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. 

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