Review: Incite War

Draft Priority: 1

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 1
Cut.

Discussion:

The inclusion of Incite War is testament to my willingness to try virtually any card in Type 4 as long as it’s an instant and little else. Sketchy limited junk, Incite War lived up to the antihype by being universally detested by drafters and rarely played. I do recall it getting played once and getting the caster killed thanks so some kind of combat trick. In theory, it’s not all that bad since it uses a mechanic that doesn’t see much play, but maybe there’s a reason for that: it sucks. It’s especially bad when you can’t cast a follow-up spell like Retaliate.

An easy cut.

Overall: One mohawked futuristic soccer goon out of five

Review: Icy Manipulator

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 3
Staple. This is the essence of a utility hitter.

Discussion:

When we’re talking middle-of-the-road guys who aren’t flashy but get the job done and don’t expect fanfare for it, Icy Manipulator is up there with guys like Repulse and Shriekmaw. They put in work, but when people think of the big ‘rainbows to the endzone’ type plays that make Type 4 games super memorable, it’s usually not “oh man and Icy Manipulator tapped that guy and money fell from the sky”. But the slow, inexorable progress of Icy’s value is what makes it so good. How does your opponent feel about blasting it with Ancient Grudge when any turn now somebody else might drop Slate of Ancestry or Possessed Portal? Not very good, let me tell you (since I… uh.. may have done both).

It’s an old-school champion that is still as relevant as fifteen years ago when you and your friend didn’t really know what ‘mono artifacts’ did.

Overall: Three Sam Spence bangers out of five

Review: Voidmage Apprentice

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost. One of the best counter-creatures.

Discussion:

I see this card get some play occasionally, usually in decks with an existing Morph element. Unfortunately, that just makes it into one of the sketchiest overcosted counterspells ever. While you can argue the unique mechanism it produces the counter from provides some additional value, it also costs seven mana over time. I understand that’s effectively broken up, but still. At the three and four slots on your curve is where you want to start dropping credible threats like Knight of the Reliquary and Hero of Oxid Ridge in most games, or making the board quake with Wrath of God… not getting a weak creature that will provide you with a potential stopgap protective measure.

But in Type 4, this creature is madness. Plays as an alternative cost, people assume it’s a Willbender, and it’s counterspell can’t be a target in the brief counter wars that tend to pop up. If my stack wasn’t singleton, I would have several of these because they’re a powerful but unique utility.

Also, ranking the Voidmages in Type 4 (you should have all of them):

  • Voidmage Apprentice
  • Voidmage Husher
  • Voidmage Prodigy

fyi

Overall: Four and a half noted absences of a Master out of five

Review: Dralnu, Lich Lord

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 4
Solid staple.

Discussion:

Definitely in rare league of creatures who when they come into play are ‘that dude’, but without being lopsided game-breakers, Dralnu presents an interesting conundrum in Type 4. He’s in a way better because you don’t have to spend forever building up an infrastructure base to deploy him to take advantage of his awesome ability… only to have that unrefined mongrel sitting across the table from you pop him with a Lava Axe, leaving all your stuff sacrificed. And even if you kept Dralnu in the mix, you can’t pay for the flashback anymore. It’s weak as ‘murican beer.

Then, in Type 4, no more of the infrastructure crap. But every permanent you have is likely to be extra-high-value and you usually have, like… three of them. So if Dralnu gets blasted, you’ll likely have your board cleared. But it’s a lot easier to recover from.

I think he’s one of the livest creatures in the Stack personally because of it. None of this nWo horseshit just hitting the table and blowing the spot because “i got value by castin em”. Instead, dropping Dralnu needs to be a carefully-calculated play with needs all kind of wheels to be in motion, but if you do it right, he breaks the game wide open in your favour. Consider the last five sorceries/instants reviewed:

  • Riddle of Lightning
  • Sadistic Sacrament
  • Resounding Roar
  • Read the Runes
  • Naturalize (got cut, doesn’t count)
  • Perilous Research

So four out of five potential bangers, two of which can even help mitigate the damage Dralnu’s drawback can mitigate? That’s got clear potential for damage.

Draft Dralnu at your own peril, but it’s awesome peril. Even if you’re normally a super-caution, draft-by-pure-cledgehammer-power-level guy, try taking him next time and see how sickeningly cool he is.

Overall: Four ‘four out of fives’ out of five

Review: Svogthos, the Restless Tomb

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 2
Borderline, but I didn’t cut it… yet.

Discussion:

So, I’ll disclose my biases at the beginning of this review: I hate this card. The terrible, overly-complicated name, “Plant Zombie”, and only counting the dead critters in your own graveyard? Bitch please, back the fuck up before you get slapped the fuck up. Everything is stupid and I hate the world.

And yet, for some reason, every time we play Type 4 somebody drafts this without complaining and nobody complains about it’s mediocre-to-terrible performance. Nobody seems upset with it’s perpetual lack of impact on games or it’s general weakness. So this leaves me thinking… is it just me? Am I the problem instead of ‘Svogthos’ (retch) being the problem?

It’s tough to say objectively, but when I sit back and analyse the whole affair like Rza would recommend, I can see my expectations are clouding my vision and making me expect too much out of a mediocre card that is clearly designed to pull ‘gotcha’ victories in draft games or something. I’m expecting a Wrath-ducking Mortivore, which isn’t what this is. It’s something else.

