Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Innistrad EDH Set Review, Par 1: White

Ah, the day has finally arrived. I've been eager to get the ball rolling on this one, as Innistrad is a pretty damn cool set. Very exciting!

We're gonna be doing things just a bit different, this time out. I'll do the breakdown by color as usual, and cover all the Rares as usual, and I'll skip the chaff and limited filler to avoid typing "this is bad in EDH" 1000 times over... as usual. The different part is that I'm going to do the Double-Faced Cards separately, in their own section. This mostly is just an aesthetic and logistic choice, as the images need to be wider to accommodate both sides of the card. So in each color, I'll skip the DFC's and get to them later.

Anyway, that's the only difference. The rest will be the same old routine. Naturally, White is up first.

Again, this card is very playable in decks which have enough support for her Tribal component, and Humans are pretty damn common as well, so she'll fit effortlessly into some decks which happen to be running a lot of humans, whether by happenstance or design. She's not the most exciting or terrifying Mythic to behold: WotC seems to be trying to address player concern of the recent trend of "power creep" among creatures in general and especially the Mythics. Angelic Overseer simply looks weak when compared to the likes of Primeval Titan or Consecrated Sphinx, but when weighed solely on her own merits, I think she acquits herself well enough and should prove fairly popular though not ubiquitous.

Very playable, in the right decks, mildly useful outside of those decks. At first glance, this Angel might seem marginal outside of a heavy Spirit tribal deck. But, once you start paying attention, you might be surprised at how many creatures bear the type Spirit. One thing I should point out is that the has a pretty cool interaction with Karmic Guide. Angel of Flight Alabaster won't be good enough to replace Karmic Guide in most decks, but she'll be good enough to run along side Karmic Guide in quite a few decks.

 Yet another card requiring you to be playing a fair amount of Humans, this guy will be a very exciting one-drop in a small number of decks, but probably won't see a huge following in the EDH format. I definitely will consider him for Jor Kadeen, but he has stiff competition in Serra Ascendant and Figure of Destiny... I definitely think this guy is solid, but the number of decks that will truly want him is rather limited.

Holy cow, do all the White cards want to you be playing Human Tribal? Well, if you are, this guy should be pretty awesome. Unlike Angelic Overseer, I don't see this guy just randomly making the cut... the Angel only needs one human at a time to be good, but this guy wants to to be pretty much all-in on Humans to be worth the 6 mana CMC. That said, I don't think we're far off from the day "Human Tribal" decks start to become a real thing. If     the rest of Innistrad block continues the trend we see here of pushing the Human type, we'll definitely be seeing them cropping up on the forums soon enough.
Man, I really want to believe this is going to be a smash hit, as a Wrath of God with Flashback seems like the most awesome thing ever. But the fact that your opponents get to save their one best creature means this spell will frequently fail to kill what you most need killed. It's also pretty bad against stuff like Uril or Thraximundar where they rarely even care about any creature that isn't their general. Alas, I think this one will pan out to be a bit     of a dud. It'll be a great boon to a few decks (I could see Uril decks running this) at most.

Cards that depend heavily on what your opponents are running are hard to predict. They're almost entirely meta-game dependent. This guy really needs your opponents to be running one or more of the listed tribes - Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies - to be interesting, but even then, he's just a 2/2 White Weenie critter. He simply won't do enough for many decks. However, decks like my Jor Kadeen build, that essentially ARE weenie decks, might make use of him, if the metagame warrants it... I think that as long as Innistrad is the new block, the tribes above will be popular enough for this guy to see some limited play. I don't see him being a long-lasting staple though.

I'd rather have O-Ring... wait, no I'd rather have Path, Swords, Exile... pretty much anything that doesn't give the creature back later.

Pretty art. Seems playable in token decks.

I'm torn on this one. It's obviously going to be very good in a token deck, especially Ghave. However, it shuts off Skullclamp, or at least turns off the Clamp's "easy mode" of clamping */1's to draw two for one mana. You can still pay another mana and sac 'em to Ghave. Meh, it's definitely going in the deck, but I'll be sad every time I draw this and Skullclamp in the same game.

Sweet! I love me some card drawing outside of Blue. This will be a lock for Ghave, Rhys, Jor Kadeen... pretty much any White Weenie deck. Seems pretty darn good to me.
Already in Ghave, thanks to the FTV: Legends set. I'm not sure he's going to be useful outside of tokens decks. Ghave, Rith, Rhys... they should be happy to play him, but he's pretty "meh" elsewhere. That's fine, though. The last block, it seemed like I was always saying "Oh, this hoses token decks", so it's nice to see some cards that encourage rather than discourage the archetype.
Quoth the raven, "This card sucks". Nah, it's actually pretty awesome/douchebag in 1v1 EDH where you obviously drop this naming your opponent's General. Outside of that narrow application, I only really see it being used to name things like Sensei's Divining Top, Sol Ring, etc... which is pretty funny but probably not actually good, per se. I am slightly     worried my group will be playing this against me, naming "Rite of Replication"...
Compare this to Tempest of Light: Same cost, same basic effect. Tempest of Light is an Instant, while Paraselen gives up speed in favor of a life-gain bonus. Which is better?
Trick Question. Fracturing Gust wins. Okay, okay, supposing you're in mono-white or at least not G/W and can't choose Fracturing Gust, Instant speed is probably more relevant and beneficial than gaining 1 or 2 life, maybe 4 if you're lucky.

Meh. Definitely playable, but arguably, there are better cards that can perform this function.
Meh, it's getting pretty easy to find really good graveyard-hate spells. This isn't one of the best, by any means, but it's cheap, Instant-speed, and sometimes you want pin-point removal instead of mass removal, just like with creature-removal spells.

Ironically, this uncommon is probably better than the rare with protection vs these tribes. Destroying the creature is WAY better than simply swinging past it. Again, it's way too narrow to be widely useful, but if these tribes are giving you fits, you probably want to retain this dude's services.

Ha ha, wow. Radiant's Judgement was just too good, I guess... let's take Cycling away AND make it 1-mana more expensive. Great idea. This is strictly worse than at least two cards, and conditionally worse than most other White removal spells. Lame.
Definitely below the curve for EDH, but I wanted to feature it here 'cause I like the art.
Ha ha suck balls. This hoses my Jor Kadeen deck pretty much... except, oh, wait I'm in White so I have plenty of ways to deal with this. I imagine this will still be pretty popular in formats where Sharuum and other similar artifact-y decks are popular. It won't stop 'em, but it should slow 'em down.

So, that's it for White. Nothing here looks destined to become a staple of the format, but there are many cards that will be staples of specific decks or archetypes. The only really generically useful card is the Flashback Wrath effect, but it's pretty iffy as to weather than one will get the job done, or simply fail to kill the one thing you most want dead. Anyway, there's plenty to appreciate here, but no huge bombs. I'm okay with that...

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