Tuesday 18 October 2022

The Brother's War Preliminary Review Part I

I imagine the Transformers cards come under this general review block but again, I do not intend to cover them or use them. And again, I will probably fail at that as was so quickly the case with the 40K cards! At least the play part will be easier to avoid with these cards largely not being the sort of thing you want in cube. Certainly the big clunky gold stuff doesn't appeal much. I also both like the design and the flavour of these cards as I did with the 40K stuff. As they are coming in packs not some Secret Lair nonsense I have nothing against these at all, I am just scaling back where possible


Recruitment Officer 7

A nice new Savannah Lion with upside. I do like this a lot but then I like drawing cards. In practice this is probably worse than Skymarcher Aspirant as it is no investment of mana to have Aspirant improve in the late game. It is also likely weaker than Usher of the Fallen as Usher is more relevant early and offers better tempo. This is certainly a good one drop but there are others out there, it is an area we are swamped in redundancy. Depending on how deep you go on supporting white aggro you may not have room for this in your cube. The margins are so small on these W for 2/1 with minor upside cards that you could play this in place of any other just because you like it more and that would be legit. I think this probably kicks out Soldier of the Pantheon in my cube in a fairly direct yet ever so slight upgrade. I doubt the ability will be activated much and I suspect in very few of those occasions will that activation go on to affect the outcome of the game. I just really like the ability! 

Mishra's Foundry 5

As a stand alone card this isn't impressive enough for cube play despite being a solid card. You really want this in concert with other Assembly-Workers to reach its potentia. It is fine but it is sufficiently less mana efficient on the main usage that is winds up being behind in power level at least three other colourless manlands, likely more. Perhaps this is the 3rd or 4th best manland on offer alongside Blinkmoth Nexus and Factory for a cube focused around artifacts. 

Queen Kayla bin-Kroog 2

Commander card, and quite a fun looking build around one at that. You could build around this in cube and have a fun but terrible deck. 

Surge Engine 3

The mythic rarity of this card gives me pause. This looks like a rare and looks like it should be quite weak. Cards like this only tend to get bumped up to mythic when internal testing reveals power and they wish to use that power to help push product. This looks bad because a 2 mana 3/2 you need to dump mana into so that it can attack is pretty bad. I guess it is an OK defensive play early that turns into a relatively threatening card late game. This hits hard and evasively and can even offer card draw but it is all so mana intense and late it is hard to get very interested in it. It is like a really slow Thing in the Ice that requires more time but needs less built attention. Mostly I see this trading off with comparably cost dorks or getting easily and cheaply swept aside with any removal spell out there. I remain intrigued by this card so will test it reasonably extensively despite a strong belief it is crap. 

Urza, Lord Protector 3

I was shown a mock-up joke card the other day and it took me a couple of reads of the card before I realized it was a joke card. It was Teferi Mows the Lawn or something and had an actual lawnmower added to the art. I blame these Secret Lairs and these Universes Beyond and black bordered Un-sets, and cards like Urza Planeswalker for this inability to spot an obviously fake piss take card. Magic is an extensively silly world now and this Urza fits right in. I can imagine a version of this with googly eyes. I can imagine it being an official thing too... While Urza may be quite a silly magic card it is at least very epic which it kind of needed to be for one of most epic and significant characters in all of the lore. Silly and epic aside, is big Urza Planeswalker good? For cube, certainly not, you need to find the bits and then use them and that just isn't consistently happening before you get smeared. In EDH it looks like a lot of fun and I will try it in cube just for those achieves. Are the individual parts any good then if the melding is all a bit far fetched? Urza is narrow but he is a cost reducer and he does so with a large range. Etherium Sculptor plus Baral in effect and nearly in combined stats as well. A deck likely isn't looking for all those things at once, or certainly is going to be getting a lot more utility out of one part than the other which in turn likely makes the two drop more focused options better. Even so, Urza might wind up in combo decks just as a means to help power them out. 

The Mightstone and Weakstone 4

This seems very well suited to certain synergy decks in cube. If you support combo or artifact themes in your cube this has a good chance of having a place. It is a nice all round filler card for big artifact decks, a delightful thing to pair with a Goblin Welder. It is a nice rare piece of utility and spot removal in colourless. Without the synergies to go with it the card is too late in the day and not mana efficient enough. The value of a card like this in cube varies wildly and unsurprisingly hinges a lot on whether you have Mishra's Workshop and Metalworker powering it out and that sort of thing. A classic, good with other broken cards but not all that without sort of affair.    

Mishra, Claimed by Gix 6

Unlike his brother Mishra is rather more all round playable in cube. He is just a fairly meaty threat that has some scaling potential. As he can trigger the turn you make him he is a lot like a Siege Rhino when you are ahead. He then goes on to trigger subsequent attacks and even remains an effective 4/5 all by himself. Mishra is meaty and threatening but he does suffer somewhat from being quite linear. He can fail the spot removal check fairly hard and is competing on space with the likes of Kalitas and new Sheoldred, both of which seem more powerful and more playable. Mishra is a fine card but it is probably not quite making it alone and needs that boost from the potential to meld. 

Phyrexian Dragon Engine 7.5

This doesn't excite me much but it does seem good. It is slow and vulnerable but it is also really threatening. This attacks for 4 and makes any sort of combat trick or instant interaction terrifying. I don't normally love a small doublestrike threat as they seem quite vulnerable but with this dork I don't much card if you kill it as the unearth is so tasty. It is like a really convenient Ox of Agonas on the back end while being much more playable on the front end. A high threat cheap dork they somewhat need to answer with a late game gas injection sounds really great. I will be happy pitching this in the bin too giving it good synergy with loads more cards. It is like a bigger scarier Bomat Courier. All told this seems good enough to play by itself which in turn gives a real boost to the prospects of Mishra. 

How good is Lost to Phyrexia and as such how much does that add to the value of Claimed by Gix? I think the answer is basically none as if you are attacking with the pair of them already you must be pretty far ahead. I suspect the times you could meld are going to be such a small percentage of games and in those, the percentage of those in which the meld actually changes the outcome is tiny again. In a fairly standard black red good cards deck I imagine you are talking a couple of % at best of games where you get to meld. And in those it is making a difference in a couple of % of games resulting in a near 0.01% ballpark of relevance. Obviously I will run them both together for a bit for those achieves but once I meld Mishra will be getting retired unless I have rather misjudged him. Dragon Engine however might well just last beyond that.

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