Welcome back to day two of our Dragon's Maze set review. Yesterday we took a stroll through all of the monocolored cards in the set and today we get to experience what it is like when those colors run into each other. There are a lot of multicolored cards in the set so we will be breaking down their review across the next two days. Specifically, we will be covering the split cards from Dragon's Maze tomorrow, so if you notice a gap in the reviews, it is likely where a split card belongs. But, technicalities aside, how about we get to some cards?
Before we do that, let's take a look at the two scales we will be using to break down each card for both constructed and limited purposes:
5: These cards are all-stars and their greatness spans multiple formats usually. Generally the chase cards of a set such as Tarmogoyf or Jace, the Mind Sculptor. 5s should not be given out lightly as the really have to have a big impact across formats.
4: These cards are going to be seen in decks of their color more often than not but may be less universal than 5s. These will usually be dominant in certain formats but not so much in others much like Bloodbraid Elf or Baneslayer Angel. 4s tend to see both Modern and Standard play, but have not made the jump to Eternal formats.
3: These are the backbone of Standard and usually serve some utility but are more restrictive in archetype, like a Makeshift Mannequin or Mind Spring.
2: These cards are generally much more restrictive in use and application. Occasional sideboard appearances or cameos in some combo deck are the most frequent uses here such as Splinter Twin or Acidic Slime
1: These are basically unplayable and only see use in the most rare of occasions such as bad card poster boy One with Nothing
5.0: I will always play this card. Period.
4.5: I will almost always play this card, regardless of what else I get.
4.0: I will strongly consider playing this as the only card of its color.
3.5: I feel a strong pull into this card's color.
3.0: This card makes me want to play this color. (Given that I'm playing that color, I will play this card 100% of the time.)
2.5: Several cards of this power level start to pull me into this color. If playing that color, I essentially always play these. (Given that I'm playing that color, I will play this card 90% of the time.)
2.0: If I'm playing this color, I usually play these. (70%)
1.5: This card will make the cut into the main deck about half the times I play this color. (50%)
1.0: I feel bad when this card is in my main deck. (30%)
0.5: There are situations where I might sideboard this into my deck, but I'll never start it. (10%)
0.0: I will never put this card into my deck (main deck or after sideboarding). (0%)
This won't be one of the format defining 3s like Restoration Angel or anything, but it will be played and should be relatively strong. There is some decent competition at the four-drop slot right now but perhaps this pushes populate as a constructed mechanic even.
A big strong wurm coming down well ahead of curve that can just trample on to your opponent's face? Yea, seems worthy of a first pick.
We learn one important thing here. Siege Mastodon is a 3/5 for the same cost but one less green mana. So, by converting a card to multicolored but maintaining the same converted mana cost, we get +1/+1. Neat.
For a five-drop you get a fairly beefy guy here. Not every deck will necessarily want a five-drop, but I think most would be ok with this in their deck.
While this is an evasive hexproof vessel for all of your auras, there are better options than this and I don't expect that to change.
Flying creatures are strong because they don't have to tussle in combat. This leaves many of them dying to removal, but this little guy won't have it. Not only is he just a very efficient rate, but he is also the perfect target for any auras or equipment you pick up.
I actually had to ponder whether this guy was potentially viable or not. Putrid Leech makes you question many things. Unfortunately, I think the base cost of three and the required two mana upkeep will keep this far out of reach from our star Putrid Leech (yea, I went there).
I am not sure how awesome this guy will be exactly, but I do know it will be awesome. A 4/4 flier is nothing to scoff at, especially when it hits play on turn three. Sure, two mana a turn is definitely a real cost, but you kill people pretty quickly with Air Elemental. I would be surprised if this was not one of the premier commons for Simic.
Convincing someone to pay six mana for Sift is a difficult task in Standard. Yes, you get the removal aspect, but that means you are discarding a potentially viable spell. Where I do think this might find play though, is in a deck specifically built to abuse it, combo style. If you look at this like a weird Erratic Explosion you might see the angle I am talking about.
This seems nearly unbeatable in limited and will be the cause of many disgruntled concessions. Drawing cards and killing creatures is all many of us want to do and this does it all. First pick and enjoy.
