Saturday, 27 June 2020
Core 2021 Preliminary Reviews Part IX
Animal Sanctuary 2
There are a surprisingly high number of these kinds of thing in cube. It is all a bit narrow and minor for it to be worth running though. Just a nice cute card that is low enough cost and useful enough in effect that it will wind up seeing play in a bunch of cool places and just add a nice little extra dimension to those games.
Rousing Read 1
Pricey for an aura but it does do a load of positive things. I might consider this in a Bogles deck.
Hooded Blightfang 2
Cool take on deathtouch empowering but a little bit too much focus on the planeswalker aspect. This card simply isn't much of a threat. If you want to kill off walkers run walker removal or more threatening evasive dorks. Sure, this blocks quite well but it is also a three mana 1/4 that has no bonus value.
Radha, Heart of Keld 4
A Courser of Kruphix, that is gold and has one less toughness and affords no lifegain. Sure, this is more aggressive but it is also less what you want when you are being aggressive. While this is a fine card and likely to make the cut in Gruul big man smash style decks those are uncommon and not all that strong. This is powerful but clunky and outclassed by mono coloured cards.
Sublime Epiphany 6
Or massive Cryptic Command! This will almost always counter, draw and bounce. Sometimes you will counter an ability rather than a spell and every now and again you will manage to counter two things and feel like a boss. At that the card is OK but a bit too late game and clunky for that sort of utility and value. If however you can also Clone something this jumps from OK to good and if you can Clone something good then the card jumps to nutty. So much so that you might just Clone, bounce and draw. Any meaty blue dork with an EtB effect is pretty significant, be it a Mesmerising Benthid, a Whirler Rogue, or a Cavalier of Gales, it should spell game over. Broadly I think this will compete with Dream Eater for a slot. This affords more utility but is a worse support card and far less reliable. Despite the higher ceiling and seemingly higher average power of the Epiphany I expect the more reliable Eater will win and keep the slot. A test level card I expect to fail if only just.
Experimental Overload 4
Interesting card with scaling potential but not the sort of thing for cube. This is gold, it is situational in game and narrow in building. The power is there though, you don't need a very big token before this looks impressive and that is pretty easy to make happen.
Nine Lives 2
A cute flavour card with three clear uses. The standard use of prolonging life and preventing a bunch of damage, with a minimum saving of 8 life and a potentially much bigger saving (assuming they only have 4 power threats then a 32 life saving!). Then there is trying to combo with Solemnity and creating a soft damage prevention lock. Lastly, and probably my favourite is to use Nine Lives with Donate effects and use it to win the game, It is only my favourite because it is cool, it does not seem like the best thing you can Donate by any means. In fact none of the modes seem that powerful. The soft lock is fairly risky given that a humble Tranquility will kill you at that point.
A very solid tribal support tool. I will play this in most, if not all, spirit deck. It might even creep into modern lists if the format is creature heavy. The body is cheap and reasonable and the ability is convenient and fairly useful. Sadly the ability is blank without a high spirit count and that rules this card out for draft cubes.
The Shrines 2
Are any of these playable on their own? That is the main question here. Obviously you can make a tribal deck with these and the Hondens should you wish. A themed deck will murder some things, get murdered by some other things and generally be a little dull! The red and green Shrines are things you could play on their own but they are both pretty tame without the support of others and fairly unlikely to get the love.
Barrin, Tolarian Archamge 7.5
A very impressive Man-O-War legend. Bouncing a walker or a dork is a huge buff on other creatures like this. The card draw utility is really strong too. You can go full value mode and bounce other EtB effect dorks of your own or use it as a way to recharge the loyalty on planewalkers to their starting total. This is also a passive effect allowing you to bounce other things you have with other effects for that ongoing value. Bounce lands anyone? All very powerful and versatile with a solid floor.
Ghostly Pilferer 5
Impressive little card although probably a little too mana intense for cube. This is a kind of a looter all be it a well disguised one. You discard a card to force it through and safely tap it so that you can untap and draw with it. Two mana is a bit expensive to draw cards however and this is why I think it will not perform in cube. Just play a Looter il-Kor and get those loots and unblockable attacks without spending cards or mana on it. Or a Daring Saboteur for that matter - just a more direct iteration of this that can draw faster or become unblockable without conceding card advantage. The card draw trigger on Pilferer when opponents are casting spells is nice but not really disruption or that likely to net many cards on average. It is too minor of a perk to really push this which means you just have an somewhat slow and costly looter rather than a hatebear with lots of utility. Still, a card I expect I will play in an array of blue tempo builds. It is a double tribal hit and a cheap support dork you can play for a load of valid reasons.
Unleash Fury 3
Another take on the doublestrike effects. This scales with those nicely but is otherwise weaker. I can see this getting play in a Kiln Fiend style of deck but only as redundancy.
Track Down 2
Much as I love a card quality spell this is a bit of a one mana card stuck on a two mana spell. It is far closer in power to Adventurous Impulse than it is Grapple with the Past or Bond of Flourishing. This needed more things, probably a chunk more. I would like to see a broader range of targets, scry 4, instant speed, some free life, before this really competes. Still, I always welcome more card quality so I don't want to beat up on this card too much. I just wish it was a single mana and I could get really hyped for it.
Run Afoul and Skyway Sniper 1
Both cheap anti flyer cards that might see some very very fringe play for being cheap and effective. Run Afoul is a great answer to Emrakul!
Yet more top rate cards in the common slot which I am a big fan of. This is an impressive little card with a lot going on. Mostly it is a Carrion Feeder that lacks combo application. Not being a free outlet is a huge downside but trample and being able to block are big on the other end of things. This is a solid midrange and aggro card that will be hard to play against and scale in threat as the game goes on. It obviously gets rather better when you actively want to sacrifice things to it and conversely worse when played in dork light decks! Power wise this is fair card, perhaps below average by cube standards. However it provides so much range, support and option density that I expect it to see a chunk of play and stand up to the competition.
Witches Cauldron 1
This is a worse Vampiric Rites which itself is a card yet to see any promising action. The tap isn't a huge deal, this is a costly enough effect that you are rarely using it twice a turn. Also, while enchantments are harder to remove than artifacts the latter tends to have more synergies so it is a bit swings and roundabouts there. All told this is too much mana to be the convenience you want from such a card.
Swift Response 0
Somewhat inconvenient and unreliable removal. Probably too cheap and broad in application to not see play in standard. Doubt it ever makes the bar in cube with there being rather better options in abundance.
Daybreak Charger 3
Solid little aggressive two drop. It is just damage and is likely to linear and fair to cut it in the cube. An early burst of damage doesn't really help white to finish the game and that is what white wants from its cards. This is more of a red thing. A condensed Rimrock Knight if you will. Looks good for pauper if nothing else.