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Apr 26, 2020I don't see why Zirda is in this list of "best cards in the set", but yeah there's a ton of great cards in IKO. Anyhow, Shark Typhoon is certainly among them and is probably the card I'm most excited about along side with Vivien.Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
Dec 31, 2019This card seems really good, but really fair. I don't think it's well suited for a full powered environment but some cubes might find a good spot for it. In fact, I think it's probably one of the best options for slow unpowered cube that feature a lot of midrange matchups since it generates so much value and can also win the game on its own. Also, it provides blue core a nice source of fodders to furfilled a bunch of different matters. Go-wide strategy enabler, tokens source for Opposition-Clamp, chup-blocker generator, sac-fodder for UR and UB decks and so much more. Even the counters theme decks, with Evo-Sage and Flux Channeler, would like it.Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
Overall, I really like it for fair cubes, but I presume it wouldn't crack the most unfair ones.
Dec 24, 2019Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype DiscussionQuote from LucidVision »Any cheap card that makes mana the turn it comes into play deserves a close examination.
nissa who shakes the world, Teferi hero of Dominaria, Garruk wildspeaker etc
part of the hidden value of these cards is they effectively cost less mana than they appear to.
How this card ramping you the turn you play it. I don't get it. The beginning of precombat mainphase is already long gone when you cast it, no?
Mar 8, 2019Posted in: The Rumor MillQuote from Watchwolf »I guess this is where my planeswalker collection dies, boys. It had a good run, but my wallet just wouldn't survive.
One being in every single pack of the set will maintain the average price low. I guess most of them will cost less than a buck. Your wallet should be safe then Although, they are certainly not going to be on the same level of rarity. Some may cost a bunch.
Jan 9, 2019Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype DiscussionQuote from happyjosiah »This thing could be Delvers 5-8 for constructed decks (though each creature you add makes both marginally worse), but I'm not even sure Delver itself is good enough for small cubes.
I think it's better than it looks for cube since in there, in contrast to constructed formats, it would act as a Delver of Secrets #2. Spell matter aggro decks now has another option to curve out without having to run too much creatures like Kiln Fiend for example. Runaway Steam-Kin is another card that tend to go into this direction, but in a more mono-red way. FWIW, it was kind of impressive recently in the MTGO cube.
Jun 20, 2018I think it's a fine card at best. Deathtouch is not First Strike and 1BB is way morst than 2R. The creature not attacking is also a thing. The only upside it has is that it may sometimes have utility in deck with higher curve, in order to recure a powerful big creture from your yard. This value aspect has limits though.Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
BTW, did anyone notice that the corpse counter is completely useless on this card? The ''When you do'' wording is also pretty weird...
May 27, 2018Zetsu_Sensei posted a message on [Sealed THG] Battlebond Limited Review (Including Top 3 Rares for each color!)Hi everyone,Posted in: Limited (Sealed, Draft)
It seems like nobody's doing any Limited review of the most recent MTG set, Battlebond. I don't know if this has anything to do with the weirdness of the format itself (made for Two-Headed Giant only) or just because, to some people, the set looks boring (lot of reprints, synergies trying to shoot in every direction, lack of good arts, etc.). Anyway, since there isn't anywhere we can find a good pro-level review of the set, I decided to give a shot myself. So there it is : Battlebond Limited Review.
By friday June 1st, I'll be completing here (at least one per day) multiple thread replies that will include the review of all commons and uncommons of each color in the Battlebond set. Note that those reviews will reflect mainly an analytic point of view of a Limited Sealed format. Also, I'll grade every card from 0.0 to 5.0, like LSV use to do on his CF serie of articles. For my part, I won't be grading rares and mythics, so average rate should be higher than normal since I would consider the greatest commons and uncommons as possible 5/5.
Hope you'll be enjoying this!
PROGRESS OF THE REVIEW :
=> SET OVERVIEW IN PROGRESS :
I’ll do my overview if the set in two times. First, I’m going to rate every playable guilds. Afterward, I will talk about team combination.
Guilds rate :
If Battlebond booster packs were normally design (I mean, if there was no secret track printing shenanigans involve, which seems to be the case) I think I would had a pretty good idea of what are actually the best guilds and strategies in this format. Like I said though, it seems like WotC R&D crew have a surprise for us and that alone makes me really nervous to put out there my general overview of the set before actually play the set. I’ve no problem to evaluate individual cards, put trying to figure out what could be the best decks, while WotC is doing secrets stuff in backstage, is not something I don’t fell really confidant about.
For that reason, I’ll keep my overview of the set quite simple and I will only be analyzing briefly each on the ally guild, which in fact are the (only) ones WotC wants us to play. Otherwise, I would have said GB looks like the best one (like I previously mentioned in a thread reply just below). I just don’t know any more if we are going to be permitted to play enemy guild that much. For example, in order to ensure a 6 packs per team Sealed format is functional, a specific pack could be filled up with, let’s say, mostly GW cards counters theme and few neutral cards like removals, artifacts and stuff, while another specific packs could be loaded with mostly RB warriors theme card and bunch of other neutral stuff. We just don’t know. In the scenario, I found it quite hard to believe a strong GB deck could emerge. I sincerely hope I’m wrong. I do.
Anyhow, here’s my overview of all ally guilds in Battlebond:
Azorius WU :
This guild looks weird to me, since I’ve kind of fail to identify what it’s trying to do other that just defend and have big butt out there. I’ve notice that a warriors theme is going on a little bit, as is a flyers theme. However, I’ve fail to put my finger on the main focus. It also has few things that want to die in Doomed Traveler and Riptide Crab. Otherwise, I found the guild lacks in removals spells. It’s white half (even if it has some decent removals, and the best one in Sword to Plowshares), is not the deepest in the set in that matter, while its blue half is even least equipped.