I actually think that the output on this is quite strong but the fact that it comes stapled to a five mana body should keep it out of constructed. The body is not even that bad, being a 5/3, but when you want to burn down the opponent, you don't want to have to hold your burn spells until turn six for maximum value.
This guy is large enough to be relevant in combat and has an ability that, if taken advantage of once, is pretty sick. The biggest issue is that you often want your removal going to creatures and not the opponent's face but there are cards and situations that will trigger this and he will be pretty sweet.
If you are playing this, you basically need to be playing it for the first lines of abilities only. The second clause will come up on occasion, but it is too unreliable to count on it. If you want a protection from black, white, and lifelinker, by all means, this vampire is your guy!
This guy does not have any true form of evasion, but with the block being muticolored, protection from two different colors will often feel like it. Lifelink is also huge and there is always a chance that this guy goes into beast mode, which is probably just game.
Cool ability, but I don't think people are willing to pay seven for it.
This is expensive and has no inherent protection or evasion, but its triggered ability will quickly take over a game. Remember that the ability has haste essentially, so right away you get big value and then quickly get to snowball the game once he sticks around for a few turns.
True story; I originally wrote this as Cred for the Hunt and instantly realized it was just a strictly better name for this card. As far as playability goes, you really need to build around this and I don't think the right pieces are there to see this hit Tier 1. That said, there is likely a fringe deck out there that might put up some decent numbers on the back of this.
This one is entirely dependent on the number of guys that can meet this clause. If you have five or six creatures that can get +1/+1 counters, this is probably playable, albeit not good. Once you hit double digits though, this is likely a strong pick up.
This might seem rather innocuous, but this has a shot at being built around. A single Lingering Souls plus flashback leads to +12/+12 on curve for this thing. That might just be a pipe dream, but it seems pretty exciting to me.
This will often be a 5/5 attacking on turn five which is quite scary especially knowing that it can eventually be an 8/8 or whatever. He will fall off once you run out of creatures to fuel him, but his early impact is big enough to make that worth it.
This is certainly no Hellrider, but it can have a similar (albeit diminished) effect on a game. I think this would mostly be a sideboard card for creature heavy match ups where this ability can shine. Remember that it's symmetrical though!
Assuming you are the aggressive deck, this guy can be an all-star, punishing the opposition for doing all they could do to slow you down. As a defensive option, this does regenerate, but I don't like that you are punishing yourself. The stats are good enough that you probably run this most of the time in any deck, but it certainly caters to aggro more.
The fact that this costs four as compared to the two of Meddling Mage is a big deal. In addition, not being able to peg creatures is also pretty big, but, we do have some upside as well. Only your opponent is impacted by the banned card and you actually get cost reduction on it. Now, what are the chances you are both playing a card and want your opponent to not play that card? Not great, but Sphinx's Revelation and the like are great targets for such an ability.
You are probably best just naming your own card in game one situations for the cost reduction but in game two and three situations, you can actually “counter” an opponent's removal or bomb with this, which is pretty nice.
While this card is not universal by any stretch of the imagination, decks that want this effect can potentially abuse it heavily. A personal Howling Mine mixed with Debtor's Knell is powerful, you just need to figure out how to break the randomness.
I can't imagine this not being absurd any point you are even or ahead. This won't catch you up from behind unless you get a lucky Zombify and you do need to make sure you aren't killing yourself with the mill aspect, but, when cast on turn six, you should be free and clear to just win the game.
I love a Drain Life, but spending a minimum of five mana for a drain of two is just not very exciting. Sure, as you increase the cost you increase the payout but even at 10 mana, you are draining for only 12 life which is only two more life than actual Drain Life would have.
So, obviously if you can cast this, you should be playing it, but casting it is not exactly a walk in the park. If you are three or four colors, I could see this being a real burden on your mana. Keep that in mind when this shows up pick three or four or whatever.
People will almost certainly not play this card in a fair way but I can see some weird Aluren combo or something similar trying to take advantage of the cheap cost of this ability. Aluren doesn't work as is, but it might be possible.
