Monday 8 April 2019

War of the Spark: Preliminary Review Part VII

Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves 2

This is somewhere between a Broodmate Dragon and a Huntsmaster of the Fells. This is the case not just for how the card feels but also it is precisely the cast for cost to stats and bodies as well. You get more right away with Tolsimir with the fight option and 3 life and are also able to get more in an ongoing capacity should you be packing a high wolf count. Much as this is a potent card and a good all round deal and package it is not exciting me much for cube use. There are loads of mono coloured cards in this price range that offer good bodies, stats and abilities not to mention other gold ones like Trostani. Wingmate Roc and Whisperwood Elemental feel like they come closest in the mono offerings but they are far from the only options. Tolsimir is simply not enough above the curve to break free of the gold shackles it wears. Good for tribal wolves I guess and a likely commander of choice in EDH tribal wolves! Very powerful but not quite there for cube play I fear.

Role Reversal 1

I want to like this but I am not sure what I would use this for. It fails to be a good substitute for things like Harmless Offering and Donate in a combo sense as you need your opponent to have the right card type. As a means of stealing powerful threats this actually costs a lot more than alternatives. Control Magic is a mana more and a colour less but needs you to have no dorks in play, critically no rubbish low value dork that giving away equates to less than a mana value lost. Even a plant token feels like it would make Control Magic better, not to mention substantially less conditional. Cool card, likely to have a use some day if not already but certainly a narrow card. It is cheaper than cards that do similar things but such cards have seen minimal play over the years and are typically a poor sideboard option for decks with big issues. All in all I don't see where this gets play, probably EDH like everything else!

Spellgorger Weird 2

The Grey Ogre that grows permanently with prowess triggers. There are certainly lists which could put this to good use. The shell of a Kiln Fiend deck could play this for example to pretty good effect. Kiln Fiend decks tend to try and one shot people so the ongoing buff is of less use in that regard but you could still easily build around that. Offering no value or evasion is what makes this need the build around support. Ideally you also want free spells so you can buff unexpectedly. I expect this to see a dash of experimentation and play but ultimately I think this will be a bit bland and expensive to do what the decks that can play it want to do. Certainly far too low powered baseline to see play in cube outside of build around lists and far too narrow for the drafting cube.

Spellkeeper Weird 0

Cute card but over cost for what it does. The body isn't impressive and five total to recur while losing the unimpressive body all together is not where we want to be.

Banehound 2

This is a rare sight indeed. Not many black haste dorks. Although it has quite a lot of stuff it doesn't scale all that well with itself. The stats are just too low to be all that relevant. In a deck chock full of Bad Moon effects then this is an OK card but still only OK. Black loves lifegain and it needs more one drops but this just doesn't do enough. I suspect unbuffed this is going to gain less than 2 life on average. I am not into ruling out one drops, I am sure this will see play at some point but it looks like a hard card to use appropriately and well.

Pouncing Lynx 0

Surprising to see a reversal of power creep on this card. Elvish Archer (Youthful Knight) isn't playable now (outside of booster draft) and this is just worse.

War Screecher 0

Close but not there. The body is decent enough as a starting point but the ability is just far too expensive to be relevant in cube as often as you would need. Take a couple of mana off the cost and you have a reasonable all round card that gives some air control, decent board presence, some reach and some combat trickery. As it stands this is basically just a Seacoast Drake.

Wardscale Crocodile 0

Much as hexproof is powerful and rare this is just a little too far up the curve and a little too low powered otherwise. A 5/3 is easy to defeat in combat and a five drop is too far up the curve to pair well with buffs.

Devouring Hellion 0

Not the sac outlet we are looking for. The cost is high, it is sorcery speed, a one time deal and offers poor returns. Sure, you might have a big dork to show for it but that big dork isn't getting a lot done without evasion or anything useful.

Stealth Mission 0

Cute card but I fear just too expensive for the kinds of role you want such a card in. Pretty sure I am always playing Slip Through Space or Shadow Rift over this. I suspect the list of cards I play over this is significantly longer than that as well!

Grateful Apparition 4

A white Thrumming Bird that can trigger while hitting planeswalkers. I am a big fan of this combat trigger adaptation to work while hitting walkers. A small buff to the power of a card but the kind of buff that avoids feel bad situations. All told the change probably makes for less interesting play. Having to chose between hurting walkers or getting beneficial triggers is often a tough call. I think this is too low power baseline to be a good drafting cube card even if white has more payoff cards for proliferate than blue. Where this might have a chance is that white also has a lot more creature buffs which in turn make the 1/1 flying body that much more exciting. If you buff this and then it buffs other cards in turn then you are pretty happy with your lot. Even if this isn't good enough for the drafting cubes it will see a bunch of play in proliferate themed constructed decks of which I expect to see many more of in the coming months! Hopefully years.

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