All in all, I’ve conclude this guild does want a little of everything. It want to fly and put counter on its evasive creatures. It wants to lock the ground with beefy butt creature and kill what is problematic and can’t be handle by the board. It wants to gain life and draws cards. And if they want to, warriors are welcome in.
Overall, I found this guild fine, but not great. A deck with significant pieces of removal, some flyers, a couple of warriors, Nimbus Champion or good rare bomb should have no problem. But if it lacks one of those element, I think it can fail if not played at the perfection.
Dimir UB :
This guild looks sharp. While, it touches the warriors theme a bit, I think the main focus isn’t quite there at all. In fact, it prefers to outnumber their opponents in terms of pure card advantage and wants to kill what’s on board. Classic control strategy, you know.
The color pair have some bombs in its respective monocolor section as in its multicolor one, like Peregrine Drake, Spellweaver Duo, Inner Demon and Vampire Charmseeker. In the early stage of the game, it’s also equipped to manage board and sky, thanks to Fog Bank, Eyeblight Assassin and Last Gasp. Since it’s so well equip to deal with everything on board, I think this guild might want to win slowly with stuff that are difficult to deal with or either, when the time comes in the late game, end the game quick. Benthic Giant for example would be helpful for that first matter. In counterpart, the second pathway could benefit from a Juggernaut or two and few Fan Fanatic.
Overall, this guild seems great. Black lacks a little bit on nonrare, nonmythic hard finisher but I think the guild is so well rounded at not dying that a single bomb, some flyers and some of the previously mentioned creatures can get the job done easily.
Rakdos BR :
This guild’s power is pretty closely linked to what exactly WotC is prepping in backstage. If the packs are heavily loaded in RB warrior synergy, more than in actual good well rounded spells, this color pair may turned out to be super aggressive, which is a good only if your teammate has decent ways to deal with opposite blockers. At the opposite of the spectrum, if you can get your hands on a couple of good RB kill spells and mid to large size threats, this color pair could turn out to be one of the best out there.
A pile full of Shock, Last Gasp, Bathe in Dragonfire, Assassinate, Liturgy of Blood and Auger Spree shouldn’t have any problem to deal with opposing creatures. There’s also lots of good midrange creatures to open in the guild, in Fan Favorite, Screeching Buzzard, Bull-Rush Bruiser and Earth Elemental. Add to this the uncommon bombs (AKA Lava-Field Overlord, Swarm of Bloodflies and Inner Demon) and you’re in some serious business.
This color pair seems to be split in half. There’s a part of it that wants to be attacking if you look at all the cheap warriors in the 2-drop and 3-drop sections. However, there’s also a significant portion of the guild that just want to be grinding out. I think the guild is devised, I would say, in about 40% of aggressive cards and 60% of control cards. For that reason, I think RB is a great way to start a good control strategy. Probably the best in this format. Although, there's a possibility that you ended up running a warrior aggro deck in those colors, which is much more finer than great.
Gruul RG :
The guild is another I had a pretty rough identify exactly what it wanted to do in Battlebond. To resume it the simple as possible, I would say it’s a stompy color pair. It wants to outclass opponent by raw power and toughness and wants to use the biggest creatures to its disposal to win the game in the mid stage of it, just before control actually turn the corners and stabilize.
Gruul is a color pair that wants to ramp and play stuff like Rhox Brute, Charging Binox, Magma Hellion and Plated Crusher. Also, note that one of its uncommon card, Savage Ventmaw, helps spitting them as fast as possible. The (almost) absence on wrath in the format also permit this deck to reach the next level. Combo Attack and Blaze are also premium removal for this archetype. FWIW, Blaze is also a pretty great win good as well. I’ve also identify Elvish Visionary and Battle Rampart to be key cheap commons for this deck. The elf makes sure the deck hits its land drops when needed and Battle Rampart give additional speed to the creature suit. Jungle Wayfinder and Fertile Ground are also welcome in any team that run one RG stompy deck (I mean even if it’s not in the actual RG list).
Overall, I would say this guild looks like the best one to pair with a good control. I think it is the case because it outclasses in terms of P/T any other ground creature strategies (even the GW counters one) and is the one with the fastest damage output. It’s also equipped to deal with flyer creature by having access to Return to the Earth and Aim High. This deck can also benefit for a little splash of white (thanks to Jungle Wayfinder and Fertile Ground) for spells like Unflinching Courage, Pacifism and Long Road Home.
Selesnya GW :
This guild is easiest of the bunch to analyze. Creatures in this color pair want to have counters on them so they can get bigger and benefit from additional ability or either reinforce the one they already have. Unlike the RB warrior, I found GW much more resilient and stable since it growths as the progress and has much more evasion.
This color pair wants stuff like Lightwalker, Wandering Wolf and Decorated Champion to start the game. Then, a couple of Aurora Champion and Shoulder to Shoulder are key to make it come together in the mid stage of the game. At the game progresses, Saddleback Lagac, Expedition Raptor and Giant Growth then become GW’s best friends. A pair of Jungle Wayfinder can also be useful to splash for something like Nimbus Champion. Note that the GW is not obligating to run to card itself. In fact, its teammate benefiting from Jungle Wayfinder will unlock the playability of the card on his side as well.
The key with this color pair though is the right teammate. In fact, it needs a really good control partner to find to exit quickly enough. In my opinion, BR is the best fit here. Card like Soulblade Corrupter, Warp in Flames and Battle Rampart will make the GW deck way, way more explosive. All the BR removal spells out there will also make sure the GW wennies deal enough damage to win the game at a reasonable rhythm. On the other, if GW is paired with something like UB, I don’t think it can reach the opposing team as much and is much likely to fail at initiating a sufficient damage output. This alone keeps the grade from the A range.
