Friday 24 March 2023

March of the Machines Preliminary Review: Part 1

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

*commander cards that slipped into the review! 

Jin-Gitaxias 7

Seems pretty good. Five mana 5/5 ward dorks have done well in my cube. This one lacks flying and doesn't have a massive ward value but he makes up for it with all sorts of fluff! Mostly we are just passively drawing some nice extra cards with Jin. This is nice, it means you do not have to get into combat like you do with the good ward fliers to get that value. Jin can accrue value while sitting back on defence. The flip and the saga mode is cool but likely not something we will see often. Drawing 7 cards, especially after getting your hand back to seven in the late game, is likely decking you or close to. Much of the time you could do it you shouldn't and most of the time you won't be able to anyway! Draw seven is obviously insane for 4 mana but it isn't really four mana, it is 9 mana and a lot of time and other ifs. Bouncing everything is great but it is slow. You have to wait a full turn and you have to do it without your 5/5 and without 4 of your mana. That seems dodgy. Either the bounce is minimal or it is going to be too slow. The final ability is a blast too but is likely massive overkill at that point. Jin is a lot of fun but most of the card is the fun part. The good part is the stats, the cost, the ward, and the passive card draw. This should be a pretty popular EDH card as big effects and big draw goes a long way there. Cube wise it is just solid on theme top end blue. It does somewhat lack for reach without any evasion but I think that will be OK. Blue can find a way once stabilized and Jin helps to do that. I think this will not last long as a lot of the fluff here is useless. I would trade all of the flip for flying or an extra ward in a heartbeat. 

Moment of Truth 6

A reworked, and much improved, Telling Time. Keeping the best card of 3 is better than ditching the worst. It is a bit of an odd one, is the 2nd best card of three better or worse than a random card in your deck? Presumably very much the same. The thing is that The floor of what I describe or just of Telling Time is that much worse. If you see two lands you are forced into taking one or when you see only one land but really wanted two. Telling Time often doesn't do enough, it doesn't finish the job where Moment of Truth does. So, on the face of it while a similar looking effect Moment of Truth is substantially more playable than Telling Time and that is before we even get the massive benefits of filling up the yard. In a world were Thought Scour and Otherworldly Gaze see play, in one where Consider is much much better than Opt I don't think we need to spend too much time on talking about why putting a card from your library directly into the graveyard is so good. I think we can say that this is pretty clearly better than Anticipate let alone Telling Time. It probably even beats out Impulse in any deck that has heavier or more significant graveyard synergies. Much as this is a card I am impressed with I have not seen much two mana card quality getting action for a while now, it is just too costly on the tempo and is likely the preserve of combo focused or intentionally down-powered cubes. 

Heliod, the Radient Dawn / the Warped Eclipse 2

This is pretty bad. I thought gods were indestructible? If you are reliably getting back an enchantment with this it is OK. There are plenty of 4 drop gain a card dorks with reasonable stats, even in white. This is the sort of thing I want on a three drop. Without the enchantment recursion this is a very over cost dork with some fluff you can further waste mana on. Sure, the flip side is a bit more powerful and has some cool synergies. It even seems good for just three mana but that isn't what it costs, it costs a minimum of seven and is thus utter garbage, even if you do get the free enchantment back.

Breach the Multiverse 2

Great EDH powerplay but for heads up cube this is only something I can see playing in a build around deck, Titan's Nest perhaps. Seven is just too much for a card like this to be getting anywhere near enough play even despite the decent power it packs. 


Drana and Linvala 3

Sure. This is a fine dork that will sometimes own but mostly just mildly underperform. A bit aimless, random, gold, and risky for cube play. 

Yargle and Multani 2

18 is a big number, and six mana is feasibly cheap meaning I can see this in a variety of builds that abuse it in some way, Fling, Pandemonium, that sort of thing. 

Thalia and the Gitrog Monster 7

This has a bit too much in the way of positive text lines and stats. It looks like it should pass the Questing Beast school of having so much stuff it can't not be good! Thalia does lack immediate positive impact for you (beyond an extra land drop I guess which I am certainly not excited about on four mana) and is thus vulnerable to removal. They do however disrupt right away. Overall this is a very powerful card. I like it a lot more than Siege Rhino that is for sure. It is however a long time since Rhino impressed people and not only is this very gold, it is very polar. If someone doesn't have an answer to this it is going to murder them with disruption, impossible to win combat, and ongoing digging into the library. Power wise this has to be good enough but Abzan is not popular at present and even if it were I think I would still dislike the way games went with this out. I'll be giving this a test as that is the right thing to do but I expect to to see insufficient play and kind of hope it fails to perform. 

Chandra, Hope's Beacon 6

This is a lot of card but you would hope so for 6 mana. It should protect itself pretty well. The -X can take out two midsized threats if needed. The passive and the +2 can also take out a pair of threats assuming you have a cheap and suitable removal spell in hand. This might not be as consistent as dealing 4 damage to two targets but it will leave Chandra on 7 loyalty rather than 1. Chandra generates value through the passive and through removal so the +1 ability isn't super important. It adds punch to the passive and ensures you have stuff going on but isn't something you can use continuaously in 40 card decks. All in all I like Chandra. She is very nicely rounded and has a good array of controlling and value generating effects. Sadly I don't see her making the cut. Who wants six drops these days? Certainly who wants slow ones like this that take ages to do their thing. With both planeswalkers and six drops really struggling in cubes presently I don't think now is a good time for Hope's Beacon stock. A couple of years back this would have been an absolute bomb, a super Torch of Defiance but I fear it missed its time window to shine. 

Goro-Goro and Satoru 3*

Powerful effect but somewhat overkill and very much on the situational, fiddly, and narrow side. No evasion is a bummer, two mana to haste things up is expensive. Are you playing this with Raging Goblins and removal? How about cheap evasive dorks so that you can give haste to them with the ability, or how about things like Lightening Greaves to try and trigger itself. Seems like a viable EDH plan and an absolute shitshow in formats without commanders. Goro-Goro and Satoru does have a good solid floor and an impressive ceiling but I fear it sits too near that floor too often to be of any real interest or worth building towards. I do now see the different symbol implying this is a commander product card and thus very well placed and designed at least.

Slimefoot and Squee 8*

This is just a good card. It is the mini Grave Titan. Half the cost and half the size with half as much of the half sized guys on the various triggers! Sadly no half deathtouch but in its place a rather more interesting recursion mechanic. This half Grave Titan thing would likely be good enough for cube by itself if it were mono coloured so slapping on a powerful recursion mode rather raises an eyebrow. It is almost turning this card into something I actively want to sacrifice so that I can get value bringing it back from the yard. It feels like a kind of Recurring Nightmare! Much better tempo and value but at least a bit easier to disrupt. Despite being a massive three colours this has all the trappings of a top tier cube card. It just does all the things without really having any drawbacks. If we were really pushing it we could say that it was vulnerable to mass removal but that is kind of the point with mass removal, and the solution is playing better, not having cards that dodge it for the most part. This is a three mana 4/4 which is high tempo, it can add 1/1 of stats to the board each term representing ongoing value and growing threat. It is multiple bodies allowing for good defence, good scaling, and some security against spot removal. The recursion mode is so powerful you are almost always doing it if you can. It is only one more than the already good value to cast the card and you get another dork back with it. Unless you are loading up on Memnites that is always value. Sometimes egregious value. This card has a very high floor and a pretty extreme ceiling. Good job it is avoiding most constructed formats frankly! This reminds me of Leovold and is easily comparable power wise in my cube despite that not being the cast in your vintage and legacy settings! For cube this is better tempo and security than Leovold and thus should perform better.

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