Feb 23, 2009

Conflux Set Review

Welcome to my first set review for peasant. While I am sure I will write about the older sets somewhere in the future, Conflux is the new kid on the block and deserves my immediate attention! Below I will discuss each card that might seem worthwile to the format as far as I can tell*. So, without further ado...

*PS. If I say "Won't see play" and you play the card to a strong finish, do let me know.

Conflux commons


Court Homonculus
Conflux brought us a rush of worthwile common artifact creatures, and this is one of the best. In any base white artifact deck this will be your Kird Ape of choice as it beats for 2 on turn two!
Verdict: Will see play

Darklit Gargoyle
This is the other artifact you really want to play if you're going Esper in peasant. It attacks for an evasive 3 damage on turn 3, which is already worth it. If you play toughness pump in your deck this will get even larger, enabling you to hit for 5 or more! Sure, it's an artifact and thus very vulnerable, but that didn't stop affinity from being a pain in the ass, did it? And remember, Kataki is not around in peasant ;)
Verdict: Will see play

Gleam of Resistance
White mana fixing, there's a nice card! Still, there's probably better options for that available, like Armillary Sphere, Pentad Prism, Prismatic Lens... No, the main effect has to worth it, and frankly, it isn't. In limited this shines, peasant is way too fast for this.
Verdict: Won't see play

Lapse of Certainty
Memory Lapse is a very strong card, but I feel this is just a tad too expensive. Still, mounting your offenses on the first three turns and then wait with counterbackup seems like a solid plan, so I'm curious where this will go.
Verdict: Might see play

Rhox Meditant
Card drawing is premium in peasant, Skeletal Scrying is one of the best uncommons available. Momentary Blink is also a frequently played card, so at first glance this seems okay, right? Wrong, at 4 mana this is simply too slow with too little power to affect the board. I'ld rather play Mulldrifter, Ninja of the Deep Hours, or even Elvish Visionary for my cards.
Verdict: Won't see play


Brackwater Elemental
I really like this card! Though a one-shot (or actually two-shot) card, a disposable 4/4 is big enough that the only sensible course of action seems chumpblocking or lose a sizable chunk of your life total. You'll need to be playing a token deck to chump block though. I'ld give this a try in an agressive blue deck.
Verdict: Should see play

Faerie Mechanist
Four mana is just too much for a Ponder, even when it has evasion. Trinket Mage already searches up some of the juiciest targets without a margin of error. Still, card advantage is card advantage, and especially hot on cip creatures.
Verdict: Won't see play

Parasitic Strix
This is a very strong card! I just don't know if someone will be able to fit it in a deck somewhere! The combination of decent body, comes into play effect and artifact sounds promising though.
Verdict: Might see play

Traumatic Visions
In constructed I actually like this a lot more than Gleam of Resistance or Fiery Fall, the better tricks in limited. I can see this being played in various control decks, especially if they splash a color.
Verdict: Should see play

Though a great tempo card, Unsummon has long since been surpassed by both Aether Burst and Echoing Truth.
Verdict: Won't see play

Worldly Counsel
Funny thing is I once played a domain deck at a peasant tournament. Extensive testing showed me that you'ld much rather play Impulse and be sure of you cards than play this for 2 on your second turn because you need that third land and find... nothing. Trust me, don't play this.
Verdict: Won't see play


Absorb Vis
I can't see MBC replacing Corrupt or Consume Spirit with this, despite swampcycling being nice with Cabal Coffers.
Verdict: Won't see play

Drag Down
Last Gasp and Diabolic Edict give this card a stiff competition, but if domain ever catches on, this can even deal with Gathan Raiders on steroids!
Verdict: Might see play

Rotting Rats
This is a sweet card if you can abuse it. As long as you plan on using your graveyard or play madness this should get you excited, as you help along your own game plan while messing with your opponent.
Verdict: Should see play

Sedraxis Alchemist
An adorable card, even better than Man-o'-War when "on". The problem is that Man-o'-War is traditionally best in a Momentary Blink deck where you don't have a blue card and a black mana source available on turn three most of the time. I think there's too many hoops to jump through, but who knows?
Verdict: Won't see play

Wretched Banquet
Please welcome the new Innocent Blood. Okay, having your opponent sacrifice his second turn Order of Leitbur is obviously better than seeing this stranded in your hand, but this is a very good card! Should at least replace Ghastly Demise in Psychatog decks if nothing more.
Verdict: Will see play

Yoke of the Damned
This isn't a very remarkable card at first sight, but I'ld like to say that it deals with black creatures at a Terror mana cost. Just be sure you have a sac outlet and you're fine.
Verdict: Might see play


Dark Temper
At first sight this seems really cool, problem is, you'll only be playing this as a foil to protection from black, and the only worthwile creatures with that ability have a toughness of two or less, making Lightning Bolt and/or Chain Lightning a much better choice. If Phantom Centaurs and pro-black creatures
with Armadillo Cloaks start popping up in your metagame you definitely want this is your B/R sideboard though!
Verdict: Might see sideboard play

