Conflux Set Review!

Shards of Alara has barely hit the tabletop, and Conflux cards have already been circulated! First came the card names list, then actual leaked cards! In keeping with MTGSalvation's strict mission to bring you the best information as early as possible, we've put together a quick "set" review of the cards circulating the internet so far! Some of our brightest minds have turned up today to give you their honest opinions (no holds barred) of the latest wellsprings from R&D's minds:

Bateleur sez:

Thornling - 2GGG
Creature - Beast
Trample, deathtouch
"Oww, it's spiky!" - Some goblin.
Unplayable in Constructed. You should pick this high in Limited.

Celestial Purge - WUB
Counter target spell with converted mana cost 3 or less. Its controller discards a card. You gain three life.
This has been overhyped. Its mana cost is too difficult for it to go in every deck. That said, I do think it could see play if there's a deck that supports the casting cost.

Deity of Destruction sez:

Path to Exile - B
Put your library into your graveyard.
This is simply a card that will see play by a hopeless sector of casual/FNM players alike who claim their deck "actually plays better with no cards". MaRo will defend this card creatively for a year or two before finally caving and explaining that it's a money-grab.

Also introduced are the new "Dual-Premium" cards, which feature foiling on both sides of the card! Wizards has no doubt unleashed these for their war against more "flashy" and "cool" card games and to further distance themselves from a mature audience. (Don't forget, when you play with an all Dual-Premium deck, you can now legally blind your opponent with reflected rays of the "sun!" Whatever that is.)

Dr. Tom sez:

Fairer Ultimatum
Target opponent gains 5 life, draws three cards, and returns a creature card from his or her graveyard to his or her hand. You lose 5 life, discard three cards, and sacrifice a creature.
This is a great enabler for two overlooked combo cards: Feudkiller's Verdict in Standard, and Reverse the Sands in Extended. Gaining 10 life will more than offset the life you lose when you play this, and a 5/5 giant is probably better than whatever creature you sacrificed. In Extended, this saves you from having to mana burn all the time, though you might still need to burn away a few points of life before surprising your opponent with Reverse the Sands.

Evil Betty sez:

Beacon Behemoth - 6RRGGWW
Legendary Creature - Spirit Avatar
Flying, haste, trample, vigilance, protection from black and from blue
This is a nice creature that's a little expensive but might be worth the cost if you can get him onto the table. A 7/7 creature with flying, haste, trample, vigilance, and protection black/blue is better than just a 7/7 creature with flying, haste, trample, vigilance, and protection black. I'd expect casual Timmies around the world will race to fit this in their newest big creatures deck, swinging for consistent wins on turn 15. Adjust your homebrew decks accordingly. In limited, sadly, this is awful; it takes more lands to cast than you can fit in a 40-card deck.

The only grey area is in constructed tournament play. I don't think we'll see much of this creature outside of a graveyard recursion deck or something with some serious mana acceleration. This might be good, but I'm leaning towards no unless someone builds a deck that can break him, in which case I'm leaning towards yes. (Unless there's good white removal, in which case it's no.)

Ethersworn Adjudicator - 1WUB
Artfact Creature - Human Wizard
Whenever an artifact card is put into your hand from outside the game, you may have target player draw a card.
This card is destined to fuel the next Project X for Extended. As soon as this card was spoiled, decklists began circulating about the one-turn kill using Ethersworn Adjudicator, a Spellweaver Helix enchanted with a Golden Wish and a Recollect (with two more in hand), two Duplicants, and a way to generate infinite mana, plus something like Cerebral Vortex as a win condition (with maybe a Pact of Negation to stop any counter shenanigans). I do see this as being a very powerful deck if it can assemble its pieces; if it can't, then it won't be as powerful.

Kraj sez:

Paleoloth - 1GG
Creature- Lhurgoyf
Whenever a spell is played, Paleoloth gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the number of that spell's card types. (The card types are artifact, contraption, creature, enchantment, instant, land, planeswalker, sorcery, and tribal.)
"You put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up."
Can you spot the problem with this card?

a) It's a cheap Tarmogoyf knock-off?
Nope, Tarmogoyf (or, the "Goyf" to a select few who actually used it) was a little more than a drop in the bucket of semi-efficient Green creatures R&D has printed over the years. Even Grizzly Bears was assured of being at least a 2/2.

b) It's a threat to the very core of the identity of Magic?
Bingo. Once again, it's not the card itself that has Magic players in a tizzy but the implications of the reminder text. Contraptions? Didn't MaRo learn anything from the format-breaker that was "the" Flogger? You can't just throw in new card types in a game known for its refreshing innovation and constant redefinition. And don't even make me start on the disasters that were the planeswalkers. It's surprising anyone came back.

