Monday, 28 July 2014

Can You Draft These Terrible Cards?

I'll take on a few cards today that don't really have enough analysis to be looked at by themselves.

Chief Engineer
How good is giving all of your artifacts convoke, exactly? Magic 2015 is not loaded down with artifacts and one of the common ones already has convoke. Getting out a Haunted Plate Mail a turn early or one of the 6/6s one or two turns early might be a big deal but those card are pretty good at winning games without the Chief's help. Dropping a Meteorite a turn or two early might be nice.

But often what makes rare creatures good isn't their insane ability but their body. Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient's ability might not come up every game, but you were going to put that 4/3 for four in your deck anyway. In core set drafts, there is a very good chance you were putting that 1/3 for two in your deck anyway. So pick this as a 1/3 for two and play it as one, but don't expect anything else out of it.

Aggressive Mining
I just honestly don't know. If you are going to play this on turn six, for example, then you are going to draw four or six extra cards off of it, but those are going to be just sitting in your hand if you can't play more than one of them a turn on three or four mana. This is one of those exceedingly rare cards that you might actually plan to destroy yourself - put it down, draw six cards, get rid of it with Reclamation Sage or Solemn Offering. That's powerful if you can do it but a little too cute to go for in my opinion.

I would not pick this high, I'd see if I could get a cheap deck to come together first. Much like my advice on Angelic Accord last year, I'd pass it and see if it comes back. If it doesn't then I was probably never going to get the deck that wanted to use it anyway.

On a hilarious note, there is an enemy deck that contains this card in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015. It should have been fairly obvious why you should not give this card to a computer player, or at the very least it should have come out in playtesting.

Crucible of Fire
There are two dragons - both rares - and one uncommon that can make dragons when it is enchanted with an aura. In a set with common Dragon Hatchling I'd almost be tempted to go for it, but clearly this card was just not meant to be played. It's just another kick at the Crucible of Fire can for people who want it for their fun casual decks. Of course if you wanted a Crucible you could just buy one for about $1.50, so I'm not sure I get the point of this reprint at all.

Waste Not
Waste Not is the fourth "You Make the Card" card. Since the first You Make the Card was held more than twelve years ago, this represents a rare opportunity for the community. The first was the constructed playable, limited bomb Forgotten Ancient. Next was the eternal format staple Crucible of Worlds. Third came the aptly named Vanish into Memory. Finally we have extremely un-aptly named Waste Not.

I guess this card is supposed to fill some kind of niche in constructed, or maybe it's supposed to be good in Commander, I don't know. Magic 2015 there are three ways to make your opponent discard cards: Black Cat, Mind Rot and Liliana Vess. If you have Lily out this card is a bit of a side-show, so let's talk about living the dream: turn two Waste Not into turn three Mind Rot. It even rhymes!

But the reality is that you are paying two mana and a card on turn two for, quite likely, either two mana and a card or two mana and a 2/2 on turn three. You might get four mana on turn three but this isn't a storm deck and you aren't going off. That second Mind Rot is value, but you are still probably only profiting a couple of mana that may or may not be useful to you at the time and some combination of cards and zombies that on average won't quite rival a divination. This card is a loser and unless there is a really major cycling theme in Khans it's hard for me to believe it will ever be anything but a loser in any format. I realize this commentary goes a little beyond draft, but really, I just don't get how people voted in such a mediocre to worthless effect.

The Chain Veil
Honestly, what is this? Does it really need the drawback? They took the North Star approach to make sure this card was perfectly safe and perfectly unplayable. We can all look forward to this effect showing up on as a continuous ability on an artifact for three or four mana a few years from now, or on a 5/5 creature for four or something like that.

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