The downside to this card is that by the time the ability is relevant and saving your creature from removal or combat, the 2/2 body is likely not and vice versa. You can still cast this on turn two and get in there though, maybe picking off a 1/1 along the way if you are lucky, so it isn't all bad.
This basically is an Overrun variant when it comes to 60 card decks and that is fine, but it is not in particularly high demand. A powerful effect but I don't think it has a true home as of right now.
This is a bomb that will win you the game late but still provide utility early which is something most bombs cannot claim. I suspect the non-overloaded version to be played only as a combat trick or to save your guy whereas the overloaded version will just end games most of the time.
I would have been skeptical of this originally, but with the increase in popularity of Reanimator decks, this provides a really unique way to both fill up the graveyard and kill an early creature. This also scales into the late game. While I don't expect it to hit 10 toughness or anything, expecting it to hit five or six seems reasonable.
This is very tough to manage in limited where you generally do not have a convenient way to get lands into your graveyard. If you are relying solely on this to enable the lands, it won't be hitting for more than one or two very often and is certainly a gamble. This is still a removal spell, so it will be playable, but it is not as reliable as you might want.
This card is just bad. I'm talking Legends bad here... Just look at it, then go look at any other seven-drop legendary creature. Heck, go look at any five-drop legendary creature and you aren't likely to find one this bad. All of that aside, this makes for a fun Commander, so it has a purpose at least!
This is an expensive “bomb” that does not win the game on its own, but does make things progressively harder for your opponent assuming you play this in a token heavy deck. A 5/7 should be relatively difficult to kill and your tokens should create a lot of pressure with this down.
This isn't Falkenrath Aristocrat, but it does fill a similar role and will happily sub in for said Aristocrat when it finally rotates. This might see play before then in specialized aggressive decks built to take advantage of the haste clause but a 4/4 first strike haste is pretty dang good all on its lonesome too.
Facing down one of these on turn four might be one of the more frustrating experiences in the format. Not only do you have to deal with this efficient combat machine already in play, but each turn the likelihood that an unaccounted for haste creature hits play just goes up, creating a lot of pressure on the opponent.
Unfortunately for the Fluxcharger, there are a ton of viable four drops right now, especially in Red and this isn't better than any of them. A neat card with some potential, but I just see opportunity cost being too high here.
This is a big flier that holds down things on offense or defense given the right board state. He is relatively weak once he actually gets in combat due to a lack of damage stacking, but he is still large and tough to deal with the rest of the time.
I don't know how others will look at this card, but it is extremely exciting to me. Sure, it is kind of expensive and certainly is not Pernicious Deed, but I wasn't really expecting to get that bad boy back. Overall, this does cost the same as Deed did, you just need to pay it all up front, but it does dodge things like Pithing Needle, which is not irrelevant. This almost can't be widely played due to its mana cost, but I expect it to be relevant in Standard throughout its stay here.
Wrath of God at cost X can be a bit steep but this does offer the advantage of setting up a board where you have the highest casting cost creature before sending this in for just under that amount. In general, this will be a decent late game sweeper but I can certainly see passing it p1p1.
Far too expensive to be a reliable crusade for decks that want that sort of thing.
This is slow and a little risky during that first attack step due to your guys possibly not being big enough yet, but if you can get an advantage, this will snowball that in your favor. This also breaks stalemates, which is always a nice feature.
Too much risk for too little an output when it comes to constructed. But, due to the nature of the card, I am sure you will end up playing against this at some point at FNM.
Despite this guy being random, I think you will almost always include him in your decks. You can break the symmetry of this relatively easily with an aura, equipment, or +1/+1 counter, as well as making sure less of your creatures are vulnerable to it. You still need to pick your spots when you activate this, but I think including it is relatively safe.
Too expensive for too little a stat boost in constructed. The blocking clause is also less likely to matter.
This is much like a Falter that you can cast earlier than your alpha attack and can get value from it throughout the game. Obviously not for every deck, but aggressive or midrange decks can get a big momentum swing from this.
I think that if you really wanted this effect, you would just turn to Jace. Being able to stack multiple of these is a nice dream but the unexciting body just doesn't help that ever be a reality.
It is hard to know exactly how strong this is, since it is usually going to be treated like an enchantment, but gaining any edge in combat is huge and this provides just that. Probably not worthy of a first pick but a must include once you know you are Dimir.
