Saturday 25 May 2019

Modern Horizons: Preliminary Review Part VI

Ranger-Captain of Eos 7.5

This is better than the non captain version for cube. What they do is better suited to a three drop than a four drop. It is also much higher tempo being a mana less and having a toughness more. I am really not sure how to evaluate the sac ability in cube. In modern it has some really powerful applications, particularly in creature based combo decks. It is still a Time Walk against a lot of decks in the meta and backing up something as powerful as humans you can easily afford to toss this guy away just to avoid that Verdict or Ugin another turn. In cube tossing away the 3/3 is tossing away the more significant part of the card. You either need a massive read, actual info, or an otherwise hard to lose from position for it to be something you want to use. I guess it is nice just as a sac outlet that can fizzle things! That might be worth as much as what it actually does! So how good is a 3/3 for three that tutors up a one drop dork in a draft setting? Really good I would say. It is not quite as much tempo as a Blade Splicer but it has a lot of bonus perks. It is still a good flicker target although not quite as good as Splicer it is still enough. What it does do is offer deck thinning, actual physical cards in hand rather than token-locked value, and of course the options on whatever one drops you have. This might well be a problem for some control and the odd midrange deck but it will absolutely be massive for the aggressive decks. You can get tappers, pingers, card draw, fliers, protectors, things that can grow massive, things with protection from some random stuff, things that become planeswalkers! This card is decent utility, reasonable tempo and good value. As long as you have at least four or so targets this will be a great card in any sort of deck. It will probably crop up in loads of synergy builds too. A whole lot more bang for your buck than Militia Bugler! You lose a lot of the utility as most of modern humans is 2 CMC dorks and higher but you gain consistency and tempo. It will be interesting to see how humans lists use this. Is it so much better than Bugler that they start playing the odd utility one drop to find? It is certainly quite possible.

Scrapyard Recombiner 2

I am not sure where you play this or why. Sure, it finds a lot of the cards in affinity and it even looks like it has synergy with them but it really doesn't have synergy with the game plan of that archetype. This is a 3 mana 2/2 with a tap ability. Of which the best target is probably a two mana 1/1 with another tap ability! Affinity is not about what this card is doing. This is a tutor effect and it does offer some useful interactions and synergies so I am sure it will see play somewhere some how but I expect it is much more likely in some EDH combo brew than draft cubes or modern!

Etchings of the Chosen 3

A very potent tribal creature Anthem. The issue this has is that it is gold which really reduces the number of tribes that would be interested in it. Forty card decks are getting a little past needing this like this to get it done too. You can usually get lower cost or some legs on your lords these days! The sac ability is really nice with this and means it has much more allure than a body. It gives utility in most situations and protects you against most of the mass removal spells which are your biggest counter. Really it is just coming back to the gold issue. Warriors? Vampires? Humans? Zombies? Spirits? All are tribes that can run this but none of them feel like they are desperate for it. Warriors and humans are the ones most susceptible to a mass removal spell so they are probably the most likely to dabble with this.

Good-Fortune Unicorn 2

Powerful effect but on a gold Grey Ogre. Not really getting it done short of combo enabling with persist dorks. Given the Neoform effects around now a 3 mana Melira is going to be a perk to those kinds of combo deck in modern.

Frostwalk Bastion 5.5

About right on the power level. This is good but not amazing. There are better aggressive options but this has some bonus utility, hardiness and it is snow allowing it to fit in with some synergy lists better.

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain 1

A premium cheap commander that allows for unrestricted colour access. She even has a highly desirable tutor element making her tick yet more exciting boxes for the EDH community. For cube Sisay has very little application. She is too hard to get anywhere near big enough to be a good threat. I am not even sure a vanilla 7/7 for 2W would be all that impressive in cube and that is the super unlikely ceiling of Sisay. Five mana of all the colours is hard to get and very expensive. For it only to tutor up a (probably) small legendary card seems supremely turdy. I want my payoff for having WUBRG to be Door to Nothingness levels!

Worthy Soldier 0

A low activation cost tapper that is hardy. Sadly it is very gimped by needing you to have creatures EtB to do anything. It makes it too unreliable for a low mana support tool. You need flash dorks to make this defensively useful too which is even more damning for the card.

Ayula's Influence 6

A green take on the classic Seismic Assault. Alternatively a green Zombie Infestation of sorts. While the original red take is better it is not by very much. It is better because it can kill on the spot, players, planeswalkers and creatures as required. This still does a great job of killing players and planeswalkers, and even ground based attacking creatures! It is just a little slower and a little more able to be interacted with. This card also has two very significant perks over Seismic Assault as well. Firstly it is green, the colour of Life from the Loam and a pile of other great land recursion tools. Green being the colour of fixing as well means you can keep everything in house or simply be base green and splash for other things you might want. Assault decks so often have the dirtiest looking mana bases full of filter lands just to have a chance at casting all the things. The other perk this has over Assault is efficiency. You can flop this out on turn three and just chuck whatever lands out you have in hand and draw over the next few turns and that will get there a lot of the time. Over a few turns a discarded land 2/2 bear token represents a lot more damage than a simple Shock. A turn three Assault often does nothing until much much later in the game. This, a mana Elf and five lands is a really strong hand, swap this for Assault and it would not be so good. Four lands and a Life from the Loam is probably even better with this! That probably wins with nothing else and pretty quickly. You could have 7 power in play on turn two, attack for six the next turn and make another 6/6 of stats to win on turn four. Scary stuff. Mass removal does little to stop it what with the tokens coming out at end of turn. Also mass removal is unlikely to remove the Influence or disrupt the Life from the Loam shenanigans. This seems like a great build around card as well as something you can probably just run in most mono green decks with minimal support. Still perhaps on the narrow side for a draft cube but easily going to get attention comparable to Seismic going forwards.

Ravenous Giant 0

Cute, a red Juzzam. And just as unplayable.

Glacial Revelation 2.5

This will see some fringe play as it is very powerful in the right setting. With enough snow-covered basics in your list combined with a few relevant non-land snow permanents you are after and this suddenly becomes a very efficient draw spell. It fills up the bin as well making it have some potential application as a bigger Satyr Wayfinder / Mulch type affair. Three is a lot for a digging card draw tool though meaning this is only seeing play in the most suitable places which will be pretty exotic. Powerful but presently not quite as supported as it wants to be.

Umezawa's Charm 2

This seems like one of the first cards to be underpowered in this set and it isn't by all that much. Certainly at one mana this card would be quite impressive. A good combat trick, a bit of utility removal or a spot of life for emergencies. The life mode is poor but it can translate into two cards in a lot of different ways for black. Sadly at two mana this just feels a bit too unexciting. The combat trick is low tempo, the removal very low tempo, and against control and combo the card seems like it will be dead far too often.

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