Tuesday 19 June 2018

M19 Preliminary Reviews Part V

Satyr Enchanter 3

This will see some play but not a lot. It is not the lack of power that makes Mesa and Verduran Enchantress weak, it is their vulnerabiliy, which this has to the same degree. I think this has come too late, now there are enough quality cards you would want in a 40 card list themed around enchantments that this is going to be pretty unexciting. It will see play here and there but it wont add much nor make much difference, there was already enough redundancy in what this does and they were already the filler cards. This needed hexproof ideally although shroud would have made it fairer but then also sadly narrower. At least this will actually help enchantress decks in EDH!

Volley Veteran 3

I suspect this will actually make the shortlist for a lot of goblin decks. While it is mostly worse than a Flame-Tongue Kavu it is a goblin and it is a removal spell. It is nice to cost reduce, nice to haste up, nice to find with goblin digging effects, nice to sac to a Food Chain, and most of all it is nice to add in more removal to a goblin deck without having to remove goblins. Goblins is super tight and has many good cards to chose from. This isn't replacing Incinerator and Sparksmith but it might well complement them.

Mirror Image 1

I am sure this will have its uses being one of the cheaper Clone options out there. It also doesn't have the "downside" or relying on what your opponents are playing with. Despite feeling like a better designed card it is obviously a worse card as it has had options removed. Instead of being randomly situational it is win more and basically conditional. This will only really be a combo card and even then probably still third in line after the cheaper and better Clone options (Phantasmal Image and Metalmorph).

Evlish Clancaller 2

A cheap elf lord isn't really what elves are about. Archdruid being a lord for example can be a drawback if you were relying on Skullclamp to draw into more action and go off. There are aggressive elf decks but they are the least common and frankly the least potent of the ramp, combo and aggro directions you can take the tribe in. Elves kill with Overrun effects at which point Evlish Clancaller looks like under a third of a card. The second ability isn't great in general but it is a blank in most cubes. So, this is an OK card at best that also happens to be off theme. It is cheap and has scaling so I expect it to get dabbled with. But I neither expect that to happen often nor anyone to conclude that it is good.

Dark-Dweller Oracle 7.5

Now this is one of the most exciting cards thus far from the set. A low cost dork with reasonable stats and a fantastic ability that is immediately active. I expect to see this all over the shop. It is great in RDW in the way that Battlefield Scavenger was used. Just a nice dual purpose card that affords some selection, dig or value while being a cheap proactive card you can develop the board with. Dark-Dweller Oracle will be like that in the role it does but it will do that role a whole lot better due to actually being a decent powerful card. You will also find Oracle doing work in any token deck. It turns Dragon Fodder into value, Rabblemaster into super value, turns on Blood Artist etc, or indeed just digs into your deck to find such cards. I am sure this will pop up in goblin builds going forward as well. It is just too much like Skullclamp to not wind up in creature decks. This is the perfect kind of card for cube. It is especially good in some archetypes due to functions and types however it is broad enough in utility and high enough in power that it will be a cool new mainstay for drafting cubes. I love how the instant speed of the sacrifice ability is tempered by the reduced utility of playing random cards from your deck of which only flash and instant cards have any value. I also like how the low cost of the ability is tempered by diminishing value each turn as your mana dwindles and your lands drops are consumed. This is a great example of how you can push power level on cards without making oppressive cards. Oracle is also going to be a skill intensive card to play due to the unknown aspects of the mechanic.

Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner 0

Weird design. Intriguing but never in a way that made me consider this for cube. Mostly I was curious about the hexproof ability and how it compares to haste, which is actually favourably in a lot of cases. As reliable damage or as a blocker it is a whole lot better. As a finisher it is worse. But yea, interest aside, a three colour dork has to be better than this, poor Palladi-Mors isn't as good as most mono coloured cube six drops.

Resplendent Angel 7

This is far too much stuff on a fine baseline not to be good. A 3/3 flier for 3 is OK, it might well wind up going 1 for 1 with removal but it will have a significant impact on most games when not and isn't a savage setback when so. Three CMC is roughly the upper limited on dorks that fail to provide value or protection in the face of spot removal (with some exceptions for the absurdly potent). Flying scales well so compared to many other three drops it will be more relevant late game even before we look at the abilities. Both of those abilities are threatening even without ever being used. They make Replendent Angel a lot scarier. Both are relatively infrequent but they are sufficiently powerful that they need respecting. Getting a Serra Angel token at the end of any turn in which you gained 5 life is a big win. A 3 mana Serra Angel token is not for off decent on its own, it is nuts on top of a another good 3/3 angel. That should put most games out of reach, let alone making more than one token! Then we have the ability to pump this dork. A +2/+2 and lifelink gain until EoT is pretty limp at six mana, it is hard to do and somewhat low powered when you do. It is unlikely to stave off removal. What it does critically do however is trigger the token making which is suddenly all sorts of worth the mana. It means that Resplendent Angel has that danger, like a 2/2 Nissa with six lands in play, or a 4/4 Figure of Destiny with five lands in play. Opponents may be able to weather a 3/3 flier but they will have to deal with Resplendent Angel regardless as it is just too much when reaching that six mana mark. This is a very powerful card that is solid from most view points. It is good early and late in a game and has a very high power level. It has a high floor and a very high ceiling. It offers interesting synergies while also being a self contained entity. It is pretty spot on for the sorts of cards that do well in cube. Mostly I want to combo this with Scroll of Avacyn but I cannot sensibly add that to the cube just for this!

Liliana's Spoils 0

This isn't good enough at all but I love elements of the card. Mostly the digging for black cards bit. I want to see more of that kind of mechanic. Sadly this is far too expensive for discard and far too slow and tempo scuppering as a value card. It has a whiff of Foresee about it but sadly it needed to be better than that to have a shot. Perhaps if it were Coercion rather than Raven's Crime but even then it is pushing it.

Magistrate's Scepter 1

I  had completely forgotten about this card. It is at least a lot better now than it was in Masques block due to charge counter shenanigans although that was probably the case by Scars of Mirrodin... I want to make a Coretapper plus Power Conduit style deck that abuses this! Sounds like it will be too thin for cube and just too weak and fragile for modern. Fun though! Unless you are putting counters on this for free or otherwise abusing the charge up mechanics on this it is a long way form viable. Once you find good ways to do this it looks interesting but more in a fun way than a good way.

Ajani's Last Stand 1

So this is awful if you ever cast it being a conditionally delayed token of the size you could get a better real dork on time for at the same cost. When you get to toss this to a Liliana activation you might well just win the game off the back of it. Lots of cards do that against discard already though and they barely ever see play as it is not a sufficiently big hose for a sideboard slot. While I typically prefer a Wilf-Leaf Liege, Metrognome, Obstinate Baloth or Loxodon Smiter for my discard protection with them mostly being better things to normally cast there is some merit in the Last Stand mostly due to the flying and how that will more reliably counter planeswalkers. This is sideboard only and not something I expect I will ever use.

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