Wednesday, July 17, 2013

M14 EDH Set Review, Part 6: Artifacts & Land

Last section! Artifacts and Lands. Well, just "land" actually... anywho, on with the show.



This is only niche playable at best. Direct damage is generall pretty bad in EDH. This does, however, nicely powerup Red's damage based sweepers - Blasphemous Act now kills Worldspine Wurm, for instance, and this effectively gives you a two-mana discount on spells like Starstorm and Earthquake.

It also makes various Chandras suck less.
Seems kinda narrow, until you realize "Enters the battlefield effects" are triggered abilities. As are a great number of other effects you probably never realized were triggered abilities.

In short, this copies a TON of effects. So it'll definitely get played... like, a lot.

That said, I don't think it's quite as absurd as some of the hype suggests. It'll be a solid value engine at best.
Costs 4, Equip 4, all it gives is +4/+4? Nah. I don't particularly like this. I mean, from a flavor/design standpoint, it's pretty awesome. Suit of armor that comes to life - a classic trope well executed in card form!

Power level, though, is just weaksauce.
I've actually considered this for my Savra deck, but I already ahve Disciple of Griselbrand. Not sure it's any good anywhere else though.
Planar Portal is just way too slow and clunky these days. Most decks just don't have time to spend this much mana just to tutor, and cards like this get Krosan Gripped SO fast it'll make your head spin. That said, I think this will get played quite a bit. Sharrum decks, for example can A) make the absurd mana needed to fuel it, B) recur it after it's spent, and C) have combo peices worth spending infinity mana to go find.

Me? I like the art quite a lot, but I'm yawning at the card itself.

If this were Indestructible, I think it'd be really playable. But as-is, I can't think of many decks that want to play something like this, at least at this cost. I mean, Pelakka Wurm is a 7/7 Trample with TWO all-upside effects attached, and it still doesn't get played. This is a good deal worse than Pelakka Wurm.

In a format where Wasteland, Strip Mine, Ghost Quarter
and every Green/Red/Black land destruction spell ever printed already exist, I would actually be embarrased to be seen using this. I mean, really?

M14 EDH Set Review, Part 5: Green

Green is definitely one of the stronger colors in EDH, being the color of ramp and fatties.

Might be cool in a Skullbriar deck, or any other +1/+1 counter themed deck. Lack of Trample is a big downer, though. There are better Hydras out there.
Much like the original Might of Oaks (the squirrel art), I kinda want to play this just because of the artwork. An enormous kitty cat divebombing those poor Merfolk... man. That said, these sort of one-shot pump effects tend to be far too weak for EDH play. Most decks would just straight up rather have Overrun or similar.
This seems a bit overhyped to me, right now. That said I would absolutely consider this one of the most EDH-playable cards in the set. Obviously it's going to be best in a deck like Animar, Ghave or Skullbriar - something with a relevant +1/+1 counter theme to it. But I'll happily play this in, say, Stonebrow as an 8/8 Trample guy for 5.
Now you can run two mana slivers in your Sliver EDH deck. Woot.
Probably worth running in an Enchantress deck just as another Hexproof guy you can dump all your Auras onto. The best thing about this guy, though, is that he's IN one of the three best colors in EDH, but hates on the other two best colors. But without serious buffs, he's probably just going to chump block or die to a Wrath before having any meaningful impact.
Definitely a good card for forcing those bomb creatures through countermagic, if that's something you have to worry about. The counter is a nice added-value bonus, but doesn't make this worth playing unless you are seriously in need of some anti-Countermagic tech.
Bomb sliver is bomb.
Laugh at the ironic fact that, out of 4 total incarnations, the only version of Garruk that doesn't call any beasts (I.E. make tokens of some sort), is called "Garruk, Caller of Beasts".

