zaterdag 10 februari 2018

Treasure Hunting: Onslaught Block

Once in a while, I like to go over a subset of cards to see if there's anything fun/cool/good I (we as a peasant cube community) might have overlooked or forgotten about. Sometimes this yields nothing, sometimes I find a handful hidden gems.

In my post about the amount of cards per set, Onslaught block was far and away the smallest contributor to my cube with a sad 3. Since then, I made a couple of changes that salvaged the number slightly, but it's still not super high.

This brings up the question: is it because of the fact that the major themes of the deck are nor good enough (cycling matters and tribal are somewhat parasitic, morph is very slow), or did I miss something potentially good?

Let's go treasure hunting!

Onslaught

Cards currently in my cube from Onslaught (3): Nantuko Husk, Slice and Dice, Centaur Glade.
Other cards I've seen in cubes: Cycling lands, Complicate, Festering Goblin, Krosan Tusker, Naturalize, Pacifism, Threaten, Whipcorder, Wretched Anurid, Symbiotic Wurm (downgraded in Vintage Masters).

Astral Slide and Lightning Rift - Yeah, these aren't hidden gems per se, they're just really good cards. I'd love to play them, but that would mean restructuring a big portion of my cube for only 2 cards. Who knows, I might try them out sometime in the future, but the cost of inclusion is just too high.

Overwhelming Instinct - Green occasionally gets these 3 mana cards that *might* be able to draw you a card each turn if you meet a certain condition. In a tokens deck, this one seems doable, but three creatures is not a small cost. It also just feels wrong Military Intelligence is both cheaper and needs less creatures, and is in a color that wants it less.

Renewed Faith - For some reason I've always like this card. It's a sweet little control deck smoother that can put the game out of reach for your opponent in the later turns. In most cases you just cycle it and gain some life. Pretty good filler, but also somewhat unexciting.

Sparksmith - I've played with Sparksmith before, and it can be a really scary card. Even on its own it can be an annoying little pinger, but it also opens the door to snag a couple incidental goblins while drafting to start gunning down X/2's and X/3's. If you're looking for such a thing, this one is fun.

Taunting Elf - I don't think I mentioned this in my Urza block hunt. One of my favorite decks ever was a monogreen enchantress deck with 4 Taunting Elf in it. It looked to pump the elf to kill off all the creatures your opponent played every turn. Coincidentally, my cube runs a lot of auras. 

Legions

Cards currently in my cube from Legions (0): 
Other cards I've seen in cubes: Havoc Demon (downgraded in Eternal Masters)

Deftblade Elite - On a 1/1 that can save itself, provoke gets a blocker out of the way. Not unlike a Frenzied Goblin. The fun starts when you pump the p/t to be bigger than your opponent's creatures. Provoke even untaps a target, so this would actually be able to pick off creatures that your opponent attacked with. I can actually see this working out well enough in W/R or W/G pants decks in my cube that already seek to pump creatures. In those decks, the Elite even has the ability to do both. Taking a blocker out of the way of the pumped double striker isn't half bad. Question is: is it better than an ordinary tapper? Probably not.

By the way, I might be cheating a bit here. I do remember playing Deftblade and seeing it in other cubes back when I started my cube. 

 

Scourge

Cards currently in my cube from Scourge (0): Carrion Feeder.

Dragon Breath - Giving haste to reanimated targets (or just to fatties) is pretty great. I don't think this is the best card in the cube to enable BR reanimate, but I still wanted to mention it because it has been used traditionally in combo reanimate decks.

Long-Term Plans - Totally forgot this card existed! My cube has been seeing a steady increase in build around cards, making tutors better. Mystical Tutor found its way back, we enjoy Razaketh's Rite  and my Dimir section currently runs Lim-Dûl's Vault. I guess this might not be bad as a straight up, as long as you *cough* plan ahead. It's quite unique as far as blue tutors go, because it can find anything. Third from the top isn't even that bad if the card is powerful enough to make an impact.


Top pick

In the end, I don't think Onslaught (the set) is as bad as it looked purely from a number-of-cards-included standpoint. A number of cards have been in my cube and can come back depending on if I think the cube might need them. Legions is a lot worse though. You'd think that a creature-only set would have a couple of great staples for cube, but most ones are either very narrow or just overpriced. Scourge is only slightly better. I mean, there are cards in the set that people actually play. 

The card I'm most likely to find room for is (drumroll):




Yep, I think I might actually add both. I don't expect them to be rock stars, but I like what they could do for my cube enough that I'm excited to try them.

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