Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Amonkhet Survey

The link is here if you want it.

If you're new to the blog, these posts are ones that allow me to talk a little more about the surveyed cards so I can explain a little bit about why I like or dislike the card, instead of just giving WotC number data (or as they have it, Very Poor to Excellent). I feel as though there's a grain of salt element to all of this, because I haven't had a chance to play with the cards yet but these reviews are still fun for me. Let's get to it!

Hazoret's Favor: While my overall rating is Fair-this card needs a deck to be built with it in mind for it to be useful-the artwork and the flavor text were excellent, I thought. Although red-tinted art in a red border card.....sigh.

I should really ask about why they do that.

Because they even do it on (both parts of the artwork of!)-

Failure/Comply: The artwork on these cards is...just so cramped and difficult to see. I can't even really make out if it's good or bad; Comply being especially hindered by this card layout. However, F/C is cheap and useful, so it still gets a Good rating.

Scribe of the Mindful: A challenging card to rate, I felt. 2/2 for 3 mana is pretty standard and the ability is a useful one. Is it Excellent? No but Good, I think, yes. 

Oketra the True: Ah, one of the marquee cards! The art on this feels weird; I don't know why the head is turned away from the body. It's like a statue pose, instead of a living one. However, let's not mess about: the ability and stats on this card are really good and the drawback is minimal, especially in White. Excellent card is Excellent.

Shadow of the Grave: So, here's the thing about Shadow of the Grave: it's terrible. This isn't a good card for Limited formats-your ROI is too small for that to be relevant-and what deck wants it in Constructed?

A combo deck. Something very specific needs this card and will break it in half. Or at least make something interesting! So I'm rating this Fair, despite it being a Poor card, because I want to encourage these kinds of designs.

There is a nice piece of flavor text to help build the world and that helps push the card up, too.

Final Reward: UGH. I get that Black shouldn't have exile level removal at the same level as White. But THIS? Too expensive and only useful in Limited formats because you need removal.  Play value Very Poor, value Poor, because the name and flavor text were nice. The art is Fair, because in a picture that shows so much depth, having so little contrast makes it all look washed out.

Winged Shepherd: White art on a white card...but, the flavor text does some good worldbuilding, the abilities don't suck and while six mana is pricey, being able to cycle it away for W means I'm rating the card Fair, overall. In Limited, this puppy is probably even better.

Hapatra, Vizer of Poisons: Now we're talking about something interesting: a card that wants to highlight one of the mechanics of the set. I think she's Excellent, quite frankly and it's an easy decision. Her first ability boosts her second, which still operates independently and is great regardless, while her base stats are very good. Hard to do better, I think.

Protection of the Hekma: Sphere of Safety this isn't. Heck, it's not even Urza's Armor. But the artwork is great, the flavor text does good by the plane, and the ability is a static one will stack with other Protections. It's fairly costed for what it does, I think, so a Fair card it shall be.

Brute Strength: This is the kind of card that needs to be produced because that sort of combat trick can be a hell of a thing in Limited. However, that doesn't mean that this is good. Just that it's necessary. Poor rating.

Benefaction of Rhonas: Green has been getting a few cards like this since Zendikar and I think they are good cards to add to most any Green deck. Sometimes you can only get creatures, sometimes it's lands or enchantments, sometimes a combo but I think these are always useful. Good rating-and I may have underrated it, neglecting the 'put the rest of the cards into the graveyard' part, which is relevant in Standard.

Hazoret's Monument: The Monuments are all interesting designs! Part Medallion effect, part color-specific effect, wrapped in a Legendary artifact so they can't stack. Nicely balanced. Also, I think Hazoret's ability, allowing players to filter through their deck for every creature spell they cast is a great one, so I'm rating this Excellent. Probably higher than I should, but I think this card makes a strong case for being in any deck of the appropriate color.

Hyena Pack: as with Brute Strength, this is a necessary card but not a good one. The art is solid and the flavor text helps boost the card a bit but a 3/4 for four mana is a Poor card. That doesn't mean it's bad so much as it means that the only real spot for this card is in a theme deck or a Limited one.

Faith of the Devoted: When I was writing my Amonkhet Overview, I said
'Now that WotC has given us reminders that cycling triggers discard effects, I wonder if some novel or previously overlooked interactions will bubble up?'
which Faith of the Devoted could be the poster child for. There is a lot of versatility in this card and I think it's going to be a plausible addition to a few decks. Excellent stuff.

Zenith Seeker: and this is the opposite of Faith of the Devoted. Expensive, easy to kill, with an ability that's pretty meh. In Limited, this is a Fair card-which was my overall rating-but Poor for playability.

All in all, I haven't changed my opinion about the set, yet. It's OK. That's all-for now. I'm hopeful that the format will develop and show me some cool tricks. How deep those tricks go, the interactions with previous sets: that I can't say. But I'm looking at it and I'm pretty hopeful that I'll see (and maybe even discover) some cool things.

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