Friday 17 April 2020

Ikoria, Lair of Behemoths Preliminary Review Part XI

Bonder's Enclave 2

While this is power creep as far as utility lands go I am not sure it is in line with the general power creep in dorks and the importance of tempo. Four mana to draw a card is a lot. A colourless land is a big cost. I think we will continue to see improvements to utility lands as the game becomes increasingly balanced. This is too narrow for the drafting cube. You just will not often enough have that four power dork to turn this on. It is likely win more if you do. To merit playing an effect you expect not to use that often it has to be good when you do use it. This can simply not work at all. I can see it in some constructed builds. Seems great for EDH! In high power 1v1 formats though this isn't getting much love. Arch of Orazca seems a far more reliable option, as do a few others.

Springjaw Trap 2

This is a Lightning Bolt! A very expensive one. Being a one drop and an artifact with flash I can see this getting some action. The power is low but the utility and potential supporting synergy is there.

Sleeper Dart 5

This seems fantastic. Two mana artifacts that draw cards as EtB effects are lovely. Those with the ability to sac themselves for free are handy too. This has one of the more relevant effects I have seen on this kind of support card. I will give this a little test because it could well sneak into the cube, all be it probably not. Just nice and convenient even if it is relatively low power.

Yorion, Sky Nomad 2

Well this is pretty bad. Twenty cards over minimum deck size is very bad, especially in 40 card decks. It makes your deck more than 50% worse. Your payoff? A flying donk and a one off flicker. Flicker might be some value, it might even be a lot of value in a narrow deck. A free flying dork is nice but you can do that already in loads of better ways like Cavalier of the Gales. This should see some use as it is fun but it is also pretty bad. One of these many cards that high ceiling and seemingly acceptable floors give the impression of a good average. In practice the average will be very close to the floor.

Titan's Nest 4

Well this screams danger but design looks to have been fairly careful. I thought I could perhaps abuse it with multikicker effects but it seems as if that is well covered by no X spells and only colourless mana. Still. this is a Search for Azcanta for card quality and gives most of your spells delve. That is an all round reasonable deal. A tall order to get into play but still. Once there affording a lot of power and options. Hard to use really well in 40 card decks as it can reduce that much less overall stuff and has to be rather quicker about doing so. You really want lots of self mill and lots of payoff cards that are big and get a nice reduction potential from the Nest. This makes it all sound like way too much effort for limited settings. None the less, a card with a lot of potential.

Genesis Ultimatum 1

Not impressed. Too much coloured mana in too many colours with too big of a random component. Sure, a draw five cards floor is no bad thing but it is a whole lot of work to go to for like a couple of land and a man dork in play and a couple of random spells in hand. You can play things like Genesis Wave or good and reliable cards like Primeval Titan. Not sure why you would play this other than for the kicks.

Survivor's Bond 2

Too narrow for the drafting cube but a fairly cheap and  neat two for one in the right place.

Sudden Spinnerets 1

The best of a large group of cards, all of which see no play!

Ram Through 2

Instant speed Rabid Bite with a bit of upside if you have trample. I am pretty wary of green fight cards and those like them, such as this. They keep getting a little bit better and still keep missing the mark. This is cheap, it is instant, it is a little better than a fight mostly, but I still expect it not to be quite enough pull to actually get any worthwhile play.

Excavation Mole 0

Too expensive and vanilla and fair to be worth playing as a support card. If you want to mill then play a better mill card, don't play this.

Raking Claws 3

Not quite enough in the way of high power dorks to abuse the doublestrike in cube. Anax seems like one of the best targets. Cycling is a lovely perk. It makes it something you can consider playing in a general sense. It is just a nice combat trick come damage effect. In decks wanting this effect Temur Battlerage is preferable as it gives trample most of the time. In a world with Embercleave this shouldn't really get a look in in the general sense so it probably doesn't get much action.

Suffocating Fumes 6.5

Loving how the commons are powering up. This is a pretty neat card. It is instant which is a really big pull for a mass removal effect. It is the main thing it has over the likes of Plague Mare. Cycling is also a great addition to a situational effect, especially as it is one that can scale up really effectively. This has got some potential in my cube. The only issue it has is that all the Chainwhirlers, Wrenn and Six, Plague Engineers and Mares have really calmed down the number of 1 toughness dorks you expect to encounter. The meta has changed such that it is a little safer against this kind of counterplay. Still, this is also one sided and can be used as a combat trick reasonably well too. Relatively splashable compared to the others as well.

