Thursday 28 April 2022

New Capenna Preliminary Review Part XI


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 

Broker's Veteran 1

If this were on EtB effect rather than a dies one I would be rather more interested. As it stands this is too low power and too unreliable to play. I do like cheap shield stuff though, I like this way more than I should! 

Riveteer's Ascendancy 3

Quite powerful but the dreaded double narrow. In 40 card lists even the constructed decks doing this kind of things are probably not able to find space for this fun-times fluff card. I do like this a lot, the grinding power complete with delightful synergy this offers should win a load of games and in a cool way. It is just not the kind of card you can put in traditional cubes as is very much the mantra of this set so far. 

Brass Knuckles 0

This is just bad. Bad as a buff and bad as a pile of artifacts/equipment. It has very little use and pathetic power level. 

Night Clubber 7

Plague Mare was pretty good in cube and only really lost its spot to Plague Engineer rather than for being bad itself. Plague Mare was a little narrow but useful and swingy. It was never dead and stole many games all by itself early in proceedings. Night Clubber is simply a much much better Plague Mare and may be powerful enough to exist alongside Engineer and Massacre Girl. The Blitz is quite a big deal giving you good options to take over the questionable value of a 2/2 body, regardless of how able white creatures are to block said body... Drawing a card is low tempo but very solid indeed on removal. Kill something and draw a card is hard to get at three or less mana. Kill a couple of things with a card? That costs a awful lot of mana! Clubber also offers some extra planeswalker control. Clear out some gribblies and toss two extra damage onto he attack will generally answer an early walker pretty efficiently if things were close. You can also use Clubber effectively in a sac deck where the blitz mechanic sits nicely indeed. Cards like this are a big part of why my cube has taken a big swing towards the midrange, you simply cannot afford to toss out a bunch of weenie dorks and hope to get there with them before the powerful answers are online. If you invest two or more cards and three or more mana by turn three in things Clubber answers then you will lose to a Clubber almost all the time. A bit like the old Arc Trail. That is the kind of ceiling cards dream of and with a fairly solid floor it is hard to go too wrong. Overall this card seems to have it all. It is not overly powerful but the suitability, range, and versatility should see it become fairly well played. 

Riveteers Requisitioner 4

I obviously love this card but I fear it probably isn't powerful enough. As a two drop 3/1 beater is OK on turn two but pretty limited. Later in the game such things get very little done. No timing certainty on the treasure back makes that aspect of the card also unimpressive. Without the blitz option I am playing Wily Goblin (or any half decent two drop beater) over this. Much as I like the blitz it is all a bit at odds to quite get there. Early is when treasure is best however early spending three mana to deal three damage at your opponent's discretion is pretty inefficient and poor tempo. I will still have to try this out to make sure as any card that draws a card and makes a treasure needs scrutiny. Seems unlikely but not impossible. 

Torch Breath 0

Nope, this is not the sideboard card for cube. Red has Pyroblast and the like, this can go sit in the corner.   

Citizen's Crowbar 7

Well this takes a big old dump on Ancestral Blade. Sure, Blade is one less to equip but that is all it has going for it. Both otherwise cost the same and effect the board equally however Crowbar offers a bargain Disenchant into the mix. This isn't broken, it isn't even all that powerful, it is a slow 3 mana disenchant that gives you a 1/1 or it is a Grisly Bear. What this is is versatile. It is option dense and that is what white needs most. It is a proactive threat and it is removal and is thus all the things you want wrapped up in one card. It can also give you that ability to edge combat in your favour or speed up a clock by dumping it on your one evasive dork. The worst thing about the card is the need to tap the dork equipped to it. This means it is mostly offline when used offensively and more significantly, on the turn you make it. To Disenchant right away it is downgraded to sorcery speed and needs you to have five mana and another dork without summoning sickness you can slap it on and tap. That is a comically bad rate when you can instant Disenchant with upside in multiple colours for two or less. I like this more than Reclamation Sage although it is less powerful. This will make up for that by being proactive and by being a crap Leonin Scimitar when required. White also needs the utility more than green does. 

