Discussion in 'General CPA Stuff' started by Spiderman, Jun 28, 2016.
Eldritch Moon Card Image Gallery
I'm seeing a lot of reaction, with which I largely concur, that the eldrazi seems really overdone by this point and that the set so far looks disappointing. That last bit isn't necessarily damning, as the vast majority of sets looked unimpressive from early spoilers, some of them turning out to be quite good. But we did just have a block full of eldrazi and it seemed that most players were already pretty sick of them. We got one set and now we're back to eldrazi again. As far as the story goes, it makes sense and its actually decent lore relative to what Magic has presented in the past. We're still on a block-based plane tour, which has its issues, but at least we're getting some character development and overarching themes. The problem is how that plays out mechanically with the eldrazi themselves. They started out as big, alien creatures, reminiscent of a horror genre, but distinct from Magic's traditional horror creatures in several key respects. The classic Magic horrors were miscellaneous, strange-looking monsters with a wide variety of traits. Most of them were black back in the day, but that gradually shifted. Other than perhaps being ugly, Magic's horrors have had little in common with each other. They were more commonly of a mid-range power and toughness, rather than being small or very big. No real unifying characteristics.
When WotC designed the eldrazi, they wanted them to be special. To emphasize how otherworldly they were, they made the eldrazi generally colorless (but not artifacts, in contrast to the way that colorless creature cards had been made in the past) and made them function in a new way, generating spawn tokens as a source of mana to play really big creatures. The eldrazi were huge, some of the biggest creatures ever, and their ability, "annihilator", made them extremely powerful attackers. All of the colorless eldrazi were big (the smallest being a 7/7), and all of the colored ones (mostly green or red, with a single black creature) functioned to do something with Eldrazi Spawn tokens, extensions of the big guys meant to provide utility and prepare for them. The biggest eldrazi even came with casting triggers, so stopping the creatures somehow, even countering them, wasn't enough to stop them. To push the concept even further, there were eldrazi-based spells with huge effects, like All Is Dust and Not of This World. RoE was its own self-contained environment for Limited formats, with games centered around deploying really big creatures (not limited to eldrazi, as the set also had level-up dudes and such). "Battle cruiser Magic." And the set was iconic, possibly one of the most distinctive sets ever. I'm not saying that it was flawless. The eldrazi were slow and plodding outside of a very effective ramp strategy, and not nearly as interesting as the Zendikar block themes that had regrettably been cut short. But they set out to do something when they introduced the eldrazi, and they succeeded.
Fast-forward and the eldrazi are, well, just not as cool as they were when they first showed up. BfZ had a ton of colorless-but-not-really creatures clogging up design space that the players were hoping would go to more of the cool stuff they'd seen in the first Zendikar block. In place of the megalithic, wrecking ball creatures with enormous, colorless mana costs, there were a bunch of only kinda big creatures, colorless in the rules but requiring colored mana to play, less impressive than the old eldrazi but in much greater numbers. There were definitely some cool things about the design, but for the players who fondly remembered Zendikar block for vampire beatdown, fetchlands, trap cards, landfall craziness, and such some weird, not-so-big eldrazi were a letdown. And then the second set in the block kept it up, but introduced a new gimmick of mandatory colorless mana in costs. Again, by itself that's not a bad concept, and it felt more like it made the eldrazi distinctive than they'd been in the previous set, but it was still subject to the same problems. I called it bland and mediocre, although really the combination of efficient colorless beaters from Oath of the Gatewatch and mana-discounting lands from the old Zendikar block made for one of the most effective aggro shells ever.
While Shadows Over Innistrad wasn't as cool as the original, it was still a fine set. I fully expected that Emrakul would be involved for Eldritch Moon, but I was hoping that there'd be more going on. I'm still hoping, but all I'm seeing it lots and lots of the same problems that made Battle for Zendikar block rather dull.
