Saturday 2 September 2017

Ixalan Preliminary Review Part II

Militant Dinosaur 0

Seems likely not the right name of the card but as it is pretty terrible it shouldn't cause much confusion. This is a personal Doran effect which might have been nice redundancy for certain combos if the card didn't massively suck. A seven mana 6/6 is far too bad to use as an enabler.

Deadeye Plunderer's 0

This is a solid limited card that does a fair amount. In cube this is just way too far up the curve for what it does. Scaled back down and made a little more competitive on price this card would be pretty interesting, say a UB 0/1 or something.

Dire Fleet Captain 0.5

I guess pirates could become a tribe but this card certainly isn't helping out much. It is super weak on its own and isn't exactly exciting when you do have the support. You may play this as filler if you need more cheap pirates in your Rakdos tribal pirate deck but you certainly are not going any of those things for this card.

Deeproot Waters 4

This is a very interesting card indeed. While it is only playable in a tribal merfolk deck it does offer a whole new dimension to such an archetype. Merfolk decks have always been viable in constructed cubes and can be done in a fairly wide range of ways. They are a really good counter to certain archetypes but they do struggle against some others, typically the non-blue creature based decks. Deeproot Waters will allow merfolk decks to compete far more effectively against other creature decks than before. The main issue merfolk had was not enough dorks, you couldn't afford to get into combat that often as trading off down powered you too much. You simply cannot afford to trade a Lord of Atlantis. Deeproot Waters will give an ongoing supply of dorks you can afford to chump with in combat. It massively empowers your lords and lets you go wide without risking key cards or over extending. The hexproof is nice too, it will let you rely on equipment and things more. Mostly it is just about getting more merfolk into play though. The concerns I have for this card are that it is quite slow to get online. If you make this as soon as possible so as to gain maximum value you are losing a lot of tempo to do it. If you hold off making it until you can follow it immediately with another merfolk it might be too late to be significant or you might just not have enough merfolk to cast and it will wind up doing too little. Merfolk is already a deck that takes a little too long to wind up in power compared to other proactive creature decks and Waters furthers that problem. It also has poor synergy with Aether Vial which is a card often used to tackle that issue. I see this making Moxes the ideal way to power out your fish. Deeproot Waters seems too valuable not to play in all cube merfolk builds presently but it is not the perfect solution by any means.

Invite the Party 0

This is pretty useless. I'll take Battle Screech over this. This is 3/3 of stats for four mana in gold. It is a Hill Giant, and even with lifelink that utterly blows. Anthem effects scale well with this but 2/2 life link dorks are not exactly breakthrough power level. If going tokens play cheaper generators or things that fly. Save those precious four drop slots for actually powerful cards like Sorin and Gideon.

Deathless Ancient 0

This is another middle of the road card that is too far up the curve to serve any cube role. A six drop wants to end games not offer some ongoing value. This has to compete with cards like Aetherling and in such a venture it fails pretty spectacularly. A 4/4 flier is OK but at six mana you are not thrilled to cast it and that in turn makes the recursion a lot less impressive. Getting a card back for free is only worth it if the card is a good one. Also, needing 3 vampires in play makes it super uncommon to even have that option. Crappy card.

Twilight Legion Battleship 0

What a grand name for such a limp and bland card.

Pillar of Genesis 0.5

This is one of the narrowest cards possible for cube without being something I can fully rule out. It is only a card you would put in a deck already containing Unclaimed Territory and most of those you probably still don't want it. Tribal decks are not often looking to ramp to four. Good luck selling this card to the elves...

Kumena's Omenspeaker 3

Hard to know where to place this one. It is pretty easy to make this a 2/2 in cube with the mana base but so what? Zoo is the only real aggressive green archetype that plays blue and it typically has more potent options in the one slot than a 2/2. Having to support this when not already playing blue makes it too much phaff for the payoff. Nacatl is often played without white or red and just a land or two to empower it but it becomes a 3/3 which is a vastly more agreeable payoff. This is a little too fair and a little too narrow without enough potential homes to get much love in the cube. It is a solid little card but I expect it to get little to no play.

Infuriated Gladiodon 1

Five mana 5/5 trample is OK but it needs rather more to make it in cube, especially on a gold card. This does not match up well against Samut at all. The interesting features of this card are the dinosaur tag and the enrage enabler. It looks like most enrage cards are dinosaurs so perhaps this is an OK synergy card in a super narrow tribal deck. Far too fair and narrow for a stand alone card. Doing 1 to all your own dorks is likely a massive drawback in a lot of green decks.

Marauding Looter 0

Not bad but too far up the curve for the kind of effect it has and also made overly narrow as a gold card. As a UR 2/1 with the same effect I would be quite into this but as a four drop I'm out.

Bellowing Aegisaur 0

You can do some cool things with this and Walking Ballista / Triskellion and give all your other dorks +4/+4 each turn. Cute but pretty daft, just play Dictate of Heliod... The enrage is very powerful but the cost is far too great and the body is too small.

*Jace's Sentinel

I don't normally review the cards from the associated planeswalker decks but that is due to none of them being playable. This on the other hand looks pretty decent. It is pretty scummy marketing putting obviously good support cards like this into these sets. These cards really shouldn't be standard legal. The Sentinel is just the perfect card to lay before you make a Jace, Cunning Castaway. A 1/3 or 2/3 is a sturdy blocker that will go a long way to protecting you or Jace if needed and the unblockable aspect greatly enhances the value of the +1 ability. It is a merfolk too giving more robust plays to the tribe. This probably isn't consistent enough to be a drafting cube card even with the 5 copies of Jace I will have in my cube by the time I can add this as well. That said I do think this will get a bunch of play in more tailored constructed decks. Cheap solid and useful support cards like this get played. I found Augur of Bolas too narrow to run in my drafting cube but it is commonly run in the constructed formats and I think this will be much the same.

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