Whack 1

Doubtful this ever gets play. Being sorcery just makes this a lot less interesting as a removal tool regardless of cost. It is not like there are not viable instant speed removal spells of this power level or that cost one mana. 

Slip Out the Back 4

This just isn't doing enough to be worth a card. It is a blue Snakeskin Veil but blue has counter magic and not many dorks worth saving. You can use this on their stuff but you don't really want to. Overly narrow and conditional card. I might look at this in the kind of place of Dive Down in some blue tempo lists but I think that is the only place I like this. 

Boon of Safety 4

I do rather like this one but I think that is probably just true of every one mana card with scry on it... Sheltering Light and Gods Willing are very similar cards to this and neither see cube play. They are fine they are just too conditional for a limited setting. Boon of Safety is of a decent power level and does nice useful things and will get play as a result, just not very much of that will be in cube like settings. The thing I like most about this is that you can use this proactively just so long as you have a dork, you don't need to wait until the perfect moment to fizzle a spell or win a combat. This facet of the card works nicely with the scry meaning that if you are relying on your draw you can pop this cheaply and really help yourself out without losing too much of the value of the card. It is minor when compared to similar cards but minor things on one mana cards are rather amplified into often significant differences. 

Halo Scarab 3

Pretty terrible to cast but a nice thing to incidentally put in the bin. This can fix and it can give a bit of burst and it has nice general utility with artifacts. You really do need a lot of mill and looting for this to get good and of the decks that do such things in sufficient quantities I cannot see where this fits in. Very much one to keep an eye on though. 

Endless Detour 4

Curious spell. Part Memory Lapse and part Temporal Spring with a sneaky side of Noxious Revival should you be desperate for something. Certainly this is a versatile disruption tool. What it isn't is removal. Unexpectedly Absent has been falling out of favour for this reason. The card is nice but you only have so much space, every card that is not a threat or an answer (or a mana source) really needs to go above and beyond to justify itself in a cube setting. Absent does not do this, it is just fine and as such it is getting over shadowed by cards that actually remove things more permanently. Further to this Detour lacks the ceiling of cards like Absemt, Temporal Spring and Memory Lapse. Basically when they hit a card that is situationally good or deny a much needed draw they are brutal. They give the feeling of going better than one for one. Detour gives the option to put to top or bottom and it gives it to the opponent ensuring they do not have to redraw something poor. I do like this card but it would be a stretch to include in cube as a two colour card, at three it isn't there for me by quite a way. In 60 or 100 card decks where you can much more afford stop gap cards this should see rather more love as it is incredibly broad. Any deck wishing to take the game long is into what this is doing. It is undoubtedly a good card, just not well suited to cube. 

Wednesday 27 April 2022

New Capenna 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 

Crew Captain 2

A nice solid tempo slap to the face. Too vanilla for the colours but I do not hate the power level. Jund isn't really looking for pure tempo in any iteration, else it would just stay Gruul. Black adds interaction and disruption elements and so I cannot see there being a deck that would want precisely what this is offering. 

Widespread Thieving 2

This is cute but narrow. It is a phaff to cheat in anything with this in multiple ways. It is convoluted as a means of just getting value too, be that of treasure or of the card you hid away. It is not going to be easy to make this a mana positive experience either. Mostly just being supported by gold cards is a really bad starting point for any cube consideration. Niv-Mizzet Reborn decks seem like the only place I might entertain this. 

Corpse Explosion 4

Potentially very powerful mass removal as it gives you some control over the range, only costs three mana, and hits planeswalkers. The drawbacks are very much real however. Gold is the minor one. Supreme Verdict and Fire Covenant both do perfectly well in cube despite being gold. A good mass removal spell is a powerful card and any card offering anything resembling a Wrath of God with upside needs serious consideration. The issue with Explosion is the setup required and what that means for your deck. You need a dork in the bin and you need it to have sufficient power to provide a suitable Wrath effect. This means things like self mill or looting. It means having a somewhat high count of somewhat powerful dorks. These decks exist and they might be interested in a powerful mass removal tool but it is control decks that are most in the market for Wraths. Corpse Explosion does not feel all that playable in the places that most want it and that is going to hurt it, probably critically. It is excellent with Kroxa but you need to be excellent with archetypes not just individual cards. This is one of those cards where the upsides are eye opening and tempting. A three mana Wrath is not to be sniffed at but then conditional removal is to be mistrusted heavily and is probably the dominant force when those two appraisal heuristics collide. 

