Thursday, 12 September 2019

Throne of Eldraine Preliminary Review Part IV

Rosethorn Acolyte 1

While the body is fairly rubbish it does at least do things. What I can't get away from is the adventure. It just feels like it will have an abuse. Perhaps it is somehow good with a card like As Foretold? Cheap cards that make mana need keeping an eye on even the seemingly bad ones. Shame it is a sorcery.

Steelcore Lance 0

A knight "payoff" card that I wouldn't play in a tribal knight deck. Awkward.

Shinechaser 0

Meh. Too many hoops to jump through to get your slightly above par dork. You need it to hit 3/3, it is still bad as a 2/2 in cube. Not a strong contender for a tribal card either as it is rather the wrong colours.

Arcanist's Owl 2

A big old Glint Nest Crane affair. You get more stats and more range on your targets with the Owl but the cost rises from a nice cheap support card to that of a hefty action card. The kinds of deck full of artifacts and/or enchantments are not too excited for Phantom Monster. In some kind of midrange deck this would be great but in that setting it is going to have too few targets. I can't see this getting much play as a result of all that. Being an artifact itself is a big help in making the cut in some synergy deck but the casting cost might well rule it out then. Artifact decks often have a lot of colourless production or reduction effects which this is poor with.

Witch"s Oven 3

Almost guaranteed to see play somewhere being so cheap but probably not in any sort of way it was intended to be used. It is at least somewhat restricted as a combo card as it has to tap to sac but it does have some upsides beyond the lovely mana cost. It is obviously not colour restricted as Carrion Feeder or Goblin Bombardment are. It does something useful for you too unlike Despotic Scepter! You might play this in a deck with a food theme, you might play it in a deck with a sacrifice theme. Narrow on both accounts but still.

Keeper of Fables 1

This seems impressively powerful for an uncommon. The stats are OK for the cost and the effect is powerful. It works alright by itself and rather nicely with a wide board of elves. Despite being a decent looking card it is a bit slow and fair for a five drop by today's cube standards and I actually don't think it comes close to cutting it. Utter bomb in limited but five drops in cube want to win games, not slowly generate value.

Belle of the Ball 2

An OK knight support card but far from a good one. Good enough for singleton tribal play and nothing more. If a standard version is running this it probably isn't a great deck.

The Royal Scions 5

This is supremely powerful but I also have mixed feeling about it. It is a three mana planewalker with two good +1 abilities that take it all the way up to six loyalty. That is a terrifying start. The only thing that keeps this potentially fair is the fact that, while good, both plus abilities have their limitations. Neither directly provide card advantage or do anything to the board. One is card quality and fueling the bin, the other is a sorcery speed until end of turn creature buff. At best the latter kills off a planeswalker, it probably just gets in a bit of face damage and can just do nothing at all with no dork in play. A loot is good but it is pretty slow and expensive in this form. The most concerning thing about The Royal Scions is their total lack of ability to protect themselves. When ahead then all is great but when behind this is super easy to freely attack down or just ignore. It obviously has a big old loyalty buffer which will absorb a lot of damage when it is being attacked to death which is something but I am not sure that a partial and optional Fog effect really carries much weight at all. Lots of loyalty is only all that exciting if you are doing a lot with it. The ultimate is at least a very serious threat and does mean you can only ignore this to a point. You either have to have won the race before they get to 8 or do it a few points of damage here and there to keep it at bay. Dack is a similar card in many ways and while I prefer the design of this offering I think Dack will remain the premium cube Izzet 3 mana walker. Dack is a far more potent looter and offers a really game swinging -2 that is immediately card advantage and effects the board in a big way. This makes Dack more polar and rather more tedious to play against but that will not help the Scions to keep a drafting cube slot. Being such a generic card I don't see them getting that much play in my constructed events. Standard is the best shot this has at being good.

Tome of Legends 2

You could use this in a proliferate deck that didn't have a commander. In such a deck this would be a very potent card draw tool both in cube and standard. In a deck with a commander this seems like one of the absolute best card draw tools on offer in the whole format. I suspect this will be one of those cards that just winds up in most such decks. Pretty naughty printing a card like this in the way Wizards have. Enjoy being milked by Hasbro all you commander players. Enjoy it and then expect to be milked again...

Mace of the Valiant 0

This takes ages to power up, starts out terribly and offers no evasion to go with any potential big buffs it might one day offer. This card is balls.

Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale 1

This is a very fun card but it is all a bit far up the curve to really have any chance of performing in 1v1. You need another knight and an equipment in play for Gwyn to do anything the turn he comes in and that is a must for a card so far up the curve. Then you are likely getting value which is not really what you want from a 6 drop. The only use I can see for this in 1v1 is a combo kill where you have enough equipment and the appropriate knight to one shot when this comes down. Seems silly and bad.

Alela, Artful Provocateur 5

What do you get when you cross Sai, Master Thopterist with a Vampire Nighthawk and some Favourable Winds? Basically this it seems. All of those previous cards are powerful but two of them are quite specific in what they do. Alela does require supporting to some extent to perform. Combined with her very gold casting cost I suspect she will not be worthy of the drafting cube. That being said I think she is powerful enough as a floor and broad enough in her scope for suitable support cards that she will not need much support at all to do well. I think she will often be a commander for Esper builds by the fact that there are fairly few solid options on such things.

Korvold, Fae-Cursed King 2

A big, card drawing, growing, sac-outlet of a dragon. In a list that wants things to sac off other things then this is an option that brings a lot of power along with that support. As a general card this is playable but not all that impressive. Just drawing a card, probably at a 1 for 1 rate is not too impressive. A five mana 5/5 flyer with a loot as an EtB effect would not get much love. God-Eternal Bontu is just a more impactful and more playable option to this. As a commander however the three colours goes from a drawback to a big plus and gives you a decent synergy option with a broader scope for colours. This is a card I expect to see a lot as a commander and barely ever elsewhere which makes it well designed and well placed in terms of product.

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