Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Final Destination: Planechase 2 Wrap-Up

This is the endgame for our Planechase II Spoiler/Review series. We've got 20 new Planes to cover, which is a lot! Let's get to it.

The first Planechase set didn't have any planes that were this narrow or specific. I feel like it is a mistake to make Planes that are this narrow. That said, I just happen to have a very Aura/Enchantment focused deck, and I have just recently included Alchemists Refuge so that I could cast Auras at Instant speed. So this is an effect that those types of decks certainly want. I just don't like that it's only worth visiting if you're playing the right kind of deck.

I normally don't like Planes that slow combat down or artificially drag the game out. This one is nice, though, because it sill allows for some combat, but if you land here at the right time it can be a nice way to slow down that one player who got the really fast, aggressive start and is threatening to end the game early.
The Chaos effect is not going to get much mileage in most EDH games, but it's a great ability for 60-card games.

I'm not sure what the hell is going on in this art, but I definitely dig the abilities. Haste + Double Strike can really speed up combat. Unfortunately this will sometimes create horribly lopsided games, when one player gets off to a much faster start than the rest of the table, and this Plane will only serve to make their advantage all the more overwhelming. Assuming everyone is developing more or less equally, though, this Plane should be a blast.

This is a very unusual plane, and I really feel that this one needs to be experience in a live game to fully understand it's impact. It can slow down the game while it's active, but once you hit Chaos or Planeswalk away, your army should untap considerably larger and more threatening than before. Cool, but weird, and very hard to judge based solely on theorycraft.

I usually dislike the "choose a player at random", but here it's not so bad. It will actually help you remain politically neutral as you can't control the outcome. That you can potentially hit yourself with it is a bummer though. I have a feeling my playgroup will not like playing with this Plane, but we'll give it a try before we axe it from the deck.

This plane may look underwhelming at first glance, but giving your entire army Vigilance and possibly Indestructible will incentivize players to attack. It's subtle, for sure, but I think this plane could easily have a major impact on a game.

This is a highly unusual plane. It looks potentially game-warping, but it could also wind up not mattering, or even stalling creature combat completely. That said, anytime you 'walk to this plane, anyone playing an Edric deck is probably going to get the evil eye. No one wants to lose their Akroma to a Invisible Stalker. On the other hand, you don't want to trade away your evasive guys, because that just gives your opponent the means to get their stolen guys back!

This boasts possibly the most gorgeous art in the set. Kessig is a little like Akoum in that it's pretty narrow and specific. Then again, if no one is playing Werewolves at all, it still has a significant impact on the game. Rolling Chaos should be pretty cool though.

Hmm... this is interesting. It could potentially yield a vast amount of Red mana, depending on how long it takes someone to Planeswalk away. Explosive but unreliable is pretty much the default setting of Planechse, so this fits right in. The cool part is that you don't need to be playing Red to profit. In EDH terms, if your general doesn't have Red in his color identity, this will give you colorless mana to play with, but you can always just use that mana to roll the planar die if you don't have spells to cast with that mana.

Another build-up Plane that produces a larger effect the longer you stay here. I'm afraid of some of these types of effects because they can cause players to stop rolling because they don't want to hit Planeswalk. Since this one doesn't hit players, that is possibly less likely to come about. This is a neat design on paper, but I'm not convinced it'll translate to a fun experience in actual games.

Kind like Lethe Lake, but with a more appealing bonus. Plus the Chaos ability is very compelling to most EDH players. Eternal Witness is one of the most-played (overplayed?) cards in the format, so this should sit well with most EDH players. On the other hand, many casual players are not particularly happy with any form of "self-mill" as they dislike seeing their best spells in their Graveyard. I, for one, like this Plane, though.

This one is fairly unusual, and will be difficult to judge how much it actually impacts a game. Just by looking at it, it seems to be a pretty subtle effect, at least until someone rolls Chaos... but it certainly will change how most decks approach attacking and blocking. I'm eager to see how this one plays out.

While I usually would prefer to be on Murasa for ramping purposes, this Plane adequately meets our ramping needs, I think. A great plane for aggro decks that come out swinging early. My Gisela and Edric decks in particular will love this.

Meh. There was a time when Living Death was among my all-time favorite cards, especially in EDH. However, I'm not such a big fan as I once was, typically because late-game Living Deaths often result in 45-minutes of mind-bending rules knots involving a dozen or more simultaneous ETBF triggers. Still, this design is perfectly in flavor for Orzhova, and has cool built-in synergy with it's Chaos effect. The only issue is that it's very much a do-nothing plane if you 'walk to it early in the game.

Much like the Azorious Guild's leader, Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, this plane is designed to impede progress and slow down gameplay. Not usually a barrel of fun, for most players, which is why GAAIV is on most players' shitlist, and widely considered a "douche bag" general. Prahv isn't so bad, because it slows down everyone equally, but it's still not very fun-looking to me. It fits the Azorius theme well enough, but I'm not eager to play with this one.

I get why this static effect had to be nerfed - it was an instant-win with Triskelion, for starters. But hosing the interaction with Double Strike was an unfortunate casualty in their attempt to un-break this Plane. I'd rather have the full interaction available and risk someone randomly having Triskelion handy, but alas it was not meant to be. This could still be a fairly potent Plane for an aggro deck to land on.

Who doesn't love copying their spells? No one! This plane is absurdly powerful, but yet nicely balanced by the fact that it can potentially help anyone at any time. I love everything about this plane. It is one of my favorites in the set. I can't wait to cast something and then Twincast it. Oh boy!

While I'd rather have ramp than "just" color-fixing, this is pretty much the mother of all mana-fixers. Absolutely a boon to decks of three to five colors. I also like that the Chaos ability puts the non-Land cards on bottom instead of into the Graveyard, which is more typical of these sorts of effects. Very good design, but not particularly exciting. I do appreciate that it will help players who don't have uber-expensive mana bases more than those who do.

LOL! This is up there with the Mage-Rings for having a huge, swingy effect. This is all but guaranteed to have a huge impact on any game, but it's clearly best when there are a bunch of multicolored decks at the table with some color overlap between them. I really want to play a deck with Exploration, Oracle of Mul Daya, and Azusa so I can just rip lands right off the top of my opponents' decks! This plane seems equally likely to produce nerd rages and auto-scoops, as well as causing the whole table to erupt in fits of laughter.

Well, Kaalia decks will have a great time here! Actually quite a few decks will benefit from this plane, as Flying creatures are pretty common overall. Still this is gonna just wreck my Gisela deck most of the time. I was never a big fan of The Hippodrome from Planechase I, and this is similar. I'm not overly thrilled, but it could wind up being cool. I might have to put Levitation into a couple decks. Okay, maybe not.

Well that concludes our look at all the new cards and planes in the Planechase II set. Later this week, I'll start reviewing the actual decklists and maybe give each one a customization and upgrade.


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