Review: Reaper of the Wilds

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 4
Staple fo sho.

Discussion:

A champion brawler who also does… something else. Activated abilities that provide a meaningful mana sink. Pretty dope art, I guess. What else can you ask for? Well, a reasonable power and toughness that makes it reasonably dangerous without making it capable of dominating a game. You get that and you sort of have the total package for a Type 4 card, and this card is still badass without infinite mana.

Creatures die. With Reaper of the Wilds up in this piece, it’s actually almost guaranteed some creatures are going to be hitting the pooper in short order. Scry is good, and repeatable scry is even better. On offense or defense, the Reaper is practically unbeatable in a straight-up fight. There’s no complex strategies or subtle tricks to playing this card; just do what it’s obviously telling you to do. You know, that faint whispering in your ears you hear at night when you’re lying awake? It’s like, “Start a fire in your neighbour’s basement… nobody will know. You’ll be fine… the lighter is right there…” and then before you know it you’re prowling across the lawn half-naked with a lighter and your neighbour’s dog is barking like wild. You kind of realize what’s going on and go back to bed feeling terribly unsatisfied.

…wait…

Overall: Four ARSON CARDS out of five

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Review: Vile Requiem

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 2
Borderline.

Discussion:

This has always been a cornercase card. But the warped rules of Type 4 and overall slop of the format give some more tolerance for personal favourites like this guy. I like the whole cycle of verse counter cards, even if they aren’t very good. I had this guy sitting around and figured, “why not?” WotC evidently agrees with me as they chose to reprint this is a recent product, which was pretty surprising.

Anyway, the effect can range from worthless to entirely backbreaking. Get it down first turn and watch people exchange nervous glances about it. Nobody wants to be the on to waste a card on killing it, but as soon as it has one counter on it, people start treating you differently. Why should they provoke you and have to lose a creature? In that sense, it’s a fun political card. The generally lower creature counts of Type 4 games also help elevate it’s value a bit, but don’t expect miracles. This is a third-tier card at best. If your stack is fairly large, go ahead and throw it in with tempered expectations.

Overall: Two non-Christmas Specials out of five

Review: Terror

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 3
Staple.

Discussion:

One of the Oest of OG creature removal spells, Terror is the perfect storm of excellence. Ron Spencer art? Check. Incredibly awesome old-school wording? Obviously. A pretty good effect that still plays well today? Of course. Consider we’re still getting slight tweaks on this card like Doom Blade and they’re seeing serious competition play and you know Terror was doing it up rightwise for like twenty years. It’s too bad old copies of this card are so expensive now because having the original wording just makes the card better in Type 4, but even the new art with the three guys… or skeletons… or whatever you’d say, eating each other is perfectly passable.

Speaking of renditions, Terror is one of the few cards that was never graced by truly shat art despite getting many reprints. There’s only three arts and they’re all pretty good. Some people debate the Mirrodin one but I like it, at least. The art is clearly related to the name and the effect. It’s all you can really ask for when most cards are looking more and more like generic comic book panels with little relation to the game.

There’s not much you can say about a card like this. It’s like trying to review oatmeal.

Overall: Two and a half decades of getting wrecked by this card out of five

Review: Night Dealings

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 4
Rock solid.

Discussion:

You can’t just be like “yo Night Dealings” when you play it. You should be whispering it, wished, drawing it out a bit to build up it’s presence and create an appropriate atmosphere. You should be like “Night Dealingssssss“. Maybe emphasize the fight syllable of “Night” and pause briefly.

Night         Dealingsssssss

…that’s how we get it done. That’s how you give this card the RESPECT it deserves. Night Dealings is great because it’s not overpowering, it’s self-limiting, and for dolts like me, it lets you look at your deck so you can have some idea of what’s inside of it, which helps.

I suppose I could have scored this card higher in a few respects. But in terms of Draft Priority, it’s rarely going to be first-pick materal. It might be if you already have a lot of quality thugs, instants and some card draw, but then you could draft just about anything. It’s pretty Impactful, no doubt, but it’s also only able to work if you’re already doing good things, so it usually won’t single-handedly reverse you a game (thought it’s great to help clinch a victory). And for Stack Status, I guess this could be higher but I’ve seen this card used more and more to good success in other formats, so I thought a four was fair.

Night         Dealingsssssss

 

Overall: Four dramatic pauses out of five

Review: Karador, Ghost Chieftan

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 4
Solid staple fo sho.

Discussion:

This card ended up swapping places in my mind with The Mimeoplasm after they had been released and got some pretty serious play at my local groups. I was intially worried that Karador would eb the big enabler for extremely boring, slow, repetitive graveyard recursion decks but the truth was the Mimeoplasm ended up being worse. Part of this is because Karador is relatively fair with lots of innate balancing, and part of it was there’s no blue in his colour identity. Either way, I’m pleased to report Karador should go into just about any stack, but can go into them safely without much fear of producing too many groans.

The fact is that by himself, he sucks. He needs the game to develop, and can only draw on tricks your opponents have presumably already dealt with. It just means he’s very good without threatening to overpower the game. While he can be a bit crazy with some of the Flash creatures if you can combine it with a means to sacrifice them (Bogardan Hellkite jumps to mind), those are rare Rube Goldberg machine scenarios that are still disruptable at many points.

Factor in the fact that he has an awesome ghost bear partying up with him on the side and there’s no substantial reason to protest using Karador in any stack.

Overall: Four reversed expectations out of five

Review: Clutch of the Undercity

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 5
Stacker Pentecost.