Something worse, though. I stand by that. Still, I’m keeping it around for the time being and trying to just… be fair with it.

That name though… c’mon son

Overall: Two AWFUL fantasy names out of five

Review: Riddle of Lightning

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 5
Stack Staple fo sho. One of the coolest burn spells in the stack.

Discussion:

In the style of Erratic Explosion and similar cards that have been trying to pull this effect off forever, I guess Wizards was finally just like ‘fuck it, print a real easy-mode variant of this’. Unfortunately, it cost a lot of mana, fortunately, here in the paradise of Type 4 mana is like… getting tripped over by Planeswalkers, so who cares? This makes the Riddle one of the best burn spells in all of Type 4. The Scry is handy both for setting up your draws and for ensuring you can burn the piss out of your target.

Really, there’s not a whole lot one could do to improve this card out side obvious stuff like just upping the scry or adding more damage. It’s a perfectly fair and fun card that gives players a strong option if they want to go for a lot of burn spells in their Stack, which I strongly encourage because creature stalemates are the worst.

Overall: Four possible Conan references out of five

Review: Sadistic Sacrament

Draft Priority: *6*

Impact: *6*

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost. After all, it’s effectively ten mana.

Discussion:

Have you ever wanted to be one of these guys in the scrubs…

…without having to deal with all the disgusting elements of brain surgery, like blood or interacting with regular people in times of need?

Wouldn’t you love the prestige and social standing of a neurology specialist, without having to go through all that BORING ‘training’ and ‘schooling’?

From one of my favourite websites

Well, I’ve got a card that will fulfill all your sick fantasies you fucking pervert. Behold Sadistic Sacrament, where you can transform the player next to you from a formidable adversary into a brainless, empty-decked diaper-shitter. This card redefines wreckage. Hitting somebody with it at any stage in the game is debilitating, as you can put them in a whole and force them to ‘dig up’ with all their effective threats removed early, and in the late game it’s not unlikely to outright kill somebody.

Just be warned; when you use it, a player will still have the cards in their hand and whatever gibberish left in their deck. While you’re unlikely to be especially scared of the deck since you just… y’know… left them with it, and know of it’s contents, their hand could be another matter entirely and keep in mind that this player is likely about to go full kamikaze on your ass. It’s only fair as you ruined their chance is extremely fleeting glory. When you use this card, brace yourself for the coming poopstorm.

Overall: Five FakeDiplomaNow.com orders, Stacker Pentecost Glare of Approval

Review: Resounding Roar

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 5

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost. This cycle is so Type 4 it’s ridiculous.

Discussion:

I love this cycle because it represents so much of Type 4’s excellence. This is a common that nobody would look at twice in just about any other context because it’s very bad. “You know what Giant Growth always, always felt like it was lacking? An extra mana cost and a huge cycling ability. I can’t think of a better way to spend six man-what, it’s eight mana to use the cycling thing? Oh fuck me.”

But take away that pesky mana thing and you have a definite banger. This card has enabled some pretty wild plays, such as an unmorphed Rockshard Elemental sneaking past somebody’s defenses (after all, it’s probably a Willbender)  and then suddenly this.

#BTFO

gg no re

resounding roar 4 life

If you can’t see how this is good, you’re just plain stupid!

Overall: Four and a half “oh snaps” out of five

Review: Akroma, Angel of Wrath

Draft Priority: 5

Impact: *6*

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost. Duh.

Discussion:

You can pretty much listen to the lyrics of Forgot About Dre, change the lyrics a bit, and get a song about this card. Everybody has been so busy blowing up over fancy cards that sometimes they forget where the OG harbingers of terror went and the fact is, they never went anywhere at all. Verdant Force and Nicol Bolas never fell off. They NEVER stopped doing their thing. Y’all just forgot about them because of the new junk being shoved in your face. Akroma (or AK as she’s affectionately referred to around here) is in the same elite clique. Now your creatures wanna run around talkin’ bout beats like she ain’t got none… what you think she SOLD ’em all?

cmon-sonGranted, this score is probably slightly inflated because of bias and legendary standing, but this is what a pure beatdown machine looks like.

Overall: Five Millenniums of Aftermath out of five, Stacker Pentecost Glare of Approval

 

Review: Read the Runes

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 5
Money in the bank. This is one of it’s better formats.

Discussion:

A lot of people see this card for the first time playing my Type 4 pile and immediate comment that it’s pretty cool. I’m inclined to agree. Rocking out just like the guy on the card art, now you too can learn your A-B-Cs in glowing rune format and simultaneously trade in soon-to-be-exploded permanents (like a token swarm pre-Crater Hellion) for shiny new cards, which can also be SORTED from a significant collection.

There’s limitations on this card’s power, of course, in that in Type 4 you tend to not have a lot of permanents. In this case, it’s perfectly fair and self-limiting, which I’m ok with. I was initially worried about giving people the prospective power to draw their entire deck, even for a minute, but Type 4’s Commandments have held any real potential abuse in check and thus far I don’t recall the card doing anything that seemed degenerate; it does enable some very cool creative plays though.

HOPEFULLY THEY REPRINT IT SOON AS AN ETB CREATURE

Overall: Three horribly-contrasting picture subjects and background out of five