Sunday 23 June 2019

Core 2020 Preliminary Review Part IV

Golos, Tireless Pilgrim 2

This set is starting to feel like Commander 2019! Lots of juicy options on versatile and tailor made commanders. This works nicely with Crystal Quarry and Cascading Cataracts meaning you can get full use out of the card even in decks that are few colours. For cube this is likely a little slow. Ramp is a thing you want early. Even Solemn Simulacrum is a bit slow for most things in cube these days. The Advantage of Golos is the land tutor so if you are some kind of Dark Depths combo deck or have a Tolarian Academy deck then Golos could be the thing you want. All told he seems a bit pricey for at least the first of those. You can tutor lands in colourless for a mere 3 and split up that cost. The activated ability is incredibly powerful but it is seven mana, in need of support in fixing for that seven mana and likely in need of also having top of library manipulation effects. Playing three random cards from most cube decks is going to be a lot less than 7 manas worth of stuff. All told this is an interesting card that will see some attention as it is fun but for cube this is not an overly competitive card.

Overgrowth Elemental 2

Fine for a tribal list but not brutal. Really you need your tribal payoffs to be brutal these days to really cut it. As such this is almost more of a filler tribal card. There just to makeup the numbers for cheap(ish) decently powered cards of the tribe.

Field of the Dead 6

This offers a lot of free value for not even that much cost in cube. I am pretty sure I could make a mono deck with a good mana base and no duplicates in name pretty easily. It would have a bit more EtB tapped lands than usual but more ramp to offset that as well as a lot more utility from those lands. It is easier to support in more colours but then the cost of having a colourless land increases so as to offset that. Field of the Dead certainly makes Golos look a lot more appealing. The issue with this is not the support costs or the power of the card. The issue is that you need to get to the seven lands mark which is all kinds of slow. Perhaps we can cheat it out with cards like Splendid Reclamation for a Valakut style combo! Sounds like a lot of work for not quite the right kind of payoff. As with most cards these days this falls into the category of seeming interesting and powerful in a few places or when built around appropriately but not broadly playable enough for a drafting cube slot. Impressive late game value generator though. Brutal in control on control games.

Barkhide Troll 5

Cheap, aggressive and powerful. If there was a half decent mono green aggro build in cube this would be a strong contender. Sadly there is not and as such this being GG means it would see basically no play in my drafting cube. This is a Watchwolf with the ability to protect itself and the ability to scale very nicely with some +1/+1 counter synergy cards. Absolutely I will use this in constructed decks of various flavours and it will do a good job in those. Can't see me ever playing this in limited cube without strong mono green stompy support and a win rate for the archetype to justify that support.

Hanged Executioner 6.5

This has some hope of sticking in the drafting cube. It just ticks a lot of the right boxes. It is an EtB trigger card. It is two bodies in one card. It scales with global buffs. It offers reasonable utility and options and does a reasonable job of board control. It also has spirit synergy for those tribal builds. While no Lingering Souls this does at least stay in one colour and isn't so one dimensional. Having cards that add to your synergies, your tempo and your disruptive package really appeal in building. Cube is the format where this card will be at it's best. It isn't high power but it is enough of everything else while of reasonable power to cut it. It will die a lot as it is easy to kill and tedious to leave in play. This will at least make it a fantastic Vesperlark target!

Unchained Berserker 0

Well this is oddly dull and poor design. I don't really see the point of this card. Luckily it isn't good enough to be an issue in cube but I just don't really see why you would print this anyway. Protection from a colour is inherently bad as a mechanic and needs sparing use in clever applications to be a good call. This is not that place.

Legion's End 1

Not great in a singleton setting what with most of the extra functionality being lost. While this will still deal with a mass of tokens nicely being sorcery and low base power level make it generally worse than the alternatives in that camp. Exile is a nice perk but the target range is too low to really make it count. This has some mild sideboard hope for cube at best but in places like standard this should be impressive. Growth Chamber Guardian is most saddened by this!

Repeated Reverberation 0

This has the problems that Fork has but magnified due to being more of the same for more mana. Working with walker abilities offsets that a bit but there are not so many that are so strong that a situational four drop becomes playable. The best things to do with this involve free spells like Fireblast and Stoke the Flames. When this does 8 damage and only needs you to have four mana I rate it rather higher. Silly win more plans though basically! Forks are not often good and this is certainly not a good Fork.

Wolfrider's Saddle 0

I like the design concept and flavor. I am all for seeing the living weapon idea expanded but this card falls far short of the mark for power. Threats are a lot better than they were back in the time of living weapons and this isn't even good by those standards.

Season of Growth 4

This is cheap card draw and card quality. It is sufficiently powerful that it could easily spawn a new archetype focused around it. Bogles is an obvious home but it is perhaps a bit slot there and is too much of a luxury. Maybe you play it in Feather/heroic lists which can be a bit slower. It is the kind of love that "do stuff to empower single dorks" decks need. They need to get the right mix of dorks and buffs and this will help set that up with the card quality. It then helps offset any card disadvantage you might eat too by the nature of trying to buff your permanents. Too narrow for general use but when built around this has a lot of power and suitability.

Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer 6

Impressive in many ways but also one potentially ruinous downside. This is a cheap walker that offers self protection, threat generation, and card advantage. She has a +2 defensive ability taking her up to 4 loyalty which is really scary too on all three mana walker. These aspects all line up to make her sound most potent. Where it might all come tumbling down is that you can only do the +2 on the turn you make her. This means you cannot gain any card advantage or affect an ongoing change to the board. Either you do nothing bar going up to 4 loyalty or you do that and take the sting out of one attacker. This will be really good early against decks with few dorks in play but fairly unimpressive when it can't effectively defend itself. If there is a lot of board or direct removal Mu is going to afford little returns. She has poor option density to begin with and that is an issue, option density is a big part of what makes planeswalkers so powerful. She cannot just get a big cash out use in the face of certain death as most offer. While Mu does gain this down the line with some loyalty to spend I wonder if that will be enough. If it isn't a huge problem then Mu looks great and will be a premium blue planeswalker. If it is then Mu will not last. Her 6/10 rating could be a 3.5 all the way to a 7.5 based on the relevance of this somewhat unknown trait.

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