Review: Gigapede

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 2
Marginal… if we’re begin honest.

Discussion:

My fondness for Gigapede is essentially boundless. Having long been a card-carrying member of the Deadly Insect fanclub (I shit you not, I carried one around forever in my wallet related to a draft victory on the Insect’s back), of course I’m going to be all-in on a Giga version of one of my favourite creatures. It’s no Weatherseed Treefolk, but it’s up there in my favourite cards and I built decks using this guy in all kinds of ways. From Madness to renimation enabling and everything else you can think of a scrub Magic player tries at some point, you know me and Deadly Insert were posted up in the lab with a pen and a pad tryina get this damn label off.

In Type 4, where card advantage is at a premium, even Main Phase is a turning point and individual cards are explosively powerful, Gigapede kind of gets left behind. It pains me to say it. This card just can’t make the cut in smaller-sized stacks, though. Is it good? Sure. Given a little support it can be crazy as your opponents try to tear out their hair to find a way to kill it without blocking. But that’s only rarely the case, and people don’t often find it’s worthwhile to use (very slow) the recursion ability.

In short, my and Gigapede are still bros, and he gets plenty of play in 60-card formats where my Gigapede/Tortured Existence deck is literally the strongest deck in Magic history. But in Type 4, he’s part of an expanded roster.

Overall: Two and a half reviews that feel like betrayals out of five

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Review: Hystrodon

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 3
Staple. It’s a very good creature but nothing more or less.

Discussion:

Here’s another card I’ve always kind of liked, but has never been exceptional. But it says “draw a card” so it’s probably pretty useful. I also respect the use of any Magic card monster chasing down innocent antelopes, beasting on them in order to draw their controller cards. I also get the impression from that scale wildlife that this giant thing springs out of a much smaller morph ‘shell’, which is probably pretty dope physics-wise.

So, it has a combination of good abilities–morph, trample, drawing cards–but it’s only a 3/4. Given people are going to0 be assuming it’s a 1/2 regardless, the 3/4 is actually not a half bad size as it might trample over some chump blocking utility creature they imagine will be safe. But most creatures are going to demolish it in combat, so you need to play it carefully if you want to keep up the deception that it’s a Willbender or a Krosan Cloudscraper. Attack into grossly unfavourable-looking matchups or just go for the bonus poke against ‘undefended’ players. Maybe alternate between the two. The problem is that once Hystrodon falls down and bumps his head, then switches it on ’em, the gig is up. Everyone knows it’s a relatively weak creature that they don’t want to let make contact with a player.

It’s still plenty playable, but don’t expect miracles. Get a two cards and six points of damage, a chump block, and let the Hystrodon die with pride.

Overall: Three Krosan Willbenders out of five

Review: Quicksilver Dragon

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost. Finally, it can live up to it’s full potential.

Discussion:

I remember cracking a Quicksilver Dragon in high school and thinking it was incredibly cool, but in practice, it was pretty much a piece of shit. Let’s break down why.

3 Mana: Initially played, face-down

– one turn transition where you can’t flip him over, so it’s just a 2/2 sitting there vulnerable to sneezes –

5 Mana: Flip face-up

– or maybe not, because you want an extra mana for the gimmick –

1 Mana: Redirect single-target spell

6 Mana: Play normally

– still short on gimmick mana –

So, essentially, you’re looking at a minimum investment of nine mana to come even close to getting the full potential of this card over time. At the same period of Magic history you could have easily killed your opponent with a Goblin Piledriver by this point so Quicksilver Dragon was deservedly scorned and driven to the world of questionable-quality casual 60×4 decks, an arena where I never saw it looking particularly good either.

Suddenly, Type 4. Where we don’t need to worry about mana anymore. There all Morph creatures are of higher value because they get around the Third Commandment. Where you don’t need to be stalling one mana constantly to keep Quicksilver Dragon’s whole gimmick online.

Doesn’t this seem like it makes a lot of sense? Well, it does. Quicksilver Dragon is pretty good in Type 4, and it’s effect is even kind of like a Willbender, which is good because it is a Willbender probably anyway.

Overall: Four and a half Willbenders out of five

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

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: Broodhatch Nantuko

 

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 5
This is a real Type 4 card. It’s pretty much only good here, and it’s definitely enjoying it’s time to shine.

Discussion:

Full disclosure: I really like this card, I always have, and I’ve had decks that involved everything from making people attack me using Bullwhip to block with this to hitting it with Shivan Meteor. Broodhatch Nantuko is my Insect Druid staple. I use it in enough decks that the Willbender rule has a caveat when playing against me: if Andy has a morph creature, it may be a Nantuko Broodhatch (which is actually a Willbender).

