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BLACK Limited Appraisal for Worldwake

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Joined: 20 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:10 am    Post subject: BLACK Limited Appraisal for Worldwake Reply with quote

Abyssal Persecutor

This mythic rare is well, rare enough that you’ll probably encounter it in a ZZW draft about once in a blue moon. And while a 6/6 flyer for four is just absolutely insane in a fast block, you’ll still have to think of some way to get rid of it if it’s able to do its job – which it does better than Richie McCaw or Carlos Spencer does theirs. Unfortunately, there are not as many ways of removing it as you think – few of the red burn spells have enough range, and Hideous End is useless. Hope you’ve got enough Heartstabber Mosquitoes! Hence the surprisingly low overall rating.

Agadeem Occultist

Obviously it’s a great ability, but it’s quite fragile at 0/2 and if it gets to the stage where it can be used, it’s going to be a removal magnet. Therefore it’s only really useable as a niche card in Ally decks, which is not to say that when active it isn’t a threat. However, they’ll be passed to a fairly late stage – although I don’t expect them to necessarily wheel.

Anowon, The Ruin Sage

He is really good especially when you get to build a deck around him, and Vampires certainly does seem to be one of the best tribes around at the moment. If no-one stays around then at least you get to keep Anowon. However, susceptible to removal at only three toughness and less than economical at five mana to cost. Not saying that this makes him bad but not in the league of Molder Slug (who I always hated, but eventually I had to give him my due).

Bloodhusk Ritualist
On paper he looks like a crappy black Grey Ogre, but he really shines late game when the court becomes card dominated and potentially he can rub out two or three cards that are sitting in your opponent’s hand. Likely to be one of the more underrated uncommons of this set and deserves a fairly high pick.

Bojuka Brigand
Even without a fistful of allies Bojuka Brigand is highly effective in a fast environment. He’s essentially an Oran-Rief Survivalist without the ability to block but then in an aggressive deck that’s not his main role anyway. Obvious in a deck full of allies his credentials get better. In a WWW draft not long ago, I lost to a “15-bojuka-brigand.dec” which played one every turn from turn two to turn five and I was unable to deal with them even having two Calcite Snappers of my own.

Brink of Disaster
Falls under the category of “Traditional Inefficient Draftable Removal”. Played on a creature, for the most part it simply stops it from attacking. Being less splashable, it’s actually worse than a Paralysing Grasp from that standpoint. There are enough removal options in the environment for you to have to play Brink of Disaster and as a result it is a marginal card that you’d only consider if you were unlucky enough to not get any better options (and there are a lot of them).

Butcher of Malakir
Butcher of Malakir is a tank, and Grave Pact in itself was worthy of a first pick, but at seven mana and with a fast tempo-based environment, you’re likely to be dead before you can get him on the board. Therefore you'd sometimes even take a straight removal spell over him.

Caustic Crawler
A few commentators have said that Caustic Crawler is suboptimal, and he certainly does seem suboptimal from a purely mana ratio point of view. However the ability is incredible in a format that is so dominated by 1-toughness fast creatures. Even so, the landfall ability is conditional and cannot be relied upon every turn - making this no Cunning Sparkmage.

Corrupted Zendikon
Most enchantments are built-in card disadvantage but the Zendikons may be an exception in that when the animated land dies, it goes back to your hand even though you lose the enchantment. Also bear in mind that this is effectively the creation of a 3/3 creature with haste as long as you play it on a land that came into play before this turn. Although attacking with it early needs to be balanced with playing effective spells, that is an extra choice that is accorded to you and your opponents need to make you have as few choices as possible. Will see play in the majority of black-based decks.

Dead Reckoning
Removal. This is not quite as good as Hideous End or Disfigure being a bit dependent on having double black or having a creature in your graveyard, but it gets better as the game progresses. And there's nothing as amusing as returning a degenerate Death's Shadow you threw out and dealing thirteen damage and killing your opponent's Iona in the process!