Archetypes wrap up :
The idea behind this wrap up was to talk about actual guild pairings and to see if none allied color pair decks could work in this format.
Let’s see what seems to be the best duos in Battlebond. To start, I think it’s important to say that Azorius is the worst color pair in this format. So it’s no doubt that none of the ideal duos actually contain any of the UW/XY versions. In fact, I think there’s only two guild pairs I would be looking at as I opened new sealed pools moving forward.
The first one would be the RG and UB mix. RG provide stats and speed, while UB provide massive card advantage (for itself or RG, which is super cool). What I like about the mix, is that RG seems to be one of the best creature guild period, since it can massively rule the ground and has nothing to be ashamed of with the sky as well. While RG provide the necessary pressure, UB in counterpart is well equipped to slow down the opposing team. Also, having access to stuff like negate and bounce spells gives the pair a tempo’ish aspect that matches well with the big threat bashing plan. In my opinion, it’s the toughest guild pair to stop.
The second best guild pair (that I would also described as the funniest) is GW and BR. GW is fast, has evasion and can develop a board that is able to compete with most midgame creatures. However, it needs support in order to close the game before it’s too late. It’s where BR comes in action. Stuff like Battle Rampart and Warp in Flames should help its weenies get through a loaded board and finish up the 30 life chunk. Same as the whole bunch of removal spells BR has access to. Stuff like Blaze and Magmatic Hellion can also provide the extra point of damages your team needs in order to win even if you opponents do stabilize.
Note that green is part of both most powerful duos in Battlebond. This fact is really important since I think it permits those guild pairs to splash for additional spicy cards. For example, my prerelease team was running RG and UBr decks. Since the RG did run 2x Jungle Wayfinder, splashing red was easy for the UB decks, that also happens to see a lot of card by itself (thanks to scrying and drawing). I also see a scenario in which our RG deck could have splash for the good white cards in our pool. We just didn’t noticed before the event ends. FWIW, if we add the redo it, I think it would have been the case. Unflinching Courage and Pacifism are just so good!
About the enemy color guild, I beleive overall you better stay in the ally color guilds, since they gave you access to powerful multicolor cards. However, I can see some scenarios in which playing, let’s say, a GB DEECK that splash white for its good white and GW cards could ended up being just fine. The question is then, what do you do with the rest of your pool?
Just one last final word on Battlebond booster packs. After seeing actual pack and box opening, I can say that pack content aren't apparently that much track print. The only noticeable thing we noted is that every single pack contains at least one artifact, mostly at the last spot of the pack (it was the case for like 95% of the pack I’ve seen). So I think the main reason why it isn’t that hard to build two 40 decks out of your sealed is the actual high number of decent playables in the set and the above average number of artifacts by pack (and in the set in general).
=> TOP RARES REVIEW UPCOMING :
W WHITE W
#3 : Together Forever
It was in fact quite hard to identify the third best white card is the set. After taking in consideration what white is primary trying to do, I’ve concluded that this card is Together Forever. This cheap enchantment does looks like a bad Lead by Example at first look. Support cards that don’t at least create card parity are bad, especially if they are sorcery speed. There’s no doubt about that. However, Together Forever have another line of text that is pretty important in this format. In fact TF provide a decent way to protect (at least) two of your best creatures in the mid to late game, as giving you to opportunity to reuse their ETB effect. For example, if you put a counter of Expedition Raptor with it, then if it happens to die, you will get a sweet little bonus out of it.
At top of that, if you deck is GW counters, Together Forever is going to be a veritable nightmare for your opponents, since it has the potential to protect almost every creatures in your deck as such a cheap cost.
#2 : Play of the Game
Play of the Game is, outside of Last One Standing that let one random creature behind, is the only pure sweeper in the format. If you open it you should play no matter what, even if your team is heavy in creatures. The reason why is that no one is going to be expecting it. Most games turn out to be grindy as hell and seem to encourage massive boardstall. This card will permit you to clean up a little in those situations. Sure, a couple of creature of your own will be exile in the process. However, if you opponents are committing themselves to take advantage of the board, you’ll be able to punish them hard.
The Assist ability also gives you the opportunity to just reset the board on turn 4 if the opposing teams is having a fast start while you and your teammate are doing something else like drawing cards or establishing ramp. This alone is a big part of this card evaluation.
At the end, I think Play of the Game could act as the foundation of a great UW Control deck, a deck that, in my opinion, need a little of help in that matter.
#1 : Sylvia Brightspear
This knight is crazy strong. While on its own it doesn’t feel so impressive, a 2/2 double strike for 2W isn’t something I would call bad. On the other side, being the Stoneforge Mystic of dragons with it’s partner ability does bring to the next level. In fact, tutor for a 3/4 flying, haste, double strike splashable creature is no joke and should win you the pretty fast if not answer. It’s without saying that there’s out there a couple of commons answers that don’t deal with it properly (any type of bounce effect, Last Gasp, Shock, Chain Lightning, etc.). Its dragon being haste does also help to negate sorcery speed responses a bit.
By turn 6, note that Sylvia Brightspear will have the time impress you. While it’s far from useless of its own, a cheap double strike body could benefit a lot from having few extra +1/+1 counters on. Also, this card just randomly gives double strike to all dragons on your side (and we knew that there’s a bunch of them in the set). This by the way makes a card like Dragon Hatchling suddenly looks less bad than expected.
Overall, I think Sylvia Brightspear is the best white rare in the set for two main reasons. 1) It’s one of the best cheap body out there, regardless of your deck being aggro or control. 2) It’s a card that provide you an early board presence and a great finisher at the same time.
