Friday 19 November 2021

Innistrad: Crimson Vow Preliminary Review Part X


0 - unplayable in 40 card singleton

1 - effectively unplayable

2 - has low tier constructed decks it might go in

3 - has mid tier constructed decks it does go in

4 - pretty powerful stuff with several potential homes, able to perform well in lower powered cubes

5 - powerful stuff that is either just too narrow or has too many superior alternatives

6 - fringe cube worthy

7 - cube worthy

8 - cube staple

9 - unpowered cube bomb

10 - powered cube bomb 

Hullbreaker Horror 2

Flash and uncounterable do help make those 7 drops more tempting but this still isn't going to be worth it for cube. Games are just done before this is doing too much. It lacks the immediate impact that a card above five mana needs to get a look in for cube. Sure, the triggers are great but they are things that only fire when you do stuff after your 7 drop. Seven drops shouldn't have much of an "after" phase and so this is a pass. Great for booster draft, EDH, and likely even standard but not for other places. 

Lantern of the Lost 4

Very much the same sort of ballpark as Relic of Progenitus and Soul-Guide Lantern. These cards are great utility yard disruption that get a lot of sideboard play. The cards are all strong but they also suck a bit more if you want to also make use of your bin which a lot of decks do. Really all this does is lower the value of the existing similar cards in rotisserie drafts! Solid but not offering much new or anything of a significant power difference. It will see play, grats. 

Howling Moon 1

Too low power without your opponent triggering it and they can avoid doing that pretty easily. Seems like a no go card, can't even see this being good in tribal. 

Odric, Blood-Cursed 1

Eek, this does laughably little. For a rare gold legend with history you would expect rather more. The floor is Trained Armadon and the ceiling is, well, basically still the Armadon... Obviously I am doing blood tokens down but you need more than just a couple of blood to make a bad card good. 

Welcoming Vampire 7

Mentor of the Meek gets a much needed, and significant face lift. Flying, a toughness, and the mana cost on the trigger removed all for the very low cost of being limited to one proc per turn. Bygone Bishop is the other comparison here and likely a better one as Bishop is better than Mentor. Bygone Bishop was a little slow for cube and Mentor was just a bit crap. Welcoming Vampire promises a bit more expedience in doing its thing and a bit more power but it is still a slow card needing support. It might be cube worthy but it is closer than you might think. The white decks that can support this sort of thing prefer their value sources to not die to mass removal along with their chances of winning. If I am playing a three mana dork in white aggro I want it to be much punchier and more threatening than this. 

Kaya, Geist Hunter 2

Impressively weak looking walker. Both the +1 and the -2 do nothing by themselves, no value, protection, nothing. The +1 not only needs stuff in play but ideally wants it to include tokens else there is no permanent value. The deathtouch aspect is offensive only and situational on top of that. Really really weak +1. The -2 needs quite specific effects to be happening alongside it and often isn't all that impressive if it does fire. Best use by a long old way is doubling up on Lingering Souls, a card that doesn't much need the help to shine. The ultimate doesn't seem worth discussing what with the rest of the card being so rubbish. I might play her in a deck built around good tokens, if I am getting a 4/4 angel or a construct with the -2 I am reasonably happy, if it is just a couple of 1/1s then it isn't making up for the times it is blank. This is narrow, situational, and not even all that powerful should you clear those hurdles. 

Witche's Web 1

Combat trick and basically a removal spell for fliers. Still a bit narrow and a bit pricy for those roles but getting closer to a playable card as far as fight style flier removal goes. 

Voldaren Epicure 5

Well this supports everything! It provides spectacle, it is stuff to sac, it is a discard outlet, a vampire, a one drop. The power is pretty low but it is a lot of stuff on a very cheap card. This will see play and in a range of places. A little bit narrow and hard to max out in draft but a great support card for plenty of different builds. Insolent Neonate is the closest card to this and while it is better for madness stuff it has less going on in other areas than Epicure while also being a less playable card on average. Epicure is going to be fine in most places.

Reckless Impulse 8

Wow. This is a subtle little gem. This is basically the red Night's Whisper. Effectively draw two for two mana is amazing. You don't often want to flop this out on turn two, or that early in the game at all but it isn't a disaster if you need to. A hand full of three drops and no lands? Then you are playing this on turn two to ensure you hit that third land on time. Obviously the ideal situation is to play it when you have the land drops and mana spare to cast any combination of things in your deck. That means needing five lands in play and one in hand and a land drop available to you if you have nothing higher than a four drop in your list. That way if you hit double 4 drop you can play one this turn and one next turn, the same for double land. This risk of hitting two top end cards is going to be fairly low and not something you need to worry about all that often. The bigger issue is playing this in reactive decks. Being forced into playing cards within a time frame often wastes them. Luckily red is fairly proactive and as such I cannot see me leaving this out of many base red decks. The cheaper and more aggressive they are the more consistently I will play Reckless Impulse. I like this more than Light up the Stage even though the average mana cost for Impulse is going to be a tiny bit higher. I value the convenience of being able to play Impulse whenever I like for a good rate more than I value the ability to get an exceptional rate sometimes. High floor is preferable to high ceiling in general and doubly so with support and setup cards. Impulse is more playable than Light up the Stage in both deck construction and in game and that makes it a much better choice for cube inclusion. 

