Saturday 19 November 2022

The Brother's War 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 

Mask of the Jadecrafter 0

Inefficient on mana for vanilla stats? This makes Call of the Herd look good again. This is sufficiently poor by current standards that I am surprised. 

Teething Wurmlet 2

Some life, some in game scaling up, and potentially at least deathtouch if turning up late in the day so as to retain some relevance. Sure, in an artifact deck or cube this is powerful. It is equally unplayable without that support so most cubes will pass this by. Green isn't really an artifact colour either. 

Haywire Mite 6

This is a cute little utility card. Being found by Urza's Saga will help this to do a lot of work in constructed formats of all flavours. Being a cheap answer to things, being proactive, having some nice incidental life all work in this cards favour. This is generally very easy to find from your deck and quite easy to splash. It is that splashability that gives this a chance in cube. Green just has more powerful options on value and utility Naturalize effects. Red and black and blue however do not and a non-dead card like this you can very easily splash is quite tempting. The power being sufficiently low means you probably need a reason to be playing one mana 1/1 artifacts beyond wanting the ability to Naturalize things. This probably doesn't last in cube but it is a good card with a lot of uses and homes. 

Sarinth Greatwurm 0

Fun but all sorts of wrong. Too late to be making powerstones. Too gold and generally narrow. Just being a six drop do nothing that dies to most removal is of course the biggest issue but they are all critical ones here. Yes, it is nice that is makes them from other peoples lands and so this is probably great in EDH but in cube that minor aspect does nothing to save this. 

Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea 3

This is a fairly standard looking 3 drop mana dork in green and as none of those have done much in the way of impressive work in cube I doubt this will either. The card is fine but it is just leaning a bit too far into something. It is the kind of card that trades a lot of consistency for a small increase to ones ceiling. Basically just play less fancy one and two mana ramp spells. If you must play ramp at three make sure it does other things like Llanowar Visionary and not this mild occasional untap and grow nonsense that takes up more space on the card than it ever will take in game time!  

Horned Stoneseeker 7

Pretty comfortably the best powerstone card as far as cube is concerned. It is cheap, reliable, and as up front as possible. You get a useful body and the use of a powerstone for your two mana. I think if this were just a 2/1 it wouldn't be good enough but that mild evasion and extra toughness add sufficient relevance to the body so as to make it worth it. Red does tend to enjoy more artifact synergies than most other colours so this has a good shot of being useful on the powerstone front. In artifact heavy cubes this will be great but in mine it is pretty on the line. I reckon it will be fine a lot and great every now and again, ultimately meaning it will only really see play now and again and thus get cut but I hope not! 

Defabricate 6

Annul or Stifle. A nice array of effects that should keep this from being too narrow. Sadly however leaning that hard on Stifle mode for your playability harms your overall power, in this case I think too much. Stifle can be broken when it hits things like a sac land however the average value it offers is less than the value of a card. Likely really good in an artifact and/or combo heavy cube but in more standard ones I think this is just shy of the mark. There is the new flavour achieve of Defabricating a card that has been found with Fabricate, not something I expect to accomplish sadly. 

Titania's Command 6

Six mana sorcery is a hard sell. This tries to look like a Primeval Titan but falls short on ongoing threat or board presence. You can skip lands and get a bit more of a Verdurous Gearhulk vibe. If you have enough dorks it is almost an Overrun vibe. You can also get a big hit of life and a scavenging Ooze vibe if you are in need of such things. This does a wide array of quite powerful and quite useful things. While I imagine it is good in most situations I feel like I am still going to gravitate to the cards that are just outright devastating when at the top of my curve. This one is absolutely worth a test. The breakdown of the stuff is reasonable and the high modality and range on top of that should be a significant multiplier. I just have a strong gut feel that tells me this is balls and isn't getting any play. It just isn't a card I am ever going to want to put in my deck despite sounding suitable, versatile, and not exactly shy of power either. 