Serrated Scorpion 1

Feels like this is the win condition to some recursion and sac loop somewhere. Not good anywhere else though.

Memory Leak 6

I "asked" for one of these before as well although I had the cycling be pricey and the front end be cheap. All told this version is still probably fine in the right place. Exile makes this quite scary for a lot of combo and engine decks too. Doomfall is feared and sees a reasonable amount of action. This is a better hand disruption tool and a less clunky card meaning it should be tested. I somewhat expect it to fail as it is a bit limited and low powered but it is decent. Quite the upgrade on a Coercion.

Hunted Nightmare 2

A 4/5 menace for 3 mana is probably enough power to carry a "just a dork" card in cube. Sadly giving away deathtouch is a pretty big deal some of the time. Even if more of the time it does nothing or is easy to play around you just can risk having your generic beaters being liabilities. With cards like this not quite there is basically as good as unplayable so much as this is likely just a 5/10 rating in terms of relative power it is a 1/10 on playability.

Durable Coilbug 1

Cute recursive common but just a bit pricey on that utility and a little low powered on the front end.

Boot Nipper 1

Love this card, it is rather close to being viable. Both abilities have strong utility and scale well in the right setting. Sadly the card is just too low power. Would be interesting to see if a 2/3 version of this could make it.

Startling Development 4

Blue least needs cheap cyclers but they still are not bad. Does blue want this effect however even at very minor opportunity cost? In drafting cube I am going with not. Too situational and narrow even if quite useful and low opportunity cost.

Mythos of Illuna 3

This is pretty interesting, not really for the fight element but the any permanent part. A couple of Clone effects hit a couple of types but this is all of them. You can make a land! Not as bad as it sounds in blue! Certainly the type that matters least if made as a token. That is the real downside of Mythos. Is being able to target a few more things worth the change to token? On a creature it is dodgy but most other things it is more OK for. The thing is this most of the time you are copying a creature. I have never much liked Clones so this isn't something I am going to bother testing. It is a nice tool to have out there. I suspect I will play it somewhere. I suspect lots of people who do love a clone will play this in lots of places.

Gust of Wind 6

Not reliable enough for cube I think although having said that the floor on this is not all that bad. You probably fall behind using this at four mana as most things four mana and over do something right away of note. Bouncing things of less cost means you are losing tempo. Still, at two mana this is a fantastic rate. A retrospective Remand. Even at sorcery two mana cantrip Disperse is comparable to Remand and just a really good card. I don't even hate it at three mana. That means if you can have a flier out for this just half of the time it is pretty decent. Certainly I will be playing this in any constructed deck rich in fliers. I don't think it is there for my drafting cube, even with the prevalence of 3/1 flash fliers and thopter/spirit token generators. Very impressive common though.

Frostviel Ambush 2

They really have printed a lot of cyclers for 1 mana and they really have made sure to make the spell part underwhelming and inefficient. This being one of the weakest on offer. You can basically get this effect for two mana... 250% the price for something just because it has cycling and yet the card is still playable. Once in a blue moon it will win you the game and the cost of inclusion is minimal. I am only ever playing this to abuse cycling for 1 but still. Impressive how bad you can make things and have them be playable with this cycling gimmick.

Aegis Turtle 3

Well High Alert decks like this a whole lot. This is a lot of one drop when acting as a 5/5 but in all other settings it is a bit of a do nothing. You can do better for walls generally speaking. Never rule out those one drops tho, they find their uses. This is clean and does a thing better than other cards. It will find the odd home outside of High Alert I am sure.

Solid Footing 1

Hmm, probably not something you play in a Doran or High Alert deck. Just doing one dork isn't really enough. Especially with the vigilance clause too. Cute persistent combat trick but not really enough without rather more synergies on the go.

Light of Hope 6

Wow, this does a lot for very little. Absolutely this will find loads of homes. It is mana efficient, space efficient, option dense, and all manner of other good things. What it is not is probably worth a card in a general cube sense. You have to get a card out of this either by killing an enchantment, countering a removal spell or killing/saving a creature in combat. I guess it counts if it buys you another turn of being alive as well. This sounds like a lot of things and it is but none of them are common. A rule for modal cards is that they have one mode that is always fine and mostly applicable. Light of Hope doesn't quite have that. The counter is probably something you can have active enough of the time but just grown a dork is not at all worth it. Half a Gird for Battle? Nope.

Imposing Vantasaur 1

OK, this is the least useful card with cycling 1, still playable as with all the others. Just very very low power.

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