Flame-Blessed Bolt 4

If Unholy Heat were not a thing this might be quite the handy little removal spell. It has certainly ended any play Magma Spray was going to get! There is increasing amounts of room in cubes for burn that doesn't go face but I think the more versatile options carry more weight. I still feel as if I would prefer to play Pillar of Flame over Bolt if I really wanted more exile utility in red.

End the Festivities 2

This isn't playable by itself but it could be a solid sideboard card or a cheeky support card to pair with some scaling effects like Torbran. The cost of End is so low with such a wide range of targets simultaneously hit that is scales better than basically any other damage spell in magic. A bit spray and pray but not a card to ignore. 

Ancestral Anger 2

Give a dork +1/+0 and trample at sorcery speed is too low impact to be worth the risk. If you have no targets you can't cycle this and that makes it super dodgy. It would be fantastic otherwise being a bit of free damage and utility while supporting all those spells matter cards. Mostly this is something for Feather the Redeemed decks. 

Persistent Specimen 1

Just a bit rubbish. You want the recursion to be cheap not the main casting cost and so this is not close to competing with Reassembling Skeleton, which itself is pretty tame in the world of cube. 

Undying Malice 2

Functional reprints of useful one drops are always the most welcome of such cards. These effects got a lot better with the MH2 evoke dorks but they are still pretty narrow as far as cubes go. 

Vampire's Kiss 2

Cool support card but not doing enough to be worth including in many places. You have to really want a lot of what this card offers and I can't see that many decks needing multiple aspects of what this does for you. 

Gift of Fangs 3

Cool art makes me want to use this! Dead Weight isn't cube worthy but it is absolutely playable and really quite good when you get synergies going with it. This is better and has more synergies so it will get some use but remains a long way off being good enough for most cubes. 

Blood Fountain 6

This is a kind of black take on Witching Well. The card is very slow but it offers a lot of value and a lot of synergy support. Two artifacts for one mana is impressive. So much so that some affinity style deck may play it as a kind of Ritual with upside. 

Selhoff Entomber 2

I am just never trading the ability to loot lands and other non-creatures for 2 toughness extra on my Looter. I might play this in a tribal deck as an extra body with some utility but I am never playing in place of a proper Looter in any sort of non-tribal deck.


Fear of Death 1

Not very powerful but having a couple of different synergies on the go will occasionally line up and get this some action! 

Cradle of Safety 1

Low cost is the most important thing with dork protection cards and this being two mana pretty much rules it out even with some ongoing benefits and aura synergies. 

Alchemist's Retrieval 2

Lovely simple design. Sadly the bounce that does well in cube is bounce with upsides and/or high ceilings. This is just an option on two different low key modes. 

Traveling Minister 4

Broadly just an upgrade on Soulmender. I will have this front and centre in an aggressive lifegain deck and probably still have it in the list in most other decks built around lifegain. It is not likely however to be making it into any decks without use for the life, there are just better one drops at doing the buffing side of things. 

Piercing Light 2

Slap a scry on a one drop that isn't bad and you jump quite a lot in power. A few years ago I think this would have had a real chance but removal got pretty nuts recently and so I don't see this getting there. Too many of those pesky utility creatures now have more than 2 toughness as well making life extra awkward for these one mana removal spells. Ideally I want my removal to deal with a Ragavan before it hits me, a Dragon's Rage Channeler once it has delirium, and an Ignoble Hierarch that isn't attacking and this poor card only gets one of those three new MH2 generated problems...

Parish-Blade Trainee 1

Looks cool and well suited to a counters deck but I suspect we are well past this kind of thing cutting it in synergy decks. This needs to attack with a buddy and grow and then die before it is impressive and that is all far too slow and low power. 

Nurturing Presence 1

Powerful effect but needing of a target and always that risk of eating a two for one. Indeed, the token, while nice, is not worth a card or two mana, and so it is not just instant speed removal getting that two for one feeling but any removal at all on the enchanted dork. Obviously if not removed this can get pretty big and take down a game but that doesn't make it good. 

Heron-Blessed Geist 1

This is not ruined by the need of an enchantment to "flashback" as much as it is by the useless front end. I quite like this as a very poor Lingering Souls in a deck that is full of discard outlets and enchantments but then what deck is that? And presumably some such thing is heavy combo or synergy and has little use of some random flying tokens...

Ragged Recluse // Odious Witch 2

Even in a deck chock full of discard I am not sure I can get behind this. In a synergy deck the bar for a good ceiling is rather higher than with a normal deck. A two mana 3/3 wtih a drain on attack trigger isn't even all that impressive without having to flip to it! It certainly wouldn't be a bomb and might not even see enough play to remain in cube! As such I don't see this getting much love. Not powerful enough for the synergies but certainly not powerful enough without.

Binding Geist // Spectral Binding 1

The front end is just a bit too fragile, especially with no fliying. The back end is nice but not nice enough to play in a deck that cannot always bypass the front side. Impressive looking card for a common, this has a real uncommon feel to it. 

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