Monday 6 February 2023

Phyrexia: All Will Be One Preliminary Review Part IX

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

Voidwing Hybrid 2

Fine. Cheap filler and support card in the right decks. I can imagine frankly quite oppressive in standard.

Charforger 2

The kind of card I love to play with and have in cube. Really this is just a limp Breya's Apprentice which itself is a fairly fair card in cube. This sort of thing at the very least has to be mono to be a consideration for drafting cubes these days. 

Tainted Observer 2

This has mild support applications as both an evasive toxic dork and an ongoing source of proliferate. It isn't great in any of these camps but they are at least under populated camps which gives this a glimmer of hope. 

Thrunn, Breaker of Silence 8

Non-green eh? That might as well be hexproof. I suspect in a decades time I will be able to count on one finger the number of times this gets fought and killed in my cube. So this is a five mana 5/5 uncounterable, trample, hexproof, with the not so minor perk of also being indestructible on my turn. This is basically a big green True-Name Nemesis. This attacks very very well. It blocks pretty well if you need it too. This card is an absolute monster and provides swathes of threat and reach at a nice cheap price. This card has just one weakness and that is to mass removal. You are probably down in resources even if this is the only thing a Wrath kills! When you get this and any other dorks Wrathed it is going to be brutal. Your big secure threat and mana investment gone without doing anything at all and along with everything else. True Name was polar and as such quite tedious. Thrun seems much the same. Although he is green which is a more suitable place for such a card at least. While I am not a big fan of the design I think power wise this is going to make it in cube. You pretty much have to race this and that will not be easy. Most decks do not play any mass removal and those that do are somewhat obvious. This is a threat they have to use mass removal on as there is nothing else for it so you can exploit that in how you play. I feel as if this will play a little like The Scarab God. It will flop out and become the focus of the game. And then generally win it. 

Zopandrel, Hunger Dominus 2

Not a massive fan of this one, it is too many different angles at too high a cost. On his own he is reasonable defensively but can still only block one dork so isn't exactly holding down the fort. Sure, little is getting past an 8/12, indestructible or otherwise, but again, at seven mana, I want a bit more. Titan of Industry comes with life and buddies and does a much better job of stabilizing. Zopandrel has an overrun effect which is great, that is a reasonable amount of threat but it requires you to have other dorks, and, at that point, are we not better off with an actual Overrun for two mana less? Or even just a Craterhoof for that assured kill at just one mana more. On its own Zopandrel is very poor lacking the evasion to deal any impressive damage by itself, and indeed, being intensely vulnerable to spot removal. Big old pass for me on this one. Give me God-Eternal Rhonas over this every day of the week (a card I don't have in my cube). 

All Will Be One 4

Too narrow just to play making it a build around card. Very powerful effect that is easy to abuse (and indeed has a simple (effectively) two card infinite damage combo already in Quest for Pure Flame). Not quite enough support in cube to justify inclusion. Could be nuts but is mostly going to be a do nothing or over cost Rift Bolt in limited formats. 

Serum Snare 2

Proliferate still too niche of an effect to be enough to push these close to the mark card. Nice to see this low costing of proliferate slapped on a card with tempo. 

Annihilating Gaze 2

Somewhere between Bone Shards and Bloodchief's Thirst. Ultimately rather worse than both as you have no real "cheap" mode on this one. 

Armored Scrapgorger 7

Thought I reviewed this already but now can't find it if I did! Anywho, there are lots of decent two drop mana dorks now but this is all round more than enough to be cube playable even if you don't end up running it. Good fixing, reasonable resilience, some nice scaling, and a bonus bit of disruption added into the mix. A kind of more consistent and fairer iteration of a Deathrite Shaman! Solid and healthy cube card. 

Evolved Adaptation 2

Another Experiment One style dork. Useful redundancy in the one slot if you are doing that sort of thing, but this power and style of dork is not all that any more. 