Glittering Stockpile 2

This is a rather nice mana rock come storage land. It is fun more than anything else. I want to play it in those stormy red decks and of course proliferate decks! Without good uses for a big mana dump this is not worth it over a simple Talisman but if you are all full of Fireballs this will certainly help to speed up your win. 

Ognis, the Dragon's Lash 4

While this is just about early enough in the game to still be excited about treasure I am concerned about the low size of this dork (Goldspan Dragon is more of a threat and control card and more about the body so the treasure from that is a different kettle of fish). Four mana for a 3/3 dude that you really want to attack with is not always getting it done. When that happens captain Hill Giant is pretty laughable. You can scale him up nicely with other haste dorks of which red has a healthy quantity but that just makes him narrow in a different way if such supported it needed. Ognis is certainly good when the going is good but I fear the average performance is not going to be enough and the juicy end will all be a bit win more. 

Reservior Kraken 6

It is a blue take on Desecration Demon. Tapping a dork is a substantially lower cost than sacrificing one however a 1/1 unblockable token is also rather better than a +1/+1 counter. Trample and ward 2 feel a little better than flying on a 6/6 but not so much as to swing things one way or the other. If they have no dorks Kraken is certainly powerful but it is quite limited, it is just a threat, there is no value or interaction beyond basic combat. That is good but it isn't very blue. They may well just get more out of a Whirler Rogue. If they do have dorks, which we have to assume will be the norm, Kraken will be churning out 1/1s each turn instead, as well as keeping their worst dork tapped. A kind of expensive Bitterblossom with kinder life returns. Is that good? It sounds fine but I am worried that giving the choice away is going to be the killer. Sometimes you will need to be getting tokens going and the opponent just lets you slap them for 6 a bit then locks you out of the game and rather negates your 4 drop. I want to test Kraken but I fear it probably isn't quite powerful or suitable enough. Desecration Demon certainly never performed that well in cube.

Meyhem Patrol 2

This feels like Defiant Strike but more expensive and more sorcery. It has some mild upsides but not enough to make it better, let alone cube draft worthy. Cheap cantrip cards can never really be awful and so this is fine but still not really something I expect to play. Certainly not a bad card however and worthy of attention for budget cubes. 

Workshop Warchief 7

Oh hi there Thragtusk. Is a 4/4 over a 3/3 better than 3 life instead of 5? Is GG over G worth blitz? Is trample worth having the creature token trigger changed from a leaving play to an on death effect? All in all this is very similar to Thragtusk despite its three perks and three issues. Tusk stopped seeing cube play a while back when it stopped being threatening. A 3/3 token just isn't worth a card and so Tusk stopped feeling like value. Three toughness dorks with no evasion also don't get all that much done in cube and so it Tusk stopped feeling like a threat. As you might expect based on that, I think the boring trample is the biggest upgrade to the Warchief. It makes the body so much more relevant. 

The blitz isn't cheap but it does allow you to front load all the goodies. It also offers burst damage to finish someone off or take out a walker which is pretty good for green. Haste monsters in the colour do incredibly well in cube. The card draw means the blitz mode is also still nice value despite not getting long with the 5/3 trampling body. All in all I think blitz adds a good chunk of power to the card, ending games a turn quicker or taking out planeswalkers accounting for much of that power although just firing it off for value seems situationally the thing to do.  

