Saturday 23 June 2018

M19 Preliminary Reviews Part VIII

Aviation Pioneer 0

A blue Seller of Songbirds. I like these kinds of cards but this is clearly far too low down on the power. Thopter Engineer is a lot more card than this and it is yet to breach the drafting cube (although not at all far off).

Ajani's Welcome 2

This is rather worse than Soul Warden and co. due to only triggering off your own dorks and because it will not trigger other such cards itself. The advantage Welcome does have is that it is more resilient than the creature versions. I can see this making some Soul Sisters lists but it certainly isn't an auto include despite being a one drop engine support card.

Dryad Greenseeker 6

This is a green Sinbad with +2 toughness. Or indeed, just still a green Fa'adiyah Seer with the bigger bum. I rate this but I can see it winding up a little too unthreatening to be a mainstay. I like this because it is probably able to draw near half a card a turn on average and that it is a mere two mana and that it is able to defend reasonably while doing so. It is Courser of Kruphix at -1/-1 for G less to play. It doesn't even concede as much information. That is probably a reasonable trade off for not being able to attack and dig for lands at the same time. Not so much for the lifegain. Dryad isn't actually all that close to Courser in power. Courser is just much more relevant on the board and rather more threatening and much more rounded. Even so, I like this little value dude a lot. A big upgrade on Sigiled Starfish!

More Planeswalker deck stuff 0

More cool uses of the colour locked Impulse effects but all rather too far from the power curve. The green Skalla Wolf is closest and still no. I want cards of this design to be good enough but I absolutely don't want to see planeswalker deck cards being good enough!

Graveyard Marshall 5

Well this is certainly above curve but it also feels like a very bad Scrapheap Scrounger. A 3/2 is a fairly poor defensive statline so despite his being one of few over statted one and two drop black dorks than comes in untapped and has the capacity to block that probably is not what you want to do with it when playing in. Gifted Aetherborn is the BB midrange and control two drop you are going to play if you are into the blocking game. This will see play in tribal decks but only because they are thin on one and two drop dorks of sufficient power. I do not expect to see this cutting it in drafting cubes mostly due to being so black heavy. Reflecting on my comparison to Scrapheap I actually now feel this is more like Herald of Anafenza or Precinct Captain in that it is vulnerable to removal but it able to dominate a board with enough time which are things you absolutely cannot do with Scrounger. One thing Marshall does do well is coming down on 8 mana say and having the ability to make an instant pair of dorks, like a really shite Grave Titan! More realistically he comes down on five making one token at opponents EoT and another two the following one. This is above curve on two and scales up well. I should like it more than I do but the lack of any immediate value or effect on top of the BB cost are rather a turn off for me.

Runic Armasaur 7

I expect this to be very powerful indeed. That statline is oppressive for aggressive decks, even those packing bigger threats. Armasaur will basically require hard removal to clear out of the way. It might not have loads of attacking power but the huge arse on Armasaur will allow it to attack pretty safely and pressure planeswalkers or even players eventually. About 35% of dorks in my cube have an ability that will trigger Armasaur. That alone makes it pretty likely to be relevant in most games. Then we have all the lands that will trigger it as well, notably the sac lands. Armasaur will likely force a situation or so where you get a card out of it and likely prevent a few more from happening so as to avoid giving away yet more cards. It is hard to call this disruptive as it doesn't prevent anyone from doing anything. It certainly poses a big inconvenience however and makes plenty of things not worth doing. Good flavourful design and a nice solid all round card I expect to see in loads of green decks. It is somewhere between a Harsh Mentor and a Courser of Kruphix in feel.

Departed Deckhand 3

This isn't potent enough for general cube use but I suspect it is a lock in for spirit tribal builds as they are short on one and two drops. This is also more resilient than Phantasmal Bear as abilities don't kill it. As such you are not that likely to suffer blowouts playing this. That isn't the problem, it is just that an unblockable bear in blue isn't very exciting. The ability is OK but a bit expensive to have a huge impact, especially in a spirit deck where most things already evade somehow. Mr Saint Traft perhaps is a big fan of this pirate!

One with the Machine 1

Myr Enforcer draw 7! Nice fantasy but not worth the setup or build around needed. Even with the potential to draw seven this is quite a hard card to play and is unlikely to see any cube use.

Stitcher's Supplier 4

This is an amazing support card but it is not one that is going to be useful in a drafting cube, or at least not as yet. Any build with heavy graveyard synergies, perhaps with zombie and/or creature sacrifice themes as well, is going to be rather keen on this. Cube doesn't have the consistency that constructed does for drafting the heavy synergy decks and so that combined with being very low stand alone power level is why this isn't going to perform in a drafting cube. When you get to build with this then it will do loads for rather little. I am looking forward to Gravecrawlers, free Cabal Therapies and Vengevine in concert with Supplier. This will fill a role very similar to Hedron Crab in a self mill list and in a lot of ways it will out perform the little Crab.

Sai, Master Thopterist 5

This is a lovely little card although it is a little hard to know where it fits. In a deck with loads of Baubles and Chromatic stuff Sai is outstanding as a Pia Nalaar style value three drop. In a deck without such things Sai is mostly a 1/4 worth neither the card or the mana you spend on him. There is some combo application for Sai I am sure but making a bunch of 1/1 fliers isn't a win on the spot without more to back it up. I don't see this outclassing Thopter Foundry in that regard. Like, you could ram Sai into an Ironworks deck and go pretty nuts with it but you just don't need to do that, you are better off running win conditions that win more reliably like Spellbomb on the spot or Emrakul. I also don't see Sai working well in affinity or other aggro artifact builds. Being a 3 mana 1/4 means he will come too late to the party to have the desired effect. He is also a shocking late game top deck. For Sai to work out well I think you need him in slower decks, blue tempo builds, midrange decks and perhaps even the odd artifact heavy control list. I feel Sai needs too specific of a deck with too much direct support, of which, there isn't a huge supply, to really shine. The card is very powerful but it doesn't seem to have the playability needed for a drafting cube.

Valiant Knight 1

Not a great card on its own with relatively few knights kicking about, even post Dominaria. I would play this in a tribal knights deck but it would only be OK in such a deck and such a deck is also going to be very low tier if even viable.

Lena, Selfless Champion 0

This just seems like a Captain of the Watch with a much much bigger range. Sadly most of that extra range is to be found well below the floor of Captain and Captain isn't all that itself. On a sparse to empty board Lena is an embarrassment. Her Selfless Spirit ability is nice but it doesn't save her. Six is the sort of mana where you are moving out of range of creature heavy decks too.

Goblin Trashmaster 3

We are getting to the point where you could legitimately make an EDH goblin deck without having to stretch yourself to get there. Goblins have so many options and good cards to choose from. I like this card but I do not expect to see it all that often in 40 card goblin decks. It is likely best as a sideboard tool and even then I imagine I would rather some Shattering Spree sort of effect for handling artifacts. Trashmaster is one of the better ways to give your Gobbos +1/+1 in mono red, likely 2nd or 3rd best and it also offers some nice utility. In the builds looking to go wider and with more token generation I can see this being too good to pass up. In the more classic Onslaught style of goblins deck this might just be too far up the curve and too poor as a stand alone to make the cut. One of the big issues with such decks is having your early stuff stick, you need to develop a board for cards like this to be good and that can be hard to achieve. There is not that much room for new 3 CMC and greater goblins and so this will have to fight with cards like Krenko for deck space. Much as this is only a tribal card it feels like being a tribal goblin card isn't anywhere near the narrowness of other tribes what with it being the most powerful tribe, having the most stand alone playables within the tribe, and the most diverse in archetypes.

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