Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Throne of Eldraine Preliminary Review Part VII

Doom Foretold 5

This is a weird new take on a Smokestack or Braids type of card. It is far fairer in that it cannot brutalize people's land and lock them out of the game, and that is likely the downfall of this card too. Certainly it is better designed but without the ability to abuse it then it is possibly a bit too symmetrical for heads up play. I like that it can't hit tokens either which ensures you cannot randomly have your effect made useless. If you build with things like Bloodghast then you will be getting a lot of advantage out of this on a player with some board. As the penalty for failing to trigger this is not all that bad you need to put it in a deck that forces some reaction and thus can't afford to play nothing as a way to clear it. You want to force people to try and play through it. At least players without boards tend to have things in hand so you should get full value out of the trigger when it matters. While I would play a 2/2 Vigilance for four that drained for two, draw a card and made them discard it wouldn't be amazing. Somewhere between a Solemn Simalcrum and a Seige Rhino! The gold colouring is a bit of a turn off but probably not enough to stop it getting action. The thing is that not being an actual creature makes this a lot worse even if you could always immediately trigger it. It is harder to recur or flicker or tutor or generally abuse. Best case for this is forcing a sac on a specific high powered card or two and then triggering. Immediate trigger isn't bad but it is just a bit of value, all told I prefer Mulldrifter. Prolonged use of this as a sac outlet is where you want to be and that is going to be too hard to engineer consistently in draft. A decent card that has some interesting applications, good design and reasonable power level.

Oakhame Ranger 1

Nice flavour and feel but ultimately all just far too much mana for the returns. This only gets a 1 for the unique card attributes that might in some way allow for obscure abuses. This is never getting play in a fair capacity.

Questing Beast 7

Three lines of good text is usually enough to push a card with both stats equal to the CMC into cube. This has at least four and I would say six! This is a very naughty card indeed and despite being a bit odd it is probably just too much card not to get cube action. This doesn't feel a million miles away from Glorybringer. It will be a fantastic answer to planeswalkers a lot of the time. It is great at racing. Great against weenie decks and big fat fatties and great against protection effects. It also seems as if it is especially unfair with Fog effects. It is pretty basic however, make it, attack face. I do like a bit of a choice when it comes to a card and this is very much not a thinker.

Wishclaw Talisman 5.5

Now this is another card that absolutely terrifies me. It is really quite potent in a fair few different lights. In a deck where you are winning the turn you tutor this is just a 3 mana Demonic Tutor that you can split into 2 and then 1 mana as you like and that provides potential on board support for things like metalcraft. In the right sort of deck you are also perfectly happy just getting a tutor for three and giving your opponent the option on one for one for both of you. You are always a tutor up on your opponent unless you lose on the turn they use their free tutor. Still, good reactive decks should be able to control things well enough to get good value from this. Then we have all the actual abuses of this card rather than just playing it as intended. Obviously we have the finding of Brooding Saurion with this and greedily eating all three tutors! The same can be done well with Aminatou's -1 ability. Any generic Flicker effect is a help as well with this. I have not looked into what else works with this but if you can abuse this with untap effects then it is truly foolish. If it is only flicker and regain control of owned cards then it is still most interesting. So, while this card is amazing looking and measures up against Demonic Tutor pretty well I don't expect it to work out in the drafting cube. The tempo in cube is so extreme that spending this much mana in a non-tempo way is hard to justify. Cards are powerful and versatile and archetypes are very deep in their pool of such cards. You just don't need tutors in non-combo cube decks very often. Impulse has been a superior card to Demonic Tutor in my cube for a fair while now. But yeah, the maths on this card makes it look better than Demonic Tutor! You pay 1 card and 4 mana for two Demonic Tutors. You do conceded 1 Demonic Tutor to your opponent for no card cast to them but it costs them a mana to use. Reduced down that winds up as 1 card for 1 Demonic Tutor at 1.5 total mana! Powerful. Obviously not quite as foolishly good as 1 card and 5 mana for three Demonic Tutors. So yeah, mostly good in most places and absolutely ridiculous in a few.

