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:
Unplayable in Constructed. You should pick this high in Limited.
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:
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:
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:
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Wow, a good blocker. That's valuable. Stupid Wizards, no one blocks in Constructed. Limited fodder at best.
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.
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.
Noobie fodder. Life is worthless to real players.
Lolwut, haste in mono-Black? Ever heard of the "color pie," R&D? You are on crack and Magic is doomed.
Unplayable. It dies to Terror. Plus, it only has one boring ability.
How are we supposed to get it into the graveyard? Total crud.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not bad for a common. Expect to see a lot of bad teenage mustaches this sealed season.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.