Spoiler Season – Preconstructed Notions #4

Hello all, aReNGee here with another edition of Preconstruced Notions. I’m going to do constructed reviews for every set 4 card as they’re being spoiled. Thus far, all of the spoilers can be viewed here and are generally posted to Reddit within minutes. Below, we’ll cover the rating scale I’m going to use:

Constructed Rating

5

Faction staple, probably meta defining. Will see play or at least consideration across all decks of that color combination. Examples: Torch, Slay, Tavrod, Sandstorm Titan

4

Archetype staple. Sees play or at least consideration in the majority of decks of that archetype that can play it. Examples: Oni Ronin (in non hostile metagames), Champion of Cunning, Unseen Commando

3

Deck Staple. Will see play or at least consideration in one or more decks. A fairly broad catagory, but cards that rank 3 or above are always worth thinking about including. Examples: Wisdom of the Elders, Seek Power, In Cold Blood

2

Situational card. Could be a staple of a lesser played archetype, a sideboard card to help handle an archetype, or just a card you don’t want until you really want it. Examples: Sabotage, Devoted Theruge, Unseal

1 or less

This card is not going to be played in constructed.

Card Reviews (in order of spoiler gallery)

Kenna-Shaman-of-the-Scale-min

Constructed Rating: 1.5

I expected some dragons, but I didn’t expect them look this good! Sweet art aside, Kenna previews a new mechanic: Tribute! Tribute is a summon effect that only happens if a unit entered your void this turn (from anywhere). Drawing a spell of your choice is powerful, but it will be difficult to reliable send a unit to YOUR void to trigger it – you can’t just play her alongside a removal spell, so you’re limited to attacking and hoping to trade (which has antisynergy with killer, which you usually want to use before combat) or a discard outlet like Nocturnal Observer. Kenna can get you immediate value through killer, but she costs more and is smaller than Predatory Carnosaur so she compares disfavorably there (ignoring factions). Finally, Kenna has super prowess when you cast spells, but relying on other cards to grow your finisher is an ambitious gameplan. This card is super cool and could get better if dragons end up being a supported tribe, but at the moment just a few too many flaws for serious finisher consideration.

Constructed Rating: 0.5

Remember this card, that we couldn’t rate before? Now we can. The most exciting thing about Clan Tactic is it shows that we can get Transmute cards that cost something other than the transmute threshold, and since this kind of card is usually a cycle we should have four other cool cards to check out. This card itself is not what you’re going to want in constructed – monuments have generally been used in proactive decks as a way to avoid running out of gas and cheat on power. Clan Tactic is essentially Lightning Strike, a card that does nothing on offense and is generally played to stop early aggression, which Clan Tactic cannot do due to its transmute cost. You would need a defensive deck that doesn’t want to go above 5 power for this to see play – unlikely, to say the least. This does look much better in draft, however.

Sack-the-City-small

Constructed Rating: Berserk

Following up last week’s troll of previewing a Transmute card without the card it turns into, we have a card that grants a mechanic without knowledge of what the mechanic does. When we find out, we’ll revisit this card.

Aerial-Battle-small

Constructed Rating: 0 on ladder, 4 in sideboards

In case In Cold Blood wasn’t clear enough – yes, we print targeted hate cards. This does very little to the majority of decks out there and absolutely rails any flying decks that may have come to do aerial battle. It’s not that hard to imagine a scenario where one player has a board and the other player has no units after this card is played. Unless flying decks go absolutely nuts on ladder, its going to be better to stick with hailstorm (still an absurdly powerful card) but in sideboard play this card is much less a battle and more of an Aerial Slaughter.

Long-Live-the-Queen-small

Constructed Rating: 2

I hear a noise, as though a thousand control players cried out in ecstasy at the words “Draw a card”. Ignoring the implications of Praxis’ warp mechanic on a Hooru card, this card is really, really strong in control mirrors and not very good elsewhere. 4 is a lot to leave up, even if you get value out of every spell you counter, and while Warping a card is about as good as drawing a card, its going to be a lot harder to set up warping this spell than it would a proactive card (like a unit). I think you get enough value out of this card to play the first copy in slow decks, and it gains value the more your deck can play at fast speed, but most of this cards will be done postboard in spell based matchups (which aren’t that common at the moment).

943a08ff80f69c02d6f4146ca6c8b0b0

Constructed Rating: 0

Unstable Form gets a little worse. The opportunity to pay 7 for a Victor’s Cry and a 3/3 flyer is not one that players have been seeking. Truthfully, the most dissapointing thing about this card is its lack of a JJJ cost – we were so close to starting a cycle of unplayable uncommon 7 power 3/3s (alongside Elysian Trailblazer and Elysian Pathfinder).

The spoilers are coming faster now! Most of these are splashy and cool as hell but upon cooler reflection not as good as they look, unfortunately. Aerial Battle raises some questions about adding hate cards in a world where we lost Steward of the Past, but maybe I’m just still salty about that. Fingers crossed for a mechanics article on Monday!