A neat concept and one that will be heavily felt in limited, but again, token and aggro decks do not want to rely on a five mana spell for their crusade effect when it isn't even immediately.
This seems extremely strong in limited, potentially even worth a 4.0. While this will not win the game on its own, it stands up on its own and makes all the other cards in your deck that also couldn't win the game, potential game winners. Vigilance really pushes this card through as an awesome combat mediator in limited.
Another neat creature with really cool artwork (and likely in the same cycle as the Sphinx) but just too expensive for serious Standard consideration.
This guy is good in any black/green deck but naturally does scale up in +1/+1 counter creating versions. A 2/5 deathtoucher is likely to just halt all aggression from your opponent because the likelihood that they have a five power guy they are willing to throw away with an attack is slim. Then, as this sits out there, its potential to start gunning things down become very scary.
While it is certainly cool that blue/green gets a "hard" removal spell like this, four mana is a little too much for constructed. I am not sure if the second ability is relevant here either or if it is just something that rarely comes up when you have a ton of extra mana.
We all know how strong Arrest is and this is given to two colors that usually don't get this sort of thing. Being able to rebuy this for higher priority targets is nice, even if risky. Plus, the ability to pump your own team in the late game is pretty cool!
I am quite curious to see how people use this card. Is it intended to just slow down aggressive decks? Is it made for aggressive decks to swing past for the win on turn five? The protection from red clause confuses me when combined with the 187 ability. That said, this card can do powerful things so I am sure someone will play it.
I can't imagine playing this card and things going badly for you very often. If protection from red ends up mattering, that is just icing on the cake. Expect this to be a Falter or a Fog, neither of which are absurd, but in this case, you get both and a body, which is quite strong.
This seems like a really strong Crusade effect to me that also has the benefit of dodging sweepers or the like. You can also use it to give things haste the turn you play them, albeit at the cost of the Crusade. While being both red and white is nice, you only really need be red to get what you want out of this, so we will have to see.
A conditional Crusade is still good as this will likely affect 70% of your creatures in a three color deck. The added protection against removal or whatever is also nice. Not a bomb, but a solid card for multiple decks.
I always thought this type of text was a relic of the past because we haven't seen an ability like this in almost 10 years (to my knowledge). This is interesting, but outside of some hasty reanimation combo, I fear he is too clunky to really take seriously. Remember that this can never kill someone itself. You need to finish them off with something else.
A first strike, deathtouch creature is already the nuts on defense in limited which would give this a big rating by itself. If the board stalls up though, this guy is usually a safe one to turn sideways each turn. The opponent either needs to chump it, or try to block with enough creatures to kill it and risk being blown out by a pump spell or removal.
I normally think the Nantuko Husk variants have a shot in standard for some type of combo deck. This costs a little too much mana and is a little too much work to Reanimate though, so he probably isn't going anywhere (because he's fat).
This guy is a tricky one to maneuver correctly, but just his potential on an alpha attack alone is strong enough. All-in them, then sacrifice the blocked creatures for lethal, sounds sweet to me!
I am uncertain of this guy. I am pretty sure he is too inconsistent to be built around, but I can see a deck trying to board him in for some type of control mirror match. He is slow and clunky, but if you can resolve him after your opponent has boarded out most of their removal, you never know!
Clearly this is going to fluctuate depending on the number of spells you actually have. If you have none, cut him. But, if you start to get into the four to six range, being able to potentially draw an extra card and then copy that removal spell for twice the effect, that is already worth the price of admission.
You might like milling people, but this takes way too long, costs way too much, and is way too fragile to utilize it at the core of your strategy.
A rather large flier that wins the game with two or three swings is certainly pretty strong for limited, however. You don't have to back this guy up with other mill cards, although it does increase your clock should you do so.
In the same way that I mentioned Blast of Genius being playable earlier, this is playable. Blast is likely just better in every way, but you can potentially get a 20 power creature to end the game for you.
Much like Blast of Genius again, this can be demoralizing to play against. They return their big bomb creature that you threw your entire hand against to deal with in the first place, oh and by the way, how about they take out your best dude along the way!