Discussion:

It seems like I’m getting to review a lot of really good bounce spells lately. In that category of cards, this is a top-tier elite. Universal target opportunities, some life loss on the side, and a very powerful Transmute value for finding utility instants like Return to Dust, various counterspells, Turnabout and so on–there’s just a lot of good cards at the four mana slot. But often you’ll want to keep this around for what it is–and extremely useful and versatile bounce spell.

Don’t think too much, just take it. The only reason the draft priority is 3 is because people tend to undervalue this spell so often you can take it a bit late, but don’t be that guy who hopes it tables one more time while you take some other mediocre pick, confident you’re outsmarting everyone else.

You’re probably not. At least, I know I’m not.

Overall: Four sewer muggings out of five

Review: The Mimeoplasm

Draft Priority: *6*

Impact: 5

Stack Status: 5
Stacker Pentecost (again!). Nothing special about it for Type 4, but it’s so good.

Discussion:

I’m torn. Help me.

I hate this card so much, but at the same time I love it dearly. Here’s the deal; at the time, when it was spoiled, I was pretty giddy. Reasons included the name, Ooze creature type, and the fact that it looks pretty goddamn dangerous on paper. I was also looking forward to the possibilities of creating superbeast versions of regular creatures, piecing them together form whatever the graveyards provided in a sort of MacGuyver-meets-The Undertaker sort of way. That sounds tremendous to me.

Unfortunately, as I should have suspected for a card in this colour combination, it immediately turned into a card that represented the most degenerate and least interesting archetype of EDH deck (the graveyard recycling deck with some easy, built-in combos) where there was little improv, but a lot of easy setup into effortless wins. Why I didn’t see this coming is beyond me. I guess I’m just kind of stupid. I would have loved to see it only work on cards in other player’s graveyards.

But I do like it in Type 4 because there, you are pretty much forced intot he improvisational role by not only having no knowledge of your card pool before the game, but by how fast the game changes. And with the type of creatures Type 4 has access to, you are liable to see 10/10 Kaho, Minamo Historians and such, which is beautiful in a strange way.

Ultimately, to deny The Mimeoplasm top ranks and a Glare of Approval would be an academic mistrial. It is truly excellent for Type 4. But I still give it a sort of narrowed-eye glare every time I see it, because it really did help shit up an entire format for a while.

Overall: Five giant utility creatures out of five, Stacker Pentecost Glare of Approval

Review: Tainted Strike

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 4
Staple fo sho.

Discussion:

This costs only one mana. What a stupid card

…or is it?

Well, sort of. It’s the ultimate stupid gimmick card, but there’s so many dumb gimmicks that it’s worth using because they’re all kinda funny when they happen. I guess in a way Tainted Strike is a bit like a charm card, where it has a few modes.

One negates damage from a creature, as unless it’s going to do over ten damage, there’s no many other ways to do poison counters in the stack, if any. But it’s a high-risk move as when you hit that Dragon Mage or whatever and suddenly your man shouts about some Might of Oaks, you’re boned.

Another is ghetto creature removal or weakening, as it turns even a sacrificial attack into an effective way to diminish a big dangerous beast.

The third is the intended mode, I guess, where you one-shot somebody with poison counters. Also the least exciting and most maddening.

Overall pretty good.

Overall: Three “what” out of five

Review: Laquatus’s Champion

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 5
Stacker Pentecost

Discussion:

I don’t know how Laquatus’s Champion managed to get so swole, because I don’t know if his… uh… upper appendages are even able to carry weights and stuff the conventional way. I don’t want to accuse him of juicing, but I’m just… y’know… sayin’. Those gains look crazy.

Anyway, give this some thought. This is a seriously evil looking monster. Tentacles? Check. Cyclops? Check. Generic fiery background? Check. Creature type NIGHTMARE HORROR? Check. And he’s repping this poncy gentleman?

It’s like… what? He seems a little too dark for Laquatus. Even if it’s supposed to be his evil enforcer working muscle jobs behind the scene it just doesn’t seem to fit to me. I’m sure there’s some (incredibly boring or overwrought) story explanation, but just by looking at the cards I’m 100% confident Laquatus is going to get eaten by his own champion by accident.

All that aside, if you don’t think this card is awesome you’re stupid and you have stupid opinions. The Champ is a durable, strong offensive option who can often function as a simple burn spell to kill a player offer unexpectedly. That’s delicious. Given his regenerate, the low toughness borders on irrelevant as most spells that would kill him outright would also kill most Type 4 creatures. This guy can be drafted a bit late as people are accustomed to nWo powercrept creatures, but the Champ holds up pretty well tot he test of time.

Overall: Four mismatched goons out of five

Review: Praetor’s Grasp

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 3
Staple.

Discussion:

First point: the Praetors are stupid, I hate their stupid name/title, and the cards were shitheads.

But I have to admit, this one is pretty dope because it’s a Jester’s Cap-style effect. Those are always awesome, and this card’s predecessor Grinning Totem is fun as well (and also very good in Type 4). But Praetor’s Grasp is especially good because of the way it interacts with the Third Commandment. You’re basically burning your own main phase spell for a non-spell. Then, the question is do you take a powerful instant to cash in on immediately? Or risk waiting to play a big creature or sorcery on your next turn? The applications are endless, as are the mind games, because you don’t actually show anybody what you’re stealing out of their decks. It’s psychological warfare, and it pretty much rules.

Overall: Three and a half stupid new creature types out of five