Morgan_Coke sez:

Sigil of the Empty Throne - 3UR
If you tap a Forest for mana, it produces BBB instead of any other type and amount.
Whenever you play a black spell, discard a card.
Whenever you play a white spell, draw two cards.
Skip each of your main phases.
"Whut in Tarnation?" - Mishra
This card has massive combo potential in five color White decks. White finally gets the combo enabler that it's been looking for since Enduring Renewal rotated out of Standard.

Rhox Bodyguard - GW
Creature - Rhino Warrior
Rhox Bodyguard can block any number of creatures.
Prevent all damage that would be dealt to Rhox Bodyguard during combat.
Wow, a good blocker. That's valuable. Stupid Wizards, no one blocks in Constructed. Limited fodder at best.

Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer - :sym2u::symuw::symbg:
Whenever you gain life, put that many loyalty counters on Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer.
-1: Target player discards two cards.
-3: Destroy target creature.
-7: Gain control of all permanents your opponents own.
Pretty awful card, honestly. It can't even use its first second or third abilities and can only gain counters if you run Healing Salve. Healing Salve is like the worst card ever. Don't play this.

Banefire - R
Choose one--Banefire deals 4 damage to target player; or Banefire deals 2 damage to target creature.
Cycling 2
Wow, anther Shock variant. Look, Sunlance is largely unplayable, and this does less damage to creatures than Sunlance. It's garbage and can't even kill Wren's Run Vanquisher.

Moko sez:

Valiant Guard - W
Creature - Human Soldier
Sacrifice Valiant Guard: You gain 10 life.
Noobie fodder. Life is worthless to real players.

Sludge Strider - 1BB
Creature - Zombie
Lolwut, haste in mono-Black? Ever heard of the "color pie," R&D? You are on crack and Magic is doomed.

Nacatl Savage - RG
Creature - Cat Warrior
Unplayable. It dies to Terror. Plus, it only has one boring ability.

Voices from the Void - BBB
At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, that player discards a card.
4BB: Return target creature card from your graveyard to play. Play this ability only if Voices from the Void is in your graveyard.
"Our worlds are closer than you think." — Sargos the Fallen
How are we supposed to get it into the graveyard? Total crud.

MrSuperLove sez:

Armillary Sphere - 2
T: Add 1 to your mana pool.
This card will be useful in limited, particularly when you want to accelerate to 4 mana on turn 3. You can play it in any deck.

Drag Down - 3B
Destroy target nonblack creature. If that creature was [arbitrary criteria], do something else mildly annoying as well.
This spell is very good at destroying creatures, but Watch Out! Other drafters will want to play it as well, and may try to splash it in their decks. This card is good in Limited.

Paragon of the Amesha - 3GBW
Tribal Artifact Enchantment - Elf
Whenever a creature with Audacity is removed from the game, put a 2/2 green Bard creature token into play and you gain 3 life.
Well, this is interesting. It could be amazing, or awful, but I suspect it may be both or neither. We've never seen an effect like this before, so we'll have to wait and see how the new mechanics play out. It depends if there's a deck for it. If the Audacity deck ever develops, this card might be in it.

Toxic Iguanar - 2B
Creature - Lizard
As a creature with one toughness, this is going to die to effects that deal one damage to a creature, such as pingers. The three power makes it fairly aggressive, and your opponent won't want to block with a good creature since that would mean a poor trade for him (due to deathtouch, which would destroy his creature). The lizard creature type is fairly irrelevant, I think, unless some sort of crazy lizard lord is printed in a set soon. As a common, you can expect to see this card come up fairly often, so you should certainly bear it in mind as a possible card that an opponent could play if they have the right mana available and you are playing Alara draft or Sealed Deck, or some other format where the card could legally be played.

As a three mana creature, this card fills out the curve nicely and will be a fairly solid pick for an aggressive deck that plays swamps, especially going in to the third pack if you are short on 3-drops. You won't want to have too many of these though-having more than 5 or 6 in a deck would make you very vulnerable to effects that deal one or more damage to a creature, such as pingers.

