Thursday 18 June 2020

Core 2021 Preliminary Reviews Part IV

Seasoned Hallowblade 7

A very comparable card to Adanto Vangaurd. The cost to protect is more but that isn't as big of a deal as you think. It serves as a barrier to your opponents good options. They just won't try and waste the removal spell on it a lot of the time as it is a waste as wont do what they want it to. You don't want to give choices to your opponent and Hallowblade will put people in that position. Early game it is a 3/1 indestructible as much as you want it to be. It is far better than Vanguard in this regard as it is a very real tempo cost using 4 life bunch. Hallowblade is king in the world of tempo while Vanguard is better as a resilient tool against control decks. Both are still fantastic cards to equip and safely extend with. Hallowblade has a better creature type and is a better blocker in terms of power.  It is worse at blocking in that removal can at least be used to tap it down before blocks but this is fairly minor. All told, this is a supremely resilient two drop with three power. This one is good enough to potentially edge out Vanguard, helped with human synergies. I think it is equally possible both stay in cube being so good and effective.

Carrion Grub 0

Costs too much for a support card and lacks any evasion to the point where it is no use as a threat.

Tide Skimmer 0

I mean, you might play this in a flyers deck that is 100 cards. It is OK if you can trigger it reliably the turn you make it. Far too fair and narrow elsewhere.

Bolt Hound 2

Decent enough card but just an aggressive red three drop that isn't as powerful as the likes of Goblin Rabblemaster. Being just a threat that isn't making par means this is only going to see action in a tribal list despite seeming close on power.

Selfless Savoir 4

A nice little single target Selfless Spirit that is more akin to Benevolent Bodyguard overall. This little doggy is good against Wraths and spot removal which is nice. Sadly it is just a 1/1 and so likely only gets play in decks that can scale up bodies, is tribally themed, or really needs to protect something. Dauntless Bodyguard is a lot less flexible as far as protection goes but the 2/1 body makes it substantially more playable than this overall.

Siege Striker 1

Can hit hard but is a 3 mana 1/1 with no evasion, no EtB effects, no extra value, and that needs support.

Kinetic Auger 2

A support card that does cool things and has nice scaling but it ultimately a little too costly for the returns. Haste effects like Anger do make this rather more interesting.

See the Truth 6.5

What a cool card. Decent floor with an exceptional ceiling that is surprisingly easy to achieve. In my cube there are nearly 20 ways to draw 3 with this presently in, although a not insignificant percentage of those will be for your opponent! An awkward Gonti hit for sure. Still, I'll take that risk for a bad Shimmer of Possibility come Ancestral Recall of my own. This might wind up taking the spot of some other two mana card quality spell in cube although most of those are instant speed so not directly transferable.

Elder Gargaroth 7

This sits in the dangerous zone between a Baneslayer Angel and a Titan. Gargaroth fails the Doom Blade test pretty savagely but on the flip side it seems to win harder than basically any card I have seen when it starts to swing. Gargaroth is huge, it attacks well with trample and blocks well with reach and vigilance. Not only do you not want it attacking, you can't attack into it either. This is not a card you race. Best case, you kill this on sight. Second best case is having a deathtouch dork. Third option is blocking it with your team and trading multiples of cards into it and just trying to recover the massive tempo and value swing from there. The third best case scenario for this is almost always resulting in losing to it! Most other plans will fail harder and faster. Garagroth is one of the absolute best cards to give haste to. So much so that I can see a return of some weaker support cards to empower this monster. Normally these Doom Blade vulnerable cards are a no no for cube play but several things mitigate that here. Firstly is the power of this card. It is monstrously powerful while also being flexible too. You get stats, you get key words, and you get triggered ability options too. One of the best board control cards while having planeswalker, or at least Rankle, levels of utility. Next up is simply being green. This means you can expect a Gargaroth on turn three or four fairly often which greatly reduces the exposure to risk when compared with a Baneslayer or other similar non green card. Then there is the potential for haste which we mentioned. As soon as you get just one trigger from Gargaroth you are more accepting of that trade with a Doom Blade. Lastly we have a meta shift to take into account. There are no Doom Blades in my cube! There is just a handfull of cards that kill just creatures left. There are more Wraths than spot removal cards. The red Wraths all miss Gargaroth too! Removal has shifted heavily into the 3 CMC range for a broader range and higher consistency. Trading 1 for 1 with a Doom Blade is lame, but it is less savage when you trade for a Hero's Downfall. That lets you go on to win with your Vivien or Nissa instead.

Chandra's Incinerator 6

This is pretty nuts. So nuts I can actually see it changing the way a burn deck wants to play and build in modern. It is super easy to flop this out turn two with a Seal of Fire or suspended Rift Bolt on turn one. Incinerator is not very well suited to cube and yet I can see it lasting there too. The option to toss out some face damage and flop a massive fatty is nice. It is a bit conditional but the raw power and versatility it can offer should offset that. Trample is a big deal and makes this a fatty worth having. The ability is certainly pretty powerful too and works well in affording more threat, tempo and effective value. Imagine playing a Searing Blaze with this out! Ouch.

Chandra's Magmut 1

Cute but sufficiently low power that we are only using in extreme synergy constructed situations such as dog tribal.

Chandra's Pyreling 6.5

This is another card (like Incinerator) that incentivizes you to send face damage at face before it is fatal to do so. This is scary and powerful. The floor is poor but the ceiling is game breaking. It is easy enough to turn on and it always threatens making it really scary and dangerous. A 1/3 for 2 is bad but a a 2/3 doublestrike is terrifying. Especailly one you can pump for free. Turn one Mogg Fanatic, turn two this, turn three Judith. Sac the Fanatic, ping twice and get to attack with a 4/3 doublestrker! That will put most cube games well out of reach. This does need support but it is relatively abundant. The cost is more how it wants you to spend your burn resources. It is not as convenient as prowess that is for sure. It is however potentially easier to scale and isn't miles away in overall potency. A Stormchaser mage is certainly a safer more rounded card but this is way more powerful and chock full of potential.

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