U BLUE U
#3 : Tydespout Tyrant
Again, the third best position was though to identify. I kind of hesitate between this and Game Plan. At the end, Tydespout Tyrant won the match because it’s way less risky and random.
The big flyer is a limited powerhouse, that’s for sure. It has the stats to compete in this full-of-4/4-format and its ability can repeatedly deal with everything if you play it in a blue control deck. Even more, if you play this card in the good UB shell, I expect big things to happen. Chaining you Painful Lessons, Impulse, Huddle Up and Opportunity into more bouncing triggered should be fantastic in order to unlock a stacked board. FWIW, Tydespout Tyrant also let you recast stuff that has powerful entering the battlefield effect if needed. For example, if your teammate is playing some support cards, you can use it to continue growing stuff by repeatedly allow him to recast them and support its (or your) creatures all over again.
Another interesting part about Tidespout Tyrant is that it allows you save your best creature out there (or sometimes itself) by simply casting any instant spells you have in your hand while a removal is on the stack. This alone should discourage your opponent to try something while you have open mana and few cards in hand.
Overall, Tydespout Tyrant is one of the best finisher out there and I expect blue control decks to thrive power from it quite a bit.
#2 : Zndrsplt
What a card name that is. This homunculus is pretty sweet from what I can say. I’ve played it at my PR and I have to confess that I’ve been strongly impress by it, same as its partner (when they are both on the board). Sure, their respective effects are random, but having access to two tryouts helps mitigates this little downside. When both are unanswered for at least the turn they come into play, they will almost give you at least 3 for 1. One for Zndrsplt itself, two for Okaun and three for the (I’d say minimum one) card you’ll draw with Zndrsplt’s combat triggered ability. If they do manage to survive more than a turn, they then snowball real fast and get out of control. I’ve drawn like 6 to 7 cards with it in only few turns, while my mate was attacking with a must block 12/12 or 20/20 (I’ll explain why later on) creature every single combat phase until we won the game.
The fact that Zndrsplt also gives you acces to its partner is nice. I know all the partners in Battlebond work that way, but in this case, it seems like they work so great together. While, Okaun is decent on its own, Zndrsplt is exactly the kind of effect you should be looking for in a grindy format like this. But Okaun also benefits from a lot of cards in Battlebond. For example, Battle-Rattle Shama, Unflinching Courage and support cards works nicely with it, since the additional boost it has up front growths exponentially when a winning flip triggered.
Okaun is not among the best red card in the set, but all in all, Zndrsplt’s ability to provide ton of card advantage does make one of the best blue card for sure. Yeah, I know, it has an unimpressive body. However, this 4th point toughness is better than it actually looks since it protects him against a couple of removal in this format. Also, since its ability doesn’t require it to attack or block, stuff like Pacifism and Claustrophobia doesn’t really affect its reliability.
#1 : Myctic Confluence
I presume some of you have never play Mystic Confluence since it is Legacy, Vintage, EDH and Cube material only. But man, for those of you who haven’t, you need to know that this card is bunker. Simply bunker. And I can’t even imagine how much this is true in a limited grindy format like Battlebond when in fact Mystic Confluence is among the best blue cards in Cube environment, period.
All modes on this card are great. You want to mana leak something and draw two cards in the process? It’s done. You want to use a partial one-sided Evacuation and kill you opponents right way? It’s done. You want to save a creature you have from a removal spell, bounce a dangerous threat and draw a card? It’s all done. Even drawing three cards with this spell cannot feel bad in this format. For those who haven’t figure it out yet, Mystic Confluence is never dead. Never.
Blue having access to this particular tool scares me a bit since you never know what to except when you see a lot of untapped islands of the other side of the table. Sure this is a rare you shouldn’t be facing often. But just being in the format is enough to scare me. Let’s face it, this card is a monster to play against (regardless of what you’re playing) and it should most of time ruin your pathway to victory when you see it on the stack not in your team’s control. Seeing an opponent get it back with Vampire Charmseeker should feel really, really bad. You’re in fact better be the one who have it in its deck.
B BLACK B
#3: Thrilling Encore
The new black instant spell needs a bit of set up but is quite strong at getting board’s advantage. Let’s say you and your teammate have a bunch of 2s, 3s and 4s on the battlefield. Same for the opposing team. In that scenario, Thrilling Encore ensures will end up being the winner after the tough blocking or attacking phase, especially if this phase involves multiple kill or combat trick spells. In fact, it’s an almost guaranteed X for 1 spells if well played.
Thrilling Encore being among the best black rare cards tells a lot on the poor depth of the color in that matter, since I’m not even sure if I like more than some of the color commons. So I guess WotC made it this way in order to balance the fact that black has by far the best commons in the set.
Overall, even though this spell is full of flavour, it’s not one of the rare I would chase or first pick very often. It’s still serviceable and pickable at 3rd (card #5 and #6), but nothing more than that unless the pack is pretty weak. In fact, I believe Last Gasp, Assassinate, Liturgy of Blood, Screeching Buzzard and even Painful Lessons are all better 1st pick option that Thrilling Encore.
#2: Virtus’s Maneuver
I know this spell choice wouldn’t be unanimous, but man this card average-to-best scenario is powerful! In fact, Virtus’s Maneuver is actual 4 for 1. The only downside to it is that it needs a specific window in order to maximise its potential. First, you and your teammate both need a creature in your yard. Also, both of your opponents must have at least a creature on their respective board.
It’s important to note that the power of the sacrifice part of Virtus’s Maneuver is as well massively influenced by the quality of creatures it can axe. If for example your opponent sacrifice two unimpressive 2s into it, maybe you aren’t getting the best out of it. On the other hand, if one your opponent owns a 3s and a 4s, while your other one owns a 5-6 mana finisher, whatever your team actually brings back from the graveyard will end up in an astronomical tempo swing in your favor.
