Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Khans of Tarkir EDH Set Review, Part 3: The Temur Frontier

Hello, again. Our journey through Tarkir continues; this time we're visiting the frozen wastes of the Temur.

The Temur Frontier

The Temur clan, GUR, are probably my favorite clan. Their dragon aspect is "Savagery" and at a glance they appear to be the most "Timmy"-oriented of the five clans. Their mechanic is Ferocious, which tacks on a bonus to your spells or creatures if you control a creature with 4 or greater power. It's a lot like Raid, actually, just with a different condition for turning it on.

Ferocious is very workable in EDH because simply controlling a 4-power creature is an extremely common occurrence in the format. But there aren't a particularly high number of cards with the keyword that you'd really want to play, so as of yet the idea of a Ferocious deck is mostly just "any deck with a lot of large dudes and a couple of the better Ferocious cards jammed in".

But the Temur strategy as a whole is deeper than simply ramping into fatties. A lot of the support for the clan comes in the form of tempo cards - bounce and removal, for one thing. Also, the clan uses morph to great effect, as a way of cheating into play it's larger creatures, and sometimes turning on Ferocious by surprise. There's also a bit of countermagic native to the Temur.

So it's really more about tempo and keeping your opponent off their early game, then later smashing face with beefcakes. It's definitely not the Spike-iest clan, no sir, but they aren't as dumb as they look either.Overall the clan seems viable enough in EDH. They have a range of early to mid game plays that all lead up to a big end game finale. The color scheme was already popular and well-proven in the format.

So apparently this guy chopped a bear in half and got made Khan of the Temur for his troubles. Then he decided to wear the bear as clothes in case anyone forgot what a badass mofo he is.

As a card, specifically as a potential general, he's not that exciting or interesting. He's good, yeah. Beefy stats and like 19 random upside abilities, for like barely any mana. But he doesn't really do much, and is kind of a big, dumb Timmy general.

But that's good - GUR already has absurdly powerful options, so they need a low-key guy so fans of the colors can play decks that don't draw immediate hate and fear.

I kinda like him.

This is definitely my favorite of this cycle. Mass haste and card draw? Done. It just speeds things up nicely. Attack faster, draw more things, wash, rinse, repeat.

Seems particularly absurd in Animar decks.

I only wish I could play this in more decks. Can you imagine it in Mayael?

Sadly, not my favorite of the charm cycle, but definitely a very playable one. The fight mode is decent removal, as you're likely to be playing large guys. Mana leak gets pretty weak in the late game, but as an early tempo play it's fine. And the last mode make sure token hordes don't get in the way of your beef. Very solid.

This is no Noble Hierarch, that's for sure. But it's still very good. He can certainly help power out a ridiculously early Maelstrom Wanderer, and is probably no slouch in Riku either. Animar will love him because Morph interacts so well with him. Turn 4 Intet seems like a play you'd want to make once in a while.

Yeah, I usually poo-poo mana dorks in EDH, because of the Wrath thing and all, but this dude is worth making an exception.

Meh. I generally don't like these types of X-mana burn spells unless they're mass-burn or just really bonkers powerful. This doesn't seem very good at all. If it said "X times 2" instead, I'd play it, but that probably isn't close to printable in Standard.

To be blunt, this is not good enough for the average EDH deck, but you just know you're gonna play it anyway for flavor and awesome reasons. It's up there with Goblins on a Pony. It's just going to be fun to play, and worth mad style points, regardless of how good it actually is.

I do wish it were Naya colors simply because it'd be a fine addition to my Marath deck, but alas... However, being in blue does make it one of the least lame and most badass things you could ever pair with Deadeye Navigator.

I so have to do that.


Even then it's still be middling at best. This is yet another card I really want to be good enough, and will probably try to pretend it is for a while, but I know it'll disappoint me in the end.

Jeez, with that artwork, this is so getting played. People will put this in their decks without even reading the text. But, it's not a strictly terrible card. It can pretty effectively kill most anything that needs killin'. And you get to make jokes about punching bears in the face while you do it.

God, that art. Best. Card. Ever.

Sure, this is way more fair than Tooth and Nail, but in the kinds of decks that you'll likely play this in, you'll generally be happy with whatever two random dorks you find in the top eight, and for six mana, it'll feel like a real bargain. This one got "staple" written all over it.

I'd rather see mythics like this than easy-mode spells like Craterhoof Behemoth and Primal Surge. Good job on this one, WotC. Keep it up.

I don't know that he'll be all that great in EDH... probably not. But he's damn good in Limited, and easily my favorite morph creature in the set.

Anything that grants Indestructible is worth at least a passing glance, but really all I wanted to say about this one is that I really, really want to see someone target their Phyrexian Obliterator with it. Just once. C'mon folks, make it happen!

Not feeling this one - awkward casting cost, targeting restriction, and the "bonus" is just a marginal bump to one of your creatures - if you control any. There are no shortage of great counterspell options out there that put this to shame.

I mean, sure, it's a big fat "duh" in Animar where those two counters may really matter, but everywhere else, it's a big fat dud.

This seems perfectly fine, in a vacuum. The effect is desirable and the cost is workable. But I feel like there have to be some other options out there that are just better. That it's an Instant, really, is the only thing saving it. Otherwise it'd be a mediocre uncommon.
He's big, he's cheap, and he's got a lot of abilities. But he's definitely meant more for normal constructed play. He might come down early enough to bully people for a couple of turns, but then he quickly gets obsoleted by bigger, scarier things.

Then again, a 6/6 is formidable. It just costs too much to maintain that stature. I say trade him to Standard players, if he takes off. You've got better options.

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