Fiery Fall
This nearly suffers the same fate as Gleam of Resistance, except that this is actually removal. 5 damage will get rid of almost anything your opponent can throw at you, and if basic landcycling smoothes out your 3+ colors, this might not be the worst card to add.
Verdict: Might see play

Molten Frame
If affinity or Esper is hot in your meta, this has more then enough targets. Cycling makes this maindeck playable as well. Problem is, there are much better sideboard answers available in monored, most notably Shattering Pulse and Smash to Smittereens, so most players will just opt to sideboard against artifact creature decks instead of maindecking this.
Verdict: Won't see play

Quenchable Fire
Blue is played just enough to make this card a liability in your maindeck. Out of the sideboard it can deal a whopping 6 damage for just one card. That's on par with good old Lava Spike (cmc + 2 damage) but in one wholesome package. Also awesome topdecking material.
Verdict: Should see sideboard play

Wandering Goblins
Nice in limited, but a toughness of 3 and a big activation cost sets you up for a very disappointing Lightning Bolt before damage goes on the stack.
Verdict: Won't see play


Ember Weaver
I'm psyched about this card, a 3/3 first strike with reach is well above the curve in R/G beats, and this fits into the vurve perfectly! T1 Mogg Fanatic or Kird Ape, T2 Keldon Marauders or Scab-Clan Maulers, T3 this or Gathan Raiders. Yup, very nice!
Verdict: Will see play

Matca Rioters
This is one of those cards that's hard to judge. It needs the full 5 basics to be worth it, but it is a huge beater if you accomplish that. Then again, domain likes to burn people to death (Exploding Borders, Tribal Flames) and use its creatures to stall (Wall of Roots, Sakura-Tribe Elder) so as to give anti-creature decks as few targets as possible. I'm torn.
Verdict: Might see play

Nacatl Savage
If you're bent on hosing artifacts, a 2/1 that helplesly stares at the Ornithopter + Cranial Plating beatdown isn't going to help you much.
Verdict: Won't see play

Sylvan Bounty
Lifegain is at a premium in peasant magic, if the card can play a secondary role. Aven Riftwatcher and Temple Acolyte are both very solid cards, and my guess is Sylvan Bounty is as well. Not as good as the two white creatures, but fairly decent anyway. Six mana is a lot, but so is 8 life, and each cycled Bounty gets you one land closer to paying for the next copy.
Verdict: Might see play

Wild Leotau
Hello! 4 toughness is the golden spot where Lightning Bolt and Last Gasp can't touch your critter. With a minor drawback for those with a good memory and 5 power for 4 cmc, this is a really solid card. I only wonder if this will win out over Blastoderm in the 4 cmc slot...
Verdict: Might see play


Exploding Borders
Domain decks have posted decent to good results in the past, and this card is Tribal Flames 5-8. You can bet that somebody will try to make domain work again, and this card will be the core of that deck.
Verdict: Will see play

Goblin Outlander
White is a very strong color in peasant, ranging from staple creatures like Aven Riftwatcher to quality removal like Oblivion Ring and Unmake. This card laughs at those prissy attempts to stall the inevitable defeat at your gory hands!
Verdict: Will see play

Might of Alara
Without the shocklands there is no home for this functional reprint. A domain deck won't play this and an aggressive deck can't play this reliably.
Verdict: Won't see play

Nacatl Outlander
This doesn't seem worth it. Blue isn't that heavily played in my meta, and even if it is, it's usually alongside white or black. Guess where the removal is coming from?
Verdict: Won't see play

Scattershot Archer
If Faeries sees a lot of play in your meta, this is a decent sideboard call, otherwise this is a very underwhelming card.
Verdict: Might see sideboard play

Tukatongue Thallid
Two dudes for one mana? Nantuko Husk loves this! While very narrow (a 1/1 doesn't do a lot otherwise), this certainly has a place.
Verdict: Should see play

Valeron Outlander
Llanowar Knight is a legitimate threat in a color combination that might not see enough play in a world where 3/4 of the T8 might contain black cards. Maybe 8 copies of it and three of the best auras in the history of magic (see Asha's Favor) can change this?
Verdict: Might see play

Vedalken Outlander
Protection from red is nice, though not as relevant as pro black and pro white. Also keep in mind that, being an artifact, every other color has numerous ways to kill this. All in all a lot less sexy than Galina's Knight, who also had a more relevant creature type.
Verdict: Won't see play

Zombie Outlander
Green really is the worst color to have protection from, since the guys will just trample over you and the removal comes from other colors.
Verdict: Won't see play


Armillary Sphere
Colorless card advantage in the common slot? Sign me up! This is like Courier's Capsule, except you know what you will get, smooth out your mana, and can play it in any deck. Especially good in Urzatron decks, where you can search both of your colors with colorless mana, might even replace signets in that kind of deck (which are pretty juicy targets for artifact removal).
Verdict: Should see play

