Sunday, 24 June 2018

M19 Preliminary Reviews Part XI

Dragon's Hoard 1

Three mana ramp has to double ramp to be cube worthy. That or it has to do good stuff beyond ramping. Cultivator's Caravan didn't last in my cube so the bar is pretty high. Drawing cards is great and this does it for no extra mana cost. The trouble is that you need dragons to power up the draw and there are very few of those. Even one charge makes this pretty good but you cannot come close to relying on that, even in a deck with a pair of dragons in it, which is about the most you can sensibly pick and play. It is gold counters too so you can't even abuse this with Energy Chamber style cards. I will run this in tribal dragons but that is going to be really struggling to beat anything so shouldn't carry much weight.

Suncleanser 1

A counter to energy decks although not too savage of one and rather too late to the party for standard! In cube energy decks are not really a thing and so this has to perform based entirely on its effect on creatures. You can use it to reset a half dead persist or undying creature. You can use it to kill a Hangerback Walker very neatly. There are a bunch of other cute uses for it but ultimately that is all this is in cube, cute. The card needed to be good on its own when there are no countered up creatures to tinker with and it very much fails at doing that.

Ravenous Harpy 1

If this was free to use I would be all over it. It would be a nutty new Carrion Feeder. With the cost it is still surprisingly playable but it is just a bit pricey overall and annoying and will just get beaten to getting played by one of the many alternate options that is either cheaper or has a better baseline.

Doublecast 0

Just a substantially worse Reverberate / Fork effect.

Pshycic Corrosion 1

A simplified and weaker version of Sphinx's Tutelage that is only better in mutiplayer. You might use this in a Jace's Erasure deck but I suspect you can find better ways to mill someone out. And milling people to death in 40 card decks isn't very clever or popular if you are constructing your lists!

Arcane Encyclopedia 0

Poor Jayemdae Tome, heavily outclassed by an unplayable card.

Druid of Horns 0

Powerful effect but putting auras on your 4 mana 2/3 is literally the magic equivalent on removing all your clothes below the waste and bending over a barrel.

Tezzeret, Artifice Master 6

Most interesting indeed. Finally an iteration of Tezzeret that does not rely on having an artifact themed deck to be viable. Obviously Artifice Master is better in an artifact heavier deck but he loses little without and that is the important thing. Six loyalty and an extra 1/1 flying blocker is pretty tough to take down in combat. Fliers are great, they are one of the best ways to close out games and control walkers in cube. Sadly Tezz is a little on the slow side for that. Using Tez to kill a generic walker all by himself is going to take ages and that is assuming they cannot handle 1/1 dorks themselves. Artifice Master has great abilities but he is very slow to pull ahead with. Imagine how unplayable Bitterblossom would be at five, even if it gained life rather than losing it. Tez feels a little win more just because of how slow he is. If you can make him when you are ahead you are going to pull really far ahead, you are going to have the board, have card advantage and have the ability to handle any walkers they might make against you. If however you are at all behind I think it will be hard to swing it round with Tez. I am not sure I rate the ultimate all that highly either. To get there you need to +1 four times, a full Lingering Souls, of which you should have managed to attack for 10 with already! Sounds like just making more 1/1 fliers is safer at that point, certainly one more so you get to keep your Tez around after the -9 but then you will have had the potential to do 15 with Thopters! The only time I can see this ult being good in a 1v1 setting is when you need to tutor up a specific answer, say find the Massacre Wurm to kill all the 1/2 reach spider tokens in play. I like new Tez but I suspect he will under perform. I think he will be fine in cube but I don't think he will be impressive. Tamiyo looks weaker but is rather better suited to the kinds of things you want to do. The -2 draw cards mode on Tamiyo is far weaker than Tezz's card draw, it is situational and costly. Despite this it is more effective, when you do use it you get a huge influx of cards right away. Tamiyo's ult adds to her a lot as it is an actual threat and offers a useful new avenue. Her plus one is also far more useful protection for the later stages of the game and offers more immediate and diverse disruptive capabilities. Tamiyo isn't even very good anymore, just a bit slow and clunky. I hope I am wrong about Tez, I could well be, his individual parts are all great, it is just the way they come together that feels weak. I don't even think he is a weak card, I peg him around Ob Nixilus Reignited. Both are strong cards but typically outclassed and edged out of decks by the five mana Confluences in those colours. The power of cube slowly rising is pricing out the fairer walkers these days.

Transmogrifying Wand 2

I am not entirely sure what to make of this. I think it might be really strong if it didn't restrict you to sorcery speed removal. Even so, it is cheap, overall it is 2 mana per dork to kill a dork. It is kind of like three Beast Within contained in one card but limited to targeting creatures and sorcery speed. While most colours do have access to their own removal options not all that many have the ability to take out three dorks with just one card. While that might appeal I think the removal colours of Mardu will not look to use this ever as the 2/4 Ox is still rather relevant. Blue and green are the colours that most need creature kill and they are also the best positioned to cope with 2/4 tokens. The issue is that you have to be killing high value targets with Wand for it to be a good deal. If you kill most one or two drops you are just changing the card a bit, you need to be killing big serious cards for it to really feel like value and removal. Like, even if I kill a six drop on the first activation it feels like a pretty even trade. I value a 2/4 token at about two mana and the Wand plus use is the other four. Wand is a poor tempo removal card and is more of an out to awkward cards. It is far too clunky and narrow in the places that would want it for it to be a good draft cube card. It does however make the prospects of Simic control more promising.

Vampire Neonate 2

A long way off a powerful card but this does have some merit in tribal builds where you can expect to buff it with various lords. Stat heavy robust cheap dorks are a great way to ensure your lords actually do stuff of use when you make them. This does quite a lot even if none of it is super impressive. Certainly this looks pretty awful and it is all by itself. The key to cards like this is not forgetting that the cheaper a card is the better it scales with synergy cards.

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