Seeing the Deploy the Gatewatch card spoiler today made me think they're trying to build interest with the whole Planeswalker alliance thing. Perhaps drawing influence from things like the Avengers movie? We know they've been wanting to modernize the brand to appeal to a wider audience.
Yeah, I've seen them compared to the Superfriends, the Justice League, the Planeteers, the Avengers, the Power Rangers, and the Traveling Wilburys. I doubt that there's overt influence from the Avengers movie, although I haven't seen it myself. This sort of thing is all over the place. I don't know that they're deliberately trying to follow any trend like "superhero teams as so hot right now." But the whole thing is pretty hamfisted: each planeswalker is dressed in his/her color! And really, they've been quite hamfisted about a lot of this creative plot development in the past. They introduced the Lorwyn 5 in a planeswalker reboot with Jace visibly set up to be the main character, then when his card turned out to be mediocre, they went over the top and made a broken version for the second attempt. They explicitly conveyed their reasons for pushing Jace so much were that they wanted the planeswalkers to be the character focus in the story and that they thought blue was the color that resonated with the average Magic player, so they needed a blue hero. They brought him back for every other plot arc. They named their new font after him. They put him on coins, for some reason. And then they were able to, with straight faces, tell us, "Well, our market research tells us that Jace is our most popular character ever, so we'd better give the people more Jace, as that's clearly what they want."
Well, the set is a little over half-revealed at this point. Looking to be one of the worst sets in a while, but we're finally seeing some things that have some potential...
-New Thalia is bonkers.
-Unsubstantiate is a versatile alternative to some existing cards that are themselves decent. It's either a bad Remand or a bad Unsummon, and the option to be either is worth something.
-Docent of Perfection could find a niche somewhere, maybe.
-Galvanic Bombardment is an upgrade to Kindle (and Flame Burst). I plan to test it for my Burn deck.
-Tree of Perdition has some cool shenanigans as a card for casual gameplay.
-Harmless Offering is a red Donate. Realistically, the original Donate is more practical, because if you want the effect, you're probably already playing blue. Still, it's an option.
-Wharf Infiltrator presents some nice value. The last ability is interesting, but probably not that practical.
-Eldritch Evolution is good.
-Eternal Scourge is presumably going to replace Misthollow Griffin.
-Collective Brutality is reasonably costed and quite versatile.
-New Tamiyo has very, very strong abilities, but an intimidating color requirement.
-New Liliana is kind of tricky to evaluate. Not impressive at first glance, but she just might have a niche.
-Nephalia Academy is a land that doubles as a Library of Leng. While that's not amazing, it could be useful to some people.
-Permeating Mass has some nice tricks.
-Bedlam Reveler is bonkers.
-Spell Queller is strong for its cost.
-Nahiri's Wrath is along the same lines as Fireblast, and potentially more useful. Having two variables that both depend on the contents of your hand in different ways does add constraints, but this is still very powerful.
-Noose Constrictor is pretty close to being another Wild Mongrel, which was a very good card.
The more I think about it, the more I'm worried that Bedlam Reveler is one of the scariest cards in a long time. Blue/red has already supplanted blue/black as the strongest color combination, and this gives decks of that variety everything they'd want. The card is going to be a big deal and maybe a very big deal. Depending on what else happens in Legacy, this could be the last straw for Brainstorm, or perhaps I'm just being hyperbolic...
Emrakul's Influence - superhero teams are so hot right now!
Bedlam Reveler looks good, though I don't see what makes it so scary. But you have a lot more card/combo/competitive scene knowledge than I do.
The delve-based card-drawing spells Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time were eventually banned in Legacy and Modern and restricted in Vintage. They cost eight mana, but because of the "Delve" mechanic, they can be cast a discount. Blue/red decks playing lots of cheap spells and employing cards that took advantage of this were able to turn those two cards into a source of explosiveness. They'd spend the first few turns setting up threats like Delver of Secrets, Young Pyromancer, and Monastery Swiftspear. Fetchlands would build up the graveyard, as would cheap spells like Gitaxian Probe, Ponder, Lightning Bolt, Daze, Brainstorm, Serum Visions, and so on. After a few turns, they could set up their own threats, disrupt the opponent, and build up enough that Treasure Cruise or Dig Through Time would cost very little mana. The creatures in these decks easily took advantage of the use of lots of instants and sorceries.
