Sunday 12 April 2020

Ikoria, Lair of Behemoths Preliminary Review Part VI

Valiant Rescuer 5

This seems great but in a Hero of Precinct One kind of way. A fantastic card in the right deck but likely too narrow for the drafting cube. Cycling is a fantastic mechanic and seems prevalent and pushed in this set. While right now there is not the support for this I could add in enough should other playable payoffs like this crop up. It might just naturally happen too if there is just a massive amount of good cycling cards to add to cube from Ikoria. If not, no worry, this will make it in to most cycling based decks with access to white. His stat allocation isn't ideal, I would rather he be more durable. Aggressive decks are less into cycling as a whole but perhaps between this and the Fox that will not be the case.

Migration Path 5

Another in the series of Skyshroud Claim, Circuitous Route etc. While all these cards are nuanced in their performance Path is right there at the bottom on average just as a ramp card. Cycling however is really delightful on a ramp card. Late you have mana and cycling costs are negligible. This feels like it is probably just a bit slow for the state my cube is in but it should be great in slower cubes, EDH, and quite possible standard. Mana seems to be king in this world of well balanced fair cards. I will give this a little test just because I have so much respect for cycling.

Barrier Breach 1

Oof. Three! Imagine this for any other card type. Even planeswalker would get this into the cube. Sadly there just are not enough enchantments in the cube for this to be a  good inclusion. I love everything else about this card, it just isn't all that useful. Even against enchantment decks you are just going to be using Tranquility effects instead as they represent more value. I guess this beats any joker trying a god themed deck out....

Obosh, the Preypiercer 5

Well odd is a far easier number to run exclusively than even that is for sure. As an effect this is a little late but probably still powerful that you are OK with that. It measures up fairly comparably to Torbran. Both have pros and cons over the other and Torbran is a bomb and not at all too slow! Certainly this is going to be scary when you can fulfill the clause because free card and powerful effect! It is more about how often you are running this main and the rate of how many cards it doesn't work with reduces it's power. Very much a card to test, my guess is a bit fiddly and late for the kinds of places you want it but when it works out it is going to be scary stuff.

Rielle the Everwise 6

Well this is two quite potent effects on one card that scale nicely with each other. This might well get Burning Inquiry banned in modern! Ancestral Recall is a powerful effect I hear. I think this is too narrow for drafting cubes. Even though my Izzet is very spell triggers themed and it contains most of the looting effects there are just not enough of them to really power Rielle up. You want to reliably have some sort of loot every turn Rielle is around and that is unrealistic. You could support her but it is a lot of effort to abuse one effect. In constructed decks however this is filthy good. Hollow One Arclight mashup here we come. I might need to pack something like Thassa's Oracle as Rielle is going to eat through a 40 card list in no time at all.

Shark Typhoon 7.5

The floor on this is fantastic. A blue 1/1 uncounterable flash flying cantrip is just great. That is pretty perfect for cube. I guess you could call the 2 mana cycle the floor. Either way it is better than Hydiod Krasis at a couple of the lower costs! This is a good way to spend mana, a good way to get on the board, good planeswalker control, great lategame scaling. It is just a perfect control card. It is as if they gave Decree of Justice a face lift including some greater early game punch. Much like Decree I suspect I am cycling this the vast, vast majority of the time. From X=0 all the way to X=6 and more. Some naughty abuses for this with things like Gush and Force of Will but a six mana do nothing enchantment is not a build around I am into for cube. Play this for the cycling, every now and again this will line up and it might seem like a good idea to cast this. So so rarely. It has some hope in Replenish style decks too as it is easy to get in the bin, triggers off a lot and offers a win condition and a lot of saved mana. I think this is going to be one of the most played cards from the set in my cube. Good card but rather silly in feel. It is all a bit snakes on a plane.

Mythos of Brokkos 1

Double Nature's Spiral with potential to also be an Entomb. Value and utility but narrow and a savage tempo concession. Too slow for combo, too narrow for much else cube related. Should be quality in EDH though. The art is still sublime too.

Stormwild Capridor 1

Outside of some infinite combo this has no hope and presently there are no nice two card combos with this that I can think of ruling it out entirely for now.

Pouncing Shoreshark 0

Flash on a Man-o-War is nice but needing to mutate is not. Just too unreliable for what you want from this. It needed to trigger on EtB as well to be close to viable.

Boneyard Lurker 0

Another nope. All sorts of conditional, slow and low power.

Footfall Crater 5

Interesting little card. The effect isn't powerful but it can certainly be useful. The cycling cost is very hard to argue with. I would be fairly happy playing this in almost any deck with cards that scale well with haste or trample. Or indeed just to assist delirium. It feels not unlike Abundant Growth. Playable to the point of being worth testing, a conclusion I feel like I come to on all these cycle for a generic mana cards. It is like their floor is 5/10 regardless of what the card does!

Migratory Greathorn 0

This is interesting in that it curves fairly nicely with a mana dork. Ramp on turn two plus grow that elf into a 3/4. The thing is, you just are not playing ramp to eek out some "free" stats. You are playing it to ramp so play a Rampant Growth or a Wood Elves over this silly conditional offering.

Ominous Seas 6

This has a lot of potential. Now I normally go on about how size scales poorly with tokens which is true. The difference here is that you have pseudo flash on your 8/8. Cube has a bunch of looting effects and Brainstorm effects which can really push the clock on this down. On average you should expect this to take over 4 turns even in cube but in a well tuned deck to support this it could be very quick indeed. Goblin Lore anyone? Another contender for that Izzet Hollow One build. The cycling on this also stops it being a bad lategame topdeck. Imagine how much improved Ancestral Visions would be with cycling! All told I think this is either a touch too slow or a touch too narrow for my drafting cube although it is close enough to be worth testing. Short of that this is a card I anticipate seeing in a number of places. Just too much power at a lot cost for it not to get some action.

Rooting Moloch 1

Cycling nearly saves this but really there is no place for a big and narrow Eternal Witness.

Thieving Otter 0

Stealer of Secrets with cooler but much worse creature types. Irrelevant too as this is far from good enough to see cube play.

Bastion of Remembrance 6

Zulaport Cutthroat for one more mana but spread out into a white token dork and an enchantment with the effect. All told I think I prefer this for most applications. You are not rushing to get your Cutthroat out but you do very much want it to survive. This has the durability. It is worse with Rally the Ancestors but otherwise it might well be an upgrade, or indeed, just a bonus thing to bolster your aristocrat synergies. I have been trimming the frills on that archetype in cube for a while now as tempo changes have made the archetype slip from tier 1. I don't see this returning it there but it is potent enough to at least merit some testing.

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