Sunday, 11 March 2018

Dominaria Initial Review Part III

Kazarov, Singir Pureblood 0

Bad Olivia is bad. Pretty sure I would prefer to run actual Singir Vampire over this. Seven mana gets you Dragonlord Atarka, Elesh Norn etc. I guess it has to be this weak as a rare to not ruin limited.

Warlord's Fury 5

This is the Crash Through of first strike. There is a good chance this will see play in some deck where it isn't ever giving anything first strike! One mana cards that draw a card are almost always played somewhere. It will not take too many more good cheap red prowess and spell trigger things in red for this and Crash Through to be worthy of the drafting cube. As a giver of first strike it is OK but far from great. Sorcery speed ensures it is of no use on defense or as a trick. Something like Shadow Rift is probably a more effective card at doing what this does. Ultimately though you are not really playing it for the first strike and so when it does come up and let you sneak in a few free damage it is all just nice gravy.

Song of Freyalise 3

This is a curious little tool. It starts out life as a Cryptolith Rite and then turns into a snapshot team buff a couple of turns down the line. Now Crytolith Rite is a cool card but it is a little narrow for most drafting cubes. Typically cheap green dorks already tap for mana and so Rites don't do enough to merit the card cost. Song does a bit more so perhaps it has a better chance but I am not optimistic. In theory you lay your Song, abuse a couple of turns of lots of mana and set yourself up such that the final trigger gives you a nice threatening turn. In such a scenario the card sounds great. Sadly that feels like too much needs to align. When your draw is bad or you are disrupted Song winds up doing little to nothing and it does so even worse than Rite. If you blow your Song at the wrong time it is gone and you don't get to try and use it again later. I think you can build decks where this is a cool card, possibly the Hardened Scales deck, but it seems way too needy for a draft card.

Evra, Halcyon Witness 0

While this is obviously far too clumsy and silly of a card for cube it does do a couple of fairly unique things. It offers that Serra Avatar one shot ability. Although it is pretty easy to prevent this doing that to you it is still a card that needs respecting and that makes it tedious. Evra can also save you in some cases by being milked for free life.

Phyrexian Scriptures 2

Well this seems to be a four mana Wrath that might let you keep one of your own dorks. Sadly it is a four mana Wrath that makes you wait a turn. Bontu's Last Reckoning made you wait a turn and while it might clear the board there and then for three mana it still saw little to no play. Wrath's are time critical, too soon and it is a waste, too late and you have taken critical or fatal damage. The sloth of this card I think makes it much more of a bad Last Reckoning than a Damnation. Rift Bolt is a long long way worse than Lightning Bolt... The third mode of Scriptures is so low key it doesn't really impact the card. If the Wrath aspect were good it would be some nice spice but if the Wrath isn't enough (which looks like the case) then it certainly isn't helping to redeem the card.

Valduk, Keeper of the Flame 2

Not a bad card but far far too narrow. Mostly this is a three mana 3/2 and that isn't close to enough. The potential scaling of this card is what makes it interesting. If you load up on 0 equip cards then you can have some extreme blowout attacks with this guy. Might be a cute addition to a deck that for some reason also wants to load up on 0 equip cards. Play this in a dedicated synergy deck, do not play this in a deck just because you have a couple of good equipment like a Jitte. Valduk will still suck most of the time and once in a while he will win a little more.

Lyra, Dawnbringer 6

Baneslayer Angel mark II. Probably Lyra is better not because angels outnumber dragons and demons (which I am not sure they do, I think it is pretty close in most cubes).  Lyra is better than Baneslayer because you can proactively use her ability. You can aid it in building and then in game. It is something you can plan to use to gain an advantage unlike Baneslayer which just randomly trumps a card of your opponents now and again. Either way, the last line of text on both these cards is pretty minor. It is all about the three keywords and being a 5/5 for five. That is the essence of what made Baneslayer the premium threat in cube for a period. Baneslayer is a bit vulnerable to spot removal these days and is outclassed by three five mana white angels in the cube as well. She is keeping her slot as her esteem and nostalgia hold weight. We certainly don't need two in the cube so I am pretty stunned to say I won't be putting Lyra in my drafting cube. Sanctions, Invention and Avacyn are all more effective desirable cards.

Naban, Dean of Iteration 2

While Naban is a dangerously potent card there simply are not enough things that work with him to come close to earning a cube slot. Naban seems like much more of a constructed card where you can have four copies of your Reflector, Meddling and Snapcaster wizards. Naban could be a sleeper and reach a critical mass of suitable things in cube. Beyond that he is just a build around card and you don't build a deck around a 1 toughness dork so Naban needs to find a deck that already has all the support cards in it already for him to find a good cube home. Potentially quite a scary constructed card though.

Dark Bargain 1

Ouch. At four mana this really didn't need that two life kicker to tone it down. Indeed it makes me think this should be a three drop at which point it would start to look rather tasty. Dark Bargain is pretty much as good as drawing three cards. The filling up of the yard and the card selection help make it great value. I don't know what we are still on this though, FoF isn't getting play so this has no hope, it is just a card I want to play... for three mana.

Goblin Barrage 0

A nice meaty card but it needed to be instant to offer enough utility for cube use and even then it would be a decidedly narrow card.

Llanowar Scout 0

Presently we have enough things that put in lands that are one mana so even the nice chunk of toughness and the amicable elf tag I don't see this Scouts getting any cube attention.

Baird, Steward of Argive 0

There are lots of enchantments and creatures with this effect already and they pretty much all seem better than Baird. When even Legions cards outclass you then I think we can safely move on.

In Bolas's Clutches 0.5

I have never run Confiscate in cube nor do I see myself in the future. Stranger things have happened and perhaps I will not only play Confiscate but also want some redundancy for it?... Perhaps the legend tag on this will let you cheat it in more easily somehow.

The Eldest Reborn 0

Way way way too slow. Five mana edict is laughable, the Raven's Crime to follow doesn't really do anything to offeset that. By the time you come to the Reanimate you need to be getting a Griselbrand level of card for it to be at all worth while and if you are that sort of dedicated deck you should just be playing cheap and timely recursion. This is a properly awful cube card. Could be utterly devastating in limited however...

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