Monday, 17 September 2018

Guilds of Ravnica Preliminary Review Part VIII

Hunted Witness 4

Sacred Cat meets Doomed Traveler. Both of those cards get some mild play in the appropriate type of token themed lists and so will this. Doomed Traveler is certainly better than this but the key words are fairly minor, it is all about the two bodies in one on the cheap. As yet these cards are not performing in my drafting cube but the way it is going it is only a matter of time! Everything is getting lower and wider and that is what this does best.

Swiftblade Vindicator 2

I'm not sure I rate this above the original Boros Swiftblade. One toughness is low and dangerous, especially for a card you plan to be investing in. You don't play doublestrike unless you have some synergies with it. If you are doing that then most of what you care about on your doublestrike dude is survivability. Vigilance and trample don't do that. So yeah, this is narrow and probably not even all that good. Nice with mentor but still not better than alternatives. Perhaps this does allow for a doublestrike themed deck?! Sounds worse than a normal aggressive deck...

"Detour" 1

I sense more Maze's End decks in my future. Beyond that I doubt this will see any love given Explosive Vegitation is yet to make an appearance in my cube. That may not sound too damning so to put in in more context: Lagonna-Band Trailblazer has seen play in two decidedly different decks in the last month in my cube!

Omnispell Adept 1

It is pretty hard to save mana with this, your are eight down already by the time you play your spell which leaves very few spells indeed that this is a saving for. Sure, repeat uses will save some mana over time but that is not what cards like this are really for and that is basically why I don't think it has any real chance. It is hard to fully rule out any cards in magic, especially those which cheat mana costs, and so I won't in this case. Never the less I think this is pretty terrible for cube being too slow and vulnerable. Probably great in EDH though!

Connive // Concoct 4

I think this card is great in a Reanimate deck and even better in a cube supporting Reanimate themes. It is a great tool for empowering a combo being both an answer card or a combo piece. If your cube doesn't have those really tasty 7 and 8 drop dorks and good ways to get them in the bin then this probably isn't quite there for a draft cube. Connive is a great situational mode to have on a card but it needs something that is always playable to support it and Concoct is not quite there without a reliable good target in the bin. Sometimes getting back that 3 drop will be what you need but mostly you want access to game changing top end and outside of reanimate decks and green ramp decks you just don't get that density of fatties. I like how this will let you flip and recur an original Eldrazi before it reshuffles and that could well get it some play in other forms of cheat in deck like Sneak and Show or Oath. Nice card that will see plenty of non-draft play and one I will certainly give a chance to perform in the drafting cube despite expecting it to fail with my current setup.

Ritual of Soot 1

Consume the Meek for one less but at sorcery and allowing for regeneration! I don't think this is going to make any waves what with Consume having done so little. I see Ritual of Soot as an overpriced Infest much more than a Wrath of God. Black has plenty of good tools for dealing with little chaff dorks and it can do it cheaper. There is merit to Smothering everything at instant speed what with things like manlands but Ritual of Soot is of no help there. Languish does a much better job than this and that isn't really enough either. I give this a one solely because you can make it pretty one sided with delve, convoke and affinity cards able to dodge it. Likely not a great plan but nice that there is now decent redundancy for such things.

Creeping Chill 3

Very interesting indeed! A Narcomoeba effect card but in spell form. Now this is clearly terrible to cast and thus terrible to draw and have in your hand. It is also pretty awful of an effect to run in a deck that isn't aggressively threatening life totals or using life as a payment. All told this card is supremely narrow. That being said it is also very potent in that it is a free 6 point life swing, a Lightning Helix to the face, for zero mana and zero cards when you mill it. Your typical return for a zero mana zero card effect is looking at a card somewhere. Stuff you can get for free can be worth building around! I expect to be seeing this in several places, both in cube and out of it. This will be great with Doom Whsiperer, it will let you carry on milling! It feels like it effectively Forks itself too should you play it from your library with a card like Future Sight. I forget the name of the one from Dominaria that is standard legal and care too little to look it up for the reference! It does feel like there is going to be some kind of Dimir self mill deck in standard with the tools it is getting. If it can mill the whole deck easily then you can pretty much just win with the Chills and the Narcomoebas. In cube this is just going to be a bit of nice filler in self mill lists, there is a long way of enough cards like this for that to be your main plan.

Trostani Discordant 2

Very powerful and flavourful. My concern with this is that it doesn't add anything new to the picture. It is just more bodies and more buffs. If you want buffs you should be playing Dictate of Heliod or Gavony Township or many other cards on a long list of more efficient tools. If you want a one man army then there are a lot of comparable cards that are mono coloured and thus afford a lot more play potential. Angel of Invention springs to mind as does Regal Caracal, Ishkana, even Cloudgoat Ranger. While not all these cards offer more stats than Trostani they do all offer more playability and often also more reach or option density. The Brooding Suarion mode is a nice perk but it will come up fairly infrequently. Trostani doesn't save you from burn or from fliers or from Wraths. She isn't reach or card advantage. Certainly powerful but not in the right ways for a gold five drop.

"Maximize Velocity" 4

Stupid spoiler got me excited with this being instant but alas it is a far less exciting sorcery. Despite that nerf the card still has a lot of potential. Too niche and low key to be a great drafting cube card but I suspect many a constructed deck will look to this for support. It plays very nicely with prowess cards, any sort of graveyard synergies, mentor, doubletrike, and I am sure there are plenty I have overlooked. This is just a cheap card that provides lots of options. I may well be underrating it too. It might just be cheap and scary enough that it sticks. I will certainly be trialing it in the drafting cube and imagine it won't be awful even if it doesn't stick. It feels like Lava Dart and Reckless Charge merged and that is a pretty good pair of cards to resemble. Charge is probably better and sadly Charge is just too reliant on having targets to be good for it to be a sensible include in too many lists. Maximize Velocity has the same issue. It is also less powerful and leans entirely on being a little cheaper and better at supporting synergies. Regardless of where this ends up it will see some action and it is really elegant design. Always impressive to see a one drop with a lot going on, that is both mild in power yet high in interest and potential. Especailly one that seems fairly playable as standard.

Dimir Spybug 0.5

Almost certainly not enough support for this to come close to doing what it would need to even to get a look in at a constructed deck. There is effectively zero chance this is making the drafting cube at any point. In fact it is only really the existence of Doom Whisperer and Creeping Chill that make this seem like you could grow it enough to be good. That, if anything, sounds like a standard deck and not at all a cube one.

Enhanced Surveillance 2

Much like Spybug, this is just going to need too many cards with the mechanic to be worth it. In standard however this seems like it is going to make some lists. This might however legitimately see some play as a blue or enchantment means of reshuffling your graveyard into your deck. Most of those are green or artifact at present.

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