Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Return to Ravnica EDH Set Review, Part 6: W, U, B

Sorry for the delay, folks. It's been an insanely busy couple of weeks, and I am pretty much tapped out, but here goes an attempt to keep some kind of juice flowing. Picking up where we left off, here's the next piece of the RtR set review.


This is one of those hype cards that I just don't buy into. I'm sure it's good. It just doesn't do much for me. I'm sure it'll be popular in the EDH format regardless.

If it cost six, I might give more of a damn. I dunno.

Can any of you tell me why I should be more interested in this card?
 To hell with this card. I hate it.

But, objectively, I must say it's very playable, and certainly stands a good chance of being played in any EDH group where Graveyard decks are a thing (and that's pretty much ALL of them).

White has two of the best removal spells ever printed: Swords and Path. Even if you have an Enchantment-themed deck and would rather play Auras over Instants, White has better options there, too.

Basically, what I'm getting at is: this sucks.
 Pillow fort!!!!

 This is crap. Playable in a Doran the Siege Tower deck? Maybe, but it's still pretty janky even there. Mad props if you at least try it out - just don't get your expectations up too high.
My early draft pretty much shat on this card. However, that was before I played against it in the Prerelease. It's still not going to be universally playable in EDH, nor will it even be exceptionally powerful in the decks where it does make sense... but it definitely does not completely suck ass.
Generally speaking, this little guy is going to be badly outclassed and outmatched in battle cruiser EDH. However, I have found Boros Swiftblade to be extremely playable in a deck that runs 10 to 12 pieces of very powerful Equipment cards. This guys is basically just Boros Swiftblade x2 in my Gisela deck.
 Marginally playable in a deck that has a Soldier tribal theme AND cares about making Soldier tokens. It's still to small and lacks evasion to be a reliable threat in most decks, so it's playability should be considered extremely narrow at best.

Meh. If if could continuously poop out Soliders it'd be awesome, but as a one-shot effect it sucks. And "tap to prevent 1 damage" is one of the most pathetically laughable mechanics ever, for EDH purposes. No one swings with 1/1's unless they have a million of them.
A lot of token-deck players will love this. Personally, I think Intangible Virtue is so drastically better that I'd feel bad playing this even along side that Enchantment.

Mostly, I just don't like token-buffers to die to the same Wrath that just killed my token army itself.

Virtue is half the mana cost, doesn't die to Wrath, and has the Vigilance thing going for it as well (which makes a surprisingly huge difference in multi-player!). Meh.


Maybe my inner-Johnny is just tired, but this seems like a great fit for Zedruu decks, and pretty much junk anywhere else.
This seemed like a sure thing for Wrexial... but ultimately it just wasn't good enough to warrant a slot. I see this as a tool for decks that are dedicated to winning via decking your opponents, but pretty mediocre for decks that just want to plunder overstuffed graveyards and win along some other axis.

I expect many folks to disagree with me here, but I just see it as being too circumstantial. Also you might accidentally set up someone else's game-breaking Living Death for them.
 LOL. Another card were I am WAY less impressed than the overall reaction would indicate. I just don't see this guy being all that special in EDH.
Bah. Obviously WotC is saying "Hey, look guys! Here's a Consecrated Sphinx that doesn't do shit in EDH!"

I get that not every card should or can pass the "EDH playable?" test, but this kinda thing just bugs me. Cause I can't fathom a 60 card deck wanting this. It practically screams "only playable in EDH" yet it very specifically is NOT playable in a singleton format.
 And, the second Blue rare that is literally useless in any kind of Singleton format. What the hell, WotC? I know these kinds of cards deserve to exist, and should exist, but two in one set, in the same color, at Rare? Ugh.
 Clearly, WotC has been infiltrated by the Bronies.
Face it. If you're playing this in EDH, it's not because it's a Shrieking Drake with an extra point of Power.  It's because you're going to somehow go infinite with it. Boring combo piece for those who are into that sort of thing, but useless for the rest of us.

Let's all just be thankful this didn't see print in Lorwyn, when Faeries were the terror of Standard.


How "strictly better" does a strictly better Grizzly Bears need to be before it sees EDH play? Well, it'd have to be better, still, than this chick.

That art is strictly better, though, if you know what I mean. Mrrowwwr!
While I haven't quite figured out a place for this - I know it goes somewhere, I just don't know where. It's sexy, powerful and very swingy in the right deck... if only I knew what the deck was.
In groups with a lot of mono-colored Generals, I can see this being absolutely playable, but in my experience, Go For the Throat or Murder will almost always be far more reliable than this.
Very awesome design, and potentially quite powerful. Most groups simply see too many board-sweepers in the average game for this to be a good fit for EDH, but there are dedicated Rat fans out there who won't care enough to let that stop them!

A welcome addition to Rat tribal, either way.
There it is! The spiritual successor to Debtors' Knell arrives at long last. Ironically, you no longer need to have access to White, except you still WANT access to White because of Acdemy Rector.

The problem is, Debtors' Knell is one of those cards that always gets answered. It's literally been years since I've successfully reanimated a single creature with Knell. I hope to have better luck with this...
Seems alright, but obviously it's gonna be terrible against tokens. Personally, I'm not a fan but I can see it making cameos in Thraxi or Savra decks.
This card is in esteemed company: Phyrexian Arena, Graveborn Muse, Bloodgift Demon and now this. All of them are highly playable, and while some players might shy away from this, fearing to offer an LD player a juicy 2-for-1 opportunity, I think most decks that are starved enough for card draw to play Arena will happily play this as well.

Factor in that this can never accidentally kill you like Arena can - if you don't NEED the card, don't use it! Also, it has more tech-y uses with stuff like Deserted Temple, that untap lands. Overall, I think this is extremely good, and very playable.
Fleshbag Marauder grew up a little bit. Fleshbag is one of the most underrated multiplayer creatures ever, virtually always offering a 3-for-1 trade or better, and if you have a spare Token to sac, it's more like a 3-for-0.

At the same time, the 4/2 stats and 4 mana price point remind me an awful lot of Flametongue Kavu, another underrated piece of utility.

The thing is, I'm not 100% sure most EDH decks really need two cards worth of Fleshbag Marauder. Certainly I do have a few decks that might play both - Savra, for sure. But the difference between 3 and 4 mana is surprisingly relevant, especially considering Barter in Blood is out there.

Playable? Absolutely. But not the auto-include you might assume, given how badass Fleshbag Marauder is.
 Friggin' awful. There is no way I would EVER want to pay twice as much for a Murder just to get a lousy discard rider.
I've yet to see this kind of Black Vise strategy successfully implemented in EDH. Definitely more of a 60-card format build-around card. But, the more cards of this type get printed over time, eventually a Discard Vise deck could emerge.

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