Contagious Vorrac 8

This is a lot of common. And that is in a set where the commons are closest to the power level of the other rarities of any I have seen. Really impressive commons! Here we have a 3/3 for three that usually finds you a land which puts it in the same sort of camp as Rogue Refiner and Llanowar Visionary. Just good solid tempo plays that are two for ones. The Vorrac is meaty and easily played. It is just such an ideal curve play in limited environments without ever becoming underpowered. Vorrac then goes above and beyond these other great dorks. Vorrac gives you utility, you don't have to take a land, you can always proliferate should you wish. Now this is the kind of card where that utility really is a valuable perk. The card is already great when you don't choose it so the option feels free. You can obviously do some pretty filthy things with it in the right sitaution and so it really adds a lot of late game danger and option density to the card. I look forward to surprise ultimates and all sorts of other cool and sneaky plays to come out of this guy. While hard to call this a bomb it is the kind of card it is hard not to play regardless of your build. I wonder if this redeems the name Vorrac? The Battlehorns were so very poor. Vorrac will often be fixing without the need of having loads of appropriate basics. In 40 card singleton knowing some of the cards on the bottom of your deck is not useless information and has lead me to different lines on multiple occasions. I just have nothing bad to say about this one, it is all good. I fully expect this to be one of the most highly played cards in my cube. 

Thirsty Roots 4

Much as I love the Lay of the Land plus mode cards we are getting now this does not compete well with what we have. Proliferate is both narrow and situational resulting in a card than leans mostly on the Lay of the Land aspect of the card which results in underwhelming power level and unimpressive utility. Give me fight every time! Roots is still a fine card and it has a home in many places but limited cube settings are not those places. 

Tyvar's Stand 7

This is both flexible and cheap enough to last in the cube. It is somewhat of a toss up between this and Blossoming Defence. Stand is better protection at low costs but far worse of a pump spell. Late game however Resistance can become a Fireball to the face which is quite the tasty mode to have! There is lots of interaction, lots of options, lots of tempo, and lots of reach to be had with this sneaky little card. I expect it to take a whole lot of games in the cube going forwards. Increasingly games seem to be coming down to flopping out some obnoxious card like Sheoldred and then being able to disrupt their removal attempt on that card in some manner. There is precious little removal this doesn't stop at one mana and the fantastic scaling means you are not too sad about having this sat in hand. Equally it is one of those cards that it is really gross to play against. Walking into it feels game ending, leaving it in their hand feels game ending too. All signs of a good card. 

The Fair Basilica (and the rest of the sac sphere cycle) 6

Great lands in principle, the perfect cycling land that is always a land early when you need it and still always a card late when you don't. There is never that choice or opportunity cost. These compare very favourably against the various mono coloured cycling lands but they have to compete with Triomes these days as well as the Horizon Canopy style lands. The former are obviously wildly better fixing and the latter, while not useable in all archetypes due to the life cost, do have both fixing and tempo perks all over these. Even so, the relatively small cost of EtB tapped for painless colour that you can cash in for gas further down the line is very tempting indeed. A lot of cube decks would run these. There has been a shift towards cards with good mana sinks on them meaning you are less eager to cash in lands than once was the case. There also isn't really the space to justify these quality of life cards. Sure, you might always consider playing them and sometimes you will and they will be nice to have but it will not make lots of difference overall. I would absolutely run these in budget cubes to help smooth things out but in others these will be too slow and too low impact to merit the cost in space. 

Drivnod, Carnage Dominus 6

The body is a little cumbersome and the passive is on the narrow side. In an aristocrats build this can be utterly batty. You can turn sac outlet, Orzhov Enforcer, Blood Artist into six drain instead of two! You will often be able to give Drivnod Indestructible but not always and at that point the high cost to low toughness ratio is an issue. The cost is also typically going to hurt in some way, many of your dorks recur or want to use the bin in some way. I suspect there is a little too much in the way of exile and bounce removal for Drivnod to excel in cube. He is fine but just a little too narrow. If you are pushing synergies then he is a nice tool. 

Slophim, Dominus of Mayhem 8

Torbran meets Hazoret. The cost to make this indestructible is high and the ability to do so in response to things a little hampered by the part of the mana cost you cannot substitute life for. Even so, this card is a house. High stats, scary passive, and the capacity to add indestructibility into the mix if needed. Some decks will fold to this on the spot, there will be enough sources of damage that can be instantly deployed that it is all over there and then. The old Fireblast for 8 etc. Others will just fold to this over a few turns just down to lack of answer and red cards being red. 

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