Bone Saw
There are a few worhtwile 0-drops in peasant magic, but my guess this isn't going to be one of them. Shuko owns this big time, an equip cost of 0 is way more useful than a casting cost of 0. In short, play Bonesplitter instead.
Verdict: Won't see play

The cantrip is nice, but there are harly any 5-color spells you want to play (those are almost exclusively rare or mythic), and there's better/faster mana fixing available. Armillary Sphere for example, or Pentad Prism.
Verdict: Won't see play

Mana Cylix
Making this a common does not make this a better card. I'm sure I can think of at least 10 cards you should play before you ever touch this.
Verdict: Won't see play


Rupture Spire
This is, hands down, the best multicolor land available in peasant. Thing is, I can't think of a deck that would want to use this to fix its mana. Domain want basic lands, Naya beatdown wants basic lands and, more importantly, a threat on turn 2. For this card to work there has to be a deck that doesn't mind sacrificing its second turn and desperately needs the colored mana. Even Urzatron would rather lay down a Sakura-Tribe Elder, Armillary Sphere or a Signet than this. So, this is probably my boldest prediction, and the one I'ld most like to be proven wrong about.
Verdict: Won't see play

So, there you have it, all wrapped up. Hope you enjoyed it!

What? What about the uncommons you say? But you can only play five of them, how important can they be?

Ah, you're right, those 5 uncommons are all that separates this format from Pauper magic. You need look only once at the decklists viable in both formats to see what a difference those uncommons make. So here, have at it! The list is going to be a good deal shorter though, since your uncommons need to win you games. They should be the stars of your deck, not the support. Hence, the list is not sorted by color.

Conflux Uncommons

Celestial Purge
This is a very, very, very, very good card. It is, however, still a sideboard card, and there are but a few of those that can actually survive being an uncommon. Celestial Purge, sadly, isn't one of them, as it's simply too specific. If you want to remove something from the game, play Oblivion Ring instead!
Verdict: Won't see play

Paragon of the Amesha
This card will win you games if left uncontested. You need all five colors for it to be anything good, but a 5/5 lifelink, flying, first strike is sure to make an impression! If you can't activate it reliably, this is worse than Kitsune Blademaster and Ballyknock Cohort.
Verdict: Might see play

Path to Exile
I played Swords to Plowshares in peasant, and it is still superb, even if it's (nearly) your only uncommon. The merits of Swords versus Path have already been extensively debated on the internet, and they all hold true in peasant as well. Generally speaking, Swords is better in the early game and in controlling decks, whereas Path is better in the late game and in aggressive decks. Guess what goes better together?
Verdict: Might see play

Now this is a threat! Needs to be dealt with fast, or your opponent is dealt with fast! Now if only artifact lands weren't banned in our peasant league...
Verdict: Will see play

Voices from the Void
5 mana discard doesn't cut it in a format where Hymn to Tourach is available at common. As brutal as Mind Sludge and this are, they are simply too slow to see play.
Verdict: Won't see play

Dragonsoul Knight
See Paragon of the Amesha. It lacks the very useful lifelink, but makes up for that by killing your opponent in just three blows. Well worth the cost, but still a little bit fragile at 2/2.
Verdict: Might see play

Hellspark Elemental
This is the uncommon mono red burn has been waiting for! This should replace all Magma Jets, Black Vises, and Genju of the Spires. Try it out!
Verdict: Will see play

Volcanic Fallout
Pyroclasm is one of the few uncommons worth sideboarding, and it just got replaced. Hell on faeries, elves and goblin tokens around the globe.
Verdict: Will see play

Shard Convergence
This is an interesting take on green card advantage. Comparable to Tidings in power, but one mana cheaper, and in the color that can get it out on turn three. Needless to say, Domain is all over this card, as its five-color drops are secured and the quality of its future draws shoots up.
Verdict: Should see play

Spore Burst
This is another contender in domain decks. But my guess is that its not good enough, there are simply better options available for your precious uncommon

Verdict: Won't see play

A very nice card, but U/B usually reserves its unc slots for things like Psychatog, Loxodon Warhammer and Fact or Fiction. You know, cards that swing the game a bit more than a card that can perfectly be replaced by a common... No, I meant Counterspell, not Negate.
Verdict: Won't see play

Hellkite Hatchling
If you can devour 2+ creatures, this becomes a very big flyer with the toughness in that golden 4-spot. It's a disaster waiting to happen though, since any Unmakes, Oblivion Rings or Echoing Truths your opponent might be playing will be an immediate 3-for-1, if not worse.
Verdict: Won't see play

Scarland Thrinax
Nice, but we have Carrion Feeder at common. Just in case you readers forgot. Nice try though.
Verdict: Won't see play.

Shambling Remains
This is competing directly with Ashenmoor Gouger for the uncommon slot in Machine Head decks. Depending on the number of Keldon Marauders and Lightning Bolts in your meta, either one might win out. Unearth is a great ability, but it remains (ha ha ha) to be seen if it is as good as that golden 4-spot.
Verdict: Might see play

And that really is the end of it. This time I really hope you enjoyed it. Have a nice day and good luck at your next peasant tournament!


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