Review: Torchling

Draft Priority: 5

Impact: 5

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost.

Discussion:

ME LIEK TORCHLING

Here’s a diagram that helps demonstrate why.

torchling

 

Once Torchling resolves, the game changes because Torchling MAKES IT CHANGE. Drawing on the infinite mana around it, it creates a swirling vortex of shenanigans that no player can truly escape from until the Torchling expires. Attacks have to consider the Torchling’s limitless blocking capability, and as an attacker WITH Torchling, you have the ultimate diversion as your opponent’s STUPID creatures run off in pursuit of it’s pretty mane of flame while your other creatures creep towards the opposing planeswalker with shivs. Spells? Torchling can absorb a lot of them, or throw itself on the sword of a Doom Blade or whatever.

I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s a Morphling card and it’s good in Type 4. It’s not AS good as Morphling, of course, but the blue one isn’t as exciting as the red one (as usual) even if it is more efficient. Torchling is kind of like a Honda Civic of ass whooping in reliability, low maintenance, and accessibility, while Torchling is like that old snowmobile that you and your cousin rigged with wheels for inexplicable reasons. It’s of questionable quality, may sputter out at any moment, and utterly unsafe but it’s fun as hell to use while it’s working and people take notice.

smw

Surely not a cultural phenomenon limited to northern Ontario… right…?

Overall: Five SCIENCE out of five, Stacker Pentecost Glare of Approval

 

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Review: Treacherous Urge

 

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 5
Stacker Pentecost.

OH THE TREACHERY! THE PERFIDY!

– insert joke nobody will get –

You’ll be wailing just like that guy once somebody drops a properly-timed Treacherous Urge on you. For a while this was EDH tech for anti-Emrakul usage in my neck of the woods, and it did serve admirably, always getting a much-deserved hype reaction every time you actually pulled somebody’s spaghetti monster out of their own and and proceeded to molest them with it. Emrakul, being what it is, should give you some indication of how good this card is in Type 4.

I don’t think much explanation is needed about why it’s awesome, especially when you first realize it’s an Instant despite your mind telling you over and over it must be a sorcery. Amazing. One of my favourite things about this card is how mercurial the reaction to it’s play tends to be. Either you hit the jackpot on a Hellcarver Demon or something and spend it to the last time for all the hard times, or you go for bust and end up jacking somebody’s… nothing, at worst case I guess, in which case you look like a dick despite having very little real control over the whole thing.

Don’t wait; start training your creepy marionette to saw itself in half today.

Overall: Four and a half “I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League”s out of five

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: Teneb, the Harvester

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 4
Nucleus member. He should be all up in just about any stack

Discussion:

Let’s be real: outside Oros, who’s the knuckledragging loser of the bunch, the Planar Chaos dragons are just money. Like their Invasion forefathers, they work pretty well in-game and keep things flavourful, are pretty fair all-around, and also provided an excellent inspiration for people to play EDH as they struggled to put to use their one copy of Intet.

In Type 4 they don’t suddenly sell out, put on… heavily-tailored… dragon-suits and start working at a call-centre, then lining up to buy fancy overpriced coffees at lunch that cost like what they make in an hour, and it’s not really a coffee it’s more like a shitty, weird milkshake. No. They’re out there doing their thing: hustling 24/7 (except Oros who’s like… always bitching about how he’s ‘grinding’ when you know he’s pulling four hours a day TOPS on some part-time retail gig). Teneb doesn’t paticularly benefit from Type 4 rules more than the others, but he’s still an excellent creature to have around, especially since he makes his own friends.

Overall: Four Oros jokes out of five

Review: Deadwood Treefolk

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 2
Roleplayer. It’s not bad or anything, but it’s useful in various formats and doesn’t shine here.

Discussion:

Can you believe this is the only card with ‘Deadwood’ in the name in all of MtG? I found that unto itself to be very surprising… unlike this card’s effectiveness.

Now that you’re 100% hooked on reading this thanks to that superb lead, I realize I’ve unfortunately wasted my literary prowress on this card because there’s not much to say. It’s another grinder… it lumbers into work, smashing the doorframe to pieces because it’s so huge. It puts it’s tiny hat down at a desk and spends the rest of the day hammering away at Excel spreadsheets clumsily with it’s oversized fingers, ultimately getting just a little bit done–just enough not to get fired, but reliably getting that amount of work done, and that’s what matters to management. Mediocrity. Getting enough work done t keep the place afloat, but not to threaten the upper echelons with excessive hustle. Then, after a day’s labour, the Deadwood One puts the hat back on, pushes it’s way into a train and rides it back to the forest where it chills out for the remainder of the day.

Overall: Three normal-sized hats that look tiny on a giant treefolk out of five

Review: Volcano Hellion

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 5
Rock solid. This card is extra fun in Stack.

