Wednesday, July 7, 2010

M11 Core Set: An EDH Set Review (Part 2)

Alright so yesterday I started a set review of M11 for the EDH format. It ran out of time and so today is the conclusion to this EDH set review of M11!

We left of with the largely abysmal Black cards, so naturally, we'll pick up right where we left off with Red:

Ancient Hellkite: This is a decent Dragon card, and is probably playable. There are, however plenty of better choices if you want a big dumb Dragon. Flameblast Dragon and Hellkite Charger are both better and more playable at 6 mana than this one is at 7. That said, if you're just trying to stick in as many Dragons as possible, you could do worse than this guy.

Chandra's Outrage: Not terrific by and stretch of the imagination. I wouldn't consider it playable, but I can see some room for debate here. Possibly in Mono-red.

Combust: This is pretty much solely and specifically meant as a Sideboard card. If you play EDH with sideboards, this could be an option. Probably not.
Cyclops Gladiator: 4/4 for four mana with the Arena ability as a "when this attacks" ability... I think this is pretty playable. It's heavily red cost means you will want to restrict in to Mono-red or two color decks that can reliably cast it. Still, seems fairly strong for 4 mana.

Destructive Force: I hate cards like this in EDH. Mass land kill is teh suck. This is a damn good card in the format though, and should see heavy play in groups that don't mind these types of effects. It's almost strictly better than Wildfire as 5 damage kills a remarkably higher % of creatures in EDH than 4 damage. This is good... but I certainly won't be playing it.

Ember Hauler: Not even in a Wort deck... but someone will find an infinite combo with this guy I bet.

Fire Servant: A lot of red EDH decks will REALLY want this guy's effect! It's downright amazing. Trouble is getting this guy to live long enough to be useful. Good luck with that, lemme know how it works out...

 Hoarding Dragon: I'm not impressed with this guy. Yeah, he can tutor up bomb Equipments, but if he gets RFG'd the Equipment is long gone as well. Really if you need this effect you should be playing Godo, Stoneforger Mystic or the color Blue!

Inferno Titan: It's not that this guy isn't good, but he's just not as exciting as the others (okay, he beats the Blue one, but that's it). 3 damage isn't going to kill anything too scary in EDH... mostly just utility guys that you aren't all that worried about. Still, it's not a BAD effect. I also hate that this guy has fire-breathing. It's a useless ability for me and is just never relevant. If this guy had Haste he'd be infinitely cooler and more interesting to me. Oh well.

Leyline of Punishment: There are similar effects that are better in EDH. It's not worth it for the 1 in 50 games you'll get it for free.

Maniac Vandal: Decent cheap utility, but probably not too many decks need another way to kill artifacts. Still, if you're somehow still running plain 'ol Shatter, you should upgrade to this guy.

Reverberate: Why hello, Fork. Technically this is a red Twincast. Fork turns the copied spell red... neither Twincast nor this card have that text. This is good because if your deck wants to run Fork, then it should want this too. You can cheat and basically run two Forks now. Yipee!

Wild Evocation: This card is going to be great in chaos decks that run shit like Eye of the Storm and Confusion in the Ranks. Other than that, it is too random and hard to control. Still, seems like a lot of fun in a deck that doesn't make winning it's #1 priority.

So Red's not overwhelmingly good, but it has a few good/fun/interesting things. I'd really like to see Fire Servant be good, but it's just to fragile that I doubt it will be.

Next up, Green:

Autumn's Veil: Beautiful art! But it's too narrow of a sideboard card to be very good.

Back to Nature: I hate this card. This card will wreck me from time to time. Uril is REALLY angry now!

Cultivate: Kodama's Reach but without the added benefit of being nicknamed "Kodama's Reach-around". I'd rather play Reach for the name alone, but this is a good solid card, and some decks would LOVE to play two copies of the Reach. Good job, Wizards!

Fauna Shaman: FUCK YES!! BRING IT ON!! Ahem... obviously, I'm quite excited about this. I already wrote a whole blog article on this the day it was spoiled.
Gaea's Revenge: Meh.. needs more Trample. Disappointing as a Mythic. Haste is pretty cool, but probably not enough to make this more than mediocre.