There’s a bunch of friend and foe cards in Battlebond but I believe this one is the best of them, and by a significant margin.
#1: Mindblade Render
I do believe this little warrior creature is one of the most oppressive nonmythic card in the set. Its base stats are okay and can serve your team well defensively. With that said, when combine to the right warriors, it can turn into a devastating card advantage engine. For example, if you are on the play and have a Mindblade Render while you mate owns a Phantom Warrior and Blood-Rush Minotaur, your team will benefit from an unstoppable train of card advantage until Mindblade Render (a card that only cost 2 mana) is answered.
I also like the fact that the loss of life on this card is also minimal in Battelbond since it’s unlikely to matter that much. First, the format is slow. Second, you have a safe 30 life spare!
All in all, Mindblade Render seems like a pretty great cornerstone of the warrior archetype in Battlebond and I'd snap it as a first pick anytime and would never cut it from a black sealed deck. Even, if your sealed decks (because in fact this card looks at all the warriors in both teammates' deck) are a bit low in warriors, if you can at least draw a card out of it, Mindblade Render would have done its job. Anything more than that is pure bananas!
R RED R
#3: Khorvath Brightflame
We already talked a bit about this card and we know it’s less good than its partner. Still, I believe it’s good enough to get a safe spot in red’s top 3. Let’s talk about the main reason why it isn’t as good as its partner. When Khorvath enters the battlefield on turn 6, then your mate absolutely need to cast Sylvia Brightspear right away so the combination can represent a damage output closer to a scenario in which this last one had enter the battlefield first. So it kind of force your mate to underuse (potentially) its manabase for one turn. Also, Sylvia has an ability that is relevant with other cards in the set, while Khorvath’s ability doesn’t affect anything else than its partner. However, this splashable dragon is still good enough for this format.
Overall, as a 3/4 flying, haste creature that tutors for a 2/2 double strike as ETB, Korvath represents a decent rare in Battlebond. It’s just sad for it that there is so much 4/4 flyers in this set. Those not even being rare means they will be floating around in almost every games and prevent Khorvath from attacking without Sylvia. With Sylvia in play, Khorvath will be able to at least trade with them, which isn’t that bad considering the potential damage output this duo is capable of when not facing other 4/4 flyers.
#2: Magmatic Force
Magmatic Force looks like a pretty solid red finisher. Its ability not even being restricted to your team’s upkeep means it actually represents a 6 damage per turn clock. This look quite strong! As a 7/7 creature, note that it’s also one of the bigger creature in the format. So this means it’s not bad at blocking either. The ability being able to target creature and planeswalker is also a cool bonus to add to an already sweet card. Sometimes, the 3 damage won’t be enough to deal with a creature immediately. However, if you really need it, it can handicap a creature and discourage its controller to attack your team with it.
I never played it in Commander, but I believe this elemental can really shine if paired with a blue mage teammate in Battlebond. In fact, some blue cards can suddenly look a little more appealing when you know Magmatic Force is at the end of your curve, since few countermagic and bounce spells can ensure its protection while it heavily pings the opposing team and eventually wins the game for you.
If you open this rare, I strongly suggest to found a way for you team to play red. If you get to it, this monster should reward you pretty nicely, even if it lives only a couple of turns.
#1: Stolen Strategy
Stolen Strategy feels almost like a red Phyrexian Arena in this format. Yeah, it does cost more mana, its effect can whiff (if exiling a land for example), but in counterpart, you get two activations a turn and can remove powerful spells from your opposing libraries in the process. That is not to be neglected.
With just a little bit a luck, this card should turn into massive card advantage. Also, not being easy to interact with is a crucial part in this card’s evaluation. And it goes without saying that a single Disenchant effect in your team’s decks sometimes won’t be enough to deal with it since, most of the time, Stolen Strategy would have snowballed too much already before you get to destroy it or, even worst, would have exile it during one of its upkeep trigerred.
Even if Stolen Strategy has a random effect and is unable to use lands it exiles to your benefit, I think its presence in your sealed pool does indicate that you have a serious shot at creating a great red based control deck. Also, considering the higher number of average playables in Battlebond, its effect should be welcome regardless the archetype you’re playing against.
G GREEN G
#3 Pir, Imaginative Rascal :
This is another one that won’t be unanimous. With that said, I believe Pir is great. The body sure seems underwhelming but that ability is no joke a GW counters deck, especially if you drafted it and that your deck is full of counters synergies.
The ETB effect that seek for its imaginary friend is also quite a powerful ability is you or your mate does actually play blue. I like the fact that Pir into Toothy fits into the right well helps to raise Pir value in my opinion. And going turn 3 Pir in order to set up a turn 4 Toothy (cast by your mate) and Saddleback Lagac (cast by you) seems insanely good. Should to Shoulder is card that can also raise the value of a turn 3 Pir.
I would say that Pir isn’t made for every green though. So for this reason only, I have to keep it from raising too much into the green top rares. However, I expect big things from this none warrior human creature (Yeah I know, it’s sad that it doesn’t have the warrior tribe…).
#2 Vigor :
This monster seems super great in the GW counters deck and great in general. I don’t think you ever cut this from your green deck in fact, even if it’s a little bit green heavy for you mana. Vigor has evasion, a useful dying triggered and a tough to deal with ability that shields all your other creatures.
Being a 6/6 also put Vigor in a great spot in this format full of 4/4, X/5 and 5/X creatures. In most cases, it should dominate the ground, no problems. In fact, there’s very few creatures in the set that can fight one on one with it without dying after damage resolution and very few removal spells that can get rid of it without special shenanigans involve.