Seriously, though, he seems pretty playable. I'm not a fan of the mana cost, but the ability spread is versatile enough to keep him from being a dead draw in a lot of cases. Not that there's any real value in saying it, because it's true of damn near every planeswalker, but, DANG that Ultimate is awesome. (Worth noting: Doubling Season does allow him to Ultimate immediately.)
Green reaches new pinnacles in the efficient beater department, but at the end of the day, it's still just a mono-Green Watchwolf. Not an EDH card.
If I'm going to play an 8/8 for 5 mana,  Kalonian Hydra will be my first choice. In the event the Hyrda was unavailable, I'm not sure I'd even consider this as a 2nd choice.
I like it! It's less fragile than Oracle of Mul Daya for one thing. It's kinda slow and unwieldy for early ramp... but it does help you speed through a land pocket quicker, providing virtual card advantage to boot.
I don't usually do reprints in these reviews, but this one is kind of a big deal. Obviously, I don't need to say "this is good", but, um... this card is good.
Awesome sauce. I think. I really have a hard time getting behind this when Lurking Predators and Wild Pair both exist, but ALL they do is just make creatures. If you have a deck that isn't just saturated with creatures, this is probably a more compelling option. I definitely think it will see a ton of play, at least at first.

Green actually provides some compelling new options. Overall, it's probably the strongest color in the set, at least new-card-wise. Having three playable Mythics is quite a home run.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

M14 EDH Set Review, Part 4: Red

Well, as badly as Blue and Black fared, despite being two of the best colors in the format, I don't hold out much hope for Red, which is basically the red-headed step-child of the format. But let's be fair and take a look anyway, shall we?

Bad overall, probably has some infinite combo potential though, if you're into that sort of thing.
LOL. I don't know what practical applications this might have, but DAMN is this card is a riot! It will get played, just because of the troll factor. Then again, playing this guy along side Ghostly Prison, Kazuul, Isperia 2.0, etc... could be fun. Yeah, expect to see this guy making for some hilarious but highly uncomfortable turns.
Hellrider Sliver. That's it's real name. Spread the word.
Like all the other 3-drop hate guys in this cycle, it's sideboard material or at least 60-card material. This one might have the most potential in EDH out of the five, but I'm still not sold.
 Durp. Goes in Karrthus decks for sure.
Doesn't defend herself... blah, blah, blah. I seriously try not to be a hater, especially for any incarnation of Chandra, but I don't see any real potential in EDH.
I love me some In the Web of War Action, so I'm pretty stoked about this. It's cheaper than Web, but it's also more fragile, being a Creature. +2/+0 isn't really much different from +3/+0 either. But being a Creature makes this guy easier to tutor for, easier to recur, and overall just way more awesome! Oh, and he can be Rite of Replication-ed, so watch out for that.
Non-basic land hate is actually something the format can use more of - especially when it's NOT Ruination or the like. I definitely see this potentially being a minor staple. Mono Red players should definitely love it.
Slivers get +2/+0. Weird how much worse this looks in the same set and color as Ogre Battledriver.
This might actually be the most exciting card in the set for me, possibly even more so than Archangel of Thune. Not for EDH, though. I'll probably jam one into Melek for S's and G's, but it probably won't stick around too long. But, man oh man, I have some ideas for this guy in 60-card land!

Well, in a strange twist of fate I'd say Red actually did slightly better than the last three colors. Not exceptionally so, mind you, but slightly better. I actually liked more than two cards, so there's that.

M14 EDH Set Review, Part 3: Black

Two down, 4 to go. Now it's Black's turn in the spotlight. I know that's really uncomfortable for Black, what with all the Vampires and bugs and rats and such... we'll try to make this as quick and painless as possible.

Well, I dunno. Me, I prefer non-circumstantial, reliable options like Beacon of Unrest or even Rise from the Grave. I can get any guy I want from any graveyard at any time I need it. I don't have to have a very narrow, precise window of opportunity, and I don't have to worry about leaving 3 mana up all the time in case something good dies. Oh and then there's Mimic Vat. So, while this is a cool card, I think it gets trumped pretty badly by, oh, about a dozen other cards.
 Meh. Badass art, though.
Black/White Human Tribal, anyone?