Death's Shadow
Although Death's Shadow is useless early in the game, people do not often give him his due. Late game when you are on five or six life he is an absolute house for one mana without the conditions imposed on Quest for the Gravelord. The lack of evasion is disappointing though. He is more effective at stabilising the board rather than going for the win.

Jagwasp Swarm
Snapping Drake was always good and Jagwasp Swarm is just as effective, if not better - considering that black creatures traditionally tend to be fairly expensive. A 3/x flyer for four is nothing to be sneezed at; expect him to be played in just about any black-based deck.

Kalastria Highborn
If anything, she is at the very least an effective black bear. The ability is a bonus and obviously becomes more effective if you can draft a bona fide Vampire based deck with Gatekeeper, Lacerator and of course the world-beating Skillhawk. Will earn herself a jersey in Standard as well - it's going to be very interesting how Vampires does in the new Standard environment and preliminary testing seems to affirm it goes very well.

Mire's Toll
Crappy early game but much better later on when its application approaches that of a Thoughtseize, Mire's Toll is a fine spell - but will be taken behind other spells such as removal that have greater board impact.

Nemesis Trap
When you're playing against white like I did at my first Pre-release, Nemesis Trap is brutally efficient, often removing two creatures for two mana and altering the dynamics of board control. Even hard cast it is often worth it as it potentially gets rid of the two biggest attacking creatures, effectively buying you precious time to move forward.

Pulse Tracker
1/1 creatures have to have a very good ability (which includes mana acceleration) for them to make the grade in sealed and draft. Being a Vampire and having its ability does not count as a very good ability. Expect Pulse Tracker to be amongst your last few cards.

Quag Vampires
Reasonably good against a deck playing black (~ 35-40%), but suboptimal otherwise, Quag Vampires will nevertheless get played if a deck depends on a high number of Vampires. This one isn't going to make the grade in Standard and in my opinion lingers near the edge of viability in most sealed and draft pools.

Quest for the Nihil Stone
Nihil is Latin for "nothing" and I can't think of anything that's more appropriately named. When you look at a set of rares you see a few can't-possibly-pass bombs, a few middling cards and some that are completely useless. This one falls within the last category, being dependent on discard, which in the right deck might happen every now and again but overall is too situational to expect this to be of any use.

Ruthless Cullblade
A serviceable halfback as she is, Ruthless Cullblade becomes 4/2 when your opponent is down to ten life or less and at that stage can effectively tackle just about anything. Plus she's a vampire to boot, which goes very well with other things such as Urge to Feed. One of the better commons in Worldwake which again shows that black is quite deep.

Scrib Nibblers
See under Pulse Tracker for what I wrote about 1/1's. And that was referring to 1/1's that cost one mana; a 1/1 for three has got to be pretty good. And I don't call conditionally gaining one life from milling one card pretty good, in fact I call that downright dodgy. Real crap.

Shoreline Salvager
Now here's something with some oomph. A Hill Giant - four for 3/3 makes a solid second-rower - and its ability is a bonus, although rather disappointingly he doesn't have any evasion. In a U/B deck though you might be able to get evasion on it for a turn or two via some other way somehow. Overall still a solidly built all-rounder.

Even though it might not be any good against a bomb, in a fast environment a majority of key creatures will be three mana cost or less. Also remember it will get rid of manlands and tokens (though disappintingly not Marit Lage). Anything you take over it had better be very good!

Tomb Hex
An instant Disfigure that's also -4/-4 most of the time during your own turn, it pretty much gets rid of anything because it can be used as a combat trick if not for outright removal. Also will deal with annoying regenerators such as River Boa. I'm hoping for as many of them as I can mop up.

Urge to Feed
Another fine removal spell although slightly less splashable than the two above. Works even better if you have a melange of Vampires, where it's obviously beneficial to play it on your blockers during your opponent's turn.
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Joined: 17 Apr 2009
Posts: 415

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Name an instance in which hard casting Nemesis Trap would NOT be worth it as your discussion of that card implies?
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