Monday, 16 September 2019

Throne of Eldraine Preliminary Review Part VI

Mystical Dispute 6

Really impressive way of improving on Gainsay style effects. This is playable as a bad Mana Leak. Not great but certainly not bad, it will be better than Cancel in the early game and not much worse than Mana Leak when it stops being as good as Cancel. That is the floor of the card. The ceiling is being a one mana counter that hits any target and is pretty near to hard given the cost. Spell Pierce is amazing and when against blue this is more than 50% harder as well as broader. Blue is a pretty common colour too. A third of your opponents being in blue doesn't seem far off the mark. That makes this actually perform pretty reasonably in a general sense. Sadly I still don't think it will last in the drafting cube as it is ultimately still a SB card, just one you can run main without it hurting too much. You will still almost always board it out when you are not facing a blue mage. Overall however I rate it as one of the best blue on blue sideboard cards. It has great design and great playability too which very few sideboard cards can say for themselves. This will get a lot of action in a lot of formats.

Faerie Guidemother 6.5

This is pretty close to the mark. If the adventure was an instant it would be a sure thing for cube but as it stands it is going to need some testing. This has loads of perks but it also has a few issues. It is neither all that much total return for the card investment nor is it all that exciting as any sort of tempo play. You are only using the Gift of the Fae when you have a planeswalker to take out, a player to finish off, or nothing else to spend your mana on. It doesn't progress your position in any way beyond some face damage. The 1/1 flier is then both very late to the party and not overly impactful by itself. There are strong counter arguments to this all too though. White lacks reach and so a versatile card that can go over the top without prior warning is massive. That is a big part of what Elspeth Knight-Errant does in aggressive white lists after all. The argument about the late and low power 1/1 flier is that you typically run Anthems or equipment in white weenie and so all you really need are bodies. Most of the time this should be useful to your plan even in turn four or five. There is also the flexibility to make this without going on the adventure which is acceptable and occasionally useful. Lastly there is the power to somewhat abuse this with bounce cards like Kor Skyfisher for lots of reach. Adventure cards do stand to make cards like Skyfisher rather better going forwards and I expect it to make a strong return to the fold. As to this lasting we shall have to wait on the testing.

Wicked Guardian 1

Generally just too slow, situational and fair for the kind of filler support card this is. Ideally it would be scaled back to a 2, perhaps 3 drop at which point it might start to have some appeal. As it stands I doubt I would play this even in an enrage themed deck...

Wildwood Tracker 2

So I don't rate this very much which is pretty nutty feeling as I always rate two power one drops... I think that is testament to the extent of power creep recently. This just looks awful. It is a 2/2 in combat but a poxy one toughness dork when removal is concerned. It is also in need of a little bit of support. It should get that most of the time easily but it does suck a massive amount when you don't. In a green stompy deck I might play this if I was really focusing on one drops but that is the only place I can see it presently. It would be one of the weaker cards in that list and it would be a pretty weak deck.

Echanted Carriage 0

Well this is flavour to the max. I even quite like all the cartoon amine Brothers Grimm feel of the set in general. Sadly this particular vehicle, while a flavour win, is a power fail. It is just a bit fair all round for the cube. Five is too much for what this does, even as a colourless card.

Turn into a Pumpkin 0

Another nicely flavoured card but sadly I like my Into the Roils and Blink of an Eye cards to have the option not to kick them. A food is a long way off making up for the inability to play this for two mana when you need to.

Once Upon a Time 9

Pretty sure this is going to eat a ban one day. I am kind of surprised to see this printed. Zero mana spells that draw cards are incredibly dangerous. The seemingly innocuous Gitaxian Probe is utterly bonkers as a support card and did wind up banned all over the shop. While this performs a different role to Probe it is still a very dangerous card. In normal constructed situations this is going to allow people to cut lands from their decks. It is going to make combos using lands or creatures far more consistent. It is also going to do the same for any other deck playing those things even if they are not synergy driven! A free Adventurous Impulse with nearly twice the dig goes a really long way to setting up your hand. Assuming your deck has the ability to cast this and has at least a 50% total count of dorks and lands I can't see not running it. Even the floor on this card is impressive. At two mana it makes Seek the Wilds ashamed to exist, and I have played Seek before and not been too unhappy with it. Once Upon a Time looks a card deeper and it is an instant. That makes it compare reasonably well to Impulse, a card apparently too good to have in modern! Obviously you need a very high creature count for this to compare with Impulse but still, for a floor that is absolutely amazing. This has made green creature based decks a lot lot better in all formats. In cube they do need some consistency love and this does the job well. It is the land you need, the one drop ramp you need, the big fatty payoff you need. It is the Elvish Spirit Guide speed boost, the Devoted Druid combo piece. Gurmag Angler loves it. Delirium spells love it. Tron loves it. Being able to improve the quality of your hand and start to fill up the bin without card or mana cost is amazing. The only cost of running this is when it isn't your first spell and you have the tragedy of having to pay two mana for your good Impulse... It is a huge flavour win and a card I am both excited and scared by.

Brimstone Trebuchet 1

Bollocks can you hit something flying with a Trebuchet. Even a hot air balloon feels like it would be a challenge. Reach on this is flavour fail of the most unforgivable kind - the physics kind. Blah blah blah magic. The only reason we are actually talking about this is that it is an artifact with a tap effect to do damage. Feels like there are some ways to turn this into infinite or at least sufficiently finite amounts of damage. Comically however I don't think this is good enough to find work in a knight tribal deck!

Murderous Rider 8

This will see an awful lot of play. It has just supplanted Hero's Downfall as the premium mono black spot removal card in cube. This might even be an 8.5/10 card based on how much play it will get rather than the raw power of it. It is all about Swift End. You just really want your threat killers to be instant if possible, especially in control. Instant is comfortably worth the two life and immediately puts this well above Ruinous Path or Never // Return. Anguished Unmaking gets more action than Vindicate too while we are banging that drum. So, we get a better card than the sorcery options as we are playing this for the adventure primarily but do we get better upside too? Simply put, yes. Return gives a 2/2 token for one more mana and entirely consumes the card. The exile is nice but hard to make valuable with such a slow expensive spell. Ruinous Path needs 7 mana all at once to turn a land into a dork which is powerful but comes up infrequently, probably 4% of casts or so. Rider is a much more relevant, playable and cost effective body. It is actual value that is worth having regardless of archetype. It helps to offset life costs. It is more easily abused due to the creature type too, if you mill it you can get it back. You can bounce it to kill more stuff. You can tutor it with more things more efficiently that many removal options. Even the attempt to balance it for other formats with the going to the bottom of your library on death is potentially more of a bonus in cube. While it prevents some exploits with Raise Dead effects it does wildly improve something like Survival of the Fittest. The broad playability, convenience, flexibility and potential synergies with this thing are pretty damn impressive. It is a solid core cube card and it does it a decent bit better than anything else. I expect this to see a vast amount of play. The kind of card that is rarely left out of a deck when in a pool. Pretty comfortable top ten black cube cards in terms of play.

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