Garruk's Packleader: This might actually be playable. I could see it being a good draw engine in Naya, particularly Mayael the Anima decks. Maybe it's not as good as I'd expect, but it's worth giving a shot. My Uril deck does need more draw engines...
Greater Basilisk: Hmm, not worth a slot. You'll never be able to kill the one creature you most need to (some big Flyer).

Hunter's Feast: There could be some shenanigans to make this interesting, but in general I don't see this being playable outside a "Group Hug" deck.
Leyline of Vitality: Not the worst of the leylines, but still probably not worth running. I'm sure most Rhys the Redeemed token decks will play this, but that's about it.

Mitotic Slime: I can't wait to play with this card in some fashion - I just don't think EDH is the format where it will shine. It could be good in a narrow number of decks - like ones that run Sadistic Hypnotist and/or Doubling Season. But it won't fit into most decks.

Obstinate Baloth: This is pretty playable. Damn good if against Nath and the like, but still playable anyway. 4/4 for four that gains you 4 life... where have I seen that before?

Overwhelming Stampede: In EDH, the format of fatties, this will almost always be better than Overrun. However, the prevalence of Wrath affect within your playgroup will ultimately determine this cards playability. I for one don't have much use for it, as I'm usually the one Wrath-ing the board every other turn.

Plummet: A strictly better Wing Snare. I've played Wing Snare plenty, and been quite happy to do so. This is just plain better.

Primeval Titan: This is the best EDH card in the set. See my article on it a few posts back...
Sylvan Ranger: This is an okay card for EDH, but there are just plain better cards to run. If you somehow don't have Wood Elves or Sakura Tribe Elder, maybe give this a shot? I dunno.

Well, I'd say green made of like a bandit in this set - two of the absolute best EDH cards in the set are Green.

Let's get the handful of artifacts and lands out of the way:

Brittle Effigy: Blue/Artifact decks will probably want this, but if you're playing any other color, there are better choices.

Crystal Ball: I'm going to go out on a limb and say I like this card far more than Sensei's Divining Top. But I'm a whore for Scry. Scry 2 every turn for 1 mana? I love it. I'll play the shit out of this in EDH.

Elixir of Immortality: I don't see any real use for this. The life gain is fine, but the graveyard effect needs to be able to hit opponents. I guess if you have a lot of trouble with Relic of Progenitus ruining your day, this could be a mediocre way to trump it? Ah, probably not, but hey I'm trying not to be narrow minded.

Jinxed Idol: Holy crap, they brought this back! That is awesome. Not playable outside of some very wacky and random EDH deck, but still... I do wish they'd kept the original Flavor Text: "Here."
Sorcerer's Strongbox: I don't like this, as I dislike coin flip cards. However this is better than I initially thought: you don't have to sack it. If you like this sort of thing, well... it's not the worst coin flip card ever. Winning the flip gets you a pretty damn good effect.

Steel Overseer: Too niche-y to be playable outside of some very specific and focused decks.

Sword of Vengeance: This will be playable, but if you have access to the Darksteel swords, they're way better.

Temple Bell: Terrific for Group hug decks. Quite a bit better than Howling Mine for other decks.

Warlord's Axe: Way too expensive for a vanilla buff equipment. No thanks.

Mystifying Maze: This will get played. I'm unconvinced it's all that great, but I am sure it will be played regardless. Some decks, namely those without access to Kor Haven, will be happy to see this. It's just a bit too pricey, and too many creatures have ETBF effect I wouldn't want to repeatedly give my opponents.

Okay, that's it for the new cards of M11. It does seem like there weren't too many great EDH cards in this set, but don't forget that the set is something like 50% reprints. Many good EDH cards are being reprinted as well - Baneslayer Angel, the Planeswalkers, and the M10 duals are all returning, and I'm sure many of you could use a few more of those. All in all, it's a good set for EDH - enough new toys almost everyone should find something they like, but not so many great cards that we'll all be spending a fortune. We can save our money for Scars of Mirrodin!!

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