Wednesday, 13 June 2018

M19 Preliminary Reviews Part II

Salvager of Secrets 0

When Archaeomancer is too expensive for cube I see little hope for this thing. The extra power is not close to worth the mana and I don't see the tribal tags being relevant.

Sovereign's Bite 1

This is a face burn spell and burn decks don't want life gain. Bump in the Night is good because it is cheap and efficient. Lightning Helix is good because it is removal. This is not good because it is none of those things. I want to rule it out completely but it is a fairly big swing for the cost and it is lifegain in black. Although I can't being myself to fully rule it out I have absolutely no idea where you could play a card like this to good effect.

Sky Scanner 4

While pitifully low power this is quite appealing. In cube 1/1 fliers are really good and artifacts are typically useful. On a support card like this the artifact tag is always a bonus. On more valuable cards being opened up to a wider range of removal is usually bad but getting this Disenchanted is going to feel like a win. Sky Scanner will be good at keeping opposing walkers in check and protection your own. It will help with curving out and it will no doubt help with other more specific synergies. It feels like a more playable Solemn Simulacrum. The body is more useful and the cost is more suited to the type of card it is so while it is substantially less powerful than the Crum it looks like it has more playability. Given how much play Dusk Legion Zealot gets I can legitimately see this becoming a staple in my cube. I have marked it down because it seems mental giving this the 6/10 it legitimately could wind up being if it gets enough play to remain in my cube.

Sigiled Sword of Valeron 2

I rate this decently above Loxodon Warhammer which in it's time was not just cube worthy but actually powerful and strong. It was taking down games as late as 2011 happily sat in the arms of Thrun! Sadly it was not the power level of Warhammer that saw it cut but the vulnerabilities of the card which Sigiled Sword shares. You need to pay six mana and have a dork before this does anything and you have to dodge removal too. This will take over a game and win it far quicker and more effectively than a Sword of This and That but I fear the risk with Sigiled Sword is too high for that to be a strong game plan. I think the best chance this has of seeing cube play and being decent is in a knight tribal deck and presently that sounds rather low tier.

Prodigious Growth 0

Green has quite the array of these kinds of cards and none of them see play. None of them are as potent as Eldrazi Conscription either so I think we can probably safely move on.

Apex of Power 0

Well this is all rather extreme! While quite fun I don't see where I am playing this. You need to cast it as without the ten mana you are not doing all that much with the cards you exile. I want a card like this to win the game and this very much does not. Being so high cost you need to build your deck around casting it at which point casting it will just give you some random ramp, filter and defensive spells.

Aggressive Mammoth 0

I like this but it isn't good enough for cube. Far too easily traded with 1 for 1 without gaining you any value. If you want trample play Crash Through or indeed one of the many better options than this. If you want a fatty then again, you have many better options.

Gravewaker 0

Far too expensive on all fronts.

Riddlemaster Sphinx  3

A 5/5 flying Man-O-War for six sounds like a good deal. While Man-O-War still sees some play I am not sure this would despite being clearly more powerful per mana. The issue is that you want cards like Man-O-War to help you stabilize and fight early tempo. The bounce aspect of Sphinx is substantially worse than the same bounce on a three drop and you are playing such cards more for the bounce than the body. I like this card but it feels far too fair for a six mana card.

Highland Game 0

Just not close to enough power. Lone Missionary isn't even that good and it blows this out of the water. This is so crap I didn't even notice it is a reprint.

Aven Windmage 1

I probably prefer the 2/1 dorks with prowess to this although there will certainly be times that this is the best. Not that it matters much as these cards are too fair to feature much in cube. I don't expect I will play any of the iterations of this sort of card, I certainly won't need redundancy for them!

Vivien's Invocation 0

This is a fine card, I somewhat prefer it to things like Tooth and Nail. That being said, I don't think it is playable for much the same reasons I don't run Tooth and Nail. Basically if you are playing a big card in cube you want it to have a big effect. Playing a big card that just assists or enhances other big cards does one of two things. Either it leaves you painfully top heavy or it leaves you threat light. When this is good it is great, it saves a couple of mana and kills something for free. When it is bad it is shocking but I fear that the aspects of this card that you don't really see are what is worst about the card.

Fountain of Renewal 6

Perfect! This is exactly the kind of card the game needs and is really good design. Twenty life has felt thin for a while now with some of the punch dorks pack these days. While a higher starting life total would be an interesting change there is absolutely no need of doing so as you can affect that change by printing cards like this instead which is a much cleaner fix. This feels like the Chromatic Star equivalent of life gain. That being said, Mind Stone is a much better comparison in terms of design rather than feel. If what you need is not better colour fixing or indeed ramp but a little bit more of a life buffer then bingo, have a happy little Fountain of Renewal. I actually like that the cost to cash this in for a card is three mana, if it were two I think this would wind up too many decks. At three it is much more of a choice. You cannot easily just cash it in for value, it will take pretty much a whole turn and so to play this you will have to actively want life gain and have the ability to stomach long term investments. Fountain of Renewal is very much not a card that you can think of as reducing deck size as per Baubles or the Chromatic things I earlier compared this to. Things really need to cost one or less total before you can consider your deck as smaller and thus thinning down land counts. Fountain may feel like a Chromatic Star and have the design style of Mind Stone but it very much has the function of Ivory Tower. Fountain is better all round than Ivory Tower, it will go in all the deck types that used to be interested in the Tower and it will likely sneak into a few more as well as you don't need to maintain that large hand for it to work. Mostly it is about Fountain ultimately not being a dead card in the matchups where you don't need life as to why it is superior to Ivory Tower. It hasn't been good for a long time but Ivory Tower was legitimately one of the best lifegain tools in the game when cubes started to be a thing. A lot of decks needed it and a lot of them looked to Tower. It was a staple of the Necro decks as well as the blue based control decks. Fountain also has a decent shot of being used as generic artifact support in any deck that wants them. Being cheap and having the ability to be card neutral is usually more than enough to secure a slot in a lot of decks. Any that fancy some free life are going to be tossing this in going forwards. Really glad to see a card like this get printed and hopeful that more will follow.

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