Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Dominaria Initial Review Part V

Healing Grace 4

This is a nice nod to Healing Salve and it is impressively playable looking. This is a lot more numbers than Harm's Way which is already one of the most efficient cards in the game. Sadly those numbers are all in defense as it were. Perhaps we are getting to the stage where cards like this will simply be necessary for the slower decks to stay in the game long enough? Still feels like you would want creatures and removal working defense for you over lifegain but this is the cheapest most efficient tool of its kind and so it will probably see play somewhere. I don't see this as more than a sideboard tool yet but one day soon perhaps this could find itself wanted in main decks.

Thallid Soothsayer 1

This would be totally fair while all round very playable at three mana to cast. At four however this looks like utter garbage.

Fight with Fire 1

I like the concept of this card a lot but I think the way it pans out doesn't work for cube. The kicker cost is prohibitively high and simply won't come up in many cases leaving this as a pretty boring card.

Gruun, the Lonely King 0

This is the perfect example of an awful threat, and as that is all this is, also an awful card. It has loads of power but it is in all the wrong places resulting in something you shouldn't go near outside of limited. No value, evasion or protection, just all the stats!

Triumph of Gerrard 0

This thing confuses me a bit, I am pretty sure it is awful but for some reason I can't state that with confidence. It is low value, it is slow, it is needy, it is situational, it offers no card advantage and minimal tempo. I just really don't see this and I think that makes me think I have missed something. Like, why is this card symbolic of a Triumph? I guess cause Gerrard got his arse all dead? Like an ironic bad card?

Demonic Vigor 2

This is sadly a bit too polar for cube. Against green, red and black decks this is cheap enough that you can play around removal easily and get a very good deal out of your card. Sadly against white and blue you will just be wasting cards and mana when they exile and bounce your dorks regardless of the Demonic Vigor. I like how this card offers some security and a bit of a tempo boost for such a low investment. This is exactly the sort of card to pressurize people with when you have a tempo edge. This sort of thing forces really awkward plays and I think would have made quite a nice addition to the cube had it been designed in such a way so as to function the same or similar way against all the colours.

Sylvan Awakening 1

Probably some combos here with creature untap effects but that is unlikely to be great in cube and will be more of a modern thing if at all. What I wonder about for this is how effective it can be as a win condition and sadly it feels like the answer is barely at all. To get anything to work well for a big finish with this card you need land untap effects and some kind of Overrun effect and that is all far too much work. I guess you can just get to 13 or more lands but that is even more farcical. Just play an Eldrazi if you think that is going to happen for you...

Charge 5

Cheapest and most efficient way to do a thing and so I expect this to see play. Probably in some Jeskai prowess deck but who knows, perhaps it is just effective enough to run in white weenie decks as a mini Overrun late and a mini combat trick early. It is versatile and combat tricks offer huge returns when they can be pulled off. Certainly a card I am going to test out a bit but I expect it to be a little low value overall and a touch too situational to cut it.

Sentinel of the Pearl Trident 0

Even with flash, at five mana this is just not very playable. That is just way too much of an investment for what you get back. The ability is beyond narrow as well. This will be some nice value in limited resetting sagas but this has no place in cube.

Drudge Sentinel 0

Cool looking card but far too much all round cost for what it does. A lot of people punt games by over valuing their Kytheon and paying to keep him alive when they shouldn't, when three mana would be far better used on other things. Suffice it to say Kytheon is a whole lot better than this!

Wizard's Lightning 7

Much as I  wasn't on board for the Counterspell version of this I hold out rather more hope for this one. I used the example of Rift Bolt and how that was bad and that I would rather a Searing Spear. Now I am presented with this offering and I find that there are a lot of decks where I would rather have this than a Searing Spear. The way in which this can cost 1 is far better than Rift Bolt. It is literally a Lightning Bolt when you have a wizard in play. You get to Bolt something for 3 for one mana at instant speed without giving up any information. Most of why this is better than Rift Bolt is that it is instant but it would still be a little bit better as a sorcery too. Ideally burn is used later in the game, you make dorks then kill theirs or make dorks and burn their face! That suits a cost reduction mechanism more than a suspend one as does using it as reach. How good this is will depend a lot on how many wizards wind up in the cube post Dominaria. I have nearly 20 presently and all of them are cards I would like to play along side Lightning Bolt. That being said, I would make that same claim for most cards... Probably on average this is about as good as a Searing Spear at best but it is at least rather more interesting of a card.

Broken Bond 1

An interesting blend of effects but if I am running Naturalize removal I am absolutely going to want it being instant over having some little quirk.

Fall of Thran 3

Intriguing! So now my Academy Rector can cast Armageddon you say? This absolutely will wind up in some enchantment prison decks. Other prison decks might try to use this with flicker effects but that seems a bit far fetched. This being an enchantment not only means white can abuse it with the Replenish and Rector cards but it can just tutor it and recur it like other colours seem to do with their things. I like the idea that Enlightened Tutor is getting more rounded in what it can do and may transition out of being a purely combo card. Outside of this being an enchantment that blows up all lands I don't think it has any real cube application. Like, how is paying 6 mana to Geddon better than paying 4? How is giving them lands back after casting Geddon better than not doing that? Basically in cube, run Armageddon or don't, Fall of Thran shouldn't factor in for conventional decks. Catastrophe is likely better than this in the conventional decks. While this isn't relevant to drafting cubes it does command some admiration for being a very well designed Armageddon effect. It is playable and very powerful but no where near as oppressive as the original. I am unusually interested to see if this has any impact on standard.

Torgaar, Famine Incarnate 4

Cool card with lots of application. Sac outlet, life gain or direct damage, big dork. Torgaar is unusual for sure. Turn 3 seems super easy to play this guy, all you need is a mana dork and another dork and three lands. Sadly I think even if you do them a clean 10 to the face the risk of eating a 3 for 1 is too ruinous. A single Unsummon and you are pretty done. I think this is too expensive to not cheat into play with sacrifices and too risky to do so with cards you want in their own right. I think the only place you can play this is in a tokens themed deck where you actively want to sac your dorks. While I do support such decks and find them to be very strong in a midrange cube this feels a little too non-essential and awkward to be any sort of mainstay in such places. A nice option but not enough to merit a cube slot I fear. Should still see some experimentation at least.

Keldon Overseer 0

This is just a bad Eldrazi Obligator. You are barely ever getting to seven in the kinds of decks that play this and so this seems like a very poor card indeed.

Corrosive Ooze 0

This is terrible as an answer to equips and not something you are running in any other capacity.

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