But this card is genuinely good in Type 4. It’s certainly not ‘good’ in the traditional sense elsewhere. It also represents a nightmare so terrifying WotC has probably designed this card with Illuminati consent (of course subject to their exterterrestrial Masters’ approval) to subliminally spread a nightmare that can hold the globe in an icy grip of fear.

It’s a bug, right? Gross, already. But then you put the bug on smash and suddenly, MORE BUGS. Before you know it, despite you best Whacking Day-inspired efforts, you’re ending up with this type of fiasco:

Wu-Tang for life

…actually, that guy looks pretty ok with it.

Overall: Four Killa Bee Swarms out of five

Review: Riptide Shapeshifter

Draft Priority: 1

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 2
Questionable, and ultimately cut. While this is essentially the only format this card can be good in, it presents too many challenges even in Type 4.

Discussion:

I think this is a partial inspiration for this card, in a time-travel sort of way. You know what I mean. Basically, WotC has a time machine and isn’t sharing because they’re dicks, and they went forward in time to hijack some new ideas for sets. While chillin in the future they happened to catch this episode of South Park while two WotC time travel interns were playing Magic on their hotel beds (lying prone with their legs kicking idly little little girls on the phone, obviously). One guy was probably playing a Polymorph deck with SIGNIFICANT Homarid sub-themes… so we ended up with this masterpiece.

See how I paint vivid pictures? The fact that I don’t have a Nobel Prize for Awesomeness makes me want to puke out my butt.

Anyway, this card seemed cool for Type 4 but the reality is it basically sucks because of the way you get your decks. Either you draft them (and have no control over creature types, thus requiring you to remember whether Stalking Vengeance is an Avatar or a Spirit and so on) or you have no idea what your deck is and this card is effecitvely a vanilla 3/3 you can sacrifice to take a chance. People hated getting pushed this card and drawing it during play was just like drawing a dead card or a Trained Armodon, although the Armodon would be awesome because at least you can claim you’re trying to give your opponents a chance.

It’s just not very good, so it got cut.

Overall: One and a half Crab People out of five, cut

Review: Spy Network

Draft Priority: 1

Impact: 1

Stack Status: 1
I honestly think this ended up in the Stack by mistake.

Discussion:

Quick, shut up and think: is there any card that results in more physical activities at the time of casting than Spy Network?

1)      Tap mana

2)      Display Spy Network

3)      Spy Network presumably resolves (for the love of all that is good, please don’t spend a counterspell on it), so you put it in the pooper

4)      Target player reveals their hand to you

5)      You look at the hand

6)      You return that hand to the player, or their hide it again

7)      You peep the top of that player’s deck

8)      Flip over face-down creatures for a glimpse at the truth

9)      Grab your own top four

10)  Reorganize said top for

11)  Return to the top of the deck

You just were party to eleven actions for one mana, and guess what it accomplished? Sweet dick all. I guess if you’re one of those really gross fatasses that I keep hearing about but not seeing much of at Magic events, if you build a deck of forty Spy Network and twenty Islands you might get a good workout.

Concrapulations, ur winder.

I don’t know how this ended up in my stack, but it’s out now thankfully.

Overall: Half of an NSA analyst trying to find crypto-subversive content on this site out of five

Review: Seedborn Muse

Seedborn Muse

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 2
Marginal. A great card in other formats that actually gets worse here.

Discussion:

A powerhouse in many casual formats (particularly Commander), the green Muse’s song is a lot less alluring in Type 4. With a lack of overall permanents and the absence of a mana base to recharge, the Muse’s effectiveness is limited to a roleplayer and support card for already-powerful cards like Kahmal, Pit Fighter or Planar Portal. The Muse’s small body and relatively low board impact make casting her without items on deck to take advantage of her a questionable use of your sorcery-casting opportunities.

Take it if you have a few cards that tap, but don’t pass over A or B draft material for it.

Overall: Two disappointed EDH players out of five

Review: Arcanis the Omnipotent

Draft Priority: 5

Impact: 5

Stack Status: *6*
Boss. Arcanis sees play all over the place but is more at home in the stack. In some stacks without ample countermagic, Arcanis might actually be a bit oppressive, but I would have to see it to believe it.

Discussion:

With infinite mana, Arcanis goes from being that cool-but-corny guy who can give you all kinds of trivia on demand into the intellectual equivalent of The Terminator. Sure, you can slow him down, you can make him pause shortly, but he’ll be back, and after a short time he’s going to drive a handful of cards through the poorly-constructed façade of your board position and reduce your whole existence to ruin.

Overall: Five awesome original flavor texts that they made worse later out of five