Bedlam Reveler does have a bit steeper of a cost. It's going to be at least RR no matter what, and it cant use things like fetchlands to further its discount. But in a deck with lots of instants and sorceries, this could easily be something where after just a few turns, you've emptied your hand and built up a board presence, with Bedlam Reveler coming down for two mana, drawing three cards, and providing a 3/4 body with Prowess. Built-in discounts on cards aren't always unsafe, but it's one of the easiest ways to make a broken card, as the true cost is partially dependent on whatever is generating the discount, and some decks might want to do that anyway. As it happens, this card basically has "Affinity for instants and sorceries in your graveyard." Eight mana for a 3/4 Prowess creature that has an EtB trigger discarding your hand and drawing three cards would be unplayable. Two mana for the same thing would be incredibly broken. Realistically, this probably a lot closer to costing two than it is to costing eight.
With the entire set spoiled, my outlook on this set has improved considerably. Some good stuff here. Really, it's just the eldrazi in this set that I find dull. And they comprise a really, really big amount of it.
I enjoy Permeating Mass but I kind of wish they'd gone a little more interesting with it. Give it a Lure type of ability or make it any sort of damage (not just combat damage). As it stands, I don't see how it plays much different than if they'd just given it Deathtouch.
I don't think Bedlam Reveler can really make it in Legacy (no clue about Modern). I don't think it's consistently fast enough for U/R Delver. And for Grixis Delver, Gurmag Angler seems better, the two red mana is a big deal, and much easier to get there with Fetchs.
Yeah, it's more intriguing than it is practical.
Delver schmelver. I will almost certainly be using it in Burn, once I figure out how best to update it. Burn is already a better deck than U/R Delver anyway, but it has more variance and the sort of players who are smart and dedicated enough to grind Legacy tournaments and perform well also tend, paradoxically, to eschew variance. I'd take a Burn deck tuned to the proper metagame (and I do think that Bedlam Reveler would make the cut in a Burn deck, although perhaps that's too optimistic) over any Legacy U/R Delver deck. Grixis, though, is serious business. I don't know how much of a splash Bedlam Reveler will make in Legacy, really.
As it was with Thing in the Ice, Bedlam Reveler is a very powerful card, but Legacy is full of powerful cards and existing decks that are full of powerful cards, so breaking into the format takes a confluence of circumstances beyond merely having a strong effect in abstract.
From a non-competitive player's standpoint (as in, I have no idea what decks are good in what formats and what cards from this set would fit into those decks), here are my thoughts on the set:
I think Mirrorwing Dragon is the coolest card in the set. Most anything your opponent casts to deal with it screws them over, as well. You can also do some amazing things targeting it yourself (alongside a horde of weenies or something). I would enjoy building a deck around it.
Permeating Mass is pretty awesome, too. Again, not as in like "useful" and "powerful" awesome, but like "could do some seriously weird things in a game" awesome. I have a Permeating Mass. Your monster creature killed it, but now your monster creature is only a Permeating Mass. I blocked your formerly-a-monster Permeating Mass with my wall, which is now also a Permeating Mass. Doesn't it sound so cool, in theory? In practice, it's probably just a 1-powered unblockable creature.
Tree of Perdition is pretty sweet. Obviously, it teams well with Diminish-effects (does anyone still use Sorceress Queen?), but it also seems ready-made to play alongside Doran, the Siege Tower.
Harmless Offering: Donate 2.0. I don't know how if there's an obvious combo or synergy in red (not that I used it extensively in Blue, but I understand the combo with Illusions of Grandeur). What bothers me is the art. The card is called Harmless Offering, but it's got a picture of a cat. And everyone knows cats are evil. Harmless indeed.