Hostile Negotiations 4

Draw 3 mill 3 at instant speed for 4 mana and 3 life. Near Fact or Fiction in many ways but despite being more cards overall it is worse. They pick which pile you get and you lose three life and this is a black card. The last part is least relevant but the others are big. Four mana pure card draw is a lot of tempo loss so slapping on a life cost in a colour that likes to use life as a resource is a big ask. The problem here is really the opponent getting to chose. If you are digging for an out you are going to need to peel one in both piles else you are not getting that out. If you can't show something slightly scary in one pile you are probably getting it. This means you are on average getting 3 sub par cards. That often your opponent knows about. I like this card and find it interesting but it isn't powerful enough for cube. This is more of a standard tool. 

Scrapwork Mutt 2

A delightful little support card that is now just lacking too much in raw power to really see any play. As soon as the synergies start to appeal there are just more powerful tool available. Why am I using this to loot when I have Cathartic Reunion and Faithless Looting? The same sort of logic can be used to counter other angles of uses this card might have. There isn't really a point where you just want exactly all of this card in even amounts. Or certainly not at this power level. A decade ago this would have been an all round staple. Now it just looks like an all rounder that fails to clear any bar.

Excavation Explosion 3

One of the better powerstone generators and seemingly in the best colour for both generation and use there of! With the whole set out now and the full range of powerstone options is visible we can be fairly happy that this sort of thing is sufficiently narrow to prevent it getting much action or any higher of a rating. 

Blanchwood Prowler 1

This is just a bad Satyr Wayfinder. One less mill makes you a lot worse as a support card and a lot less reliable at hitting land. A 2/2 is not at all compensation for losing that value and so this is just a pretty bad card. I feel like there are probably enough better options than I am not even using this as redundancy for Wayfinder in those really powerful full synergy builds. 

Combat Courier 4

Rather too much mana to be used purely as card advantage however this is cheap and convenient. I can imagine decks where I want the various things this offers. It is absolutely deck padding but it is delightfully economical padding. 

Airlift Chaplain 6

I like the effort of card quality in white. I like the EtB value trigger and I don't even dislike the mill despite not that much keying off the bin in white. In a white aggro deck this shouldn't miss and at least with the flying and the general aim of aggro white, a +1/+1 counter is relevant. This is a fine card but it is very narrow and just kindof filler. It isn't good unless you are both white aggro with a high hit rate and also flicker and typically you are one or ther other. Also I am not into support cards that really only support one archetype, or certainly support cards like this. I want it to work out but I am pretty confident this is not getting enough action to keep around. 

Recomission 3

A white Unearth style card. This is good tempo being able to generate a mana and +1/+1 of value but it is a little narrow and easily disrupted making it a card you only play in specific places. This could help setup a Heliod Ballista combo if there was a lot good self mill that worked in that setting. It is not going to be a card you play in your draft cubes however. Certainly not in your white weenie decks as it currently stands. You never want a "threat" card to be dead in hand. 

Legion to Ashes 5

Fixed Vindicate. Basically just Maelstrom Pulse with exile slapped on. Im not all that excited about this card with how good just white removal is these days. Sorcery speed is pretty awkward too on such a clunky card. I do not see this taking the place of Vindicate nor do I see many cubes happily supporting both making it look bad for this. Card is fine but just not worth a gold spot. This really had to be instant to stand any chance of competing with Vindicate. Anguished Unmaking was cut ages ago, before we had things like Prismatic Ending and the white March. 

Meticulous Evacuation 1

A lot of utility here from saving chump attackers to reusing EtB effects. Much as I like this a recast of the returned thing on top of three mana to use assure this is way too expensive for cube. If cards like Castle Ardenvale offer too little returns for the mana and it doesn't cost you a card what chance does this thing have?! There are loads of cool things I want to do with this but in any deck where I have the mana to properly do them I will have been able to win a different way quicker and more reliably not using this card. 

Slagstone Refinery 1

I do love this despite it being critically slow and narrow. For this to even trigger you need loads of non-token artifacts, ideally ones that are good to sac, and a sac outlet. For it to do anything after triggering you need a pretty strong payoff for powerstones. This feels like a non-combo Krark-Clan Ironworks. You get slow narrow ongoing mana for sacs rather than 2 useful mana right away! You can use this to double up on your Ironworks at least! (don't do that) This might be a seemingly potent effect but trying to build a deck in which it usefully operates is going to be near impossible. Even in EDH it is a challenge. 

