dinsdag 25 september 2018

Guilds of Ravnica set preview for Peasant Cube

Set preview time! Let's get into Guilds of Ravnica

I run a loose grading scale, based on my personal interest in the card:

Slam it - The holy-crap-I-am-so-happy-they-printed-this card.
Cube - This card will go into my cube and I expect to be happy with it.
Needs testing - The card looks like it could be powerful, but may or may not work out.
Playable - Interchangeable with similar cards, depending on the flavor of the moment might see play.
So close - I want to play this, but it's probably better if I don't.
? - No idea what to think of this card.
Pass - Every card not listed here.

If the card is not on this list, you can assume I'm not interested (or forgot to list it)

White

Conclave Tribunal
Verdict: Cube
This is a slightly more than we normally pay for this effect, but it makes up for it by having a higher ceiling in certain decks. Convoke makes this more interesting to run, giving you a kind of loose build-around card that rewards token and/or swarm decks. I don't think I've seen a lot of cubes that don't support those decks in white.

Demotion
Verdict: Playable
If you need a cheap removal spell, but you don't need more fuel for control decks. Sometimes you just need to throw aggro a bone. Shutting off activated abilities can be powerful.

Gird for Battle
Verdict: Cube
I think this is a pretty sweet little card. Two +1/+1 counters for a single mana is basically a mini-anthem that you can weave in between casting creatures. I might be biased because of my love for +1/+1 counters, but I think this will prove to be a very potent role-player.

Haazda Marshal
Verdict: So close
Man, I really want to like this card. It makes a lifelink token every turn, right? Attacking with this and 2 others is harder to trigger than I want something like this to be. I'd rather just play a card that makes a couple of tokens for immediate effect.

Inspiring Unicorn
Verdict: Playable
If you need another of this effect, it's playable.

Sunhome Stalwart
Verdict: Cube
Very efficient 2-drop. First strike is good without help, but gets even better when the creature gets pumped. And if this guy gets pumped, he'll make the rest of your team better as well. Also synergizes with +1/+1 counters. Very excited for this.


Blue

Chemister's Insight
Verdict: So close
Anything that can be cast from your graveyard has potential. This is a little slow, but the instant speed part makes it a lot better. That said, paying 8 mana and 2 cards (this and the discarded one) to draw 4.. I don't know.

Murmuring Mystic
Verdict: Needs testing
The Spells Matter archetype is a favorite in a lot of groups, and in mine. This might be a little more expensive than most finishers in the archetype, as you generally want to either cast one before you start slinging spells or cast spells in the turn you cast it to generate some immediate value. However, 1/1 fliers have the potential to close out a game really fast when it gets going. Plus, this being a 1/5 makes it a pretty decent defensive card to run out on turn 4 against aggressive decks. I think this might become a mainstay in my cube, but I want to see it in play before I get really excited.

Nightveil Sprite
Verdict: Playable
I'm not sure what to make of this. I've played Sigiled Starfish before, and it's been fine. This has a better body that carries equipment/auras better, and fits better in tempo decks. It also enables the graveyard a bit. On top of that, I have a thing for Spellstutter Sprite so the Faerie type always makes me sit up.

Sinister Sabotage
Verdict: Playable
Even though 3 mana counterspells are on the slow side, I've found the card selection tacked onto Dissolve good enough to make the card playable. This is slightly better.

Unexplained Disappearance
Verdict: So close
The scry 1 version of this wasn't good enough, so this will likely not be. The fact that surveil puts cards in the yard has me interested though, but I guess there are better cards for that.


Black

Dead Weight
Verdict: Playable (reprint)
This was already playable, especially if your cube has Enchantment Matters stuff like mine.

Lotleth Giant
Verdict: Needs testing
Let me start by saying that I expect this not to be good enough. Having said that, I really want to try it out. There's a certain Golgari deck that has been very good in my cube that's basically all self mill, creatures and ways to get stuff back. The deck generally wins through attrition and incremental value, but can be slow to actually finish games. The Giant can be a fun way to burn people out, maybe even be the focus of a new version of the deck that aims to turbo-mill oneself and reanimate this guy twice with a pile of creatures in the yard.

Pilfering Imp
Verdict: Needs testing
This looks like it could be pretty good. It's selected discard if you need it, and a decent weenie if you don't. Even if your opponent removes it before you can activate it, your opponent is down a good card (removal). Also, it's adorable.