I could see arguments for this in constructed. Horned Turtle is not exciting but Calcite Snapper sure was. This doesn't have hexproof though, which obviously puts it worlds apart there, so we will see.
If you build your deck to take advantage of these in numbers (turn three Cyclops, turn four one mana instant, another Cyclops, etc.) it can be a ruthless source of aggression, but even as a more traditional defender it isn't bad. Blocking most of the time and turning sideways for four on occasion is pretty strong.
This is a very solid hate card, similar to Vendilion Clique but with a bigger payoff. For that payoff though, you are spending a bit more mana and across two colors. Imagine responding to a Jace Brainstorm ability with this though. You draw three cards, the opponent puts two from their hand back on top of their deck, and then you untap and attack Jace for lethal. Ouch!
Not nearly as tricky in limited, where I suspect most of the time he will be treated as a Burning Oil if you will. If you ever catch a card or two from the opponent though, gg.
While a Zombify effect for five has never really seen play, opening it up to any permanent is extremely interesting. This could be judged bad just like Rise from the Grave or the like, but I would like to see what it actually has to offer that we have never really had before.
As good as a Zombify is going to get these days really. Getting back whatever bomb you had regardless of what permanent type it was is pretty fun.
Put your hand over your mouth before continuing to read, because you might want to spit obscenities at me shortly. I think this card has the potential to be as powerful as Cryptic Command was. Yep, I said it. Now, the most likely scenario is that it ends up being very good but more niche than Command. That said, should the format align with it, this can do extremely powerful things and it isn't actually as hard to cast as you think it is!
Tough to get the mana for this early but should you do so and land a big spike in mana as a result, the game will be that much easier for you my friend!
One second, I am currently tabbed into three rule books, two dictionaries, Wikipedia, and the Life Alert hotline trying to figure out what the heck this does. Alright, it isn't actually that bad. You make a Clone of something and then Followed Footsteps it every turn. Cute, but too expensive to be a real consideration in Constructed.
A Clone that produces an army is pretty powerful in limited meanwhile. This breaks you out of stalemates, presses an established lead, and even digs you out of holes sometimes. A nice early pick up.
This was always one of my favorite removal spells the first time around and I feel no differently this time. The fact that this has a no Regeneration clause makes it even better this time around because that text is so much more rare, making this a unique removal spell that just happens to be super-efficient and versatile. Great addition to Standard.
About as good as it gets when it comes to one-for-one removal. First pick and enjoy.
He needs no subtitle!!!!! This card seems very strong to me and should be the most powerful ‘walker since Liliana of the Veil. The ability to accelerate your mana with a “+” ability while tapping your opponent's land; the ability to Lightning Bolt and protect himself; and an ultimate that is both fun and powerful. This guy has multiple useful abilities that are strong against a wide array of opponents so I expect him to be the real deal.
Well, he's a Planeswalker and he comes stapled to double Twiddle and Lightning Bolt... Would you like to see this sitting across the table from you?
I am unsure of exactly where this is going to land. It could just look really cool and end up being too clunky and expensive to see play over safer alternatives like Slaughter Games. Or, it could end up being a clutch solution card, able to beat entire archetypes when cast for two or three. The card is Lobotomy, so you are getting cards no matter what, which is nice, but we will have to wait and see.
There is some value to this as an expensive Mind Rot or more if need be, but in general, leave this in your board.
This is instantly going to get compared to Absorb but please don't, because we are not talking that strong here. This is another Cancel upgrade that will have purpose and be strong in some matchups and in late game situations. It will not always get the nod over Dissipate or anything like that even if it is preferred. Strong card that will be added to a growing stable of viable counterspells.
Just a Cancel really, but I think that might really strong in this format.
And unfortunately, with that, I guess we aren't able to cast any more spells this turn. We will be back tomorrow though with the remaining cards that make up Dragon's Maze. That is the remaining multicolored cards, the split cards, the artifacts, and the lands that we cast all of them with. In addition to all of that, we will be going over my Top 8 list for constructed. Quite the upward swing in momentum today in terms of power level so come back tomorrow and see if that trend continues! Thanks for reading!
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