Saturday, 28 September 2019
Throne of Eldraine Preliminary Review Part XII
Stonecoil Serpent 3
This is flexible and reasonable value at most points on the curve. It has some useful keywords and some bonus utility as an artifact, an X spell, a 0 mana card and that sort of thing. It is incredibly playable and somewhat useful but it is also painfully mediocre. It is just a dork and never an efficient one. Protection from premium gold removal isn't all that exciting when your opponents don't care about killing it! I cannot think of a deck that isn't abusing this or really feeding off the synergies that would play this.
Folio of Fancies 1
Lots of abilities but hard to make it do much of much and certainly too much mana. This is an expensive mill card and both an expensive and dangerous draw card. Cheap enough with sufficient potential synergies that I don't want to rule it out. Certainly a good way to finish off a game in a Paradox Engine list but they are not really short on ways of closing games.
Dance of the Manse 2
An interesting little combo card that potentially provides some redundancy to Replenish or Open the Vaults. This is certainly designed in a way that keeps it reasonably hard to abuse but that does allow it to still be powerful. You can only play this in a deck heavily built to use effects like this. Narrow and fair but playable and with potential.
Vantress Gargoyle 6.5
This ranges from a bad Ghoulcaller's Bell to an absolute beast of a card. A super Jace's Phantasm if you will. A 2 mana 5/4 flying wall is pretty good if it ultimately gets to attack. Given how magic tends to pan out, and with the tap ability this card has it shouldn't take too long for this to be able to go on the offensive. Sadly by then it may not be able to be on defense anymore. It feels a bit like Thing in the Ice. Riskier but also more generally useful and a better late game peel. Basically if this spends any significant amount of time unable to get involved in any kind of combat it will be pretty bad but if it can usually attack by the time blocking gets to be a cost to sustain then it should be a strong cube worthy card. Certainly one I will be rigorously testing out.
Bonecrusher Giant 6.5
I have mixed feelings about this. One the one hand it is two useful, versatile and worth having cards in one, both at reasonable costs. On the other hand it is two slightly below par cards rolled into one. With Murderous Knight you have one really good card and then some nice value to go with it. This is just two mediocre cards. That is also true of Firebolt, all be it to a lesser extent on the front end. This being a card that curves nicely with itself is a decent perk. Shock their two drop then make the Giant on three. You could legitimately keep a hand that was just this, 3+ mountains and other cards that cost four or more. There are not many hands you can keep in cube that contain only one playable card before turn four. The Giant might seem good for the mana, and it is certainly a bit better than the 2/3 lifelink Knight for 1BB but it still isn't very good compared with a cube level three drop. It is just a 4/3 ground pounder. Most things block it and it is easy to take out in combat and ignore the damage effect. I expect this will get used to Shock something and then remain in exile until you have little else left to do. It is a great midrange red card but a low tempo red aggro card and thus probably just a filler aggro card. I think this looks better than it actually is. I like it, I expect it to see a reasonable amount of play. The convenience of it with the reasonable card value it offers should be enough to offset the lower power of the Giant and the Stomp. Obviously a Shock that drew a card for two mana would be off the charts good. The issue is that when that card is a 4/3 dork for three that cannot be looted away or used like other cards in hand the value of that draw plummets. I think it is under half as good as a draw in cube which it has to be to not be a lock in. As soon as this gets to be worth half a card or more it becomes really quite good. As such we will probably be in a standard meta where two toughness dorks are a liability.
Revenge of Raves 0
Fairly brutal against a go wide plan but pretty poor returns against meatier attackers. This costs a lot, has no value returns and is generally very slow. It doesn't even do that much to affect the board. Black is not really a pillow fort kind of colour either. I quite like the idea of the card and quite want to play it but I just see no way in which I can make this worth it.
