Thursday, 31 August 2017

Card Spotlight: Fractured Identity

Fractured IdentityThe capsule review is that this card is totally nuts. First pick, off the charts good even in cube. If that is all you need to know then there is no need of reading further. If however you want to know why I shall endeavour to explain. When you have a card with multiple effects going on I like to break it down into components so as to see how good the value is. With this we have something that is pretty close to a Council's Judgement, it may still target but wide range exile removal is still very good. The other half of this card is rather like a Clone. It can only target your opponents stuff and it only makes a token copy and thus more vulnerable to bounce but it will copy any non-land card. So how much are these two things worth? Well the white removal would be a lock in to the cube at 2W mana. The clone is also worth around the 2U mark. The removal is worth a little more in my books by they likely both round to three mana. So, before we even consider the two for one we have six mana's worth of stuff going on. You can add at least a mana for said two for one. Look at Elvish Visionary, a very playable card. A 1/1 is worth 0 mana in cube and draw a card is about 1 mana but combine them and you are happy to pay mana more than the sum of the parts are worth due to that two two for one value. Fractured Identity is thus worth around the seven mana mark and as such is a very under priced card indeed.

Not all cards scale the same with mana cost. Twice the effect is rarely worth twice the mana so while I say this is worth seven mana it would be unplayable at seven mana. Removal options rapidly fall off in value after three mana in cube. The fact that it is so good at five mana  regardless of being under priced still came as quite the surprise. Obviously just looking at this on the spoilers I could tell it was very powerful but at that point it just looked like a five colour gold removal spell. A bit of a Bituminous Blast! I figured it would be too narrow to fit into lots of decks but it turns out this is the kind of card you splash for it is so good.

The first time it was cast in my cube it looked like the game was totally over. The opposing player had a Karn Liberated and a Wurmcoil Engine in play. The Identity player peels it off the top, kills the Karn and then uses their Karn copy token to exile the Wurmcoil. Turning what looked like an unwinnable situation into a win in one card is a pretty big deal. You almost always want to copy the thing you exile so it is no kind of drawback that you can't exile one thing and copy another. It is also a great deal better than Confiscate effects as you don't risk them getting their thing back at a later stage. This is premium removal with build it value and tempo. This card makes Treachery look narrow, risky and low power level. If  you know your opponent has this in their deck so many of your potential plays will just result in you losing should they have Fractured Identity.

I would already be considering this card for a ban if it did not have one relatively pronounced weakness. Against the aggressive deck this is just so expensive you will often die before it is relevant and if not it will still often fail to generate enough of a swing to stabilize. The aggro player will still likely still have to play around it however They may need to intentionally not cast their top end spells and aim to win with a swarm of one and two drops instead. If you are playing midrange or control and this resolves against you expect to lose. I imagine their are few other cards in magic that would afford such a reliable swing in your favour for win percentage increase than Fractured Identity, certainly not many for comparable cost. This is easily one of the best cards for cube to come out of the Commander sets and that is some good and powerful company to keep. It is perhaps not as playable as Toxic Deluge or Baleful Strix but it is certainly up there in the power.

1 comment:

  1. I was trying to convince a friend of how good this was and managed to do so with the following comparison. Fractured Identity is to Control Magic as Council's Judgement is to Journey to Nowhere. I was in fact more generous and used the Oblivion Ring as the comparison. The point is that the safety of this removal spell is so much greater as is the range. Being able to kill planeswalkers is huge and not having to fear them getting the thing you wanted dead back is massive too. The card is sufficiently good however that this should be pretty old news pretty fast!