Friday 5 November 2021

Innistrad: Crimson Vow Preliminary Review Part III


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 

Dread Fugue 8

At long very last. This was pretty much the last thing on my wish list in terms of having sufficient numbers of playable core colour effect cards at low costs. Calling the cube "complete" thanks to this is a bit heavy handed but it certainly has the appropriate sentiment. I now want for very little and could happily take a sabbatical on getting and adding new stuff for a bit if I felt so inclined! This card is not actually all that in terms of power level. It is a side grade from Inquisition of Kozilek and for cube, quite possibly a slight downgrade in power. A big part of that is in the case of being on the draw and facing a green deck that ramps on turn one with some Elf or other. In that situation a Dread Fugue cannot effectively disrupt the opening curve of the opponent as it cannot take the three drop they will be able to deploy. That will feel rough. Dread Fugue at one mana will also have a rather higher miss rate, particularly on the draw. Not only do you lose about a third of the potential hits compared to Inquisition but in addition to that there is a greater chance they deploy those targets more rapidly due to their lower cost. Ultimately however this is still a proactive one drop play that disrupts, provides information, is card neutral, and is rarely dead. There is more risk to playing this on turn one than with Inquisition but there is less risk to including the card in your build of the deck. The cleave mode isn't very powerful but it is what makes the card so viable. The power comes in when used effectively at 1 mana, the security and high floor is retained with the cleave. I presently run both Memory Leak and Pelakka Predation in my cube as 3 mana hand disruption is playable, often desirable, and ideal when on a card that lets you act in a different (and lower cost in tempo) way. Dread Fugue is more pointed than either of those being a discard effect in both modes, it is also a power shift rather than a function shift which should result in a more potent card. Good design and most welcome. One of the most interesting of the hand disruption spells on offer and as such one of the harder cards to use well. I imagine this card will see a fair amount of play and be near interchangeable in lists that want that sort of thing with Inquisition and Thoughtsieze. 

Alchemist's Gambit 3

While a 7 mana gold Time Walk is pretty laughable in terms of power the Final Fortune mode for just three mana goes quite a long way to helping. (Unlike the damage prevention part which has very little value here.) A bit narrow for what cube wants but a deceptively potent card that I am sure will see some action in and outside of cube things. 

Witness the Future 2

Cool utility but a little over priced and sorcery speed. You have to really want graveyard reshuffle effects to be being playing this and that limits this to an option for some niche decks. 

Soulcipher Board // Cipherbound Spirit 1

This is a fairly messy card. It does a good amount and seems reasonable value but it is all too slow and awkward. You don't really want a cheap flying beater in a deck that wants wildly over cost card quality. Equally a small dork isn't the kind of payoff you want on an ongoing card quality effect. Treasure Map and Search for Azcanta would both be a whole lot less exciting if they flipped into a 3/2 flier and this isn't even as good as either of those on the front end. Yes, you can cheat the flip with other mill effects but so what? That is far too much effort to go to given the payoff.

Runo Stromkirk // Krothuss, Lord of the Deep 1

So much pissing about here. Yes, there is ultimately a good chunk of power on offer but you need to wait so long, have so much go right, and provide the needed support, that it quickly stops looking worth it. 

Chandra, Dressed to Kill 8

A very solid walker that provides cards or mana, the two foundations of the game! It even applies to mild pressure or planeswalker control, if the ongoing value and ultimate were not threat enough! The only weakness here is lack of ability to protect herself but as a three drop red walker that shouldn't be a problem. The other 3 mana Chandra certainly hasn't suffered from that problem. Early Dressed to Kill should be big enough to endure some pressure if for some reason you are behind on the board. Later on in the game the mana back on the first +1 means she is effectively a two drop and can be deployed alongside other things to help protect her. Another small issue here is that her second plus one needs to hit red cards and so you are rarely getting better than 2/3rds of a card and often worse when used outside of mono red decks. Even so, Dressed to Kill just has all the best things going for her. The two best resources offered, only three mana to deploy, and a pair of +1 abilities. 

Torrens, Fist of the Angels 5

This is a really cool creature based Monastery Mentor. Lovely design but perhaps a bit gold, slow, and vulnerable to be a big deal in cube. Much as he can completely dominate a game with huge stats and endless bodies he is rather all in. You are doubling up on dorks making yourself a sitting duck to mass removal. To really get the training going you also want a dork or two with higher power furthering your over extension issues. I will test this but I am pretty sure it will seem terrible against decks with mass removal and even spot removal.

Manaform Hellkite 4

Very powerful card here but there are several issues. The main one being that red has quite a chunk of better four drops. The other one being that on curve this is very vulnerable, you really need it to survive so you can play spells and get tokens else it is quite a long way off the bar for cube power. 

Voice of the Blessed 4

We are getting dangerously near the point where the life gain synergies are so abundant and powerful that they are the best aggressive option for white in cube! This is a fairly significant upgrade on Ajani's Pridemate. This is one of your best and most core cards in a life gain deck. Pridemate and Soul Wardens used to be and we now have basically direct upgrades on both those cards in the last two sets alongside a whole pile of other nice payoffs and support. 

Path of Peril 2

Versatile mass removal spells are incredibly powerful but this just doesn't quite get there for me. Six mana and gold really kill the utility of the cleave mode and with the normal mode being pretty tame and unreliable I think this card is both too narrow and too weak. Interesting and cool but not the spell we are looking for. 

Dawnhart Geist 0

Cards with the word "whenever" on them always interesting but this is one with a pretty dull and low powered body that triggers on a rare event and only provides a bit of life. I cannot imagine running this in any of the various synergies that it could support. 


  1. These reviews are appreciated, as always!

    No interest in Cleave. Some of them are quite clever and some do appear to "get there" power-wise but I have zero plans to run them in my environment. Cleave is the clunkiest and "least Magic-feeling" thing I can even think of doing in a game of Magic. To each his/her own, but I have no interest in considering BRACKETS on my cards.

    1. Thanks.

      Fair point on cleave. Luckily in cube we get to curate our environments allowing us to avoid things we find to detract from the experience. Increasingly cube curators are taking a lot of direction from regular players of their cube allowing people without cubes themselves to have a better experience too :)

    2. 100% agree. It's a GREAT card; I just hope they print more Thoughtsieze/IoK stand-ins..I just do not like this one very much, mechanically.