Identity Thief - another card I'm not 100% sure how best to use, but I love the possibilities of combo-ing with EtB creature abilities. If I spent enough time, I guarantee I could find one or two creatures that would make this card absolutely ridiculous.
Ruthless Disposal - Is the entire point of this card to be an answer for Emrakul? Or for two Emrakuls?
Providence - not sure what to think of this card. Is it even worth having in your opening hand? Is it too good late in the game? Or too expensive?
Imprisoned in the Moon - I'm fine with the card itself, but I'm disturbed by the lack of a sister card. The flavor of this card implies that Emrakul is imprisoned within the moon of Innistrad, making him a land that produces colorless mana. So where is the land called "Moon of Innistrad"? Who wouldn't want to see a land that's a moon?
From a limited perspective....
White seems the best. No really unplayable commons, except maybe Spectral Reserves. Uncommons are pretty good, too. I wouldn't use Give No Ground or the Long Road Home and Peace of Mind is probably too narrow to make a deck. Everything else is playable, with Subjugator Angel being a pretty solid late-game stalemate breaker.
Red is good. Good, solid, aggressive cards fill in most of the common slots. Stensia Innkeeper may be better than it seems. Only a few unplayables (Stensia Banquet, Prophetic Ravings). I also sense that Alchemist's Greeting will make many red players try to force otherwise underpowered discard outlets into their decks. Nothing great at the uncommon slots, but some more solid cards (Deranged Whelp, Incendiary Flow, Insatiable Gorgers, Savage Alliance). Spreading Flames might be really good, but if you're playing red and the game lasts long enough to play 7 lands, you're probably doing something wrong.
In Blue, the commons are a mixed bag. Tattered Haunter is great. Some of the other creatures are solid (Enlightened Maniac, Exultant Cultist, Laboratory Brute). Turn Aside is a great counter for limited play (much better than Convolute). Contingency Plan and Drag Under would be great as instants... meh as sorceries. Among the uncommons, Scour the Laboratory could be significant late and Unsubstantiate's non-countering ability makes it easy to add to the deck as an occasional counter spell. The real gem is Geist of the Archives, which I think is a bomb that many players wouldn't perceive as such.
I was exceedingly disappointed with the quality of common green creatures in Shadows over Innistrad and it looks like Eldritch Moon is carrying the mantle of my disappointment. Backwoods Survivalists, Bloodbriar and Woodland Patrol are fine, but that's about it. It's somewhat made up for by the fact that green now has a legitimate removal mechanism (fighting), which shows up here in Prey Upon. There's also no great mana acceleration or color-fixing (Primal Druid and Ulvenwald Captive are underwhelming). Green also doesn't have any great uncommons.
I would be very cautious about running black. It has a decent common removal spell (Boon of Emrakul) and great draw spell (Succumb to Temptation, though the double-black is prohibitive), but not much else. Obviously, it's got bombs in rare/mythic, but even the uncommons are underwhelming aside from Murder and Whispers of Emrakul. The color would be better if Vampire Cutthroat were common and say, Gavony Unhallowed were uncommon. I do like that the color was given two common melders, but it might be more trouble trying to complete the meld than just playing better cards.
Artifacts will play a big role in sealed. As weak as equipment is compared to when it debuted, cards like Cultist's Staff (and, to a lesser extent, Cathar's Shield) are still must-play in almost any deck. Field Creeper is going to be a solid filler card in lots of decks. The uncommons frighten me more than excite me.
I don't think any of the Eldrazi are great. There's some obvious synergy with green, blue and black (maybe that's why white and red are the best colors), but I just don't see any of them as being worth the cost. Ulamog's Crusher was better than all the choices here.
Yeah, it's one of those cards that they deliberately made to be a "Johnny" card, which sometimes works out pretty well.
Does that card exist in MTGO? I've been a little confused as to just how many cards don't exist in MTGO.
