Thursday, 25 April 2019

War of the Spark: Additions and Conclusions

War of the Spark is on of the most hyped sets I have witnessed. The hype even got me, I was excited to see what was going to be done with it. The trailer was a win despite it's first airing having technical issues resulting in no sound. It was exciting to see Wizard's pushing the boat out and trying new things. Unbelievably War of the Spark seems to be living up to the hype. The cards are fascinating. The power level is impressive yet even more impressively the cards are also well designed. Nothing seems degenerate or tedious. I think it looks amazing for booster draft, the limited cards are particularly pushed with loads of lovely removal to support it all too.

The most clear measure for the quality of this set for me is how much more time it took to review than normal, both in volume of cards worthy of consideration and how difficult so many cards were to unpack. I normally do a set review of this size in about 13 installments while this one took me 18. I normally drop the ball once-ish per set review on an obvious bomb I disregard or a card I fail to read properly in a critical way. I have already hit at least three misreads alone! I am less confidant than usual about my assessments based on this initial ball dropping trend...

This set has so much on offer for so many different people and places. It is great how they are clearly designing with EDH in mind as well now, some clear juice for there. I have not bothered to list all the cards I want for my constructed singleton reserves, it would be quicker listing the cards I have no interest in for anything at all from the set. Just listing the things that have some potential in the drafting cube and not the more extensive list of singleton constructed cards is still about as big as the total number of interesting cards from any prior sets. So much so that I am planning on buying my first ever box as it seems like it will be more economical than buying singles, certainly any time soon. Turns out good product design and high quality density is all Wizards needed to do to make me finally buy a box, none of this lottery card shenanigans.

One noteworthy thing is that there is not all that much that will change my drafting cube meta by that much. Certainly there will be shifts but nothing dramatic. Most of the additions are midgame and top end stuff. The cheaper cards getting added are all support cards. While things like Fblthp the Lost and Lazotep Reaver will be some of the most played cards from this set in my cube they are far from the most powerful cards. Cheap cards are what bring about bring changes in the cube meta and we have relatively few of those. Even if the meta doesn't change the games will simply by virtue of so many new cards. At the start of the testing process it will all be a bit chaotic and messy with over 75 cards going in. I might have to stagger or feather it in some way so as to get meaningful feedback from my drafts and sealeds. Even if only 10% of the potential cards make it in that will still be over 25 WAR cards in my cube, between 4 and 5% of the total. With most of those being spells not lands you will have a lot of new interactions which should help freshen things up a lot. 

Another unrelated comment I have on War of the Spark is that it was spoiled in a really well thought out way. The sequencing of the cards, the art and the flavour text all gave a really enticing hint of the storyline and made me want to read up on that as well. So far I can't think of a criticism other than I want more one drops. We shall have to see how the limited and standard formats are with it before we can call it a success story but so far so good. Here are my additions and potentials to test. Anything not on this list that I rated above 1/10 will be something I am looking to pickup for my constructed singleton affairs!

Drafting Cube Lock In Cards (with a top 5 in set)

1. Dreadhorde Arcanist

2. Massacre Girl

3. Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God

4. Fblthp the Lost

5. Lazotep Reaver

Return to Nature
Gideon Blackblade
Finale of Devastation
Blast Zone
Bond of Flourishing
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Law-Rune Enforcer
Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
Evolution Sage
Grim Initiate
Teferi, Time Raveler
Liliana's Triumph
Liliana, Dreadhorde General

Cards To Test With High Expectations

Pollenbright Druid
Contentious Plan
Nissa's Triumph
Tyrants Scorn
Casualties of War
Ugin, the Ineffable
Oath of Kaya
Commence the Endgame
Finale of Promise
God-Eternal Bontu
Ilharg, the Raze-Boar
Ral's Outburst
Ral, Storm Conduit
Mayhem Devil
Mobilized District
Lazotep Plating
Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin
Eternal Taskmaster
Dreadhorde Butcher
Samut's Sprint
Angrath's Rampage
Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage
Dovin's Veto
Karn's Bastion
Cruel Celebrant
Flux Channeler
Dreadhorde Invasion

Cards To Test With Low Expectations

God-Eternal Oketra
Bleeding Edge
Elite Guildmage
Guild Globe
Wall of Runes
Calous Dismissal
Sarkhan the Masterless
Narset, Parter of Veils
Price of Betrayal
Soul Diviner
Spark Harvest
Huatli's Raptor
Toll of the Invasion
Firemind Vessel
Enter the God-Eternals
Awakening of Vitu-Ghazi
Topple the Statue
Living Twister
Chandra, Fire Artisan
Jaya's Greeting
Kasmina's Transmutation
Feather, the Redeemed
Mizzium Tank
Tomik, Distinguished Advokist
Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord
Vivien, Champion of the Wilds
Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner
Bolas's Citadel


  1. **THANKS** for doing these reviews. You always do a great job on them. Pains me to never see any comments. Please know they are very appreciated!

    Definitely agreed--this is set is absolutely staggering in its sheer density and quality of design. Also cleverness. SO MANY additions and cards to test. I haven't seen anything like this since TSP block. It really feels like Return to Dominaria & this set complete a two-set block of sorts. SO GOOD.

    Have you ever put your list on CT? I'd love to see it!

  2. Thanks for the kind words! This is roughly my cube, I try to keep it updated but I chop and change little bits at the fringes all the time what with testing new cards out and the like.

  3. Thanks for the awesome review !

    I follow your articles for quite a while now and I really like the way you review and comment cards. I'm more of an EDH player and I would love to find someone that comments cards the way you do, but for our format ;)
    Anyways, I learn a lot of things reading you !

    Thanks again !

  4. Thanks for the reviews as well! Read all the posts :)

  5. Hi,

    Thank you for the amazing work, I really like your thought process and the objective and more meta focus analysis you provide.

    I stumbled upon your cubetutor list and couldn't stop but wonder if you had considered abundant growth instead of unbridled growth. It seems to do exactly the same thing without the burden of sacrificing the enchantment to get to draw. I was wondering if it was just a mistake/ you had not considered the other card or if you had some secret tech with enchantment sacrifice and recursion :) .

    keep up the good work!