Sunday 4 December 2022

Jumpstart 2022 Preliminary Review


Oh look, another release... Luckily this one is small in terms of new content and broadly irrelevant. There are a few cute build around cards but mostly this is stuff for EDH and not cube. I might pick up a couple of cards for their constructed build around uses. I might also pick up Ardoz to try out in the actual cube but even he is pretty borderline. He will not be missed if I don't bother so no real rush there. Certainly one of the sets you could easily opt out of thinking about if you so fancied as Wizards have recommended. 

Alandra, Sky Dreamer 2

Four toughness makes this appeal more than Talrand and his measly two. The drawing two trigger however keeps this a much steadier pace of card and rather narrower in that it needs more build around effort. Fun in a draw two deck but a long way off a bomb even there. 

Ardoz, Cobbler of War 7

This seems pretty strong. It hits for 3 immediately which for two mana is pretty hefty. It then does several things in an ongoing capacity. A 1/1 dork by itself isn't nothing, nibble away a bit. The activated ability is a potent mana sink in the mid and late game. A 1/1 token isn't worth 4 mana but when it gets to hit for 3 immediately it is substantially better. I can see games where you hit four mana and just dump it all into Ardoz until they answer him or die. A kind of take on Rabblemaster. Lastly there is simply the decent buff he offers to your other haste dorks and those with EtB triggers that work from power. Ardoz really improves a Flametongue Yearling! Ardoz is no bomb, he is easily answered and is likely just giving damage, not value. He is cheap, offers some cool scaling, and some options. Quite like Kari Zev but less rounded and robust. A scary ceiling that is for sure. Lots of red dorks have haste...

Auntie Blyte, Bad Influence 1

Potential fun build around but not exactly a competitive card. Cynically I would suggest cards like this are produced to tempt EDH players into finding uses for cards otherwise unloved and failing to contribute to the secondary market. Equally you could just look at this as good service to EDH players giving them more interesting tools and toys to build with. 

Benevolent Hydra 4

Really solid dual role card in a counters deck. The power level here is unimpressive however it is fine and more than compensated for by being both support and payoff for counters theme. This has, and gives counters like your Spike Drone support but it is also representing as a Hardened Scales effect. With green being the base colour for +1/+1 counter decks I imagine this will become a cornerstone of those in singleton builds. 

Conductor of Cacophony 1

This is a touch slow and expensive for the returns but I am reminded of cards like Thrashing Wumpus and Bane of the Living which were power houses back in the day. It is not unimaginable that I would play this in a counters deck, or a demon deck, or somewhere. The card is playable and has a powerful effect after all. 

Daring Piracy 1

This is very low power in the face of things like Goblin Rabblemaster. You have to really want this effect to stick around to consider this. Really you need to be a deck with a significant synergy payoff like Purphoros or Goblin Bombardment or Cavalcade of Calamity! I guess pirates tribal might also want this for something. The pirates don't even stick around making this often a do nothing if you are not able to scale up your tokens. 

Distinguished Conjurer 1

Likely just a weak Impassioned Orator but people do love a flicker effect, even if it is wildly over priced. Realistically 40 card life decks will not play this but 100 card ones very well might. 

Instruments of War 2

Tribal Anthem with combat trick potential. Four is a hefty price tag that will not be entertained by any of the more established tribes however there are plenty that lack certain tools which this might be somewhat of a stand in for. Low power but if you can get that combat trick value out of it then the card is more than worth the costs. 

Isu, the Abominable 2

Powerful snow themed card although a little awkward for (specifically as a) commander. Black is where all the snowy mass removal is and playing without access to it is sadness. They are some of the best things about the mechanic. The other thing snow does really well is value generation, which is this dudes thing as well. Yes, Isu is a 5/5 that can slowly grow but he is hardly very threatening. This likely makes the cut in most snow decks as they are generally light on cards and this is high powered even if it isn't very well suited to the needs of the snowy mages. Jorn would absolutely be my commander of choice in snow making this guy somewhat unplayable. 

Kenessos, Priest of Thassa 2

There are a couple of ways to cheat out these big fishy blue dork types now and as such you can probably build a half workable deck using them. This is certainly a pretty reasonable tool, especially as a commander, to do so with. The curve is cute too with turn four cheat out being standard and turn three easily plausible. Turn one mana dork, turn two this plus some kind of Brainstorm, Serum Visions, or super techy Reason! Sadly you are then drawing a dud if Kenessos eats removal

Launch Mishap 1

The overall value here is good but it falls down in two ways. Firstly you don't want fluff on your counterspell, you just want the cheapest most reliable effect. You might play this over Cancel but you are unlikely to play it over Remove Soul. And really the kinds of deck this might seem like it appeals in you are just playing Metallic Rebuke. The other issue here is that it is a spell that makes a token rather than a creature with an EtB counterspell effect. The latter would be quite abusive with flicker and bounce while this very much isn't. 

Merfolk Pupil 2

Low power high utility support card. In the right deck this is going to be perfect but no clue what/where that is. The merfolk tribal decks do not want looting enough to play this and other decks that do want looting are unlikely to pay this much for it. I am not sure dredge decks need this even in singleton iterations? 

Planar Atlas 3

A two drop mana rock with upside is usually a good thing. Not overly sure what lands I am digging for with this however, perhaps it is just to help ensure curving to four mana on turn three which I do like the idea of. Finding tron pieces or digging for Urza's Saga seems pretty poor however. Not giving coloured mana or mana right away is quite a cost for your land search. A narrow card I would suggest but certainly interesting, playable, and unique. 

Primeval Herald 2

Mini Primeval Titan! Much smaller, only basics, only one land, but cheaper. Realistically you are not getting more than one attack out of this and you are probably not trading it for anything too impressive all thanks to that low toughness. As such I would be inclined towards playing the spells that ramp with two lands like Cultivate and Skyshroud Claim. Herald is a two for one but compared to the similar alternatives it is a slower and riskier one. There is a decent ceiling on this but I cannot see myself playing it anywhere. Perhaps a deck with a lot of things that give haste to dorks?

Rampaging Growth 1

Value wise this is great, you get to womp an attacker or swat down a planeswalker and get a land into the bargain. The issue is that keeping up 4 mana and only getting a land out of the mix, especially when you don't have a use for the one turn 4/3, simply isn't enough. You want to curve with ramp and this is a rather situational ceiling card. 

Zask, Skittering Swarmlord 3

Cool tribal insect card and a big fat walking Crucible of Worlds. A bit top end, aimless and narrow for general drafting cubes but a card that will do good work in the right places, mostly EDH ones. 


  1. Was wondering what your opinion on Overwhelmed Apprentice was. Obviously the mill can be a doubled edged sword, but a 1/2 with scry 2 seems good to me

    1. The card is originally from Throne of Eldraine hence my ignoring it in this article. I do love the card and have used it in a couple of places, mostly rogue and ninja ones I think. The general low power of the card and general power up early mill on an opponent is made it weak for general cube use. Mill decks are pretty powerful but this likely only winds up in a creature heavy one in a 40 card deck.