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: 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: 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: Maelstrom Nexus

Draft Priority: 5

Impact: 5

Stack Status: 5
Stacker Pentecost.

Discussion:

With absolutely no *6* scores and–spoiler alert–no Glare of Approval, you might be wonder if after a couple hundred of these reviews whether I’m losing my touch.

Maybe you’re right.

…well… I guess that aside, there’s a good reason for that. This is an obviously-powerful card and I think the ratings reflect that but the random nature of cascade hampers it a lot, and that’s when you get to actually use it. For all that potential it carries, keep in mind that you need to cast spells to use the cascade, you can only cast one spell per turn, and a lot of those spells are going to be lower-cost instants on opponents turns trying to cascade into other low-cost instants. The result can be a sort of ‘traffic jam’ of spells where you’re flipping untimely counterspells and bounce spells that are good, but require precise application to make efficient and effective. Malestrom Nexus is like loading those into a shotgun and just spraying the scene.

Another side-effect is that if you get enough of those low-cost Cascades off, you find your deck is lacking those ‘transitional’ spells that give you a lot of your action and interaction, and you’re just drawing big, sorcery-speed windmill slammers. That said, if you get off enough triggers you’ll probably be winning by that point, so whatever.

Overall: Five lonely drinks out of five

Review: Predatory Advantage

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 2
Marginal bit player.

Discussion:

I’m never 100% sure on why I put this card into my stack int he first place. It’s obviously unspectacular, and not in the way Repulse is, because that’s also obviously functional; this card is just a blatant throwaway card by design, middling as they come with a neither-here-nor-there approach. I’m guessing if it wasn’t a rare, I never would have considered it stack worthy. There’s a good chance I just got tired of having it sit in my binder instead of getting some action.

So in it went, and it’s been consistently drafted low and put in mediocre performances. I’m hesitant to say it’s bad, though. Occasionally, it puts in a very good game, and it has a surprising amount of less-tangible impact in that it compels people to play creatures when they might not normally. That type of thing can be tough to measure, but I’ve personally felt a bit pressured to drop my Crater Hellion a bit early to wipe the lizards and prevent any more from popping up.

So I’m not cutting it yet, but when a more reliable, paced token producer gets discovered by me, I’ll likely get replaced. In smaller stacks, this can certainly stay on the bench.

Overall: Two “Crater Hellion solves everything”s out of five

Review: Flickerform

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 4
Staple fo sho. It’s something you can use over and over, so of course it’s good.

Discussion:

This card looks almost too good for Type 4 on the surface. It provides a repeatable ability that at the most innocent, can protect a creature like Exalted Angel from removal basically forever. That can certainly be problematic. But when you consider that Magic has slowly become Enters the Battlefield: The Gathering and this card starts to encroach the territory of potential madness. But in my experience, it can take over the occasional game but usually it’s pretty tame. There’s a few reasons for this.

One is that my Stack is made up largely of older cards where ‘sorcery plus good p/t lol’ wasn’t the rule for creature design. I only have a few Cratherhoof Behemoth-esque ETB creatures in my Stack because mostly I prefer old-school champions like Fungal Shambler. Creatures that do creature things and pay you out for getting them done instead of “I got a spell and the body is just a bonus”. So that tends to mitigate the impact of this card a good deal.

The other is that people I play with nuke a creature getting Flickerformed before the Aura gets attached to it usually. There’s that critical window of vulnerability and most people don’t want to let the silliness start.

The third is that Flickerform is kind of self-limiting. You can only use it to get the ETB ability once per turn, which can be bad, but not as horrendeous as just doing the ol’ “in-n-out” at will.

So I think this is perfectly fair, but be warned, whether that’s true in your own Stack is highly dependent on what type of creatures you put in.

Overall: Three and a half Craw Wurms out of five

Review: Diabolic Servitude

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 4
Boss status.

Discussion:

YO DAWG I HEARD YOU LIKE RECURSION SO WE GAVE YOUR RECURSION RECURSION BUT YOU CAN’T RECUR A RECURRED CREATURE AFTER THE ENCHANTMENT RECURS ITSELF

Diabolic Servitude was a step on the path to pre-Mystical Tutor Ban Reanimator in Legacy and probably the first semi-competent Magic deck I made. I saw the enchantment selling in a box of .50 cent uncommons, four in a row, and figured “well, that’s a pretty good deal.” I had no idea what I was getting into as I soon realized that I didn’t have to waste this card on recurring chump blockers but instead I could be discarding my Spirit of the Night and Thundermare to Abandon Hope and then bring them right back. It was a real turning point in MtG technology for me.

