Review: Skinthinner

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 5
Definite banger.

Discussion:

Well, we all know my policy on Morph creatures. Unless their effect is “when Durp King is turned face up, kick yourself in the dick as hard as you can”, it’s probably going to go into the stack. And even Derp King might make it as a ‘skill testing’ card. After all, you need as much Willbender Camouflage as possible. But Skinthinner is actually pretty good.

A useful effect that’s overcosted means this is exactly the type of card that deserves a chance at redemption int he loving infinite embrace of Type 4, and in that environment Skinthinner becomes another faithful utility player. Sure, he’s probably never going to burst out of that disgusting, weird morph-spider thing and single-handedly win you a game. But he’ll be there, time and time again with his disgusting trail of flesh sniping nonblack creatures and showing off his sick chains.

Just when you were 100% confident that it was a Willbender, it turns out to be a Skinthinner… which is a Willbender.

Overall: Three and a half Willbender Camouflages out of five

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Review: Shivan Meteor

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 3
Staple. Because it has a 13 on it and it’s awesome.

Discussion:

I really wish there were more cards that had this sort of flavour. That really pinpoint, total devastation. Is thirteen damage necessary? Absolutely not… UNTIL IT IS.

Which is ALL THE TIME.

Hitting a guy with a meteor is awesome so if you don’t like it go lay down and pee on yourself. While the card itself isn’t a top-tier removal spell, it’s not much good elsewhere and thirteen damage is actually a useful range in Type 4 so it slips into the stack on that basis alone. Then you factor in the excellent Suspend ability and then next thing you know Oxidda Scrapmelter and Hystrodon are stuck alone on the battlefield, quaking as they await their inevitable demise.

Use it because it’s fun. Use it because it works. Use it because it lets you hit people with a meteor.

Overall: Two and a half terrified Hystrodons out of five

Review: Wall of Denial

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 2
Borderline. It’s good but unspectacular.

Discussion:

I hate this card so much. It’s like everything I don’t like during games of Magic rolled into one card. “What? Nah I’m not really doin nothin… naw u cant either lol”.

Specifically designed for the slow-rolling control-obsessed type of dick who flicks his cards constantly and thinks Psychatog was the greatest deck of all time, Wall of Denial is a good card. Even though it only costs three mana, the combination of Shroud and a massive bum make it plenty effective in Type 4. I’m glad there isn’t a million-mana version of this that can block any number of creatures or something, but now I’m regretting that as I’m sure one of the many WotC employees who read this blog will get on that and it’ll cost six mana so it has to win the game.

Am I a bitter-ass hater? You bet. The amount of time my mans have stood there staring through this wall at my opponent trying to hate him out of the game with the sheer force of their meanmugging is higher than I’m comfortable admitting. But I keep it around because even a hater like me can admit some people (ASSHOLES) like this card and it does what it’s supposed to.

Overall: Two and a half overly-vitriolic posts out of five

Review: Boros Fury-Shield

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 3
Solid staple. Why NOT use it?

Discussion:

Fogs. We all know and love them. But you turn that Fog into a boiling mist of misery and redirection, and focus it narrowly with the power of raw hatred. Then you turn that Fog into a Fury-Shield.

This is a great common for Type 4. Find one and use it, laugh and bathe in the tears of rage your opponent flushes the table with after you convert their Krosan Cloudscraper feat. Enlarge against them causing their downfall. That’s really all this card does: makes your opponents pay with their lives for the sin of trifling with you, even though the sole objective of the game is inter-player trifling.

Still. Punishment, damnation, etc.

Overall: Three supervillian buzzwords out of five

Review: Temporal Aperture

Draft Priority: *6*

Impact: 5

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost obv

Discussion:

SPIN THE WHEEL

This lets you play cards without paying their mana cost. This is usually pretty cool. In Type 4 this is pretty dope for reasons related to Academy Standard rules. However, let’s be perfectly clear here; there is room for debate on whether this card is truly that awesome because of the wording of the rules.

In theory, the card revealed by the Aperture isn’t able to be cast be an alternative cost. Rather, the substitution effect of the Aperture effectively paying it’s mana cost is the ONLY means of casting it, so there’s no alternative. It’s like a more extreme and confusion version of how people sometimes think Flashback is an alternative cost. But remember, if it’s the only way the card can be played at a given time… it’s not an alternative. So no skirting the Third Commandment.

Unfortunately, this sort of deflates the card and virtually nobody thinks of that when they first see it. Instead they just get this look:

…and you know what? I got kinda tired of deflating people by pointing out the pedantic difference like a neckbeard. However, as a pedantic neckbeard, there’s also some debate over the wording of the card.

Looking closely at it, you “may play that card without paying it’s mana cost.” It doesn’t say you have to skirt the mana cost… only that you may play it. I know I sound like a lawyer trying to complicate things for personal gain here, and I sort of am. But looking at one of the Oracle rules clarifications, the plot thickens:

10/4/2004: While you do not have to pay the mana cost, you do have to pay any other costs described in the text that are paid when playing the card. If the cost in the card text is optional, such as with Buyback, you can optionally pay that cost.

Note it says “you do not have to pay the mana cost”, implying you may if you wanted to for some reason. And one of those reasons is Type 4.

