Review: Slice in Twain

Draft Priority: 4

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 4
Must-have utility champion

Discussion:

I want to mark this card up for being the only Magic card with “Twain” in the title, but it doesn’t need any score padding. It’s one fo the best Disenchant variants available because it’s an instant that does ANYTHING and draws a card. In a format with limitless mana, I’m sure the appeal of this card isn’t lost. Like it’s crappier cousin Mystic Melting, this should essentially be in all Type 4 piles because it fills an important role in disruption while being something players will actively want to use; it won’t slow them down by consuming a main phase, it doesn’t cost them a card, and it can make a decent impact on the game.

It’s hard to ask much more of such an obvious throwaway design.

Overall: Four Twains out of five

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Review: Rockshard Elemental

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 4

Stack Status: 4
Willbender fo sho.

Discussion:

One of the most dangerous Willbenders out there, Rockshard Elemental is a very good Type 4 card because it produces memorable moments. Because of a combination of stealth, double-strike, and the available of absurdly powerful instant-speed pump cards flying around the table at basically all times, the Rockshard Elemental is a treacherous glass cannon, especially in a draft where lots of Willbenders have been drafted and you never know which one is actually a double-striking face devourer.

It takes very little to tip a Rockshard Elemental into one-hit-kill territory, and the funny thing is once one slips past blockers, it often becomes a pretty fun political mini-game to see if it can hit a player, get boosted, or get killed before contact (and then you have to worry about Fogs). Every interaction with Rockshard Elemental can mean death because of the other actors at the table. The morph-ability means you can cast it at low opportunity cost and have an improved chance to make contact with an opponent’s life total. It’s also a card that’s basically worthless otherwise, so really, this is one of the better creatures for Type 4 that won’t likely dominate games.

Overall: Four Morph apologists out of five

Review: Child of Gaea

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 4
Staple fo sho

Discussion:

Sometimes you want a fancy, elegant creature who can do ‘tricks’ and ‘outsmart’ somebody and sometimes you want to punch somebody in the neck so hard their neck becomes a second asshole. While that’s not possible, if it were, Child of Gaea would be one of your go-to sources for making it happen. It’s a rat… thing… with trees growing on it’s back. But it’s also huge, and obviously spends TONS of time in some kind of giant-sized gym for monsters doing sick routines and laughing at people who do Crossfit injuring themselves. A very prescient thing for a card printed in 1998.

Regardless, I like this type of card in my stack because it just propels a game towards victory for one player and nothing else. It’s ok on defense but obviously that’s less-than-ideal. You use it to end games by stomping people into spaghetti sauce. It’s also a useful historical touchstone as for a good while this really was one of the biggest and best beaters, overtaking old-school classics like Force of Nature. In ’98, this looked like some of the new stuff coming out does now when you put it neck to Child of Gaea.

Overall: Three and a half throwback beatdowns out of five

Review: Lost in the Mist

Draft Priority: 5

Impact: 5

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost.

Discussion:

The done did it here. Referred to as “Trapped in the Closet” for a long time in my group (then transitioned into “Urban Opera” before finally reclaiming the proper title of “Lost in the Mist”), this card is a real Type 4 powerhouse that meets all the criteria for being an awesome Type 4 card. It’s common, cheap, terrible in other formats, and has a tremendous impact on the board. Even if there’s not a particularly opportune spell to counter, somebody is casting something all the time and if you need an emergency bounce spell you can usually find a way to make it happen. It also let us reference R. Kelly, probably the most important thing of all.

itic

 

Hmm Real Talk

This is obviously dissolving into an R. Kelly reference-fest, which isn’t bad, but not why you read this stuff (like anybody does).

Anyway, Lost in the Mist is a real powerhouse counterspell, maybe one of the best in the format. A surprise hit!

Overall: Five “Did she say there were other guys there?” out of five, Stacker Pentecost Glare of Approval

 

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

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

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: Beast Attack

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 4
BEAST ATTACK

Discussion:

BEAST ATTACK

A card with a name like that isn’t here to fuck around. It’s here to do one thing… twice… I guess. MAKE BEASTS

AND THEN U GOTTA ATTACK WITH EM

Although you can use it as a blocker (which is especially satisfying when you use it to surprise-block somebody looking for a little poke with a stupid utility creature and you scream BEAST ATTACK at their neck and rip up the creature the beast blocks), it’s obviously meant more for ATTACKing. But since I can’t be everywhere at once yet enforcing this, use it however you see fit.

TO ATTACK

Overall: BEAST ATTACK

Review: Stormtide Leviathan

Draft Priority: *6*

Impact: *6*

Stack Status: *6*
Stacker Pentecost.

Discussion:

I know I’ve mentioned this creature in passing a few times when referencing generally-awesome Type 4 creatures. There’s a reason it’s one of my go-to mental bookmarks in Type 4–it’s just one of the best creatures for the format, period. And it does it all without having some crazy activated ability that exploits infinite mana or a stupid ETB ability. No, instead, just just puts everyone on an island.

The way a Stormtide changes the game is pretty much immeasurable. The game starts to revolve around the mammoth creature, but not in the shitty way. It’s enjoyable. The guy with his stupid horde of tokens is suddenly rethinking his whole game, desperately looking for a way to kill the Leviathan. The guys who have been getting beat down are looking for ways to protect it and keep it around. It might just look like a stupid brute-force beater on the surface, but in multiplayer it’s much more interesting and fun than that.

It’s simple, powerful, and costs more than six mana. What else could you ask for?

…well, maybe a retroprint from The Dark with Quinton Hoover art…

Overall: Five Tidal Krakens in the unemployment line out of five

Review: General’s Regalia

Draft Priority: 3

Impact: 3

Stack Status: 4
Rock solid. It’s only good here, anyway.

Discussion:

If you’re anything like me–and I sincerely hope you are not, for your own good–you love throwing other people under the bus. You’ve reached that advanced level of thought where you know responsibility is ridiculous and life is easier if you just let somebody else eat shit for your own mistakes. General’s Regalia is like that in card form (unfortunately, not Pog form, but perhaps that is one day coming). Got a man? Somebody attacking you? Aaah, fuck it. He can take it. Burn spell? lmao @ creature.

While in effect this can serve as a Fog, it’s a fairly effective deterrent to damage in the first place as long as you have creatures. But there’s the dark flip side–people start looking for ways to directly kill your creatures. The Regalia doesn’t have a neutral impact at all–if just shifts people’s focus in my experience. Because of that you need to play it carefully. It’s true the creature you get in Type 4 are generally more robust if not indestructible, but it’s still easy to kill them with the Regalia’s effect.

So, is it great? No. But it’s TERRIBLE everywhere else and usable in Type 4, and that alone pretty much warrants inclusion.

Overall: Three and a half “is he kidding?” moments out of five