Review: Crookclaw Transmuter

Draft Priority: 1

Impact: 1

Stack Status: 2
It’s just not good.

Discussion:

We live in a time submerged in mysteries. One of those would be “why the fuck is this card in my Type 4 stack?”

Well, there’s actually a simple answer; it has Flash, which immediately provides it with some kind of value in a format with limitless mana. And in the interest of fairness, the effect can occasionally make a minor difference. But at the end of the day, this card doesn’t do much. It sucks.

Overall: One and a half overly-honest reviews out of five

Advertisements

Review: Arc-Slogger

Draft Priority: 1

Impact: 1

Stack Status: 1
Cut.

Discussion:

Arc-Slogger puts me in a tight spot. Because he’s my man, and while he has haters, you’re busy posting sniping comments about him on message boards while he’s out partying with B-list (le’s be honest) celebrities, zapping motherfuckers dumb enough to try to slide up on his girl, and just going around beasting like you’d exactly some kind of non-socially-conscious Russel Brand type character to be up to. While I’ve always had a soft spot for the Slogger because of Mirrodin draft, I can’t really give him a great score here because I’m reviewing cards from the standpoint of the Academy Standard game mode in Type 4.

There, he’s liable to get in two zaps–AT BEST–before he causes you to lose the game. A 4/5 with ‘do four damage, then lose’ is pretty unimpressive. So in Academy Standard, he sucks. Full stop.

I have kept him around for a while because he’s a lot better in some other game modes like Single Stack and Blind Decks. But we don’t play those as often, and the reality is poor Arc-Slogger is a card people resent getting pushed. Half of it is their messageboard-gater jealousy, and half is that he really does suck during the game. But it adds up to Arc-Slogger getting cut.

Overall: One and a half ostrich turtlenecks out of five

Review: Crab Umbra

Draft Priority: 1

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 1
Cut

Discussion:

Crab Umbra does exactly one thing: enables infinite combos.

Granted, that’s not entirely true; it also enables your opponents to make terrible choices like drafting it early and slapping it on a random monster as a sort of pseudo-vigilance thing. As stated previously, this is terrible. Actually, in general, Crab Umbra is a pile of shit until you put it on somebody with an activated ability with a tap cost. At that point, it becomes insanely good.

As a result, this has the same problem as Voltaic Construct; it’s terrible until it’s too good, and then it’s just game-ending (most of the time–sometimes it just goes on Visara the Dreadful or whatever). This kind of extreme contrast makes the card a pain in the ass. Nobody wants to draft it, but somebody has to take it either by push or out of responsibility, knowing it needs to be hate-drafted because of previously taken cards. Ths isn’t very much fun, and it’s even more miserable when you’re in a clutch situation and you end up drawing this as your next big play.

In general I think it’s wise to avoid this type of card for Type 4. Try to get cards that are consistently fun and rewarding independently, and if they work well with others, that’s a tremendous bonus.

Overall: One and a half CRAB PPL out of five, cut

Review: Creeping Mold

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 1
Cut.

Discussion:

As much as it pains me to cut a card from Visions, Creeping Mold is just outdated. It has to go.

There’s so many sleeker, more fun and more popular options than it available now that it really gets outshone most of the time. And then there’s that whole ‘sorcery’ thing, which is upsetting to players in a draft situation to say the least. It virtually always gets pushed, and then asking somebody to give up a main phase spell for such a plebian effect is a pretty tough negotiation. Top it off with the power creep of these type of noncreature removal spells, and the additional of more and more ‘EDH playable’ similar cards like Rain of Thorns, and Creeping Mold just gets muscled out of the stack.

I think you would need a truly obese pile of cards to justify it’s inclusion at all anymore. It’s not that it’s a bad card by any means, it’s just not keeping up with the times. If this was an instant, those ratings would be all 4+. But it’s a card from a different time and had different standards during creation, and you can’t get too mad about it unless you’re an irrational loser like me.

Overall: One and a half “aah mold on my back” arts out of five

Review: Vithian Renegades

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 1

Sack Status: 1
Cut.

Discussion:

Well… they had a reasonable run, I guess. They had heart. I think they’ve been in the stack flying just below the mighty scythe of the cuttin’ radar for maybe three years, before this came up and the purge began. Before the Dark Times. Before the Academy.