Flickering Thragtusk used to be a good game winning strategy. Tusk used to feel like it was impervious to removal as you always got your 3/3 regardless. That loss no longer feels like a big deal because there are plenty of better flicker targets now and the 3/3 feels that much less relevant as well. Five mana cards want to be able to win the game, not empower your synergies. Ideally we are flickering two and three mana cards to get out value these days (another reason Tusk has fallen by the wayside). So, with all that nuance out of the way, I think this new offering is that much more suited to cube that I think it will decently outperform Thragtusk. It is more threatening and more versatile and seemingly a touch more powerful. 

Ziatora's Envoy 3

The blitz gives a nice two for one option alongside a decent slap. It is costly enough that the trample damage can be absorbed so you are not assured a two for one. Even so, five mana to perhaps draw some cards, perhaps get some mana back, perhaps do some combat damage, it is all sounding rather unreliable. The hard cast mode is sketchy too, no immediate impact or value to be had and as such a bit of a sitting duck. This easts a Flame Slash and you look pretty sad. While not lacking power as such it is no a card I would be impressed with as a mono coloured card. At three colours very much not. 

Patch Up 2

This is reasonable tempo and potential card advantage. You can get some pretty nice cheap cards back, say a Spirited Companion and a Thraben Inspector! Sadly it is too narrow for cube but more white value tools please me pretty much regardless. A precondition of having targets inthe bin just makes cards like this pretty weak most of the time. 

Monday 25 April 2022

New Capenna Preliminary Review Part IX


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 

Fatal Grudge 2

Interesting removal spell. It feigns looking like it is broad in range and it feigns being two mana. Neither of these things are really true, the cost is always two mana plus the thing you sac which will tend to be over a total of two mana. The range is very much limited to what you have in front of you. Often on turn two this will be nothing and that is the real crux of why this is bad. No stuff? Dead card in hand. Edicts are not even the most reliable removal at the best of times, early was one of their best shots of consistency and the additional cost removes that. Draw a card is lovely. Indeed the best thing I can see to do with this is Fork it at which point it is becoming rather more impressive. When you want to sac a thing this can be OK but in those decks this is really only then a one card type removal spell taking away some of its appeal. Far too narrow for general cube use. Some thing I will want to try out in some aristocrats builds but I am not expecting it to perform even in the well suited places. 

Tainted Indulgence 7.5

Good clean card draw. Chart a Course has seen a lot of play being a means of drawing and filling up the bin. This is typically good card quality early and card advantage later on. That also means it is a good support card for a deck like Reanimator where you can setup with it early and stay in the game later on. This card will have lots of homes all over the place. It is not quite as powerful as Expressive Iteration but it is a little more convenient at instant and fine to play on curve. It sits somewhere between Faithful Mending and Iteration. It might be a bit low impact as a gold card in a non-combo cube but it should easily get enough play despite the colour restrictions. This is just the cleanest most efficient way to do a thing many decks want to do and all decks are happy doing and so lots of play in lots of formats is what the future has in store for this card. 

Park Heights Pegasus 5

Very efficient little body with a powerful ability if you can trigger it. The if is an issue as this needs to live and connect after you have had a pair of dorks enter play. Few decks can reliably make a couple of dorks each turn or even any turn and when they do it ties up mana and gives information to the opponent. I might well decide to use my removal spell on your 2/1 if it is going to draw you cards and I now know there is no Blossoming Defence that is going to stop it. The floor on this is decent and the ceiling is impressive but it is a little too narrow for the cube both on colours and on deck type requirements which amplify to make it comfortably too narrow.

Unlicensed Herse 4

Mostly this is graveyard disruption which isn't something you play by itself in cube, you need it to be a low cost part of something else really. This kind of is by being a growing vehicle. Yard disruption is usually good and sometimes great but it isn't a massive deal. This would be great if it was a growing threat that also disrupted but it is only a growing threat if you have things to eat in the bin, I fear too often this will have no means to grow and often when it does it will be eating your graveyard resources rather than denying your opponents. It is not like it is all that impressive of a threat even if you do just get to freely nosh your opponents yard. Sometimes great but a little too often not great. 

Incandescent Aria 3

A strong push for the tokens deck. Another doubly too narrow card for drafting cubes but something I would strongly look at for any token builds. Even to the point of splashing for it in a Selesnya tokens deck. 