Discussion:

When it comes to firin ur lazor, not much is more dangerous than a lazor that sprays your very own vitality all over your opponents. It’s like trying to drown them in your own blood, one of the most treacherous and risky moves of all. This is the card equivalent. Granted, without cool setups like Stuffy Doll, Spitemare, and ways to give it lifelink guaranteed, it’s stock goes down, but it’s still eminently usable.

Granted, it’s actually kind of awesome in a blood-feud/vendetta-to-the-max kind of way. And given the type of creatures out there in Type 4, sometimes it’s worth it to burn over a quarter of your life total to get them off the board. It’s risky and rewarding, but at least you know you’ve got that Echo covered. The Hellion also coincidentally has an enormous body.

Overall: Three and a half Spitemares out of five

Review: Vorosh, the Hunter

Draft Priority: 2

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 2
Roleplayer. Sadly, this has really been busted down a few points by power creep and the overall nWo agenda of ‘creatures are the new sorcery’.

Discussion:

Now among the most basic of beaters, Vorosh’s stock has plummetted in recent years. It’s not a bad creature by any means, but now he’s that dude you knew in Junior High who seemed alright because he would do crazy stuff like jump down the stairs without protecting himself and smash bottles against his head. Now that you’re presumably an adult, every now and then you see him and he’s still smashin’ bottles and stuff. It’s just kind of depressing. Vorosh also has the unique failing of being too new a card to elicit ‘nostalgia sympathy’ from me, but too old to have benefited from the full force of the nWo agenda.

In short, this isn’t a bad card but it in no way warrants special attention. You can take it late in a draft and maybe every now and then you’ll actually get to use the pump ability.

One can only wonder what this card would be like if it were printed today.

Overall: Two smashed bottles out of five

Review: Fury Charm

Draft Priority: 1

Impact: 2

Stack Status: 1
Cut.

Discussion:

While I’d love to cover my tracks and claim this was included in my stack by accident, one can only sleeve up a card, put it into a clearly-labelled box, and see it get played with so many times before the veneer of that lie starts to peel.

I’m not quite sure why I didn’t cut this earlier. I mean, sure, it does some worthwhile stuff, but it’s just such a puny package and all of it is pretty situational. Artifact removal is generally important, but so much good stuff has been coming out lately that I feel the Fury Charm’s just getting pushed out.

This isn’t a bad card by any means, but it’s just not a very good Type 4 card.

Overall: One and a half poor excuses out of five

Review: Heroes Remembered

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 6
Stacker Pentecost for sure. a hilarious but trashy card that is suddenly pretty good in Type 4, and probably one of the strongest lifegain cards overall.

Discussion:

Straight-up lifegain cards tend to get shitted on a lot, and usually for a good reason but in Type 4 gaining twenty life can be enough to completely flip the script of a game. How many turns of your opponent’s activity is undone? How many direct-damage cards are effectively cancelled? Why is the mummy in the art turning his hands into flashlights?

This card fits the vibe of Type 4. Most lifegain is some piddly junk designed as a ‘skill tester’ in drafts, but this is the Urza’s Rage of lifegain. By virtue of scale alone it belongs in your stack, but add in the suspend factor and it’s a done deal. Suspending it on the first turn can create some pretty funny reactions at the table, all of which are likely to be decidedly less funny when you die to a Thunderous Wrath or something with your Heroes Remembered on the stack as it comes out of suspension.

Do yourself a favour and keep it in hand until you need it.

Overall: Four flashlight hands out of five

Review: Ana Battlemage

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 5
Overcosted, inefficient card with options that doesn’t see play anywhere? Of course it’s perfect in Type 4!

Discussion:

I wasn’t playing much when this card came out and I can’t remember how I found out about it, but when I did, I immediately blacked out and pissed myself thinking about how awesome it was for type 4.

“That’s a huge overreaction and certainly never happened, Andy.”

Entirely true, but for somebody who loved the Invasion battlemages so much, this card meant a lot to me. The Battlemages look awful for the most part now, left behind in the wasteland of obsolescence in the wake of the nWo’s design rampage. Once proud workhorses like Thornscape Battlemage look like Fred Ettish trying desperately to slug it out in a world that’s just too fast, competitive, and efficient for him to compete.

Despite holding some carve-out space in corner case formats nobody but me, my imaginary friends and my wife (who may also be imaginary) play, the Battlemages also exist in that special design purgatory populated by cards like Silver Knight and Serra Angel: ones you remember fondly and even did work in their day, but have been outclassed by new, delicious cardboard in lameass formats with rules like “mana limits” and don’t have the throat-rending impact or novelty to make the cut in Type 4.

Ana Battlemage isn’t playing that son. He’s at least on par with Mulldrifter, a card I previously addressed as mediocre, but you have the OPTION (very important if you’re the only one with an untapped fatty on deck) to also throw in a Delirium! In case you’re new, Delirium is pretty awesome in Type 4 is an eminently draftable. On a body that also provides three cards, even at sorcery speed, this is Battlemages nWo style. Draft it early and often.

Overall: Four bitter nostalgia-tinted memories out of five