Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Dominaria Initial Review Part VI

Radient Lightning 0

So if I understand correctly the new damage redirect rules this thing simply can't ever hit planeswalkers. Not that doing so would be enough to make this card good but it would go a long way to helping. This card is too much all over the place. Either play Shake the Foundations or play Lava Spike, this has no place really anywhere outside of limited sideboards.

Territorial Allosurus 2

Nice card and nice design but sadly it sits between Foe-Razer Regent and Polukranos and not in a good way. Given the choice you are always playing one of those two over this. Being a 4 mana 5/5 is nice but if you use it in this mode then you have lost the ability to be removal. As a seven drop this is pretty low powered and simply doesn't compare at all well to the things you can do at seven. A nice rounded card but given how little play Polukranos currently gets there is no place in cube for this. Time to wait on a tribal dino deck!

Gift of Growth 0

I spent ages trying to work out why this was so bad and then I finally spotted the untap part of the card. Still not close to cube worthy but quite a beating in limited, not really something you can't predict and play round that easily.

The First Eruption 1

Well this card really is all over the place! It feels too conditional to be any good but it is sufficiently out there that I could be rather off with this card. For starters a 3 mana sorcery speed ping to all dorks is very low powered in addition to the situational nature of it. The ramp the following turn could be nice but it could equally do nothing. It is quite late ramp and so only a few decks (those with 6 drops) will be able to fully utilize it. The last mode is more of the first but with some actual kick. Sadly waiting three turns on mass removal is a non starter.  Also, killing off a mountain in a deck with six drops isn't ideal. I want to give this 0/10 but it is just too different.

Verix Bladewing 5

Mr and Mrs Bladewing shot themselves in the foot with their kids names. Imagine having Tom, Ron, Dom and John as your siblings. No one would ever have a clue who was being talked to. Verix does seem to be the best of the Bladewings although I am not sure if he is quite enough for cube. It feels like Rekindling Phoenix probably trumps it and Phoenix itself is a little slow and clunky. Verix is a nice playable version of Broodmate Dragon which is still an incredibly potent card. Verix is not exactly more powerful than Broodmate but being just red and having a four mana mode are enough to more than offset the seven mana cost to get Karox as well. Worth a test but I am not expecting big things.

The Flame of Keld 7.5

OK, this saga gets me excited. In the way that Bedlam Reveler is immensely powerful so is the Flame of Keld. Both are awkward to build with in their own way but Flame is substantially easier to work with. Both can cost two but Flame always does and doesn't demand a high instant and sorcery count to even be playable. Both ideally want low or empty hands when played at which point both can be efficient card advantage. Reveller is then just a mid level dork (which is still totally great, getting that 4 for 1 feeling for a mere RR is power 9 levels of powerful). Flame of Keld is a powerful and abusive game ender. Insult // Injury is a big deal in red decks and this just seems a lot lot better in the physical effect. It is less of an investment but critically it is no mana cost at all on the turn it triggers allowing you to spend your mana so as to milk the value. Although the third phase of Flame has worse synergy with the big hitters like Fireblast it is actually all about things like Thermo-Alchemist, Lava Dart and Goblin Bombardment. They are cheaper and more common kinds of effects and are tripled in value by Flame of Keld. rather than the doubling from Insult.. For one mana and one mountain you can do 18 damage with just those three cards on a phase III Flame turn! The only thing that keeps this fair is that you have to wait two turns on it. You can't flop it out turn two for a turn four phase III as you will be discarding far too much from your hand. I mean, perhaps you do if your hand is all Bloodghast, Memnite and Basking Rootwalla! (sadly none of those are red and so none help with your phase III scaling). I suspect turn four or five will be more common times to flop Flame of Keld down meaning turn six or seven for the win phase! This will give most other decks some chance to either win before hand or setup some kind of defense against the imminent onslaught. Flame of Keld will lead to some really difficult decision making for the person using it, mostly in timing it right. Too early and you throw away too many cards in hand to win and too late and you die before you get any returns. Intriguing card that I am very keen to play with. Probably the highlight of the set, if not for power for the interest and anticipation at least. It is a somewhat narrow card that gets a pass because the few homes it might have sit at the top of the cube archetypes in ranking.

Hallar, the Firefletcher 0

Not enough kicker for this to have much hope in cube. By quite a long way, you would need a significant percentage of the cube as kicker cards before this looked at all good. There isn't really enough good kicker cards period to consider a build around for this and it is far too lacking in power for that to be worth doing. The one aspect I like about Hallar is the potential to load up on +1/+1 counters and do a big chunk with a kicker spell. I like it, but it isn't worth doing.

Aryel, Knight of Windgrace 4

I like this more than most expensive gold cards. I prefer it in general to Huntsmaster of the Fells for example. Despite that I don't see this making the cube. It is just a bit slow and easy to go 1 for 1 with. It rather fails the Jace TMS test amongst others. If this is your only relevant thing on the board and they just make a Jace and bounce it you are probably dead. Once you get going with Aryel she is like a powerful planeswalker that needs some mana sinking into her. She will be able to take control of most situations, she is like Olivia Voldaren more than any other card and of a comparable power level.  Aryel might be potent enough once she gets going to be a consideration but like a lot of the nearly there cards from this set, she will need to significantly outperform expectation to do that. The bar for this kind of thing is just so high now. Both Olivia and Huntsmaster for example were culled quite some time ago and are not being missed at all.

Tiana, Ship's Caretaker 0

Poor body and narrow effect on top of the inherent narrowness of gold. No abuses to be found here either. A fine enough limited card at least...

Firesong and Sunspeaker 0

Some cute effects but they need support and they are far from game winning. This needed to be way more than a 4/6 to merit a six mana tag, not to mention what it needs further to compensate for being gold. I suspect we are talking at least a couple of key words and some extra stats thrown in. I do want to cast Lightning Helix with one of these in play but not enough to ever play this card...

Primeval's Glorius Rebirth 2

Now this is the kind of power that can make a top end card seem interesting. It would not be at all hard to set up a truly devastating cast of one of these. It would be a lot easier to then cast this if it were blue or green instead of white. Being able to play this off the back of a planeswalker that can mana ramp such as old Teferi would actually be quite an interesting combo deck. The combination of recurring planeswalkers and legends from your bin all at once while giving nothing for your opponent should be able to overcome any sort of situation and win with ease. Tooth and Nail could win with ease and this has the potential to be way more powerful. Certainly it requires more setup but it is effectively uncapped for scaling. This is all a bit too specific I fear, you might just as well play other cheaper and easier recursion combos.

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