Thursday 3 October 2019

Throne of Eldraine Preliminary Review Part XVII

Happily Ever After 3.5

How quaint. Also, quite a bunch better than most "win the game" text cards. Having six types of card is pretty easy. Life higher than starting life total is very easy against some decks and already winning against others. It is a bit awkward as you will auto lose to aggro if you don't work on it but it will all be dead or less effective cards against control. The five life this provides helps out nicely at least. The five colours of permanent are the hardest thing to do but it is pretty easy in a deck setup to do it. Fieldmist Boarderpost, Deathrite Shaman and a Kobald gets it done pretty fast! Now spotting this counts itself you can get it done easier with the Dimir Borderpost and a Wild Cantor! You can win on the upkeep of your turn three with this I think, infact you certainly can with Leylines being a thing! I feel like this card fits nicely into a Niv-Mizzet Reborn build. That or just a five colour white deck. You have to build around it but if you do it is a pretty powerful way to win. Good flavour too.

Resolute Rider 1

All the activations are just too pricey leading us to the devotion or nothing point most of this cycle exists in.

Mystic Sanctuary 6

This seems mentally good despite being essentially a copy of Witch's Hut that just works on different types. Instant and sorceries are typically more useful, powerful and synergy affording. Most of the best and most played cards are those types (when you exclude the power at least). Most of the recursion for instants and sorceries will exile the card in question. A lot also need extra mana that turn such as Snapcaster Mage. This is tutorable easily. It costs no mana when it recurs and isn't too much of a burden on your list. Just the thought of this and a pile of Time Walks in constructed is pretty scary. There are going to be a lot of different infinite turn combos you can pull off with this. Sanctuary can setup miracle cards like a dream. All round a very impressive little tool. It is pretty heavy blue and a pretty slow card what with being less than useful until at least turn four, more likely a little later. Due to being quite so demanding on the islands and how rarely decks wind up mono blue in draft I don't think this is quite there for the drafting cube. As for my singleton decks this will be all over them. I anticipate it seeing some of the most play of the utility lands winding up in so much of the combos.

Hushbringer 4

Obviously a great sideboard card. While rather more powerful overall than Tocatli Honor Guard it is also easier to kill and you are playing these for the effect much more so than the legs and so survivability is a big deal. Still, there is Torpor Orb for that too so it is looking pretty good for Hushbringer. I don't think it is quite good enough for the drafting cube however despite the more rounded offering, these sort of random "do they get you?" cards are a little tedious both to play with and against.

Merfolk Secret Keeper 5

Just a cheap little utility mill card. It does a bit of what Overwhelmed Apprentice does but it lets you mill yourself as well which does significantly increase the places you might want a card like this. Witch's Oven and Cauldron Familiar combos seem to quite like playing off the back of this one as an example. Calling this a Stitcher's Supplier would be very generous but it is that sort of a card. Not an exciting card but absolutely the foundations upon which you can build exciting decks. Obviously too narrow and low in power for general use.

Rimrock Knight 4

This reminds me of Reckless Charge. While I do quite like this as an aggressive tool I think it is going to have a hard time lasting. It just has too many little issues across the card. A one mana combat trick and a 3 power two drop beater in one card sounds pretty nice. Sadly the adventure is on the wrong end making this near impossible to have as your two drop while gaining value from the Boulder Rush. When this loses value as a two drop curve filler the card loses value. When you don't get free pump effect the card is very low power and value which leaves this card in a quandary. The combat trick is hard to be great in that it is either just a shock to the face or it turns a chump into a trade. It very rarely saves a dork of yours. You need first strike or something for that to happen. A lot of the value of this card is that it is two spells in one. It is nothing to do with the mana costs, individually or combined they are not good value for mana or overly impressive tempo plays. The convenience of the split costs is somewhat lost if you are scrambling to get use out of both halves within the context of the game at hand. What I like most about this is that you get a spell trigger and a creature. You can run this in a Young Pyromancer list and bolster your supporting cards that make tokens without getting too light on threats. Basically this is cheap enough and offers unique support to enough that it will crop up. For the drafting cube I will give it a trail but it seems a little awkward and fair for the kind of thing you want from it.