Body Dropper 2

Not quite exciting enough for drafting cube being gold and needing support from other sac outlets. I can see this being scary in a sac outlet deck but only when it isn't the one doing the sacrificing. As such I am typically going to be playing things that afford better payoff, that are sac outlets, or that are better to be sacrificed themselves. Dropper sits in a sad middle ground of all three. Fine, but narrow, a filler sort of card, and as such hard to find the space for. There are plenty better cards I would look to run in my aristocrat build. Not to mention how tight the build typically is. A lot going on for a common that is for sure.

Fleetfoot Dancer 6.5

There is something very Siege Rhino about this card. They cost the same and hit comparably hard. This offers a bigger initial swing and can use it on planeswalkers but it is combat contingent. This is a very high tempo beater that is not going to be raced. The lower toughness than Rhino is significant but not devastating. Naya is a less commonly played colour pairing than Abzan and arguably a more restrictive one too. Overall I cannot easily pick between the two but that might not be so relevant. It is 7 years ago that Rhino was oppressively above the curve. Since then power creep, specifically on dorks, has gone wild. Not only that but it is vanilla beaters who always suffer first and hardest when it comes to the affects of power creep. While not totally vanilla, both Rhino and Dancer are linear dorks which is the same sort of thing. I have not had Rhino in my cube for most of those seven years. Sure, it was fine on power level but I just didn't think it added much given the high cost of the three colours. As soon as people stopped splashing for Rhino it ceased to be worth it in cube for me. If I can't chose between Dancer and Rhino and can't justify Rhino a space any more than Dancer isn't looking all that hopeful. Powerful certainly, but good for cube, likely not. 

Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer 4

This is a value card where you really want more of a threat. At four, five, and six mana this will represent reasonable value and reasonable tempo. Perhaps even some nice utility. What it will not do however is pose that much of a threat. There just are not that many targets you can find on the cheap and entirely behind the curve that threaten the game. Phoenix of Ash perhaps? For a combo card this is also a bit slow, we can find our cheap dorks for less mana and so why are we playing this? It is not for the value. So yeah, long story short, this is fine but not good enough anywhere. In combo settings I am plaything things like Chord of Calling, Worldly Tutor and a long list of that sort of thing before I am touching this.

Plasma Jockey 2

Unplayable without using the blitz. With it we get to attack for 3, draw a card, and negate a blocker, all with a dash of scaling and synergy potential. That is pretty reasonable and pretty aggressive. It doesn't have sufficient raw power for most cubes but more budget ones should certainly look at this. 

Raffine's Silencer 2

Sadly this just isn't there on power or effect which is a shame as it is exactly the kind of support card I want. This loots, it is a body, it has a nice disruptive on death trigger. In the right deck this is doing everything. Sadly that is the crux, in most decks it is just doing a couple of OK things for a steep price. 

Big Score 3

Yup, better than Pirate's Pillage and better than Unexpected Windfall. Looking forward to seeing what the next improvement they make to this line of cards is. All have been playable, all be it very niche cards. The Fork decks and some of the storm red decks can put these to very good use. Beyond that they have little impact as you just elect for the cheaper iterations that skip past the treasure part. 

Cleanup Crew 2

Love this but it isn't where you want to be on a six drop. Great utility, reasonable value, and a not insignificant impact on the board and general tempo of the game. With things like Acidic Slime actually getting love in cube the Cleanup Crew is technically not totally without hope. Green ramp does make running utility and value cards at the top of your curve a bit more reasonable. Even so and nice as this is, I cannot see Cleanup Crew packing sufficient punch to get much play in cube. Oh, and a certain mythic seven drop from the set also ruins the hopes this card had outside of booster draft! 

Sunday 24 April 2022

New Capenna Preliminary Review Part VIII


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 

Cabaretti Ascendancy 2

This is probably drawing half a card a turn with a scry equivalent otherwise. That is fine but it is super narrow needing three colours and a type concentrated deck. Viable for a handful of constructed builds but not something worth running in cubes. 

