Sunday 29 September 2019

Throne of Eldraine Preliminary Review Part XIII

Fires of Invention 5

Well isn't this a spicy little card. So what does this do for us? Broadly it lets you have twice as much mana for casting things but limits you to the casting of just two things and to your own turn. The latter helps keep the card fair without too much added complexity. Only being able to play two things hampers the combo potential for this card in a storm style setting but in a deck that wants to use Mana Flare it should be fine. There are some bonus perks and drawbacks when comparing this to Mana Flare beyond the obvious key ones of limiting your casts and not giving a bonus to your opponent. Like Mana Flare this will not improve the effectiveness of any mana rocks, Fire of Invention also fails to work with or improve lands that tap for two mana or cost reduction effects either. On the plus side it does leave all your mana sources alone for use with activated abilities. This means you can effectively give yourself a 250% mana boost if you have all your mana coming from lands at a one for one rate and you spend all your mana each turn with precisely two thirds on spells and one third on activated abilities. Having activated abilities to go with this seems very wise given that will be your only way to interact at instant speed. While this is no good for storm it does work rather nicely with suspend cards like As Foretold. Red now seems to have the most of those kinds of cards now and has sufficient redundancy that you could well use a red base to build a singleton list around that plan. Alternatively you can just have a big red deck that can start to do some silly things if it draws this. Your typical fair midrange deck is looking to curve and do one thing a turn and this lets you do that twice as well from the turn after you make it without hampering you at all on the turn you do. This as spell one, then with four lands drop your actual four drop. The issue with this is that you don't have great card draw in red and could really do with draw effects to empower playing twice as much stuff. Then however, with a deck full of medium to top end and draw stuff, when you don't draw this your deck is awful slow clunk. I like this card a lot, it is fun, interesting, powerful, well designed and probably about right power wise. It is potent without being abusive or something you can play anywhere without consideration and have it be good. I think it is probably too narrow and demanding for the draft cube but I think it should get a bunch of work done for different lists all over singleton constructed formats. Somewhat the red take on Wilderness Reclamation.

Giant Opportunity 1

Is a 3 mana 7/7 token payoff? Sounds pretty poor. I much prefer this in make three food mode for cube and it still sounds pretty awful at that. This is only making a food themed deck, and not always. It won't even be that good of a deck so yeah. Narrow and weak, winning combo...

Bartered Cow 4

I want to rate this higher! It is basically a free thing. It feels like there are a lot of decks that would quite like a free food. A decent number of those have discard effects such as looting. With enough of those this is as good as it gets to a free thing in magic. Perhaps you tinker it away, perhaps Urza taps it for blue, there is a lot you can end up doing with a free artifact token. This is the Basking Rootwalla of the artifact world. Sure, this card does a lot less than Walla but as we all know, artifacts fully trump creatures, especially ones that attack! This will see combo play somewhere some how. It might well just see some play as a convenient synergy support card too. I suspect it will do that in four of a kind constructed lists before it comes to singleton ones too. Tortured Existence is quite cute with these in multiples!

Archon of Absolution 1

There are loads of 4 mana dorks that have this effect on them and all of them have more toughness than this. Against the mono white aggro deck this is a huge ball ache to play against and might see some attention as a sideboard card for that. As a maindeck tool though this is shocking compared to the swathes of alternatives.

Thorbran, Thane of Red Fell 7.5

I still feel like I have misread this card because it just seems so absurdly good. Bolt you for 5. What, wait! Really? Shock you for 4.... Lava Dart for 6. Mogg Fanatic doing the work of a Glorybringer! Flame of Keld did this but it cost you your hand and it only did it for a turn. The card was also still very potent and did good work in cube and even made some waves in standard. Thorbran comes down with no warning and is like a Trumpet Blast for your attack. It is then like an improved personal Furnance of Wrath on a 4/4 body. Getting +2 is broadly better than doubling in cube. As there are more things that do one than there are that do 3 or more. Or at least they occur more over the course of games. It is close enough not to matter much. The main thing is that this brings the hurt, right away and for as long as it is in play. It feels like a Sublime Archangel for red but much better. More durable and broader application. You can do 12 immediately with zero mana burn off the back of playing him if you have all of a Lava Dart in the bin, a Gut Shot and Fireblast in hand. You could take that to 18 total damage with a Stoke the Flames but you also then need 3 other things to tap and odds on those are doing more damage attacking. This feels pretty terrifying as a red top end card. What it lacks in durability compared to Experimental Frenzy, Purphorus, Rekindling Phoenix, Pia and Kiran Nalaar etc. it more than makes up for in ability to end the game really really fast.

Drown in the Loch 2

What makes a card like this good is early flexibility. For this to actually do anything early, let alone provide options, you really need to either mill your opponent or have them mill themselves. If you are just going to rely on the natural progression of the game this will too often not be able to counter or kill the relevant threats of the time. If they make a Mother of Runes, even on the draw, if you don't have a Mental Note as your one drop, that Mother is going to be a royal pain. I think aggro mill decks can run this. I think you can also run it as a good all round sideboard card in meta with self mill heavy lists. This has nice upside but it has a little but of unreliablity and a little bit of narrowness that really hurt it's chances given why you typically want these cards.

Silverflame Squire 1

The combat trick just costs a little too much. The body will be near irrelevant by the time the trick is used and it is a decidedly poor two drop play if you plan to forgo the trick. Versatile but very low power. It works poorly with how you want to curve as well.

Rally for the Throne 1

Perhaps you run this in a Soul Sister's build but really, three mana for a pair of 1/1s sucks rather a lot. It is just a lot of more of the same rolled into one low powered card, it is filler rather than payoff or even support.

Linden, the Steadfast Queen 1

This feels surprisingly under powered. She could have lifelink or be a 3/4 or something else and she wouldn't seem all that impressive still. I only give this a 1 because she is the best creature commander option for a mono white soul sisters deck it seems and being such a sucker for those kind of cute things I will be getting involved.

Yorvo, Lord of the Garen Preserve 2

A green devotion or stompy deck are the only homes I see for this chump. At least green now has some redundancy in GGG three drops that are over-statted! Now I can make my more consistent bad decks!

Blacklance Paragon 2

A good cheap tribal support card but cheap filler rather than auto-include. There are a lot of good two drop options.

Forever Young 4

Well this certainly puts Bone Harvest to shame. This has the floor of cycling for 1B at sorcery speed which is fine. It is a Raise Dead for 2 if you need or it can totally set up your draws to hit gas now and for the next few turns to win the game. It is a bit slow and so might not see enough play in my drafting cube but it will absolutely feature in a bunch of decks. It is just a cheap, efficient, versatile card.

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