The Magic Mirror 1
The Massive Win More is what this seems like to me. In cube this is really dangerous. You will play it and not all that much later you will have no library left and this will kill you. Blue isn't great at closing out a game quickly. This is a nice personal Howling Mine but you can only really use it in places that are able to stall for a bit but will win with ease and on the spot when they have all the things. Some combo decks feel like they would tick these boxes but that is about it. You also really need to mill yourself a bit or have a deck full of cheap cantrips to play this for a sensible cost or in a sensible amount of time. You could make it turn three with turns one and two spent Thoughtscouring yourself and hitting well... You deck yourself five turns later and sooner if you play any more card draw or mill... Perhaps this goes in a Donate deck! This is far too much setup and far too much risk for a card that does far too much of the thing it does. The bigger the deck the better this gets and so I can see it winding up in some EDH builds but it is still very narrow there.
Irencrag Feat 4
This compares fairly closely to Lotus Bloom. Spend one card and on turn four you can have three extra mana to use. There are then some minor pros and cons to each option. This is obviously only red and restricts you to one spell to use with that mana. This is also a card you don't need to have on turn one and that can be useful off the top right away or found with other spells without slowing you down. You can get 7 mana on turn one in modern with this now. Spirit Guide, Mountain, two Desperate Rituals and this. You only need one of your last two cards to be a game winning card costing no more than 7 but ideally not that much less either. Myr Battlesphere is the first card that comes to mind as a good thing to rush out with this which doesn't make it sound all that exciting. This is a bigger ritual that Seething Song and it is less restrictive than Geosurge. That being said, Geosurge does exactly the same as this in my Myr Battlesphere setting and that has seen no love in any format that I am aware of. Irencrag Feat can use the mana to activate abilities such as those on Charbelcher. It can also be reduced a bit in cost by the likes of Baral or Ruby Medallion. This is interesting and potentially both dangerous and powerful. It is also narrow enough to keep it reasonably well contained. I do want to see a Tron deck have their Tron pieces exiled by a turn two or three Karn from a mono red ritual list!
Versatile and reasonably powerful. Copy Artifact, Copy Enchantment and Sculpting Steel all see play and broadly this is better than the lot. It is a narrow card and so broadly doesn't actually count for all that much. When you want to copy something it is usually a fairly specific something and so the cheaper, easier to cast or more tutorable options are first choice. What this does do is generally be the second best option and thus offer redundancy on a decent card. Great for commander providing a somewhat more budget option on those more expensive alternatives.
Loch Dragon 0
I don't even see this being used in a devotion deck, it is just super bad from all angles. Good luck keeping your two power four drop in play for that... This is a far worse looter than most of what red has to offer, let alone what blue has!
Ferocity of the Wilds 1
Goblin Oriflamme costing 1 more to provide trample but now miss humans. The latter isn't a big deal in red, almost all the token generators are not humans. Still, too narrow for the drafting cube and probably just a bit fair for most constructed cube lists. I would just much rather an actual threat than this.
Grumgully the Generous 1
Red isn't one of the good +1/+1 counters synergy cards presently but this might well just allow people to experiment with such things. Grumgully is a solid commander option even if he seems to have little application in cube lists. He is cheap and powerful and of course legendary! For cube he is just a bit off theme, awkward, gold, and fair.
Sundering Stroke 1
Sounds expensive. Seven you say? This seems like a pretty bad Finale of Eternity or a really really bad Arc Trail. Sure, this can kill walkers and players while Finale cannot but it doesn't do anything until turn seven! A Glorybringer almost always does 8 damage divided up enough to be pretty meaningful and it is still a thing after doing so. This is just a one shot seven damage, perhaps 21 damage! Even then it isn't that impressive. In that case it is likely just some free face damage as the rest is all going into wild overkill. This is still a versatile, on theme, powerful card, so I don't want to entirely rule it out. I could see myself running it in a Mizzix's Mastery build potentially.
Clockwork Servant 6
This seems pretty good. A three mana 2/3 that draws a card would see a lot of filler play. A punchier Sea Gate Oracle, a more defensively statted Rogue Refiner, a less painful Phyrexian Rager etc. My concern for this is that you can only really play it in mono or very heavily in one colour lists. If you can't reliably cast this on three and draw a card it is significantly worse. I fear it is not going to see the play it needs because people want to splash or run colourless lands instead of this too much of the time where this is viable. This at least still gets to dump on Henge Walker from a vast height.