Extraction Specialist 3

This reminds me of Alirios, Enraptured which did perform fairly well in cube. Extraction Specialist is more powerful but it has that Achilles heel of needing a target in the bin to be good and that makes it not good. Cards that are just good value filler cannot have hoops to jump through, it just ruins them. Plenty of power here just insufficient reliability. 

Witty Roastmaster 2

Nice effect but leaning towards the narrow, especially when the body is not something you really want or that merits the mana cost. Think I'll be playing both Impact Tremors and God of the Forge for my red token decks before I resort to this. Playable for sure but low power both in relative and nominal terms.

Aven Heartstabber 7

A kind of Baleful Strix. This supports and is supported by mill while Strix is more of an artifact synergy card. Strix does rather more for you right away while this offers more ultimately. Five mana values is not a trivial task but it is also something that will naturally happen with time as well. A two drop that eventually replaces itself with a card and has some threat about it and some board presence prior to that all add up to a very playable card. Being a gold support card is the only thing working against this but it looks too good to miss out on cube just because of that. Overall Strix is still better but I'll not hold it against this card too much. I still run both Ice-Fang Coatl and Coiling Oracle in my cube so there is room for this and Strix I suspect too. Mill 2 is not to be sniffed at, especially in Dimir. That is typically equating to two mana or over half a card thanks to the high frequency of delve, escape, flashback, and other yard based mechanics. Mire Triton got a reasonable amount of play just as mill support and Stitcher's Supplier still does. This offers actual value and more impressive board presence than those on top of that mill support. 

Angel of Suffering 2

A kind of Crumbling Sanctuary on legs, or wings I guess. Mill instead of exile is nice as it can be used to empower other synergies but in practice this isn't really something you want in 40 card decks. By the time you are making five drops in cube you have drawn at least 25% of your deck and have less than 30 cards meaning that you have a very real chance of lowering your effective life total by playing this, as well as potentially opening yourself up to losing too many relevant cards to be able to win a game even if you do not get milled out. Cool card but more for EDH than cube.

Hoard Hauler 1

Can't rely on players having artifacts and so this is pretty useless and will play like a mediocre common. If you consistently made a couple of treasure I would be into this, it would be cool and playable but still not all that powerful as treasure on turn five has somewhat limited utility. 

Dusk Mangler 1

Quite cute to cheat into play then flicker a bunch but if you are going to those lengths you can do more powerful stuff. Mangler is basically unplayable without support at which point it becomes unplayable by contrast to alternatives. 

Sanguine Spy 5

The sac outlet is pretty costly for not all that much return. The body is OK but not exciting. The best bit is the potential to draw cards but it is hard to setup and somewhat costly on life. This card does a lot from a lot of different angels but it doesn't do any of them all that well. Worth a test simply for being a lot of things but I suspect it isn't getting enough done to compete in cube anymore. 

Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second 2

Needs a lot of support and isn't even that powerful then. Sure, turning some food into doggos is cute but is it worth playing this card? The answer is almost always going to be no. Certainly some build around potential but more for fun than anything else. 

Scheming Fence 2

A Pithing Needle (that can't proactively name something not in play) on legs that somewhat borrow the ability. Legs make it vulnerable and it is hard to say how useful the stealing of the ability is. It has quite the range. Stealing walker abilities would have made this rather more impressive, even as it is most of the time shutting down planeswalkers is going to be the best thing you can do with this dork. All told this is too much messing around for cube. It is gold and it depends on what your opponents are up to. Sometimes it will win games on the cheap by itself, often it will be a 2/3 with little effect beyond that. Ultimately you are just going to play removal over this because removal is kind of what you are trying to do with this and a proper removal spell will do that better. Potential in sideboards for specific uses or just in a kind of hatebears deck. 

