Some interested cards showed up on Hour of Devastation’s spoiler, and this will be the focous of our analysis this week. I’ll highlight some important data, as well I will post my thoughts about this edition and, at least, the potential of some cards.
There were released 70 commons, besides basic lands. They are well distributed between colors, 12 each. Also, there’s 10 colorless, among 6 lands, and none multicolor. There was not downgrade of uncommons or rares.
Six cards were reprinted. Among them we highlight Strategic Planning – in the past it reached more then US$50. It’s common since MTGO Masters Edition III, in 2007, but its potential has never been maximized. Could be used in decks with grave strategies, but it would be better in instant speed. Unsummon was reprinted one more time – 22ª time, including IRL and MTGO. One card its almost a reprint: Survivors’ Encampment, as it has the same function of Holdout Settlement, with the only exception that’s a desert.
There’s 3 new mechanics in Hour of Devastation, all of them still looking for good cards. Eternalize is too heavy, there’s no room in Pauper. Afflict does not seems strong enough, and the Desert cards, well, depends on Deserts, which are no good. As the mechanics released in Amonkhet, Exert keeps lacking something that could compensate the drawback, and we are still without Aftermath cards in Pauper.
The new Cycling Lands are disappointing. With the only “advantage of being Deserts, they put together what’s worst on the two old cycling lands – costs 2 mana, one of them colored. To get even worse, there’s no good cards to use with Deserts, so do not count on them on the field.
If one nasty card was launched, this is Act of Heroism. Has potential to kill 2 creatures for only 2 mana, there’s no better trap. Cards of this kind may not be strong, but when it catches an unprepared opponent, it can make a lot of advantage, and better then that, make him absolutely perplex when knowing you use it. Act of Heroism remembers me another trap I like a lot, Test of Faith.
I saw a lot of discussion about Tragic Lesson. In my opinion there’s no mistake: its a bad card. Even if gives 2 options, both are weak. If your plan is use it as Catalog, well, it would be better using Forbidden Alchemy… Now, if you want to use it bouncing your own land, I want to tell you something: it will get wrong. Lands are made to stick in the battlefield. Bounce-lands are not the best on the world and the lands getting back with Gush are a huge drawback along the game. Sometimes get back a Bojuka Bog or a Radiant Fountain can do the job, but is too rare. I liked the card and I plan to test among one of my tier 20’s, just isn’t a good card.
Top 5Firebrand Archer is a nice card. It’s not a grapeshot with a body, because needs to be casted in first place and its vulnerable. It isn’t, either, a Thermo-Alchemist, 1 in thoughness is too few for being the main strategy of a deck. Besides that, a stand up for it. Could make space with Thermo-Alchemist, but it won’t replace it. I wouldn’t put him on Burn, because it does not need more creatures, nor in another pre existent deck. Maybe could help Storm be strong again with Goblin Eletromancer, which didn’t find his place yet.
Another hate against aggressive decks, God-Pharaoh’s Faithful must show up in some sideboards replacing Lone Missionary. 4 of thoughtness is enough to stop most of aggressive creatures, gaing life at the same time. My first thought for its place is the UW Tireless Tribe, which sometimes makes good results at MTGO.
In general, Crash Through isn’t that great. The thing is UR Blitz is waiting for it with opened arms. Its possible we see one or two copies in main deck.
My favorite card in this edition is Striped Riverwinder. Don’t think it’s gonna play in Tron now Dinrova Horror is doing its job, or in another tier 1. So, what I’m looking at? It fits very well in Reanimator. The maths are quite simple: turn 1 cycling, turn 2 Exhume. It isn’t that strong, Reanimator is a tier3, and I don’t know if Striped Riverwinder in turn 2 is enough to win the game. Against some decks I know it is, like UR Control. One thing is certain: it’s a funny combo that I’d love to see around.
I recommend you to read the analysis of Hour of Devastation in Legacy and Commander as well, they are awesome!