Spectrum Sentinel 1

Cute but no thanks. The poor stats do not make this appeal in any aggressive settings and the abilities are all a bit random, opponent dependant, and lacking in power or dedicated use. There is a lot of card here for one mana but not in any sort of desirable form. 

Energy Refractor 3

Sidegrade on Prophetic Prism, generally worse but given the combo nature of these kinds of cards it may be the more suitable of the two in some builds. Quite playable filler in decks wanting to have cantrip artifacts on the cheap. Mostly just a bad Ichor Wellspring. 

Tomakul Honor Guard 2

This is pretty solid I think. It wouldn't take a whole lot more for this to be cube worthy as ward is just such a strong ability. This is however a vanilla beater and as such ensures this is basically never seeing any play. I am just playing a proper hexproof dork in a deck that is after such things. Ward doesn't pair up nicely with loss toughness on a dork that wants to attack very well either. This would have done more as a 2/2 but still probably isn't seeing play even at 2/3.

Citanul Stalwart 2

One of those cards I like that they keep pushing, and I keep trying, and they keep not quite being good enough. This is not enough of an upgrade on the last Springleaf Drum dork for me to be at all tempting. It took fight cards a lot of iterations to become playable, I am not sure what we need to add to this but certainly still more! 

Blitz Automaton 1

Comically this is nearly good enough and would have been perhaps five years ago or more. It is not even out of the question in a red based artifact aggro deck. Filler beater but the right sort of beater with some potentially scalable traits. 

Tomakul Scrapsmith 1

Bit pricy for a support card and red doesn't really need the mill with a decent array of looting and rummaging stuff. Not a bad card but damned by being a supporting card at three mana.

Dwarven Forge-Chanter 4

Between Nible-Blade Khenra and Stormchaser Mage we find this mediocre dork. This is somewhat robust as far as cheap prowess threats go but robust is only part of what we are looking for in our threats. Power, utility, value, and these sorts of things turn out to be useful as well and Forge-Chanter misses the mark rather on those. I cannot see people playing this over or on top of the various prowess tools already in existence and it doesn't feel like we desperately needed more. 

Gixian Infiltrator 5

Bad Ravenous Squirrel or Body Dropper but still potentially quite brutal and playable in a deck built around such things. This can grow quickly and easily and represents quite a scary little card. In a cube with a heavy aristocrats theme this has a chance. 

Emergency Weld 6

Cool take on a 1/1 value dork. Much as this seems like it compares well with the likes of Elvish Visionary it is likely you cannot play this on turn two and have targets nor use it to help you curve. It doesn't even have synergy with flicker or security against bounce as a creature card would. I think the lack of convenience on this card more than overshadows the reasonable power level and so I do not see this lasting in cube. Deceptively good card though. Certainly very strong in a deck that can properly make use of it. 

Scatter Ray 7

Mostly an Essence Scatter and a bit of Annul chucked in for good measure. This hits a lot of things in cube and is enough of a cost that it is a pretty reliable counter. I don't want to call this good but it is at least playable. It will do a lot of what you want from your countermagic and perform a role. Bigger cubes are thus more likely to want this as it is just padding out the ranks of role fillers. 

Prison Sentence 0

Pacifism needs to cost 1, Arrest needs to cost 2. Removal has moved on. Oblivion Ring costs three and it is barely playable. Slapping on some scry to my Arrest doesn't make it good just makes me lament that it still isn't playable and that white yearns for more scry. 

Loran's Escape 6

Solid creature protection. Situational but fairly brutal high tempo card. This is the sort of tool that works well in my meta and wins games but it is also the kind of card that is very hard to squeeze into decks, especially white ones with all their removal and creature buffs. To be fair, equipment does make this a little better but really only a little. This is a good card, probably less good than Blossoming Defence, and likely to see less play as well. Fringe is the best way to describe these sorts of cards. I want this to make it but it is going to struggle. 

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