Void Rend 6

This is too clean not to see some play. Instant speed removal that hits any non-land target is great. That is worth three mana. Slap on uncounterable and you add a not insignificant amount of value. The reason you want removal cheap and clean is to increase the chances it happens. That is all you really care about. The power in removal comes from knowing what to kill and when to do it and so maximizing that range is all you really need removal to do in order that it be powerful. Slapping on bonus perks that do ancillary fluff like drawing cards or making tokens and such do not add nearly as much as you might think. Annihilate is a whole lot less good than Murder for example. Anyway, uncounterable is one of the few things you can slap on removal as a perk that actually improves it. Shame for this that it misses manlands but card is none the less very good. It isn't so much better than the alternatives to be something I am going to both playing in my cube simply down to three colour narrowness. That however does not mean the card is anything but fantastic. It is almost all of the good parts of Assassin's Trophy, Abrupt Decay, and Vindicate rolled into one. If this exiled and could target manlands it would be the perfect removal spell! As it stands it is not enough better than the alternatives to make up for the narrowness of cost and will only be seeing constructed style play in my cubes. 

Bootlegger's Stash 1

This excites me a lot but it is very much a fun card rather than a good one. This needs a lot of setup and time to do all that much... Aaand all it does it make treasure so you need more things to then do with that treasure. A total orgy of a card for EDH even if it is not there for 1v1 play. Cheating it out doesn't even bypass the sloth of this card as you will not have many lands by then to churn out treasure. Best use for this seems to be Time Sieve but that card already has infinite combos with quicker and more convenient enablers. 

Thursday 21 April 2022

New Capenna Preliminary Review Part VII


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 

Shakedown Heavy 6.5

This is certainly a big boy for not that much mana. This is quite Browbeat like but regardless of what your opponent does you at least still have a 6/4 in play. They cannot afford to take much in the way of six to the face nor give away too many cards. This isn't always the threat you most want in the situation but regardless it is pretty threatening. You don't need to be applying pressure heavily as you do with cards like Browbeat as Shakedown Heavy is able to continue applying his own pressure. It is a pretty slow card as far as three mana 6 power evasive attackers go but it does seem quite good. It is a fantastic blocker and it is not trivial to remove. Power wise I think this is enough for cube but I suspect it may be a little linear to get all that much play. Cards that offer more options or more synergy might well edge this out of lists what with three drops being pretty abundant. 

Illuminator Virtuoso 3

A nice little stealth heroic card. Good in decks that support such things and probably not elsewhere. 

Toluz, Clever Conductor 6.5

Some immediate card selection on a body sufficient to ensure you are not losing tempo, and may well be gaining it. When Toluz dies you get cards back which will generally mean card advantage, sometimes a lot of it. Toluz is a kind of filler card that does a lot of things at fairly low cost. If it eats cheap removal then you get a nice two for one and can be happy about that. If they want to stop that value then they will have to use premium exile removal on Toluz and that will still be a one for one, will likely cost them more mana, and will leave them without premium exile quality removal for an actual threat you might deploy later in the game. The flexibility in casting will really help this out in cube. This is a bit too support filler card to merit being gold but given this can be mono blue, Esper, Dimir, and Azorius it is nearly as playable as Sea Gate Oracle, which in reality is the main competition for this guy. The upfront returns and clean low risk nature of Oracle probably results in it being the more played card but Toluz certainly wins the power and scaling side of things. Bit of a messy card but offering a good amount of stuff in the right sort of ways. 

Out of the Way 2

Nice little sideboard tool. 

Cemetery Tampering 1

Would love for this to be a viable mill tool or cheat out card. In practice getting 20 dorks in the bin in a 40 card deck is futile, you might as well just win with Thassa's Oracle at that point. Three cards is a substantial mill each turn which could empower a lot of yard synergies but at a three mana upfront cost it has basically no chance. 