Honestly, there's not much to be said about this card.

Neuropsych sez:

Scepter of Dominance - :symub::symub:
Tribal Artifact - Weird
As an additional cost to play Scepter of Dominance, draw two cards.
t, Draw two cards, Put a creature card from your hand or graveyard into play: Target player loses 1 life.
Possibly good when combined with creatures. It might be a little undercosted for the effect, but I'm sure the Development team has tested it a lot to make sure that it's balanced.

Vectis Agents - 3U
Creature - Human Rogue
Vectis Agents gets +1/+1 and is unblockable as long as you have facial hair.
Not bad for a common. Expect to see a lot of bad teenage mustaches this sealed season.

Exploding Borders - 3RR
Whenever an artifact, creature, or land comes into play, destroy a random nonenchantment permanent.
Continuing in a long line of crazy red enchantments, Exploding Borders promises to be a house in multiplayer and nigh unplayable anywhere else. I can't wait to put this in my Summoner's Egg, Phage the Untouchable, Confusion in the Ranks deck! You give them the egg and the Borders can destroy it to kill them! AMAZING!

Manaforce Mace - 1
Artifact - Equipment
Equipped creature has "T: Add 3 to your mana pool."
Equip - Pay 4 life.
It's like Mana Vault, or something. Probably no good in Vintage because nobody plays creatures, and the drawback is a bit intense for Standard type decks. As for Extended, there's no way Affinity could abuse this card.

Teflon Jeff sez:

Goblin Razerunners - 1R
Creature - Goblin Warrior
Sacrifice Goblin Razerunners: Goblin Razerunners deals 1 damage to target creature or player. Return Goblin Razerunners to play.
This is another piece for Goblin decks to use. I get the feeling there's a combo in there somewhere, but I'm not sure exactly. I'm sure the Japanese will find a way to break it.

Yare sez:

Ignite Disorder - RR
Change the target of target spell with a single target to target spell with a single target that targets a single target.
Wizards continues its policy of printing cards that work within the rules, but cause confusion for the players and facepalms for the judges trying to solve that confusion. Consequently, expect to see this card in an upcoming judge article, but not in any competitive deck. At least they got the name right.

YuanTi sez:

Traumatic Visions - U
As an additional cost to Traumatic Visions, sacrifice your firstborn child.
Draw three cards.
A throwback to old power card Ancestral Recall, Traumatic Visions immediately seems broken. However, considering the demographics of most Magic players (specifically, Unloved), it seems this is rather poorly designed. Each player can only use it once in their lifetimes, so buy it when everyone else has used their turn. This will probably have a large impact on the Pro Tour, and I hear many Magic Pros are already preparing to use this card.

Zerin Karamoff sez:

Quenchable Fire - 1R
Tribal Instant - Dragon
When you play Quenchable Fire, any player may sacrifice an Island or Plains. If a player does, counter Quenchable Fire.
Quenchable Fire deals damage to target creature or player equal to the total power of all Dragon creatures you control.
"So much to hate; so much to burn."
Since nobody plays either Island or Plains in standard, expect to see the Jund-backed Dragon tribal deck rise to the top in Standard. Largely unplayable in Limited due to the power of exalted.

Encumbering Stone - 1
Imprint-When Encumbering Stone comes into play, remove a card in your hand from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this artifact.)
Each player plays with the top three cards of his or her library revealed.
Whenever you play a card that shares a color with the imprinted card, you may look at the top X cards of your library, where X is the imprinted card's converted mana cost. If you do, you may reveal any number of creature cards among those cards with total power and toughness less than or equal to the total power and toughness of all creatures you control. Remove these creatures from the game.
1: Each player removes his or her hand from the game. Until end of turn, each player may play cards he or she owns that are removed from the game if they share a color with one of the top three cards of that player's library.
t: Shuffle your library.
This will be an automatic sideboard card for any serious tournament deck. If you lose game 1 to a hopeless matchup, just sideboard in a playset for games 2-3 and draw in a time-out as your opponent actually reads the card. (Or, if need be, actually use the card; all the complicated activations and deck shuffling should easily push you over time.) Other than that, however, I can't imagine how each individual ability could possibly be useful.

Additionally, this will be the first card where Wizards has to use size 4 font to get all the text into the text box. Talk has been circulating of permanently changing the size of Magic cards to the larger "box-topper" 4.25" x 6" size to accommodate.


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