Sunday 16 April 2017

Amonkhet Conclusions and Best Cards

Amonkhet is easily the set with the most on offer for the cube to date. This is obviously a trend with power creep and the like, a number of recent sets have achieved this, or at least relative to their size. Those that haven't came close as well. Despite that I think Amonkhet offers significantly more than one would expect given the general rate of power creep. The amazing thing about Amonkhet is that it isn't even that powerful. There are not many bomb cards or things that are so pushed they will obviously be oppressive. There is no Smuggler's Copter here! What there is are loads of very well designed cards that are very well suited to the role they do. Lots and lots of fair card with a cheap cycling cost as well making them incredibly playable.

Another thing about Amonkhet is that it easily has the highest influx of one drops from any release. It has a good number of two drops as well. One drops may not be the most exciting cards themselves often having low overall power and not all that much text but they are by far and away the most playable cards and the cards you encounter most in cube games. The more diverse and interesting and well designed one drops there are the better and healthier the game is, certainly in cube. Amonkhet should significantly change the cube landscape as there will be so many more ways to begin games of magic.

There is power creep at play in Amonkhet but it is well integrated. A fine example of this is Soul-Scar Mage. A card arguably more powerful than Swiftspear however the added power is not in a tempo way, it is in a more ongoing capacity. It allows you to play one drops that don't necessarily just win you the game through early tempo but that won't also hurt you as much in games going long. This is great design philosophy and should ultimately allow for a far more dynamic range of archetypes and strategies. On the flip side of this a lot of the more obviously pushed and powerful things are a little awkward or at odds with themselves. You can get a lot of power from a lot of the three and higher drops in Amonkhet but none of it is direct on-theme power like Thundermaw Hellkite, it is all much more spread about and thus harder to take advantage of.

Amonkhet potentially offers so much new stuff to the cube I have had to, for the first time in a review, try and take account of a new higher bar for entry to the cube. A lot of cards here, if printed in isolation, would make it into the cube however I have been a lot more ruthless in which cards I am going to try out and test than normal as the overall power level of the cube should be rising a good chunk thus making a lot of stuff that might have been good enough clearly not good enough.

Cube Mainstays (best to worst)

Irrigated Farmland / Scattered Groves / Sheltered Thicket / Fetid Pools / Canyon Slough
Harsh Mentor
Cast Out
Bone Picker
Nissa, Steward of Elements
Soul-Scar Mage
Battlefiled Scavenger
Dread Wanderer
Gideon of the Trials
Flameblade Adept
Channeler Initiate
Ruthless Sniper
Commit // Memory
Vizier of the Menagerie
Bloodfury Militant
Curator of Mysteries

Stuff To Try Out (best to worst)

(the things I expect to remain in the drafting cube)

Insult // Injury
Ahn-Crop Crasher
Heiroglyphic Illumination
Dissenter's Deliverance
Forsake the Worldly
Rhonas the Indomitable
Champion of Rhonas
Glory Seeker
Prowling Serpopard
Samut, Voice of Dissent
Trueheart Duelist
Vizier of Tumbling Sands
Sweltering Suns

(the things I expect to cut from the drafting cube)

Honored Crop-Captian
Angel of Sanctions
Pyramid of the Pantheon
Exemplar of Strength
Rhonas's Monument
Comabt Celebrant
Throne of the God Pharaoh
Start Finish
Bloodlust Inciter
Gust Walker

Stuff for Constructed Cube Exclusively

Archfiend of Ifnir
Sacred Cat
Trial of Ambition
As Foretold
Pull from Tomorrow
Lord of the Accursed
By Force
Shadow of the Grave
Cascading Cataracts
Sandwurm Convergence
Vizier of Remedies
Gideon's Intervention

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