Thursday, 15 March 2018

Dominaria Initial Review Part VIII

Mox Amber 3

Well well well. We have ourselves the fourth of the "fair" Mox. Amber is a nice follow on from Opal giving us a pair of card disadvantage Mox and a pair of precondition ones. Amber is absolutely the least oppressive of the Mox and will have the least possible abuses but it will absolutely still be abused. Zero mana and provides a mana? Deal. Only triggering from creatures and walkers keeps Amber pretty safe early. Such things are easy to interact with and typically not very combo orientated. The most impressive things I can think to do with Amber in a general sense are just to make another one drop beater on turn on alongside a Zurgo, Kytheon or Isamru. Most other uses will be in a combo shell or at least for some specific synergies, say helping to flip Erayo! I am not sure there is any reason I would want to play this in a deck with loads of planeswalkers just so I could have a mana up after making one on curve. Perhaps if my list was full of great one mana answer cards that would help protect said walker. Generally I think a Talisman would be better so as to get the walker into play a turn sooner! Mox Amber will be great in a couple of places because Mox are great! Those will be far fewer in number than any Mox previous to the card and substantially less powerful. I look forward to trying to find the best way to milk this Mox for power. Certainly one of the more interesting cards in the set.

Voltaic Servant 2

Playable and versatile filler but not abusive or all that exciting. If you have things like Mana Vault then this is great in the same way Key is. It will afford a nice influx of mana and general utility while offering some nice defensive board presence. Too narrow for drafting cubes but certainly a consideration for heavy artifact constructed decks.

Damping Sphere 3

I don't normally rate sideboard technology so highly but this does a really good job of calming down a number of abusive, unfun and unfair things in magic. This nails storm down, it calms down Cradle, Academy, Workshop and even just things like Ancient Tomb and Eldrazi Temple. I expect to see a lot of these kicking around in legacy and vintage. I am not sure if the design is perfect as those formats are so quick you probably need to be running your own Ancient Tomb to power this out in time! It gives players on the play a bigger edge than usual but it is still a welcome tool to help level the playing field somewhat. Certainly a much less oppressive control card than something like Chalice of the Void.

Johira's Familiar 1

Much as I love cost reduction effects they rapidly lose value beyond two mana and this one is slapped on an ever so vulnerable 2/2 making it an unwise crutch to lean on in most builds. It would only have been a constructed style card even if it was rather better suited to its role.

Blackblade Reforged 0

Five mana minimum and nine should you fail to have a legend? Pretty laughable. Sure this scales well and will lead to huge dorks but huge isn't all that useful. You need evasion or value generation and ideally more gravy too.

Sparring Construct 2.5

This is probably good enough to run in most builds of affinity as just a bad Arcbound Worker. While Worker isn't spicy enough for modern it is still an auto include in cube affinity lists and so the Construct likely will be too. I don't see any other lists that would really want this despite having more utility than Acrbound Worker outside of an artifact based deck.

Forbear's Blade 0

This is a lot closer to viable than Blackblade Reforged. It provides the evasion required and would work very nicely in a token style deck. Sadly this is a 6 mana investment to get online and that simply isn't going to get it done in cube. In combination with cards that automatically or freely equip then perhaps this has some hope but ultimately I think people will gravitate towards Swords instead (and not incorrectly I should add).

Navigator's Compass 2

I love it but it isn't enough for a drafting cube and probably isn't enough even in most of the tailored decks that might be interested in this kind of effect. This is great ongoing fixing with a touch of utility and a chunk of bonus extra life. I like life as a sweetener on this kind of card but you need it to be playable before hand and without some way to recuperate the card cost this just isn't in any general sense. I am sure this will crop up somewhere in some exotic builds, in other formats if not in cube, as cheap cards have a habit of doing!

Helm of the Host 1

When winning more simply isn't enough for you and you need to win by the most more then look no further! For a mere 9 mana plus a high powered threat you can crush people in the most filthy of ways. Ever not been satisfied by attacking with just one Emrakul? Ever thought your Grave Titan wasn't quite giving you the board control you felt you deserved?  To be fair, you can just use this with cheap and middling power dorks from Elvish Visionary to Hanwier Garrison and it will be very potent. The way I see this is like a Recurring Nightmare that offers to be more mana efficient and board dominating over a long time period but has an extortionate upfront mana cost and risk factor. It is much more the risk factor that rules this out than the mana cost. As you can split the 9 up pretty evenly this could be played in most kinds of decks and would offer all sorts of value and reach. The issue is when you eat removal at the wrong time and spend 9 mana and a card for a huge loss in tempo. Then you have lost. Helm of the Host brings sufficient power that if you had the right tools to cheat it out and onto dorks while protecting them then it may see a little cube attention.

Urza's Tomb 0

Even if you make it so that this is all draw and no loots it is still far too slow to be exciting in cube. Cards like this are how you ensure losing to the person making one mana dorks.

Howling Golem 1

I am not sure what this is for. It seems overcost on stats and it seems to broadly have a drawback ontop of that. Certainly you can abuse the symmetry but then if you are doing that then removal on your 3 mana 2/3 is going to make you very sad. I kind of like the card but it feels very hard to run in a way that doesn't make your deck worse.

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