At the end, I see Vigor as a great midrange finisher that has all it takes to be the second best green rare in Battlebond. Still, I expect it to be better in sealed than in draft.
#1 Generous Patron :
This support enabler is definitely sweet. What I like about it is the fact that it is scalable. It’s either a 1/4 that draws you 2 cards with the downside of growing the opposing team, a 1/4 that draw you 2 cards while supporting your mate's creature (like the flavour here), a 1/4 that growths your own team, just a simple 1/4 if you want it or something in the middle. In my opinion, the second mode is the more appealing overall, but I supposed a good GW support deck can also benefit quite a lot from the third one. But looking at the first, I cannot convince myself a Divination on a stick is bad. I just can’t.
There’s also a couple of scenarios in which this creature can ended up just be a 1/4 for 2G. I suppose it can happen. But, in most cases, you should at least be able to put a +1/+1 counter on a teammate's or enemy's creature and draw one or two card out of it without exposing yourself to die right away or boosting a evasive creature you don’t have the kill spell to deal with. Thanks to Generous Patron defensive body.
Also, it worth to mention that Generous Patron could snowball in card advantage in a deck that run the (or at least a part of it) GW support package. Casting an Expedition Raptor late in the game when the counters put on opposing creatures won’t matter should feel pretty great. Ever more if you put the counters on some of your buddy's creatures. Also, even if I don’t’ really think it could materialises itself very often in sealed (maybe more in draft), the interaction with Gwafa Hazid is cute.
With that said, Generous Patron being as good in offense as in defense makes it one of the top green rare in the set. No doubt about that.
PS : For those who doesn't like the set, please no hate. I know the set isn't universally acclaimed, but please respect folks who are in fact interested by its gameplay perspectives. Thanks.
Apr 15, 2017Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype DiscussionW WHITE W
Angel of Sanctions
We do think this creature is fine. But the question is : Is it needed in the 5-drop slot? The response is : it depends. In fact, if your late game white section is more focus on grindy midrange stuff, that you run a lot of planeswalkers and that your cube environment is a bit slower than average, we’d say yes. Otherwise, it seems not needed, and particularly if you run the army-in-a-can package. Wouldn’t blame anyone for running it thought. Still a pass for us.
Forsake the Worldly
Pretty much nothing to add on this one. The card says it all. A 3-mana Disenchant than can cycle itself when you don’t need the effect. It’s fine. Ultimately, we had conclude that this card wasn’t needed and that it wasn’t better than any of the 2-mana instant speed options. Safe pass. 720 material.
Gideon of the Trials
Gideon of the Trials seems like a slam dunk in every cube at first glance. A 3-mana walker that prevent you from losing? Bring it! But, while being a really good magic card, we do think the new Gideon is the weakest of all its iterations. Why? Mainly because it doesn’t generate any advantage that it seems pretty bad if you’re not ahead. A body 4/4 indestructible body this is not. In counterpart, it does hit hard and help defend yourself. The emblem also brings a fun Gideon’s subgame. And don’t forget it cost only 3 mana! For those reasons, the card seems pretty versatile and is still more than likely to have a significant and unique impact on the cube. Easy include for a 540 and more cube.
We’re not sure about its long-term inclusion, but this aggressive 2-drop seems solid in its role. It hit like a truck and can swing for a bunch of life when needed, making it really good in the mirror. Ultimately, it’s still an aggro card only and those none 1-drop cards tend to disappear from the cube as the years go, though we do think it does have what it takes to hold Soltari Trooper for a while. Good for a 540 and more cube.
This 2-drop seems decent, but we think being a vanilla creature just kills it. The recursion is nice but feel kind of fair because of the sorcery speed restriction. Outside of a dedicated stax and/or tempo shell that rely on swords to win we think it’s pretty uninteresting. And even in there, it doesn’t seem particularly good. We’re curious about the additional blocking clause though. At the end, it’s a pass.
U BLUE U
Somewhere between Force Spike and Miscalculation isn’t a bad place to be for countermagic. Its counters condition is worse than Miscalculation’s while its cycling cost is cheaper. Does it make good enough? We do think it is. Testing will tell. Happily including this one at Unsubstantiate spot!
Vizier of Many Faces
Good clone effect are always welcome, but they tend to become more and more fair as the new sets get released. This one is the closest to cubable one we had in years though. We do like that it slowly but surely generates card advantage. A Clever Impersonator version of it could have made it. Still seems to fair the way it is. At the end, it’s a none-unanimous pass.
Vizier of Tumbling Sands
There’s no doubt we’re going to try out this new Time Vault enabler. Main reason why is that its presence will free up the guild spot hold by Kiora’s Follower. It’s certainly not better than the later, but the cycling clause and being monocolor could make it over the top. Nice blue ramp-midrange card as well. Combo purpose include!
B BLACK B
Recursive black 1-drop, we’re welcome! Awesome addition to any cube supporting the black aggro theme. This an awesome stax piece and a great discard target for those, that’s for sure. And it can block as well! Cherry on top, it’s a jackal zombie creature! Easy inclusion in any list.
Liliana, Death’s Majesty
This is the midrange queen in person! While the [+1] is not that great, we do think that the high loyalty count and the milling clause that synergize well with the card itself will make it. Also, the [-3] is an interesting ability that is so far unseen on a planeswalker and would certainly bring some nice interaction as well. Finally, the achievable ultimate kind of bring a new black wrath to the cube. Overall, real good well rounded magic card. Easy inclusion at any size above 360.
A better Ruinous Path this is. More scalable, more versatile and can bring some shenanigans as you can still get value of it when you discard it. The grave hate part is non-negligible as well. We think this is the best (monocolor) walker’s removal behind Hero’s Downfall. It’s just sad that the card is so ugly. Will be in for sure!
