At TCGplayer HQ, we have cowork stations all around our office. They serve as a way to get to know folks that aren't in the immediate vicinity of your desk. I'm writing this down in the warehouse today, so today, I'll be asking people their take on cards, because most people here are way better at Magic than I am anyway.
Bristling Hydra is... hoo boy, that is a hard card to beat. As soon as it hits the table, the way the game unfolds from there becomes a lot clearer — it becomes a race. Limited, Constructed, doesn't matter — that Bristling Hydra is huge and you can't kill it and it is going to mow you down. It's nice.
Scrapheap Scrounger decks are surfacing as the "mono-red" deck of Kaladesh Standard — that is, the aggressive, low-budget deck — so its sales are steady, trending slightly upwards. This week, Bristling Hydra and Scrapheap Scrounger are joined by Servant of the Conduit and Frontier fodder Dig Through Time as coulda-beens.
Here comes the dual-land boilerplate! To add a holiday twist, imagine the text wearing a Santa hat.
Here's what makes dual-lands good: basic lands create only one color of mana. That means the baseline value of a land is that it makes one mana of one color. Any time a land is able to cheat on this principle, its value is higher than the value of a basic land. This is why lands like these generally have some sort of qualifier, or drawback, built in. Sometimes the drawbacks are too great, like with Lotus Vale or Cinder Marsh, for them to have more value than a basic land. However, the drawback on the Kaladesh rare dual-land cycle is barely a drawback, yielding value way past the value of a basic land. That is why Concealed Courtyard, Blooming Marsh, and Spirebluff Canal are Good Wizard Squares.
"I think the the growth we've seen is well-deserved. It's a good card—you can put it in a lot of different things. You can combine it with Reckless Fireweaver."
-My coworker Christian, on Panharmonicon
I love that he went to Reckless Fireweaver. It is my firm belief that Panharmonicon is designed specifically to break people's brains. The card represents a world of possibilities; it's easy to get overwhelmed. At that point, your brain just defaults to something fundamentally intuitive. For Christian, that was Reckless Fireweaver.
(Actually his first suggestion was Disciple of the Vault. I had to not-so-gently remind him that that doesn't work.)
"I think it's a very good card. It has flying, and every card with flying has seen play."
-My coworker Nick, on Smuggler's Copter
Every card with flying has seen play, you say? Tsk tsk. How soon we forget Chimney Imp.
"I think it's overplayed. Or used to be overplayed. I don't know. I don't have a good reason. I never cast it. I want to talk about Panharmonicon more."
-My coworker Kyle, on Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
My point continues to prove itself: Panharmonicon breaks everyone's brains.
"Blossoming Defense is amazing. I think it could be very useful in Modern."
-My coworker Amanda, on Blossoming Defense
She's right, by the way:
"It's good. It's just good, I think; it's easily dealt with, but if it's not, it wins the game on its first swing. It's a worse Infect in Standard."
-My coworker AJ, on Electrostatic Pummeler
Editor's Note: "swing" means attack.
"Probably Standard's best removal spell."
-My coworker Dave, on Harnessed Lightning
That's a tough assessment to argue with. The removal's pretty bad in Kaladesh Standard, clearing the path for Harnessed Lightning. The card's only competition is Grasp of Darkness, which costs double-black mana and doesn't scale into the late game. Obviously, the better of the two depends on what you're looking for in a removal spell, but Harnessed Lightning makes energy relevant in decks that don't even need energy for any other cards. That's strong.
"Is that the one that puts a creature into play? Oh no, it's the strictly better Tendo Ice Bridge."
-My coworker Derek, on Aether Hub
This is emblematic of the problem with Aether Hub — it's so vanilla and efficient that it's easy to look at it and forget that the vast majority of decks need four copies of it. It's not splashy, but it gets the job done.
See you Friday.