PlaguecrafterVerdict: Cube
A straight up better Fleshbag Marauder, except maybe if you care about Zombies or Warriors. This guy is good. The only thing holding him down is that the forced sacrifice sometimes just nabs a 1/1 token.

Price of Fame
Verdict: ?
How much mana is surveil 2 worth? I remember reading somewhere that scry 2 is worth about a card, and surveil is slightly better. Considering that, I think I'd be willing to pay 4 mana to kill a creature and draw a card at instant speed. The legendary clause might come up nowadays, too. I can imagine this seeing play and do well. On the other hand, maybe 4 mana is just way too much in an eternal cube.

Undercity Necrolisk
Verdict: Needs testing
This looks pretty powerful, actually. In cubes with a +1/+1 counter sub theme in black(/green, aka Winding Constrictor), this looks like a shoe-in. It's a little more expensive than I'd want, and you can only sacrifice creatures at sorcery speed. However, this can get big fast and is hard to block. This might be a fine finisher in creature decks.


Red

Book Devourer
Verdict: ?
I just want to reanimate whatever the heck this is.

Electrostatic Field
Verdict: Cube
When I texted my friend 'how much of this effect is too many?', he replied 'never too many'. While I don't necessarily agree to that degree, I like this one a lot. Four toughness is just enough to be a good blocker against most early drops, which is exactly what the controllish versions of these spell decks want.

Goblin Banneret
Verdict: Playable
One-drops that are relevant in the later stages of the game are always interesting. This one can dish out a lot of damage when left unchecked, or at least trade up. The additional Mentor ability is just a bonus, but a very welcome one that should play well in my cube. It's still a tier/tier-and-a-half below the top red 1-drops, but it is very playable.

Goblin Cratermaker
Verdict: Slam it!
Holy crap is this good. Efficient stats, TWO relevant abilities (both Ember Hauler and Torch Fiend have seen play). You can't target players with the first ability, but you do get to destroy random Eldrazi. It even has relevant creatures types for those that are into that (*points to self*). I have to work really hard to imagine a peasant cube that doesn't want this.

Smelt-Ward Minotaur
Verdict: So close
This is one the other side of the Spells Matter spectrum from Electrostatic Field. The thing that does the Minotaur in is that you need both spells and creatures to take full advantage of it. It still might be decent in 'normal' aggressive decks to push guys through, but I think this generally falls short.


Green

Arboretum Elemental
Verdict: So close
Initially I was higher on this card, but it's just a little too expensive to be really good. Even with three creatures out it still costs 6 mana, event though I guess if you can play creatures the first 4 turns and cast this on turn 5 you're pretty happy. I'd rather just play Overrun if I have that many creatures though.

District Guide
Verdict: Playable
This effect is very playable and has always been. If you don't mind down-grading the duals you run to Guildgates, this is obviously better than the other versions.

Kraul Harpooner
Verdict: Slam it!
Another windmill slam include. A 3/2 reach for 2 mana without drawback is - I think - unprecedented in green as far as raw stats go. And that's without mentioning it being a potential removal spell that gets better in certain archetypes. Pure gravy. I also need to bring up the fact that Warrior is a relevant creature type for me to really hammer it home.

Sprouting Renewal
Verdict: Playable
Not amazing, but the flexibility might give it a home somewhere.



Multicolor

Beacon Bolt
Verdict: Playable
On the one hand, re-usable removal is great. On the other hand, this is a sorcery and requires set-up. I think it's playable, but Izzet is such a stacked guild that this won't see a lot of play.

Beamsplitter Mage
Verdict: ?
This might have some fun build around potential in some cubes. I wish it was in Boros or Gruul as those colors both need the card advantage this gives and run more cards that work with it.

Boros Challenger
Verdict: Playable
I will probably end up playing this as one of the interchangeable Boros 2-drops that are slightly overstatted (3/2 or 2/3) and/or have a decent ability. This one plays well with +1/+1 counters, which makes me favor it slightly over other options for the moment.

Conclave Cavalier/Crackling Drake/Golgari Findbroker/Nightveil Predator/Truefire Captain
Verdict: Playable
Oh man, these are spicy. Great stats, great abilities. On powerlevel alone, every single one could see play. They're just very very hard to cast. Green decks might have an easier time than non-green decks, which makes me think those will see more play in cubes.