R RED R
What a new, powerful and versatile Kiki target? Are you serious? Not being a Twin target is not a big deal considering this card seems also more than decent into other archetypes as well. In fact, this looks like a boss in any red aggressive decks. Even midrange decks that can clear the path will certainly find a use for it. Super excited about this one. 540 and more cube lists should try it out for sure!
This red hatebear seems insanely good at knocking down important midrange and control cards, while also shutting down the Kiki-Twin combo pretty efficiently. It actually forces your opponent to get rid of it before getting into business with cards like Meloku the Clouded Mirror, Aetherling or Pack Rat. Massive passive ability for a splashable 2-drop mean. Staple call on this one. 450 and more list would love it. Easy add!
This prowess dude intrigues us a lot. Seems real close in powerlevel to Monastery Swiftspear. Losing haste for a powerful static ability that helps curing one the biggest red deck win weakness seems legit. Every bolt you have turning into Puncture Blast means math-headaches for your opponents. This thing literally can eat a Baneslayer at its breakfast with some help. Nothing less. Really happy to test this at 630 of size. And FWIW, we do think it can go well into smaller lists as well.
Hazoret the Fervent
The fervent god, also known as the pervert god, seems decent to good. The activation restriction seems achievable in most aggressive lists and the activated ability seems like a nice way to reach wins. However, we don’t think it helps solving the redundancy at the 4-mana slot, even if it brings a new discard outlet for red decks. In fact, traditional aggressive options like Hero of Oxid Ridge and Hellrider still seem way better at shutting down games quickly. And we’re for sure not removing unique effect like Flametongue Kavu and Avalanche Riders from our list for this card. At the end, it looks like this new red god is in a dead end. Hopefully, maybe 720 and above lists can find a spot for him.
G GREEN G
The end of the sex monkeys? Please no! Unfortunately, this seems just like a strict upgrade, the tapping clause being pretty relevant against specific cards like Battlesphere Myr for example (Yeah, we can all imagine how much this will be frustrating). Easy inclusion for any power list. Simply the best green vandal creature.
Rhonas the Indomitable
The only other noticeable green card we’ve found in this set. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem good enough to warrant a spot. Main problem is that this god seems so easy to disrupt. Khans of Tarkir set has already showed in the past that the ferocity clause isn’t that easy to achieve. While this one does at first glance give the impression of being well rounded, because it can by himself pump one of your other guy in order to swing for 5 with it, it still has some issues. If you look at it like if it was an equipment (+2/+0 Trample) that has a cumulative equip cost of 3, this suddenly doesn’t look that great. Sure the equipment itself becomes a temporary 5/5 treat at activation, but the lack of evasion just kills it. Our guess is that it will, most of the time, be the type of card that give breathing space to your opponent when resolved on curve. And unlike vehicle and equipment, Rhonas doesn’t bring pseudo hasting damage unless your ETB creature has already 4 power in its base stats. We’ll have to pass and Purphoros remains the only cubable god.
Samut, Voice of Dissent
This is a gruul stat monster and the Flash keyword and the Fires of Yavimaya will be a major part of its eventual success. However, our playgroup had unanimous consensus that it wasn’t good enough for the cube. Why? Because of its lack of evasion. And because this is in fact a Naya card… that is not better than Wild Nacalt. Not having access to the white activated ability isn’t a big deal but the card will be better in WRG decks because of it and that’s what make it a 3-colors spell. Main concern is still the lack of evasion. Something that will eventually push it in the win-more cards category. Safe pass we’d say.
Nissa, Steward of Elements
Dear Nissa, you’re so welcome! Thanks Wizard for printing the best Simic noncreature spell! This seems just overall solid. Good for control, midrange and super ramp. Even combo could make a good use her [+1] ability. Library manipulation, card advantage and a powerful wincon are what Simic Nissa is made of. The only downside is that she can have a hard time protecting herself when you’re behind and whiffing her first  activation. Hopefully, she’s a turn-3 walker and that can potentially mitigate this concern. Easily addition in even the tightest guild lists. 360-450 material!
Some of those lands seems playable. In fact, we wouldn’t blame anyone for running either the UW, UB or RG one, though we’re not sure they can all compete with even for the 5th or 6th spot in those guilds. Being fetchable plays a major in their overall evaluation. We’ll have to test them out in order to see if they worth it or not. Those 3 will be in for now at least.
Jan 17, 2018Zetsu_Sensei posted a message on Set (P)review) My top 20 Rivals of Ixalan cards for the cube!Nice article as always! Must have been though to write since the card quality of this set is pretty damn low. I hope it won't discourage you doing it moving foward!Posted in: Articles, Podcasts, and Guides
Was wondering, what do you think of World Shaper?
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Nov 6, 2009Posted in: Cube Lists
I aim to create the most fun, exciting, powerful and balanced custom limited environment
that I can for my playgroup within the confines of a Vintage legal and Singleton legal frame.
Cube Size: 450 Cards
Breakdown: 55 Each Color, 105 Guild/Multicolor, 70 Colorless
Standard or Theme Cube: Standard
Average Draft: 3-6 players
Cube CMC: 2.762
Vintage Legal?: Yes
Singleton Legal?: Yes
The only cards I ban from the cube are cards that aren't Vintage legal (Ante cards, Dexterity cards, Un- Cards, Conspiracies & Holiday Promos, etc), cards that can't function within all game types (like draft manipulators that are blanks in Sealed Deck, or cards that would require a commander to function, etc) and cards thar reference "outside of the game" as a zone (Wishes, Companions, etc).
