Friday, 20 September 2019

Throne of Eldraine Preliminary Review Part VIII

Kenrith, the Returned King 1

Well now this looks mightily like an EDH card! Quite a spicy one for a Training Grounds too. While this has some cute things going for it Kenrith is mostly just a five mana 5/5 dork. With time and mana and being alive he wins the game but for those initial five mana he is pretty terrible. There are many cards that are better right away and still many that are much better right away. The same is true of cards that win the game with time and or mana. There are even a good number of such cards that are better at both. Really, the best thing about this is having a rounded commander than gives you all the colour options without having to commit much to any.

Once and Future 4

This has a number of things going for it that make it very possible it sees play. Instant is a good start and makes it playable in a control setting and better in some combo decks too. The control over being able to put cards into hand or on top of your library is amazing too. This is a fantastic thing to pair with miracles for example. There are many combo reasons to want things in the deck rather than the hand. This can be a double Regrowth and give you a nice two for one or it can be a one for one with library setup like a Brainstorm. Versatile and convenient. Sadly I suspect it is only going to feature in combo decks, it needs things in the bin and it is a big tempo cost which make it unlikely to get that much action in the drafting cube.

Emry, Lurker of the Loch 6.5

This card seems pretty foolish to me. Stitcher's Supplier was the thing driving all the Hogaak sillyness. This mills more when you don't have that sac outlet. This seems like the best self mill tool for a number of decks and a decent option on one in many more. But Emry is not done yet. Not only is she a Stitcher's Supplier but also a bit of a Goblin Welder. Seat of the Synod, Mishra's Bauble, Emry feels like an obnoxious and easy start. Tap to draw a card is certianly not what Stitcher's Supplier is lacking. I suspect this will result in new decks in modern at the very least. Perhaps some existing decks will shift to incorporate this or perhaps some entirely new ones will emerge, perhaps both. In my drafting cube I fear there is too little artifact support for Emry to shine but in almost any constructed setting she seems really powerful and abusable. The cost reduction aspect also makes her a super impressive commander. This will get used in combo loops, to find, setup and protect combos, just for value. This is one of the most versatile support cards I have seen, especially considering power level on top of that.

Lochmere Serpent 4

To me this seems just a little shy of good enough. It has a few things going against it. To make this an effective threat you need to invest not just mana but also lands into it. Sacrificing three lands to kill someone with this could be ruinous if that plan gets held up. Obviously being gold just ups the bar on what this card needs to do to make it. My last gripe is that this doesn't have enough stabilizing power. Even Aetherling can effectively untap after attacking and get in on the blocking too. All this can do is toilet your swamps for a poor return on life. Flash is lovely on a big blue threat and recursion is nice too but not lovely enough. I will give this a little chance to prove me wrong but it seems rather unexciting and demanding for a six drop.

Covetous Urge 6.5

If it were not for how nutty Gonti is I might disregard this for being a low tempo card. The thing is, this is pretty much a Gonti with a Coercion replacing the body. All told those things are fairly comparable in value. This doesn't have the hidden information aspect of Gonti which is a big part of the power he has in cube however this does do much more to disrupt and generally will have more in the way of selection. Assuming you cast this on turn four and they have nothing in play they will be 10 cards into their deck meaning they should have at least five things you can steal. Later in the game will be more options on stealing too. The usual diminishing returns on hand disruption into a game do not apply to this card. Sadly this is pretty poor against a beatdown. If your opponent has just flopped their hand onto the board this is not only a bad tempo play but also one that isn't going to give you the options you need anywhere near reliably enough. You might have to take the Glorious Anthem because it will kill you but it does nothing to help your plan. At that point you wish you have just run a Duress! This is also far harder to cast than Gonti even if it is a bit more flexible in the colours you can run it with. My gut says this is a little too slow and awkward to quite cut it but it is pretty close and well worth thorough testing to find out.

Feasting Troll King 2

Cute card but I don't think it is quite there and is one of those cards that is basically unplayable as a result. This is like a Carnage Tyrant that trades all it's protection effects for just one mediocre protection against a Wrath. It also has the mild utility of gaining life and blocking making it better against some aggro decks. Not really why you play cards like this. It is pretty powerful and is a lot more powerful if you have some impressive food generation engine but it looks like it isn't ever doing much in cube.

Clackbridge Troll 3

The flavour wins just keep coming! This is a scary card. It is both very powerful but also a little dangerous. There will be plenty of occasions where you just can't play this because the goats will kill you. They might have Purphoros, or Goblin Bombardment, or a pile of Anthem effects. You flop out your troll, they let you go to attacks, you have to stay back to block else you die and all you really did was give your opponent a Time Walk and a bunch of fodder tokens. The best case scenario for this is probably something like having a Plague Engineer on goats and getting to just smack for 10 a couple of times into an empty board. The more likely outcome is you make this and it gets killed or bounced or stolen and that is a pretty bad outcome too. Even the contained mode of drawing 3 cards and gaining 9 life over three turns and then getting to beat for 8 is pretty poor. It is late in the day for slow resource gains and bad as either an aggro tool or a control tool as such. Just too much risk for what it offers with too much control given to your opponent. I will test this to make sure but it seems like a really bad take on Abyssal Persecutor. I do at least prefer it to Desecration Demon which other people seem to love, but I hate, so not really counting for much when coming from me.

Robber of the Rich 3

Much as I love stealing my opponents cards to use against them this seems a little bit hopeful in too many places. It needs to get to the attack step alive, you need to have fewer cards in hand, you need to not exile a land card, and based on how it seems to work you will only get to play that spell if Robber is alive. This probably means he needs to survive combat to get much value. You might hit an instant that is useful right away but odds on not. Presumably you are two mana down on the first turn he attacks and so he is unlikely to get useful value there. I think this needs to attack and survive twice before it does much in the way of value gaining. The body and stats are almost the best thing about this card and they are not enough on their own that is for sure. I will test this just to confirm that it is bad but it certainly seems that way.

Trail of Breadcrumbs 4

I like this a lot, it makes me want to build food decks! There is probably not going to be enough food stuff in cube for this to get much done. You would need consistent access of about 3 per game minimum before this starts to look impressive. I want to do a silly Ironworks deck using this and food as a way of going off! When you take away the mana cost to sac food Trail of Breadcrumbs starts to look vastly more powerful. Even if that doesn't get the tools to work I will be doing a midrange food themed deck, seemingly in Golgari, and this will absolutely feature. This card does have some potential applications as a support card in that it generates two permanents on the cheap that are relatively hard to clear. Ultimately those cards will not cost you very much either. You can turn on a lot of things and power up a bunch of others with this and when you are done with that you can have three life and a Sleight of Hand! Lovely.

Curious Pair 2

This is very low powered but it is cheap, versatile, abusable, and good at supporting a lot of things. A food token seems to do quite a lot and this is as cheap as they come(without a discard outlet it seems now at least...). The 1/3 body is pretty naff but it is something. I wouldn't be shocked to see this as a supporting card in a number of quirky decks in a number of formats. I will be playing it in my food decks that is for sure! Doubtful it has any hope of drafting cube though, things really need power these days and that is the one thing this lacks.

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