube playable thing. You cannot hope to tap out for a five mana enchantment that has no effect until you do something else and live to do that something else enough to make good on your plan. This is a bit different as it lets you do the doubling after making your plays which makes it a card you can't always play effectively but that has a significant impact on the turn that you do. Not only do you get to double up on what you have you get a body as well. The body is pretty dull but it means you only have to get 2 or 3 mana worth of value from the effect and it turns out that doubling the loyalty on any planeswalker worth their salt is easily worth that. Going through various four mana walkers you can play and plus on the previous turn I found that most could either ultimate there and then or be in a position to ultimate the following turn with a massive buffer of loyalty. Some are obviously better than others but being able to do a turn five or six ultimate without having to harm your own plays or needing any ramp is rather game breaking. There are plenty of other cards that get you value with Deepglow Skate but it is mostly just the planeswalkers it would be worth playing the card for. I fear the issue with this one is that it is just win more. If you can make most planeswalkers and plus one them without then losing any loyalty on them then you are already winning. Having a card that is worse than a Hill Giant when you are not winning or not in position for it will cost you way more games than it will be needed to win them. I want to have fun doubling up my things but I am sure it isn't the optimum way to build any cube deck. The biggest merit I see from this is the surprise factor. People are rarely worried about the ultimate on a walker the turn after you make it and as such will not even really consider it. Much as this is a trap as far as a cube card goes I will absolutely be revisiting my proliferate theme deck for the big fishy.

Stonehoof Cheiftain 3/10

This is really rather the house. It is a bugger to deal with and makes combat easy mode. This is like the best anti green card ever! White will exile it or return ti to your deck, blue will counter or bounce it, black will make you sacrifice it, perhaps give it -8/-8 or even just get it in the bin before you cast it. Red will have to go through it but then it could be a 2/8 wall against that kind of red and be comparably useful. Being anti green isn't great in cube when on the back of a green card. If you have a selection of things like Sylvan Safekeeper, Spellskite or Blossoming Defense then this gets a lot better. Hexproof and indestructible make for a near impossible to deal with card. For just the indestructible this is too much of a risk to play. You lose so much tempo to the wrong answers by playing it. Compared to the other top end green cards this has very little immediate impact (if you need attackers to be indestructible then you are not ahead nor getting that much farther ahead off that one attack). While this should win a lot of games in some turns after playing it a Craterhoof usually wins it that turn for the same mana. It doesn't matter that this seems like a more powerful ongoing card than Craterhoof if there is no ongoing to compare it to!

Conqueror's Flair 0/10

Cute in Zoo but Zoo doesn't want this at all. A situational generic stats boost isn't great and a situational hoser effect doesn't change that much to help the card. Even if you do curve in some lovely way with a Wooly Thoctar / Sprouting Thrynax / Mantis Rider into a Flail you are just giving your dork +3/+3. It is a lot less tempo or threat than other equipment in that range and significantly less than just another dork. Play a threat or play something that reliably solves the problem you are faced with, don't play this.

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