Embercleave 6

Tough to know how to rate this as it is both very very powerful but also rather win more. On average the more dorks you attack with the smaller they are. That isn't too big of a deal however. I am very happy paying two for this even if I only have 1/1s down. Equally I am very happy to pay five for this if it is going to equip a 4/4 dork. Unlike Temur Battlerage this is an ongoing effect and as such you really don't need it to one shot your opponent. This should deal a bunch of burst damage, or bait removal on a weak target, this will then sit in play like a cheap Kessig Wolf Run and turn most of your dorks into really scary threats. So, if you have some dorks and some mana and are in a position to attack then this is a potent threat, explosive burst, and a scary ongoing threat. If you have no dorks, little mana, or are just getting really savagely beaten up and need to be on the defensive then this is in the poor to useless range. I am not in love the polar nature of the card but it certainly has the power to demand testing. My guess is that it is one of those cards that always seems quite impressive when used but doesn't get used enough.

Wicked Wolf 6.5

A Hill Giant that comes with an EtB fight and has a narrow regeneration ability (disguised as an indestructible effect!). Even if you completely disregard the food element of this card I think it is probably good enough. The power is reasonably low but it does more of what green needs than most alternatives. In many ways it is Garruk Relentless in creature form. While Garruk might be superior in a stable game the Wicked Wolf is far better when from behind as it can kill and then block. Taking damage as a creature is also far less permanent than a planeswalker. Really this is just a nice little green take on Flame Tongue Kavu. The Kavu measures up a little better but it being a red card while this is a green ultimately makes this far far better than the Kavu. Red has no trouble dealing with pesky utility dorks while they are the bane of green decks. If there is much food around then this does get rather better too. I think I prefer this to Polukranos just because it kills things so much quicker and cheaper. It would be pretty funny if the 3/3 knocked the 5/5 out of the cube.

Witch's Vengeance 6.5+

This looks mostly like a sideboard card at first but there is a little bit of me that wonders? There is a fair amount of the main creature types as well as a lot of profession/class style tags. Add to that the fact that colours do tend to have a much higher concentration of certain creature types and you might well have a strong removal spell. This doesn't need to average that much over 50% of  creatures on your opponents board to be good. You should almost always be able to kill something, just in terms of effect the floor on this feels not worse than much of cheaper the black spot removal. Sure it costs one or two more putting it firmly in the camp of the powerful black removal but this has some really serious ceiling on it too. It is a bit Arc Trail in that worst case it is a bad Shock (or Last Gasp) and best case it is a Wrath! You will generally be able to hit more than one of your opponent's creatures without hitting any of your own. My guess is that this is hitting no less than 60% of creatures on average. If you clear their first two plays or kill off three things (with at least two cards worth of investment in them) in the midgame then this should pretty much seal the deal for that game. Finale of Eternity has been doing a lot of work for black lately in cube and this has a similar feel to it. At the very worst this card is a cheap, effective one sided anti-tribal mass removal spell that you can play in an aggro deck or a control one. At best it is that while also being a bit of a cheaper Finale of Eternity too.

Giant Killer 6

This is a tapper with a lot of upside but one big drawback. Paying two to tap a thing when you can pay one is silly move. You play tappers to tap things and so being worse at the primary role is a bit of a bummer. That means you have to look at this more as an all round utility card. A 1/2 body is some utility but pretty negligibly better than that of a Gideon's Lawkeeper in this instance. That means we are leaning fairly heavily on the adventure being worth running a bad tapper. Is a three mana Reprisal good? Well, a two mana one isn't but then that is down to it being fairly restrictive. You can play this and get value from it when there are no fatties to kill. Is this actually a good Reprisal rather than a bad tapper? Perhaps but there are tappers in the cube while there is no Reprisal so perhaps those two things are roughly the same potency anyway. This card is pretty close to the mark all told. I will test it out and find out which side it lands on. Lovely design though. I hope it makes it for that alone. I also hope it makes it because it is way more interesting than a Law-Rune Enforcer or even Goldmeadow Harrier


  1. How have you found Doom Foretold? Will you do a winners & losers post for recent sets?

    1. I have a Winners and Losers in the tank but I have been slow on them this year due to trying to work out the optimal format to present my findings. Any suggestions on that most welcome.

      Doom Fortold has been impressive in cube so far but feeling on the narrow side. This might just be due to inexperience at building with the card. I think with a minor amount of support it could be really good yet not oppressive like some of the older stacks style cards can be. Doom Fortold can be a nice supplement to those strategies or it can just stand alone fairly well as an interesting alternative to a planeswalker top end card in a low curve gribbly deck.