Before every card was scrutinized and it’s in-game performance or lack thereof was recalled in memory, then put to the mettle with testing and various drafting methods. You tried to hang in there like the Renegade you are, but in the end, being a slightly-better Manic Vandal just doesn’t cut it anymore. There’ bigger Manic Vandals out there, and there’s obviously better spells. The simple fact is that nobody wants these guys.

Maybe they could make the cut in a truly massive stack, but mine is pretty big and they’re gone. So you’d need like… one of those double-column, 2000-card boxes as your stack, at which point I’d think the quality was… reduced.

Overall: One and a half radar sickles, cut

Review: Tatsumasa, the Dragon’s Fang

Draft Priority: *6*

Impact: *6*

Stack Status: 1
Cut.

Discussion:

The scores… they don’t… hnnnng

 

The fact is this card is so baller in Type 4 that it kind of breaks some people, and ends up ruining the game. Granted, this is based on a small test with the same few people multiple times, so I’m not sure if their highly salinized tears would be the same reaction as every group would produce. I consider putting this back into my Stack from time to time because as I said, it’s bombtastic. But it also notably degenerates games.

Is it a sword that gives the creature carrying it a HUGE boost? Well, yes, until you try to get rid of it… then it’s a dragon that can also kill you, and when the dragon dies it become the sword again.

So yeah. Pretty good. Not unstoppable by any means–there’s all kinds of tricks that will handle the token–but the issue is that type of removal is a relatively narrow band of cards that might not even end up getting drafted, and then the game can quickly devolve into a struggle over Tatsumasa. This can be some kind of fun, but not one the people I’ve played with seem to be all that into.

So I cut it. Is that a deserved cut? I can’t help but wonder. Try it for yourself. Depending on your group’s attitude and the amount of stuff that can actually exile the dragon token or whatever, maybe it’ll be fine and just serve as a real bangin’ card instead of a game-dominating beast.

Overall: Five exposures of your nonsensical ranking system out of five, cut

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: Naturalize

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 1
Cut.

Discussion:

There’s shades of similarity here with the Fog situation. While Naturalize isn’t O.G. like the ol’ chickendisk, it’s still a staple card that people know about and fills a very solid utility role in the world of Magic–and a crucial one for enjoyable games of Type 4. The issue is that the following cards exist:

naturalize

Overall: One and a half chickendisks out of five, cut

 

Review: Fog

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 2
Borderline, but cut.

Discussion:

This makes me want to go into some crazy tribal mourning-dance type of stuff where I rip my shirt open and start screaming at the heavens, but… I’m cutting Fog from my stack.

Yep, Fog. The O.G. Fog.

“But Andy, you’re always going on about Fogs being essential and Fogs being the new fast mana! How can you wipe out the original cool?”

Trust me, my friend, it’s not without tremendous consideration and much hand-wringing. But the fact is (and you know I had to fall back on this excuse) WotC also realizes that Fogs are super-dope, and they print a lot of really good ones. The sad reality is that the old model, while an undisputed classic, is being left behind in the Type 4 world of free mana and single spells. Why draft Fog over Terrifying Presence, Tangle, or even the recently-review Serene Sunset? There are some reasons but in general, the old Fog just can’t keep up. There’s a new breed of crazier, more powerful and versatile Fogs nipping at it’s heels and it’s finally getting passed.

So, here’s to the one that started it all. Thank you for your service.

fogs

Overall: Two honourable discharges out of five

Review: Drastic Revelation

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 1
Cut.

Discussion:

I’m aware that given those numbers above, nothing seems to make sense. Up is down, numbers is numbers, and the flavour text for this card is sort of starting to describe this review. But as usual, there’s simple explanation for a card with relatively good scores getting cut…

nobody likes this card.

For all the pontificating about a fairly dumb card game that happens online and on my site in particular, sometimes you don’t need to worry about the technical details. Sure, we could sit around like “hmmm well the reality is this card represents a significant gain for decks that quickly deplete their hand, along with potential synergy with graveyard and madness effects” but honestly…

– insert cake joke here – – pukes –

The reality is this card always got pushed in a draft, rarely got played, and even when it did, nobody seemed happy, including the caster. It’s just that simple. Nobody wants this card around so it can go get messed elsewhere. Sometimes, you just need to listen to what people are saying instead of worrying about some hyper-refined system of card selection.

So long Drastic Revelation, nobody wanted you around anyway.

Overall: One and a half ‘laboratories’ out of five