It's been many years, but Donate/Illusions was one of the deck archetypes that I played the most out of any decks ever. I was once really, really crazy about that combo. I could say a lot about it. But I'll summarize...
The infamy of Donate is largely due to the success of Necro-Donate or "Trix" decks in Extended. To a lesser extent, Donate lived on in Vintage tournaments through Academy Rector and Yawgmoth's Bargain (in the days before Tendrils of Agony). In addition to having mana acceleration, tutors, and protection, these decks could pay life to get more cards (through either Necropotence or Yawgmoth's Bargain). Effectively, Illusions of Grandeur acted as a short-term loan, which you hoped to pass onto your opponent rather than having to pay it off yourself. I don't know how many times I activated Necropotence enough that having Illusions destroyed would kill me, but it was a lot. Many times, I'd see my opponent's hand with Duress, know what I was up against, and use that to estimate how many turns I'd have, then use Necropotence accordingly. Donate had no real function other than as a component of the combo (there were corner cases for some decks, like using Donate on Necropotence or a tapped Mana Vault against an opponent who happened to be in a spot where that would work), but it was blue, so it could be pitched to Force of Will if necessary. A lot of people tried to continue using the "Trix" combo in Legacy and Extended after Necropotence was gone, but it was never the same. Necropotence (or Bargain) allowed Illusions to be a fuel source, so the only real chaff card for the deck was Donate. Without being able to turn life into cards, all that was left was a seven-mana, two-card combo in which neither card served any purpose outside the combo. Losing the broken black card-drawing engines was the end for Donate + Illusions of Grandeur.
Back then, and and ever since, there were attempts, here and there, to use other targets for Donate. Notable candidates included Forbidden Crypt, Nefarious Lich, Immortal Coil, Colfenor's Plans, and most recently, Demonic Pact. Compared to Illusions of Grandeur, they all suck. When it comes to Donate targets, Illusions is head and shoulders above the competition. A 20-point life swing with a cumulative upkeep clock makes a better hot potato than any other card in existence. So unless you're deliberately trying to force through a crappier version of the combo, you're already in blue. And Donate is blue. That's why Harmless Offering is a strictly worse version of Donate.
Well, this set releases pretty soon, and I'm mostly won over. It's not the best set ever, but it's about as good as Shadows Over Innistrad. It'd be better if it weren't plugged up with so many useless eldrazi.
I may be underestimating the whole "Emerge" thing. In principle, it has potential. But none of the actual cards look like they're very good. It could be "sacrifice a creature to discount a powerful eldrazi that comes with a cast trigger" but instead it looks more like "two-for-one when your opponent kills your stupid overcosted eldrazi that you sacrificed a creature to cast, idiot."
Nahiri's Wrath is super ridiculous. Even if you're in some dumb environment like Limited, it's still insane. Uh, I'll discard Alchemist's Greeting, Falkenrath Reaver, Wretched Gryff, and a land. You take 14. So do three of your creatures. Gosh, I guess I win.
Forgive me for being slow, but how does the 14 damage get dealt to your opponent? I agree the card is good, but super ridiculous is pushing it. It's a wrath effect that can take out planeswalkers, too.
Yeah, Nahiri's Wrath deals damage to creatures and planeswalkers. I found others making the same mistake when looking up the price of the card; I think when you speedread, "planeswalkers" is misread as "players". Still wanna try it in my Madness deck.
I was playing with the idea of an Illusions of Grandeur/Donate deck supplemented by the Thought Feeder family of creatures and Legerdemain.
Oops. Yeah, I was thinking Fireblast, which Nahiri's Wrath, despite being a sorcery and not hitting players, is probably still better than because it can kill bigger creatures. Direct damage to players is now virtually unsupported on new cards, which is a bit sad, although this would be too good if it also hit players. In most situations, wiping most of your opponent's board, which still isn't hard, is going to be sufficient.
Ooh, that does require more mana to use, but it could be really great value for that mana.
Oops, meant Thought Nibbler/Eater/Devourer family.
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