Thrill of Possibility 7

Well isn't this just a delight. Tormenting Voice was already in my cube and both Wild Guess and Cathartic Reunions, even Pirate's Pillage, were all getting love in my singleton constructed lists. This is a direct upgrade to Voice and Guess and the cleanest and most convenient of the lot. Instant makes this and whatever you are doing with it a lot safer. It is just a decent chunk better than a card that was already useful and seeing lots of play. It is like comparing Volcanic Hammer to Searing Spear! This is a new staple. It is not over powered by any means, just the best on offer for this sort of thing, which is a useful thing in plenty of places!

Dwarven Mine 6

How delightful, a free 1/1! Sounds minor but very much is not. Glad it isn't a goblin, might be too good for tribal lists. A token carries a lot of weight in red decks these days. They are thrown with Bombardments, they trigger Porphorus, they are pumped with things like Bushwhacker. Red is also pretty good at clearing out little chumps and so going wide gets a good amount of damage through. Most red heavy strategies are going to welcome a free 1/1. Where this falls down is like all the other utility lands in that it is only ever replacing a land, most often a mountain and as such is just adding a bit of strain into a draft. You only have so many cards and so picking playables to reach your deck limit is the priority. This has the further problem of red aggro lists often packing land light lists and not bothering to always curve to four. In those lists this will be entering tapped for too often for comfort and is unlikely to be worth it. You really need this to follow three other mountains. I keep most two land hands in my aggro red decks and this is quite the downer on such keepers. Outside of limited however I anticipate this being called upon often. I think it is less cost to the more midrange decks than Barbarian Ring and often will have more synergy and scaling in cube allowing the free 1/1 to outclass the Shock as well. One thing this does which is especially relevant for red is be a mountain and thus be eligible for sacrifice with Fireblast and Lava Dart. Not huge when all going well as you hope to have 4 mountains by then but when you are land light other utility lands really hurt those cards while this does so less.

Weapon Rack 0

Too slow and cute for cube even in a Hardened Scales setting but a lovely callback to Serrated Arrows.

Scalding Cauldron 2

Not going to get much action but it is a cheap artifact with a reasonbly costed and highly useful ability. This is the most efficient of this group of cards by a decent margin and as such will be the go to for any deck wanting some removal utility on a cheap artifact (and where Aether and Pyrite Spellbombs are not wanted or indeed wanted in greater quantity!).

Crashing Drawbridge 6.5

This is very powerful indeed. There are not all that many ways to haste things up on the cheap. Most of the convenient all round ones come in at three. There are Greaves and things like Goblin Motivator in red that are cheaper but that only do one thing. There are symmetrical cards too that are pretty risky. This is the cheapest way you can give your whole team haste without giving anything away to your opponent. This is the cheapest way to give your things haste outside of red too. It is just safe, convenient, and efficient. It will feature rather more in commander than cube but it still seems very good for a lot of formats. It is even a 0/4 wall which isn't terrible either. Obviously the decks looking to haste things up less often need a wall, especially a tapped one but still, it is more useful than nothing, and will be great in the more combo leaning applications. Well worth testing for the drafting cube and even if it fails there I will be running it plenty constructed lists. The idea of white weenie having dorks with haste every turn is quite scary! It is an artifact and a creature so it is a little easier to kill than some enablers but you are probably OK with that in most cases as it is a cheap card that isn't directly part of the combo or a threat itself. Very impressive to see a common that is this groundbreaking and playable.

Queen of Ice 0.5

Super low powered and booster draft feeling card. Cheap, being of some use, and having potential adventure based interactions make me disinclined to fully rule this out. Incredibly unlikely to ever get into a deck however.

Outflank 0

Reasonable scaling but too annoying. This does nothing when you have nothing, it is always low powered in the slower and more controlling decks making it something you only look to play in aggro. In aggro you are rarely using this on attackers and as such you are probably just better off with a combat trick. This looks powerful but as you can't remove a blocker before it blocks it costs you too much tempo.

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