Thursday, 22 July 2021

Preliminary Reviews: D&D Commander Part IV


Thorough Investigation 2

I really like this. I like clues, I like getting them and I like saccing them. I also like attacking and venturing. This is lots of things white aggro decks wants to do however this is quite costly and quite low tempo. You also need to be attacking which is at odds with the tempo of the card and makes it a bit needy. Five mana to draw a card and venture is a terrible rate. Seven to do both those things twice isn't that much better. This never really gets there on efficiency and so it probably isn't playable despite being really cool looking. In a midrange deck with a high number of evasive dorks then it looks more likely to perform. I like how it is any kind of clue saccing as with Tireless Tracker, you don't need to pay the 2 and draw the card with your clue, you can sac it to any effect and still venture. Cooler but not all that much more application as a result. This is fine but not good enough but I still want to play it and that is a design win at the very least. 


Revivify 1

Powerful effects but incredibly random and situational. Just play Teferi's Protection or Selfless Spirit if you want a card like this. They do more without being so random. 

Radiant Solar 1

As a six drop this is a non-starter. It simply lacks the power and threat needed at that cost. The cycle mode is more interesting and could see some play in a couple of synergy lists. Likely not due to the low nominal power but not a card you can rule out being so cheap to use and unique in operation. 

Immovable Rod 6

Somewhat expensive removal with reusability and venture shenanigans. I want there to be a cool Clock of Omens Paradox Engine type thing going on with this but it is probably a bit cute. In many ways this is an inverted Icy Manipulator that is cheaper to use on one target, or indeed multiple targets provided you are spending four turns per target! The venture certainly takes the sting out of having to swap targets and is probably a nice venture support removal tool. As far as a maindeck tool goes I suspect it is a little slow and easily answered to compete with what white has access to. Very nice if you want removal and want to keep a nice high artifact count. 

Nihiloor 0

Nope. Five mana, three colour, conditional Control Magic. There are not only cards better than this, there are cards better than this in the D&D set... The tiny drain payoff in no way makes up for one of the failings of this card, let alone all of them. Obviously rather better ceiling as you add opponents into the mix, just not a 1v1 card at all. 

Wulfgar of Icewind Dale 2

A fun looking build around card but narrow and rather high up the curve. The kinds of shell you could build this into will just be a fairly classic red green beats list with some ramp and some high tempo fatties. Without a lot of synergy this dork is savagely underpowered but with the right synergy he coudl well be at least viable. 

Dragonborn Champion 1

Too hard to pull off doing 5 damage and not very repeatable. Win more when you do and a 4 mana 3 toughness do nothing when you don't. Not a good range to occupy.

Wild Endeavor 1

Unreliable and not very threatening or useful. I don't want basic lands on my six mana spell. This has good odds on making at least 9 power over 3 bodies but all of them being mid sized vanilla tokens is quite the turn off. I can do better than that for five mana already in green. Yes, this also gives lands and way more than one mana's worth. This is absolutely a lot of value it is just the wrong sort of value at the wrong cost. Imagine how nuts this would be if you halved it both in terms of cost and payout, it would be silly! Worst case a 3/3 and a Rampant Growth for 3 mana? Best case double that? Just a pair of 3/3 for 3 mana would be pretty scary! Just a good example of why scaling in Magic isn't linear. 

Neverwinter Hydra 1

Well, this is fun at least. Dice rolling randomness is mitgated rather by rolling multiples. Sadly the number scale with X and low values of X would be the most common. Four mana trample 6/6 ward dork is great. Make it a 1/1 and it is laughable. The 3/4ish average it is at that cost isn't worth it, nor is the 7/7 six mana mode. You have to high roll for this to be a good mana investment and even then it is just a decent threat, a group of which there is no real shortage. 

Indomitable Might 1

Sneaky but expensive and situational. 

Bag of Tricks 1

A kind of Birthing Pod that trades low mana cost and sacrifice for high mana cost and total random outcomes. Have a nice spread of dorks 1 - 8 and then off you go! The average result makes this look good as you are drawing gas and playing it for little more than the actual cost. In practice turn wasting feel of paying 5 to tutor up an Elvish Mystic or rolling the same number a bunch and running out of targets is all enough to make this pretty unplayable. The build constraints help with this feeling unplayable in 40 card lists too. 

Vengeful Ancestor 1

Hmm. Not bad but not exciting. Best case I get a midsized flier and force you into some chump attacks. That needs you to have some small dorks and me to have some big dorks and then for you to have no useful interaction at all. Seems wishful to get this to the unimpressive ceiling. Seems like this could be a good way to fall behind to a Doom Blade much more consistently. Very slight tribal potential. 

Maddening Hex 8.5

Overpowered broken sillyness that will not be good for the game is what we have here. This card just doesn't pan out at all well for players in 1v1. This is also horrific design being another double whammy on random. Some decks are mostly dorks and can ignore this largely. Others are not and cannot hope to beat this. Then you have the capacity to roll only high numbers or only low ones . Average 2 dmg and the card is fair, average 5 and the card is more than oppressive. This is comfortably good enough in cube. Even the decks without dorks still have some spells, on average you only need two triggers from this for it to have been outstanding. Even so, I will probably avoid adding it just because it is the wrong kind of card in every way. Bad for fun, bad for interaction, all the bads. This is an awkward card that gets a little in the way of my cube design philosophy. It is powerful enough to make my cube but not powerful enough to outright ban. As such it is getting a soft ban like True-Name Nemesis just because no one enjoys playing against it. 

Chaos Dragon 1 

A 4/4 flying haste for 3 that attacks 50% of the time. Far too unpredictable as to being able to answer walkers. You win or lose by those dice results and that blows. The card is pretty poor too, I wouldn't play a 2/4 flying haste for 1RR and I like the sound of that hypothetical card more than this dice based rubbish. Best case for this is being a cheap dragon for some tribal list. 

Berserker's Frenzy 0

Super situational card that will sit dead much of the time. Why mess about with this when for much the same mana you can just kill things directly or make more and better threats.

Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient 2

Assuming just this attacks and you can use the mana it is a 3 mana 4/4 flying haste with a lot of upside. The seven mana starting point however is a big turn off. Mana on a late game card isn't really the thing you are after either. This seems amazing in commander but in 1v1 you want to be wrapping things up not going bigger with a 7 mana spell. Lots of power here but not the kind you really want. 


  1. Unrelated to your post, but you've made the top list of CubeCobra!

    Most Drafted Cubes -> View More

    Looking forward to your D&D update!!

    1. This has pleased me a lot, thanks for the heads up, and thanks to all the people drafting it!