Diabolic Servitude maintains an interesting spot in the Magic world for being a ‘fair’ reanimation spell. It’s at a sweet spot where at four mana your opponent is likely to have some shields up, and in multiplayer the board is already developing; at the time it came out there wasn’t really a single creature you could resurrect that would totally ruin the board (these days we have a different story). It’s just a good, clean, fun card. And you know what? It still is in Type 4.

Overall: Four undead Thundermares comin for u out of five

Review: Yawgmoth’s Bargain

Draft Priority: *6*

Impact: *6*

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost obv, because you can’t play it anywhere else.

Discussion:

FEEL THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE

LET IT TURN YOUR HEART INTO A PULSING BLACK MASS OF UNBRIDLED EVIL

ACCESS CARDS AT WILL FOR THE ULTIMATE PRICE

THIS

IS

TYPE

FOUR

Other formats be like “lol unfair”. You would think that given the power of cards you’re likely to draw in the stack that this would make Bargain even more busted than it already is, but the limitations one one spell per turn combined with your opponents holding many high-impact game changers of their own tends to actually leave this card as close to fair as it’s ever likely to get. Sure, draw half your deck–and then get exploded by a few burn spells as your opponents gang up on you to relieve you of your remaining life total the the massive responsibility that giant grip of cards gives you.

In Type 4, Yawgmoth’s Bargain is perhaps the only mandatory first-pick in the game because it’s not just overwhelmingly powerful, but if it falls into the wrong hands it can spell doom.

Don’t be a sad cunt: just draft it.

Overall: Five “b& errywhere” cards masquerading as fair our of five, Stacker Pentecost Glare of Approval

Review: Safeguard

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost. It’s not very good elsewhere but amazing in Type 4.

Discussion:

Be honest: have you ever heard of this card, much less used it? The answer to both is probably ‘no’ for all two people who read this stuff once a month (tops). It’s another card turned into a powerhouse by both multiplayer context and limitless mana, going from a limited trap card that stunts your development and puts you on a permanent back foot to this guy at the multiplayer melee:

traffic

We straw hats now

Who attacks whom, and does it even do anything? YOU CONTROL THE FATE OF THE COMBAT STEP. It’s kind of like a superpower, though it’s sort of a predictable one. And yeah, it basically makes you invulnerable to attack while it’s in power. So why isn’t it 5s across the board in scores?

The issues are that it seems to make non-combat damage sexually attracted to you, since people realize they can’t necessarily kill you the traditional ‘bash his eyes out’ way. It’s also already sort of out there on the table so you can’t surprise anybody like you can with a good old Tangle.

As a result, it actually kind of ends up being more or a political tool than anything else, but it’s a very good one. This should be in virtually any Type 4 stack.

Overall: Four gardening traffic directors out of five

Review: Volition Reins

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost. This card is in an ideal environment in Type 4.

Discussion:

“C’mon guys, don’t steal my big creature, I haven’t even gotten to do anything with it yet.”

Have you ever heard that while grinding through a game with some EDH players scrubs? If so you understand the pleasure of a well-timed control enchantment spell like the old standby Take Possession. Here, in a new and upgraded form, Take Possession now goes the extra mile of untapping whatever crap you’re stealing, because after a while every dickhead starts trying to tap things before you take them away. This card’s tiny new effect is actually a big deal (getting a gigantic Draining Whelk you can block with VS one that will leave you open to revenge-killing?) and a magnificent “fuck you” to those jerkasses trying to deny you some pleasure.

After all, why would they do that? You’re not going to use the card on them probably, because then you LOSE it. What a bunch of short-sighted mental midgets trying to stunt your genius. It should probably be legal to sue people over Magic.

These cards are especially wonderful in Type 4 because the battlefield is bound to be rich with fabulous targets. Stealing somebody’s Prahv always gets a good creation.

Overall: Four and a half salivating lawyers out of five