Glowspore ShamanVerdict: Playable
If it was only for my cube, I'd given this a higher grade. Satyr Wayfinder is better and easier to cast, but the aggressive stats on the Shaman are just so enticing. This is exactly what my Golgari sections wants to do. Other cubes might not want it as much, but for me the combination of archetype enabler + efficient beater is  enough to be excited about this.


Justice Strike
Verdict: Playable
Good card, just a little bland for my tastes. White has enough removal that most Boros decks will not need to run this, just like Rakdos doesn't need Terminate even though it's very good. I still prefer Lightning Helix over this for being able to burn people out and being insane in racing situations.

League Guildmage
Verdict: Needs testing
Both abilities are expensive, but potent. Especially the doubling ability is interesting. You'd need to build your deck around this, playing a lot of 1 and 2 mana spells, but that seems doable. This might just prove to be a very fun and powerful build around card.

Sumala Woodshaper
Verdict: So close
If only this was a mana cheaper. The effect is good, and something my cube would want, but 4 mana is a lot if the body is basically negligible. Being a creature does make it easier to reuse, but I don't know if that saves it.

Swathcutter Giant
Verdict: Playable
This looks like it could be a very serviceable Boros finisher. It should stabilize a lot of the board when it comes down, and makes short work of any token army if there's no anthem on the board. In a guild as shallow as Boros, I would not mind playing this.

Thought Erasure
Verdict: Playable
Where Boros is on the shallower end, I always seem to have a harder time cutting cards from Dimir. I think this is a good card, but for a guild card it's just shy of powerful enough but still quite playable.

Worldsoul Colossus
Verdict: Needs testing
As a crossover card between tokens, ramp and +1/+1 counters, this looks like a very good fit for my Selesnya section. I don't like that it doesn't have evasion, but the flexibility makes me want to try it out. In practice, it might also turn out to be just another dumb beater that's not good enough to make it into any deck.

Fresh-Faced Recruit/Piston-Fist Cyclops
Verdict: Playable
If you need another Boros or Izzet hybrid for your hybrid section, you could do worse.

Discovery // Dispersal/Integrity // Intervention/Invert // Invent/Status // Statue
Verdict: Needs testing
I'm having a hard time evaluating these. Flexible cards usually walk a very thin line of being *just* good enough that you're happy to run them in multiple different decks or being underpowered enough that you'd rather run a different card altogether. These hybrid/gold split cards have the additional quirk that they're hard to classify. Should you consider them hybrid? Full guild?
Dimir: Discovery looks good on its own, making Dispersal additional bonus. I think I'd classify this as hybrid.
Boros: I like both ends enough, but don't think I would run Integrity in a Gruul deck for example. I'd classify this as Boros.
Izzet: Here, the hybrid part is not something I would consider without the full gold part. This is in part because I have no idea how good this effect is. It's a single mana, so I'm sure it will come in very handy. The gold part though, might be very good. Getting 2 big spells at instant speed is a good way to close out a game for control decks. Straight Izzet card.
Golgari: Both are playable, but bland. This card will always be good in any deck with both G and B mana. Weirdly, the flexibility pushes is out of the guild section because Golgari is stacked and doesn't need more removal. I'm also not sure if this is better than Putrefy.
Selesnya: Not mentioned above, I don't think this is very good.

Rampaging Monument
Verdict: ?
The times where a four mana 3/3 was the gold standard have passed. Four drops also have the problem of generally being over-saturated in any cube. You can only run so many in your deck, and generally should have no problem picking enough up for your deck. However, this has +1/+1 counters to make it a colorless addition to those decks. But the real thing that has me interested is the build around potential. I like cards that care about unique things you don't see a lot. That's the reason I run a couple of creature-type matters cards, and have so many build around cards in my cube in general. This is the first somewhat playable card that cares about 'gold' cards. I think I will try this baby out, and see if I can add a little more hybrid cards in the process to help with the amount of multicolor without actually upping the amount of gold cards.


Conclusion

There we have it. The newest Ravnica set has quite a couple of interesting cards, something that was to expected. At the very least we get 2 staple-level cards in Goblin Cratermaker and Kraul Harpooner  which is always great. I'm very excited to start testing the cards from this set.

Top cards

Best archetype card - Murmuring Mystic
Surprise of the set - League Guildmage
'Best art' - Goblin Locksmith

3 - Subhome Stalwart
2 - Kraul Harpooner
1 - Goblin Cratermaker
























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