Color Balance?: Yes
Guild Balance?: Yes
Mana Support?: No
Mana Support?: No
Here's a link to the cube on CubeCobra if you want to mock draft it:
I wrote a cube article about the fundamental cube design questions, and how I decided to build my cube to cater to my playgroup. The article was designed to help those folks that are still in the incipient phase of cube building, and may need some pointers on how to balance the cube for smoother drafts and gameplay. But hopefully even the veteran cube managers can find at least some useful information on how to streamline the cube and better enable aggressive archetypes. Here's a link:
"Cube Design Philosophy"
I also wrote an article that deals with managing your manabase when cubing, and the impact those mana demands have on drafting, deck-building and constructing the cube. Here's a link to that one:
"Mana Short: A study in limited resource management."
Feel free to post comments on the article page or here in this thread with any questions or comments!
Additionally, I've written some Set Reviews in the form of top 20 countdowns based on set previews. Note, these are written as set previews, not necessarily set reviews, but here's the links to them anyways:
My Review #01 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from AVR!
My Review #02 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from M13!
My Review #03 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from RTR!
My Review #04 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from GTC!
My Review #05 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from DGM!
My Review #06 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from M14!
My Review #07 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from THS!
My Review #08 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from BNG!
My Review #09 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from JOU!
My Review #10 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from M15!
My Review #11 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from KTK!
My Review #12 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from FRF!
My Review #13 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from DTK!
My Review #14 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from ORI!
My Review #15 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from BFZ!
My Review #16 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from OGW!
My Review #17 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from SOI!
My Review #18 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from EMN!
My Review #19 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from KLD!
My Review #20 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from AER!
My Review #21 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from AKH!
My Review #22 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from HOU!
My Review #23 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from XLN!
My Review #24 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from RIX!
My Review #25 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from DOM!
My Review #26 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from M19!
My Review #27 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from GRN!
My Review #28 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from RNA!
My Review #29 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from WAR!
My Review #30 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from M20!
My Review #31 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from ELD!
My Review #32 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from THB!
My Review #33 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from IKO!
My Review #34 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from M21!
My Review #35 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from ZNR!
My Review #36 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from KHM!
My Review #37 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from STX!
My Review #38 - Discusses my top 20 Cube cards from AFR!
I was invited to be a guest on the MTGin3D Podcast with Liam and Pedro. Here's a link to that episode ...give it a listen!
MTGin3D Episode #5 - Exploration
I was invited on as a guest for the "What's In The Box!?" Podcast with Zakeel and Drew. Here's a link to that episode:
What's in the Box EP8 - Community Spotlight: wtwlf123
Nov 6, 2009Posted in: Cube ListsCHANGE LOG
For the most recent changes, check the change log documented in the CubeCobra link, found here: https://cubecobra.com/cube/blog/5d61aa23b8ec593ca4b76ca6/0 .
May 30, 2019For us, the decision can be based on what's open. If someone's drafting a black sacrifice package and mono-red is being scooped up, green can serve as a good secondary color for hitting critical mass of aggro creatures for your deck. It also provides oversized bodies for the cost, like 'Goyf and friends, to provide some bigger bodies in the matchup against midrange where most nongreen aggro bodies can become woefully outclassed very quickly. Several of the utility creatures are still good in aggro, as getting access to Naturalizes and Shatters without having to play non-threat cards can be valuable. There's also great multicolor support; cards like Bloodbraid Elf and Edric are pretty beastly cards, but often don't fit the strategy unless your deck has an aggressive slant. Rancor is good extra pressure without overcommitting to the board, Plow Under is a monstrous top-end spell, and cards like Lotus Cobra can be unique to the shell; providing a ramp effect without conceding pressure. Several of the green aggressive bodies scale exceptionally well as the game progresses too. Nacatl, E1 and Pelty-boi are often 3/3 attacking bodies, as is Warden of the First Tree. Both Hexdrinker and Kessig Prowler can convert themselves into mid/late-game threats that compete with larger board presences from the opponent. By supporting the aggro 2-power 1-drops that scale, good mid-costed bodies and the other green cards you want to play anyways, green serves as a very solid secondary color to back-up aggro plans with, since the oversized bodies help to compete in matchups aggro can often struggle with. Not to mention that Loam and Excavator (and now Wren and Six) can give you repeatable fetches and strip mines to give you card advantage engines and additional disruption that aggro can often find themselves wanting for. Other random green dudes like Tireless Tracker can grow out of hand, and green can give both size and card advantage to decks that often have neither, and it can do it without sacrificing pressure or changing the "turn creatures sideways" gameplan that aggro wants to adhere to. I've enjoyed the redundancy and utility that green provides to aggro decks, and I look forward to watching Hexdrinker slot perfectly into those decks and provide more redundancy for all the advantages green already leverages for aggro.Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
Just my $0.02.
Mar 8, 2019I have to imagine most will be utility-level PW's with only minus abilities or no ults, so they will be safe to ignore a lot of the time in limited, otherwise limited would be a massive grind fest.Posted in: The Rumor Mill
Jan 10, 2019There is a discussion focus here on the castability math, but the bigger issue is the narrowness of the Cube archetype that actually wants this card. I'm not interested in a color-intensive multicolored wrath that realistically can't be played in a blue control deck. Even if BW Control happens sometimes, we're talking about a card that appears in every or every other draft and would only see play in BW Control. Not only would it only see play in BW Control, it doesn't fill a need that exists for that archetype. BW Control doesn't suffer from lack of Wrath effects...Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
Jan 6, 2019Would like to point out that spectacle cost is activated by any form of life loss on your opponents life total. If they crack a fetch to cast a Lightning Bolt to kill your attacker, they still lost life and you can still get your discount.Posted in: Cube Card and Archetype Discussion
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