Wednesday, 14 August 2019
Commander 2019 Preliminary Reviews Part V
Tectonic Hellion 1
This is probably a 0/10 card considering you can just have Eldrazi for this kind of price that are far better at taking out lands! This is a bit pricey considering its low toughness, lack of evasion and not even a guarantee on killing off lands. It isn't worth cheating out but it too much to just curve into in any deck that might want such a card. Every angle of what this card brings is done better by other cards and the complete packing is under powered and unsuitable.
Song of the World Soul 1
A very expensive do nothing that needs you to always have a token out to afford value. Seems like a super bad version of Monastery Mentor. Certainly this can get out of hand and affords a lot of ongoing value but a six mana do nothing start point just leaves this dead in the water.
Bloodthirsty Blade 2
Another card you can use to force people to attack you in heads up! This is rather better and more playable than Tahngarth at least. It can be a Bone Splitter and a tapper all in one card if you are happy taking a load of damage. It can even work out as removal if you have a really good blocker to hand and your opponent has no mana or your blocker is hexproof. Sadly this card rather fails in the goading department as your opponent can just give it back to you. This makes it more of a bad optional Rishadan Port than a removal spell. Versatile and reasonably cheap but I fear unlikely to do enough.
Wildfire Devils 6.5
Well now this does seem rather scary. It has good odds on doing something useful, most yards will have targets and most of them will do things that are useful. 50% of the time this is just a discounted Goblin Dark-Dweller that is unrestricted on converted mana cost recasts. It then continues to afford value if it is left sitting around. The other 50% of the time it is a Dire Fleet Daredevil like card. You will get less good cards but you get scaling, mana efficiency and ongoing value. It is never going to cause you to Wrath yourself either as it is a may effect. All told it is pretty safe playing this regardless of who has useful targets in their bin. A powerful and scarily unpredictable card. It can do enough when you make it to be a good play and it has enough ongoing effects to be a high priority target to kill. All things well worthy of a four mana cube card. Random effects are a bit of a turn off but at least it is a bit different.
Archfiend of Spite 2.5
Potent but really in need of a madness deck or at least one with reliable, and ideally instant speed, discard outlets. Unless you can surprise block with this and play it for five mana it is pretty poor. It is too unreliable as a threat and source of value while not having a big enough swing on the game to come close to being a seven mana card. Certainly decently powerful in a deck supporting it but basically unplayable without that reliable discard support.
Curse of Fool's Wisdom 3
This is actually just straight up powerful if you can play it at 4 mana. It is a huge threat that has stabilizing power for you and puts a massive downer on any card draw effects they have beyond their draw step. Six mana isn't even prohibitively bad as a backup method to cast this meaning you don't need to have masses of madness support. I think you do want enough madness support that this is not going to work out as a draft card. I think this is only good in decks somewhat tuned to house it, both with free discard outlets and a slow game plan. It might well also be good enough as a Replenish target. It is certainly all sorts of unfair when you start playing things like Wheel of Fortune with this out! Overall just a slow and needy card but none the less a potent one.
Chainer, Nightmare Adept 3
A powerful effect that has a wide array of applications. You can just haste up your dorks, you can use him like a free graveyard based Survival of the Fittest to turn bad cards into good ones, or you can get value from him discarding madness spells and getting back cheap dorks at the same time. This would all be really good and powerful if it were not for the shoddy 3/2 statline at four mana. It just seems too vulnerable for a card you want to stick around. You need mana to reasonably get value from him too so you cannot safely curve into him without huge blowout potential either.
Idol of Oblivion 5
While there is loads of token generators in cube I still don't think any one deck gets quite enough for this to be worth playing. That being said, if you build a tokens deck rather than drafting one this would be amazing. This is basically a two mana Howling Mine just for you, often that draws right away, and that can just casually turn into a 10/10 if you need it in the late game. If you expect to be able to make a token on average over half the time on your turn then this is very good. At 80% expected token production this is about as good of a card draw card I have seen and 80% isn't all that unrealistic, just narrow. This is not unlike a Skullclamp (that only works on tokens). Less bursty but also far less costly too. It doesn't even need to be a creature token so Thraben Inspector, Estrid the Masked and the like will turn Idol on. This is up there with some of the most efficient draw cards of all time and unlike some of the few that beat it there is no extra cost in resource terms, you don't need to have creatures die or pay life, or indeed give your opponent a pile of cards as well. All you need for Idol of Oblivion is a very specific kind of deck. That narrowness keeps this card fair while the easy counters and other limitations of token themes ensure Idol is not buffing those archetypes beyond a reasonable position. Mox Opal is a card that in my opinion buffs artifact synergies beyond the point they needed to be but that is quite the tangent so we will nip that in the bud.... for now.
Aeon Engine 0
Cute. Overpriced but probably needs to be that way so as to not just get really annoying in multiplayer games. One of the most impressive do nothing cards in heads up play however.
Hate Mirage 0
Shocking heads up card. Conditional and situational and impossible to build in such a way to help stop it being complete garbage. This can win races and be hilarious against someone cheating Eldrazi into play but just because it has a cool ceiling doesn't make this in any way good. Obviously it will do some work in commander where things are big and options are greater.
Nightmare Unmaking 5
I am not 100% sure what to make of this. It is a 5 mana Wrath which is mediocre. It is in black which is a perk but only if the card is playable. It is exile quality removal which is a huge perk. It is modal as well allowing for some potential one sided aspects and more viable midrange playability. On the flip side it is modal in a way that makes it so you can't always wipe out the board and have to leave some things alive. Worse still, it is a more or less option so you cannot deal with creatures that are equal in power to your hand size. That could be really annoying. Certainly a card I plan to test out but my expectation is that this will be bad. Just a bit too expensive for the reliability it affords in doing it's job. If it doesn't cut it in the drafting cube then it will not see much, if any, play in other cube formats.
Greven, Predator Captain 5
Built in incidental Hatred on an otherwise powerful card is quite scary, especially when combined with the ability to cost you life itself. This is big, a little evasive and affords some value and utility on attack. It is a bit slow and vulnerable for a five drop but the fact it can one shot people out of nowhere makes it most interesting. You need to find at least two blockers or a removal spell to ensure Greven doesn't end your life on his first attack. That level of threat might well make him viable for the draft cube. I doubt it but it might. There is not quite enough in the way of free life payment cards to assure the one shot kill in cube drafts. Such things are more of a built around. Worthy of testing but not holding out loads of hope.
Bone Miser 3
Weeeee! Waste Not on legs.. but for your cards. The latter part of that is especially nuts as it gives you so much control. You can burn through your whole deck if you have no creatures or lands plus a free discard outlet. That sounds like a lot of Zombie Infestation tokens or a very large Wild Mongrel! Regardless of silly gimmicks this is very potent of an effect but rather marred by being five mana and on a relatively vulnerable creature. If the body was more survivable, smaller and lower cost, or just an enchantment then this would be a most interesting card. As it is I fear it will not cut it in heads up play. Still too fun not to build around a bit though! Also too narrow to run in a limited setting unless it is heavily focused on mechanics and discard stuff is one of them.
Mire in Misery 2
For heads up play I think this is probably just a bad Edict. The more you increase the range on a card where your opponent has choices the weaker it ultimately becomes. This is very much not a Mortify. When you need it to kill an enchantment they will likely have a chaff dork to sac off at little cost. Equally you leave yourself open to having a dud removal spell if they have played something like Oath of Nissa. Nice that black does have a way to fight against enchantments a bit better even if it isn't very good. I think this will see occasional sideboard play at best. Perhaps it will be a suitable meta card in a rotisserie event.