Tuesday, 1 November 2022

The Brother's War 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 

Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim 5

Certainly a fascinating planeswalker that begs to be abused. The things you can do with this when you have the means to draw lots of cards are obnoxious to say the least. Mostly you are just dumping out Lorescale Coatl tokens each turn with Temporal Pilgrim. Perhaps if you go wild you can turbo out the ultimate and completely dominate the board. Much as this is very fun we need to concern ourselves with the floor and not get carried away with the ceiling. The floor is either paying 5 mana to draw a card or 5 mana to make a 2/2 token with vigilance. Yes, we may bait out a removal spell or soak up some damage on top of this but however you spin it, the floor is really shocking. It is unimpressive even by the standards of other planeswalkers, a card type with notoriously low floors and high ceilings. Walkers are very much on the decline in cube presently with immediate impact and tempo being such a big deal. If I am paying five mana for something in blue at sorcery speed I really want it to be a 5/5 flying dork with ward and perhaps the ability to draw cards. I do not want a card that I already have to be ahead in order that it isn't straight up bad. Equally, given the choice I would rather play Mordenkainen than this new Teferi in my decks as it is simply a bit more robust for much the same sorts of payoff. It is not at all often I reach for a more expensive tool when given the choice and I think that says more than enough in this case. 

Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor 7.5

Black gets an Edric to play with and it is a good Edric at that. Mono colour is a nice start and 50% more stats helps a lot too. Gix is a relevant and tempo holding play that you can expect to have some impact on combat unlike Edric who is basically an enchantment that dies to every single bit of removal going! Black is also a great place for this effect as it has so many little recursive dorks and tiny deathtouch critters that opponents do not enjoy blocking. Yes, there is a life cost to the card draw but there is also a kindly "may" clause as well preventing us from killing ourselves by decking or the conventional means. Gix is certainly solid but he is not a bomb, he likely sits around the power level of Midnight Reaper. Reaper is a bit safer on the cards front as it will typically cash in for at least one even if immediately answered by the opponent. Gix however is a little more tempo secure simply down to that extra toughness. Gix also has a tasty activated ability which isn't coming up all that often but is relatively dangerous. Mostly the mill side of it is scary but it does give Gix a certain inevitability. Often in 40 card decks you reach a point where you stop giving a monkies about conceding card advantage as the opponent is going to deck themselves with it. You can just leave a Murderous Rider in play and have it be your win condition! Leaving Gix in play will result in Gix either decking you or killing you with your own stuff. I do not expect to see the ability used very often but I do expect it to have a pronounced affect on the way the card plays. It means you probably have to answer it and if so you might as well answer it as soon as possible to as to prevent the card advantage as well as the long term threat. This means we probably will not see all that much of Gix in play! A good Gix will be getting a card draw or bad block, perhaps a couple, on the turn you make him, and then have him answered. An OK Gix will be one where your opponent has to awkwardly remove him. The floor is going to be something like having him Wrathed away before he does anything, or removed with a Lightning Bolt or similarly cheap spot removal before his first trigger potential. This is still not a disaster, you are looking at being a couple of mana down at worst. That all seems worth the many upsides this card brings. 

Feldon, Ronom Excavator 7.5

This seems comparable to Robber of the Rich. Losing reach and the ability to block at all are not really issues for this card as it wants to be attacking. The ability on this is likely less good than Robber on average however I do rather like it more from a design perspective. I like how it makes blocking it with a high powered dork worse than one with just two power. I like how you can do cute things like aim the little end of an Arc Trail at it to snag a free card. Lava Dart and Spikefiled Hazard also gain a kind of cycling while Feldon is out. Feldon is decent tempo, in useful and interesting while in play, and should fairly reliably not cost you a card. If they do end up using non-damaged based removal on Feldon that in itself feels like a bit of a win. It means a bigger, costlier, and more dangerous dork of yours gets to live! 

In the Trenches 7.5

This is very likely a direct upgrade to Spear of Heliod (and also therefor the classic Glorius Anthem). While this ability costs six to use and not the three Spear sets you back this is an ability that goes well in a deck that wants an Anthem. Spear's ability is only of use when you are being attacked which likely means you have already lost that game. It is fair to say that enchantments are a lot safer than artifacts in cube as well. White has quite a good range on options for this kind of effect now, more viable ones than any sensible cube could possibly want. That being said I do rate this as one of the very best, even if it is not by much.

Kayla's Command 6

This is vey cute. Somewhat of a Civic Wayfinder as a floor which I am fine with although not being one that you can flicker is rather a setback. Raw power this card doesn't seem great but it is a good range of quite useful, and hopefully specifically very useful abilities. This can stabilize, it can dig, it can prolong, it can push through. It really should be able to do useful stuff in most cases. I think this will play fine but never be all that impressive. Because of that I think it will in turn be really hard to justify a deck slot to this. In building there will just be something more powerful or more needed that gets the slot of this every time. I hope I am wrong and this is sufficiently powerful that it is good in most situations, more Kolghan's Command than Prismari. It wouldn't need to be very much better than it looks to jump from being fine to good so well worth a test. I want this to get through testing but I would certainly bet against it doing so. I love white cards that offer choices as it helps make the colour more interesting so the more cards like this the better. Sadly white always seems to do poorly with the modal cards and cycles be they commands or confluences unless they are just mass removal spells and even those are pretty fringe. 

Mishra's Command 5

Probably it is just the sorcery that kills this card. It is otherwise quite interesting, You have some very direct and useful abilities that also scale nicely. If you ever kill a dork and a walker with this you are a very happy camper and very well ahead. You might well be able to steal games by clearing out a blocker and giving a threat +X power. Even the floor of killing one thing and getting to rummage away any bad cards in hand is pretty decent. As removal goes the card is on the clunky side and rarely very mana efficient. The card quality will often be of little use due to wanting your cards or having none left by the time you are using it! The +X power really suffers from sorcery speed and will often be unusable and even when it can be used will often achieve absolutely nothing. Much like the white command this is perfectly playable but it is unlikely to be impressive very often and is going to be very hard finding deck space for such things. Why play a clunky card full of maybes when you can play a card brimming with power?


Gix's Command 4

Seems a bit clunky and, oddly for a card with such modality, quite situational. The Edict mode is likely the least situational mode and will generally handle their best threat. Five mana sorcery speed removal needs to do a hell of lot more to be getting a look in at cube. Is one of the other modes, or some combination of them good enough? Unless you are devastating them with the mass removal effect I would wager not. One to test but I have very low hopes for this. Pretty sure I would rather The Eldest Reborn to this and that has not been up to it for a long time now. That is the kind of power level and card we are looking at here. We are certainly not looking at competition with Wretched Confluence. 

Urza's Command 5

I think the power of this hinges on how good a construct is for you. If it is a 2/2 or 3/3 when you make it then I am unimpressed. When you are consistently getting 4/4 and better then this seems like a more reasonable card. Instant speed scaling 4/4 that cantrips is good at four mana, even if it is a token. I am less interested in the other modes, powerstone is perhaps fine but probably just to buff the construct most of the time. The power shrinking is situational and low value, you can do a lot better if you are after defensive effects. They will get used every now and again but they are not exactly mana efficient and don't feel like they will be winning lines often even among the few occasions they might be optimal lines. Unless your cube is packing a heavy artifact synergy package don't play this. 

1 comment:

  1. Urza's Command rather worse than I initially gave credit for as the construct comes in tapped thus stopping you having surprise blockers.