You will note two things from this interpretation:

  1. This card is unbelievably good and fitting for Type 4
  2. I’m a loser

Overall: Five “uuuhhhm ACTUALLY” interruptions out of five, Stacker Pentecost Glare of Approval

Review: Dread Statuary

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 3
Borderline but serviceable. Good in big stacks.

Discussion:

Remember the Stalking Stones review? Well, Dread Statuary is a bit like an updated Stacking Stones, and thus is better in Type 4. It has a few upsides, the biggest of which is the ‘on/off’ nature of it’s creature status. This allows it to conveniently slip under the radar until needed, while ducking lots of board sweeps.

The thing is, among the competition, the Statuary just isn’t all that hype. He’s not flying over opponents to lay down the beats like Celestial Colonnade, and it won’t quite put int he work of Nantuko Monastery, but he can be called up when you need him to put on some hurt. Look at the Statuary as more of a stealth helper. He just sneaks in for four damage when needed, and can be thrown to the wolves when you need that chump block.

Basically, it’s a utility card through and through. Smaller stacks can skip on this guy but if you’re like me and you just keep adding cards, then this guy can earn a spot just because he adds another solid manland option.

Overall: Two and a half inoffensive utility players out of five

Review: Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion

Draft Priority: *6*

Impact: 5

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost all day.

Discussion:

You’re sitting there minding your own business when the jackass sitting across from you decides to attack you with his Laquatus’ Champion. It’s six damage, sure, but he already drained you when the Champion came into play and then you’ve taken the obligatory small attacks for 1 and 2 life here and there. you’d love to block said Champion but your opponent had a rebound Emerge Unscathed on tap so you can’t block him.

Suddenly, from the side, Sunhome. Now you’re dead because of a move by somebody not even involved in the combat.

That’s what this card does. It should be called “Sunhome, Fountain of Ragetears” because does it ever leave people mangled (no open caskets here, that face got stomped twice). There’s not a lot of hard counters to it, the effect is extremely powerful, and it can have tremendous influence on the board even when you don’t control any creatures yourself. You suddenly find yourself as the overseer of combat, a position that almost certainly comes with some kind of goofy hat. Almost all combat can be hugely influenced by your whim, and you’ll notice ‘gifts’ start to pour in to curry your favour.

But you’re uncorruptable. You treat all participants in the Count of Combat equally. Everyone gets double-striked.

Overall: Five hats symbolizing positions of power out of five, Stacker Pentecost Glare of Approval

Review: Storm Herd

Draft Priority: 5

Impact: 4

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost. 10 CMC omg

Discussion:

This is a very good, strong card in Type 4 because it costs ten mana and makes a lot of dudes. I mean… c’mon. You can presumably read.

This card’s rep is a bit overblown I think for Type 4, though. Sure, 10 CMC. But there’s a lot of ways to mess that up. Life totals disappear quickly in Type 4, often in single spells, so you aren’t always necessarily getting the value you wanted out of this; then there’s so many easy ways to make a pack of 1/1 creatures disappear we can’t even count them all. Unless the common EDH version of this spell where you get twenty to thirty creatures, in Type 4 you’re much more likely to squat out ten.

Is this a bad deal? Absolutely not, and the ratings reflect that. I just want to be clear that I don’t think this card is among the most elite Type 4 bangers just because it has Xes and big numbers on it, and you should be aware of that when drafting.

Another bitch: I would like the card better if it worked like so:

Overall: Four and a half cautions out of five

 

Review: Jaya Ballard, Task Mage

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 4
Rock solid roleplayer. Good in all kinds of Magic, but very good here too.

Discussion:

In the interest of full disclosure, this is right up there with Weatherseed Treefolk and Desolation Angel as one of my favourite Magic cards, so this review is biased as possible. I also have this dope-ass alter of this card, so…

Its fine to admit you’re mirin

…but even with all that aside I think this is objectively, a good card for Type 4 because it’s fun, versatile, encourages meaningful decision making instead of just being steamroller-powerful, but is unlikely to take over a game and have tons of fail safes that keep it from being overwhelming.

So, obviously, Inferno. Yeah, it’s money. But she kills herself in the process, making it a pretty serious loss of cards. Therefore, she’s often best if left on the field for a while sneaking in for two damage and sniping at vulnerable targets, then you flip the Inferno switch and suddenly fire everywhere. In this role she is an excellent utility hitter.

Should you skip that Stormtide Leviathan so you can play Jaya? Almost certainly not (unless you already have Loxodon Warhammer or something), but keep in mind she can kill the Leviathian. She’s good like that. She solves problems.

Overall: Three and a half dope alters out of five

Review: Patron the Nezumi

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost. It’s worth like fifty cents for a reason.

Discussion:

Back in the day I had a friend who owned a Last Laugh Magic deck. I’m sure everyone had a friend like that. I must admit I actually find Last Laugh to be an excellent card and wish there were more like it, and Patron the Nezumi is sort of a proto-nWo version of it but I’m ok with that. It unfortunately lacks the best part of Last Laugh–the hilarious chain reaction of death–but it’s probably a better card since it has very little chance of killing you, always a real risk with it’s spiritual predecessor.

It’s a decent ability that can go haywire sometimes tacked onto a big but stupid body. I mean… of course it’s good for Type 4. I’d hope you could figure this out on your own.

Overall: Four and a half Urza’s Armor out of five