Tuesday 18 September 2018

Guilds of Ravnica Preliminary Review Part IX

Disinformation Campaign 2.5

I rather like this. While it is low powered and fairly hard to abuse with surveil I think it is rather more easily abused with other things. Flicker effects go very nicely with the Campaign as do some enchantment synergies. Neither are super powerful combos but they are generally useful and have a good high floor on them. I expect to make use of this card in a couple of decks, all of which unusual and all tuned constructed decks. For general use in cube this is too fair for a three mana card of a gold card.

Lotleth Giant 1

Mostly all this does is make the haste undergrowth elf revealed earlier much less playable. Now if you are going to mill your whole deck of dorks and recur something it is going to be this before the elf. Sounds like a dodgy combo but certainly a fun one!

Piston-Fist Cyclops 0

Wow, even blue isn't so deprived of big cheap dorks to need something this weak.

"Sprouting Renewal" 1

I want to like this but it really needed to be instant to be a cube staple. The threat of free spells at sorcery is minimal. You need to be convoking this down to one mana before it is good value and it offers no trickery. A 2/2 token is pretty low value to most decks at most times, certainly not worth a card without instant speed. I just can't see why you would ever play this over a 2 for 1 Naturalize or an instant one. The simple switch to instant however would make this not far off the green Abrade.

Join Shields  0

It really looks as if they forgot to put convoke on this, it is just terrible compared to alternatives.

Assurance // Association 6.5

Assurance isn't a bargain for what it does but it isn't overpriced either. It is a bit of a combat trick and a bit of a Counterspell and it leaves a nice residual +1/+1 counter. I expect it will look a lot like Dromoka's Command a lot of the time you use it and that is no bad thing. Although both Counterspell and combat trick modes are situational having those two applications does significantly reduce the overall situational nature of Assurance. Assurance is a good cheap mode(s) to have on a card and needs very little from Association to be playable. Turns out Association isn't that far off playable itself. Being able to put 6/6 worth of stats into play at instant speed is great. Having them spread over three bodies with vigilance is usually much better too. Association is a high threat level of card with a surprising amount of game ending potential. It has outstanding synergy and scaling with loads of green and white stuff too. There seem to be loads of cards in this set that are made or broken by the instant or sorcery text. Association would be so much poorer if you couldn't run it out at EoT. Overall the card would remain playable but only just while with it being instant the card is rather exciting.

Beacon of Lightning 0

The power level of the jump-start cards is worryingly low. This might not even be great in booster draft, that is how low powered this is.

"Thief of Sanity" 4

The parallels between this and Nightveil Specter are going to go deep. Really hard to call the difference between the two not just in power terms but also playability. Thief might not be more playable in practice but in theory it certainly has way more potential colour pairings it could realistically see play in. Both are 3 mana, 2 power fliers fairly heavily tied to Dimir colours. Both offer potential disruption in exile mill and card advantage upon combat damage to players. Nightveil has 3 toughness over two and offers impressive devotion support often getting it action in decks using cards like Nykthos. Thief however offers far better disruption and potential returns. Thief of Sanity offers pretty much a Gonti trigger on contact and that is a seriously powerful effect. Far far better than drawing a card. The cards Thief steals can be played well after Thief is dead and gone and they will be generally very good quality cards. Choosing from three and using your opponents cards against them both add a fair chunk to the value and then you have the milling and exiling disruptive affects that also add to the overall value, if not by quite as much. Nightveil can get lands but then it usually needs to in order to do much else. The average value from Nightveil is typically around a third of a land per hit. It almost never gets to cast spells unless they are in the same colours. Thief of Sanity on the other hand should pretty consistently gain that +1 card advantage per hit and good cards! Much as I love the effect this has I am very wary of a 3 mana, gold, 2 toughness dork that has to connect to get value even if it does have flying. I think if you can protect this and yourself well enough (Spellskite much?) then it can be insanely powerful but I am not sure that is the norm by a long way. I suspect the norm is this eating Firebolt, staring down a pair of spirit/thopter tokens, running into a surprise flash flier or simply trading with a small threat due to being under too much pressure. I want this card to be good but the low toughness is such a huge warning light. I will test it because of its potential but I am not confidant of it being enough.

Chance at Glory 0

This is a bit of a shocker. Cards that protect against removal are situational to begin with. When you slap "win in one more turn or lose" on them then you push that situational nature through the roof. Final Fortune has never performed well in cube. Making all your dorks indestructible has only been good when it is a mode or ability on a card that does other good things, and I might add, that costs 2 or less.

Justice Strike 0

This has a 75% kill rate at best in my cube which is a long old way from playable. This needs to compare to Terminate and it fails to compare well against Doom Blade. It feels like there should be some tech uses for this but I can't think of any.

"Worldsoul Colossus" 0

A big fat do nothing. Not much of a threat and neither value or efficiency at any point.

Discovery // Dispersal 6.5

So what we have here is a Preordain in black. That is most of what I see and I think even at two mana I am quite into that. Blue is not into it having so many better options but black might well go for this with so little in the way of other general card quality. Dispersal feels pretty bad at five mana but I think that is OK with Discovery being so cheap and playable. Dispersal is basically a Recoil that costs nearly twice as much and which cannot always target what you want. Generally it will hit the best thing but not always. Really bad against Colonnade. Sometimes not targetting will be a help but I suspect less than it will be a hindrance. Despite how bad Dispersal is it is an out and an instant speed one for one out so it will be a good thing to pair with the Preordain mode. I think Dispersal is sufficiently low powered and blue is very much not bothered by Discovery that we can almost consider this a black card. It is a bit of a shame that it is the best black tool to setup Dark Confidant yet you really don't want to run them in the same deck as seven is a lot of life to lose, especially for the privilege of a two mana Preordain. Still, nice to finally see some card quality in black that isn't a tutor.

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