Topiary Stomper 7

This I rather like. Three is a lot for a Rampant Growth but it is become more acceptable as things are seeming to be getting more midrangy in cube. This has a lot going for it on top of being slow ramp. Obviously just being a 4/4 dork eventually is relevant but I do not think it will make up the lions share of the value. Seven lands is reasonably late on, you want a bit more return potential before that if you are paying 3 for a card that costs 2. Flicker effects seem like the obvious abuse for Stomper but there are plenty of synergies all over the place. You can use stomper to fight or to crew. It will trigger the likes of Guardian Project and The Great Henge, indeed it can reduce the cost of the latter should you wish instead. Stomper can be found with an Oath of Nissa or a Once Upon a Time which most land ramp spells cannot. Just having a body you can dump counters on or sacrifice to an edict is not worth nothing. Perhaps I am just using it to fuel Grist or Yawgmoth. A lot of these arguments do work for cards like Wood and Farhaven Elves but they are 1/1s which drastically reduces their potential power. Ultimately Topiary Stomper is a two for one with a lot of synergy and power potential while also being ramp. The thing most likely to hurt this in cube is actually the double green in the cost making it a bit more awkward in the four and five colour green decks. 

Hypnotic Grifter 2

Three is just too much mana. I want to like this more what with it being a utility one drop in blue but it just isn't doing enough. This gets pretty tasty in a Training Grounds deck at least!

Unleash the Inferno 6

This is powerful, powerful enough I think to have a chance as a two colour gold card so there is a chance it is enough even at three. It is like a big Kolagahn's Command locked to the best two modes. It is Naturalize rather than Shatter which is nice, it is generally the case that this will have a target these days although often it will be a token of some sort, be it thopters, blood, clues, treasure, constructs, or food! Seven is certainly enough damage to take out most threats and leave enough left over to handle most of the Naturalize targets commonly seen. This is pretty broad instant speed removal with a good chance of being both tempo and a two for one. It is however still a removal spell and an expensive hard to cast one at that. If I had to play a Jund card in cube it would be this one but that doesn't mean I will end up doing so. Testing needs to go well for this.

Raffine's Informant 7

The power is low here but white aches for things like this and so it does have a very real chance of making the cut. With the likes of Land Tax and Tithe this as good as drawing a card on a 2/1 for two which is lovely. Just card quality on an OK tempo body is also fine. White has so many creature buff cards that any sized body is going to have use. Overall this seems to offer a bit too much to turn down for aggressive white strategies. I am not sure I would want this in midrange or control as the power is low. There are even some WX aggro decks which have access to better card selection where I might not run this and that makes it on the narrow side and combined with low power that might end its cube chances. Lovely to see more of this kind of thing for white even if I do not think it has the best chances in cube. 

Brazen Upstart 2

This needs to die to do its thing which isn't a total disaster but it is rather the turn off on a Naya card. If it were cast with hybrid mana like Toluz, Clever Conductor then this would have a cube shot. The power is comfortably there but the colouring is too narrowing for what it is. Naya is also presently the worst three colour combination to be. 

Rabble Rousing 1

This is likely only for EDH where you can go real big and wide with your token plans. In cube this will not have the support to do much in slower decks and will itself be too big and slow in the more aggressive decks. The hideaway in those will be less than impressive as well. Much as this isn't great 1v1 it is a lot of fun looking and can do some pretty big things. 

Knockout Blow 2

Lifegain here makes this appealing as an anti red sideboard card. It may just be a bit fair to use a slot on when you could be going with thigs like Kor Firewalker and CoP: Red though. Either way, sideboard only card. 

Shadow of Mortality 3

Another simpler tool to add to the Death's Shadow package. This doesn't jump around in size during combat making it a rules nightmare and that is quite welcome. It likely has some quirks and abuses of its own due to massive CMC. Dodging the likes of Unholy Heat and Fatal Push might make enticing in modern even if it is generally less powerful than Scourge of Skyclaves and the original Shadow. Narrow card but not without existing homes and a healthy chunk of power behind it. The main reason it is worse than a card like Death's Shadow is that you can deploy a weak Death's Shadow when at 12 life and then drop lower the following turn to empower it. This can only be deployed when you are already low making it not only a slower card but one that forces you to take bigger risks. I am somewhat expecting a deck to arise using things like this, Street Wraith, Gurmag Angler and that sort of thing that beats down and then has a backup plan of Erratic Explosion (or the new MH one that is far better) for loads.