Let's see, cards that do this sort of thing, ranked by playability:
1. Bloodghast
2. Reassembling Skeleton
3. Nether Traitor
4. This guy.
So, evaluation is pretty easy. Are you running 1 through 3 already and need more? Well, here you go!
I dare someone to play this in EDH with one copy each of Festering Newt and Bubbling Cauldron. Do it! You know you want to...
Bad. Just play Blood Artist and good creatures. They'll eventually die without you having to pay two mana to kill your own shit, and you'll get the tiny life drains anyway!
More of this "PLAY ENCHANTMENTS OR ELSE" bullshit. I'd actually like this if it were an Enchantment itself. As a creature, it's just too fragile.
Slivers you control have lifelink.
Seriously, that's all you can do to review a Sliver. Just say what the card DOES and anyone playing Slivers already will just know if it's good or not.
 Marginally playable. Good effect, compelling CMC. Slightly worrisome drawback. Some decks will literally scoff at that upkeep clause, but many more will struggle with it.
Well, that's... blunt. Hey guys, so Liliana 1.0 has basically never Ultimate-ed in a game of Magic right? So, let's just do a big expensive sorcery so players can experience the joy of such feat without having to actually work for it.

Still, this is pretty fair, even if it's big, dumb and win-more. Unless Urabrask or something makes an appearance, the table should at least have one turn cycle to find a sweeper... or an Insurrection!

Wow, hey, this might be the one card that makes Insurrection novel again!
I killed a bunny for you. Draw some cards.

Definitely playing this in Savra. This card is really powerful but it can also just kill you out of know where. Just remember: Don't EVER have more creatures than your life total and you're good.
Awesome, but unlikely to ever actually deal combat damage. This is another of those "I really like it in 60-card, but not so much EDH" cards.
This is a pretty clever and in-color-pie way for mono-Black to deal with equipment like Greaves. Unfortunately it still does nothing against a guy carrying Sword of Light and Shadow or Feast and Famine. Probably way too niche overall for most EDH players.

So, obviously for me the standout is Dark Prophecy. Creatures will die, cards will be drawn - basically another day at the office for EDH. The mythic - which I think they should literally have called "Liliana's Ultimate" is pretty ballin' even if I did call it big, dumb and win-more. I mean, it totally is all those things, but that can be said of a ton of cards, some of which I myself play. So I can get behind it. Plus that art is amazing. In the end, though, Black still really doesn't fair much better than White or Blue.

M14 EDH Set Review, Part 2: Blue

Well, White wasn't all that promising. Let's hope Blue fares a bit better.

Sliver. Yawn.

Okay to be fair, it is a pretty good one. I'd play it, if I had a Sliver deck. 
Good luck getting this guy to live long enough to cast whatever you Exile. Playing this guy is just begging to get 2-for-1-ed. It'll still totally get played, though. "I can protect it! With countermagic!" Yeah, and then when you stick Time Warp on this guy, everyone groans and packs up their shit.
 Mostly I'd rather have Diluvian Primordial or Chancellor of the Spires. In fact, there is a high enough chance you could whiff entirely with this guy, making him a really boring 4/4 for 6... Yeah, I'll pass thanks.
Neat, I guess. Isperia the Inscrutable decks get a little lovin'? I can dig it.
AWFUL. Completely and utterly awful. 
Well, it's no Consecrated Sphinx, but at least players who really need a Sphinx that draws cards, but are too hipster to play Constipated Sphinx have a less mainstream (read: terrible) option!
Great sideboard option for Merfolk decks, but pretty terrible in EDH. Yeah, EVERYONE plays green, so it's likely to always have a target... but most green decks just won't care that you tap down one guy. Anyway, if you're a Blue mage lookin' to hate on Green or Red mages... well, there are plenty of better options.
So Ponder costs fucking THREE mana now! I can't tell what WotC is trying harder to nerf - card draw spells, spells in general, or the entire color Blue. Oh, wait - Blue basically IS nothing but card drawing spells, so the answer is "All of the above".
Much like the horribly nerfed Fiend Hunter variant, this Whale can't be exploited to permanently exile a creature. Well, I was already planning on never playing this ever, even before I realized that fact.  That said, the existence of Deadeye Navigator kind of makes me glad this trick doesn't work. Of course, Duplicant still exists, so... oh well.

(Oh, this does get mad props for AWESOME flavor.)
Ugh, I really hate 7-Mana enchantments unless they REALLY kick some ass, and this is definitely no Debtor's Knell. But ignoring the price tag for a second, a Blue mage could very easily find the effect something worth desiring... Perhaps Academy Rector can provide an adequate discount?

Well, crap. So, the best we got was a really bad Consecrated Sphinx knock-off, and an Enchantment with a really cool, powerful effect that may or may not be worth the printed CMC.  Lame. Next?