Friday, April 26, 2013

Dragon's Maze EDH Set Review, Part 4: Legends and Stuff

Here we are come to the finale. We've got 10 new Legends to review, and I'll give a quick shout out to the Cluestones (the set's only Artifacts), and Maze's End (The only land in the set [that isn't a reprint]).

We'll start with the Legendary folks. And since, there are 10 of them, and everyone loves a Top 10 List, we'll do these in order from worst to best, counting down to the best.

The Legends

# 10 - Emmara Tandris
This one is a no-brainer. Virtually the entire internet rose up at once to declare this card The Worst Card Ever Printed. Okay, hyperbole aside, this card is clearly the biggest disappointment in the whole batch. There are plenty of better options for a General of a token deck, and regardless of her P/T stats, the effect she provides is not something you'd ever want to pay more than 2 or 3 mana for. If she was a 2/3 for 3 with this ability, she MIGHT be niche-playable. As printed, she's absolutely atrocious.

#9 - Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker
I really wanted to like this guy, but the more I think about him, the more convinced I am that this guy will simply never be able to reliably connect with opponents often enough for his Mind Funeral ability to be worth it. With better stats, or better evasion, he'd be pretty cool, but by the time you can attack with this guy, he's going to be swinging into 4/4 or 5/5 flyers every time.

# 8 - Vorel of the Hull Clade
A lot of people will be drawn to this guy for his Johnny sensibilities. He's a clear build-around-me General, but I just don't think he's powerful enough or efficient enough to really be all that good. While you're durdling around, doubling this and that, your opponents will just be played Dragons and Angels and killing your face.

# 7 - Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch
Exava is the first card on the list that I actually like, but she still ranks this low simply for being in what I feel is a weak color pair, coupling with the fact that while she's strong on her own, she doesn't actually do anything to shore up her colors' weaknesses. At least Lyzolda drew cards in a roundabout way. If you want to build a balls-to-the-wall aggro deck in these colors, Exava is clearly the right manly-armed woman for the job. I just don't think the deck itself will be very good.

# 6 - Lavinia of the Tenth
If Lavinia's rules text said "mana cost 5 or less" she'd rank much, much higher. That said, I'm actually thankful she doesn't say that. She's still pretty solid, but I think if your going to play a deck that seeks to utilize her effectively, you're probably better of just building Grand Arbiter.dec and playing her as one of the 99, along side some blink effects. She's good, but there are other ways to do what she does, and what she does isn't really fun, so she loses a few ranks for that.

# 5 - Varolz, the Scar-Striped
Varolz is actually pretty cool, but I strongly believe that the best EDH use for him is as a "liuetenant" in a Skullbriar deck, rather than as the General of his own deck. That said, he does seem like a capable leader. He just has some really strong competition in these colors. Plus, Scavenge is actually sorta bad in EDH, because exiling your own creatures in prime reanimation colors is kinda weak.

#4 - Tajic, Blade of the Legion
Like Varolz, Tajic is, in a vacuum, better than his ranking might indicate, but when compared to other available Legends in his colors, he loses some luster. That said, one should never underestimate the appeal or power of an Indestructible General for only 4 mana. Personally I think Gisela and Aurelia are just plain better, by miles, but if you are looking for something that costs less than a million mana, Tajic might be your guy.

#3 - Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts
I'm honestly suprised to find Teysa ranking this high on the list, as she's one of the most disappointing cards in the set for me. That said, I have come to apprecaite her eccelctic mish-mash of abilities a little more, now that the initial shock of disappointment has worn off. Mostly, I am just annoyed at the 7-mana price tag. Even if her assortment of abilities are worth it, 7 mana is a tall order for W/B decks.

She's playable, but I'll be sticking with Vish Kal for the foreseeable future.

#2 - Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
Ruric is one of two truly powerful and compelling Legends in the set, and he almost made #1, but lost a single rank due mainly to my personal biases. Unlike my #1 pick, this guy is actually a terrible fit for my existing R/G deck, due to not having Trample, and making all my ramp and utility spells hurt me. Ruric really needs to be in a deck that is at least nearly all-creatures, if not entirely spell-free. He's powerful enough to be worth building around, though, and will likely be very difiicult for some players to deal with. The best thing about him is how he punishes non-interactive combo decks.

#1 - Melek, Izzet Paragon
I've already said I was biased, but this guy is just too awesome, and too perfect not to be my pick for #1. Regular readers will know that I went through quite a long ordeal to assemble a U/R deck. I wanted an deck with an Instants and Sorceries Matter theme, and eventually built a Nin deck that balances this theme with some Nin-teractive stuff like Stuffy Doll and Repurcussion. It works okay, but the tension between the two themes has dilluted the effectiveness of the deck somewhat. Well, imagine my delight when Melek was spoiled: He is literally THE perfect general for the deck, and allows me to drop the awkwardly shoehorned-in Nin stuff, in favor or more synergystic Instants and Sorceries.

The Cluestones

I'll be blunt - I'm not a fan of this cycle. The signets and keyrunes are generally much better. The green members of this cycle are downright undesireable due to green having tons of vastly better ramp options and some not-too-shabby card draw options. The Blue ones lose appeal mainly due to the sac-to-daw option being less desirable. So the Boros, Rakdos and Orzhov ones are the only three that I think are even worth considering. Even in those colors, though, I'd have to be really desperate for a man rock to run these. Even in a two-color deck, I'd rather have Coalition Relic.

Maze's End

This might have been a really janky, niche alt-win card for 5-color decks, if Prime Time wasn't banned, but even then it wouldn't have been great. Without Prime Time's help this thing doesn't have a prayer.

Now watch someone use Amulet of Vigor, Azusa, Uncharted Realms and Crucible of Worlds to prove me wrong.

Wait, now I'm thinking that might actually work...

No, still terrible.

Well, this concludes our EDH set review for Dragon's Maze. Drop me a line in the comments if you disagree or have some use for a card I overlooked.



  1. How exited are you for the full-art foil Melek Game Day promo?

    1. Not very, simply because I don't expect to get one, but if they wind up being close in price to a regular pack foil Melek, I would likely opt to get the full art instead.