Thursday, March 03, 2016

Fate Reforged - Junior Varsity

Missed our Khans of Tarkir - Junior Varsity post? Wow, dummy. Don't worry, we got your back:
Click here to check it out!

Rotation approaches. This is our last month of 5 color goodstuff Khans of Tarkir standard. Personally, I'm stoked. Fetches are expensive, and standard has gotten a bit whacky in cost. Some of the sexiest land-fixing mixed with a very strong multicolored set is making things feel a bit homogeneous, and I'm ready to watch it explode.

So now it's time to take a look back at the other set going out when Innistrad comes in. Fate Reforged. It has packed a lot of punch for such a small set, and I was quite happy with it. But a lot of those punches went like five feet to the left and totally missed target. There are some amazingly strong cards that just never found a home. This is bad news for those of you who bought them for $10 at the pre-release like me, but excellent news for casual players who like exciting mythics on the cheap.

How cheap? Super. Some of these mythics are already floating around $1, and a lot of the best rares in Khans and Fate are under that, and will hit their bottom soon. If you were looking to sell off all your standard staples, you missed your window, buddy. I'd either hang onto them forever, or look for someone desperate to play that one last month of standard.

April 8th is when your monetary dreams die.
Yeah well, who cares Dan. I don't read this for your shit financial advice, I read this to laugh at your opinions. Fair enough, internet guy. So let's take a look at some cards that looked bonkers, but ended up doing very little bonking in their standard life. These cards fit a few simple criteria:
  1. When spoiled, the hype runneth over, and people expected new decks to break out over these cards.
  2. The power level seems very, very high, or you're getting a lot/sooper strong effects for very little mana.
  3. People built decks with them, failed miserably, and then went back to just jamming Rhinos. 
Simple. Quite unlike all the cards we're looking at today. The Fate Reforged Junior Varsity cards are mostly mythics, and their rules text stretch the textbox to the max. Some of these cards are crazy powerful, but apparently not powerful enough to flex with Rhinos. Without any further Rhino hate (but don't get it twisted - I really fucking hate Siege Rhino) let's get on to the cards!

The card fifth most likely to disappoint you:

Spooky ghost-man will shoot spooky blue goopies at you.
On its face, this card seems like a wild finisher. Poopin' out 10-20 2/2's seems like a good way to finish the game, right? Even if they can remove two or three and chump a couple, you'll still most likely kill them in a turn or two.

Hah, wrong-o, buck-o.

Ghastly Conscription needed a unique deck style to function. It had to have a high enough end to cast a seven cost spell, and also have a critical mass of dudes to make it useful. Sure, you could target your opponent's yard, but then you run the risk of them not having many critters, or maybe they side some out/delve them away/they get exiled in some other way. Also, I dunno if you've ever checked out the graveyard after a standard game, but it's usually not jam packed with creatures. Getting ten manifesters was optimistic, and super unlikely.

But fear not! This gigantic game-ender will only run you $2 or so, and is amazing in EHD and casual playing. Those games go a long ass time, boardwipes are everywhere, and yards will up fast. This is a great inclusion in a black deck, and I'd look to snap up one or two right after rotation if GY shenanigans is your kink.

Number 4 - so many unrealized dreams:

Creature type - Tornado Whale Vacuum

Torrent Elemental was a card I was super excited about, but he ended up sucking as much as his art. The art isn't bad, it's just he's sucking stuff up. Like a vacuum. Get it? Fuck you, that was funny.

First of all, a 3/5 flier isn't terrible, though not the wet dream of constructed decks. His second ability is cool, ensuring that you're always going to get through damage. It's his last ability that really interested me. I figured in a Sultai delve deck, this is a dope threat, delve fuel, and recurrable. Having him slap face a few times, dying, delve him to Cruise or Dig, and then just bring him back and wreck face again sounds sensual, right? Nah, rather than getting all Sultai on their asses, I just got all Salty. He's just a stupid tornado.

Turns out he's super expensive to do that with. Sorcery speed resurrection certainly didn't help. Plus, why play him when you have the hexproof murdermachine that is Silumgar? Poor vacuum fish. On the bright side, if sucking him out of the exile zone sounds fun, he'll only set you back $1.50, and will likely remain that way for several months.

The third loser who thought he was ready for the big leagues but was actually just a scrub playin' ball with his dad:

I always call him Shaman of the Great Cunt. It's never funny, but I keep doing it.
Shammy was easily my favorite card in Fate Reforged. Well, that's a lie, since I loved a lot of cards from here, but still. People had high hopes for him. He was fairly big, hasty, had a huge effect on your creatures if they got through, and his ferocious ability is wild for boardstalls. What held this big boy back? Unfortunate colors.

Temur was just shitty. I'm comfortable saying that now. The only way to get Temur to work right now is to splash another color so you get to play good cards. Which I feel is ridiculous, because turn two Frost Walker into turn three Knuckleblade into this guy should be the best possible thing, but it really doesn't do much. I blame Temur Charm. Fuck you, Temur Charm.

On the bright side, he is still a good card, especially if you can make a deck to capitalize on that ferocious ability to drown your opponent in cards. All that at a measly... $1.50?! Fuck man. I bought two of these for $25 each last year. God damnit.

The card in second did its best, it's just that its best wasn't very good:

... and defender, banding, flanking, horsemanship, phasing...
Soulflayer had a good showing when he came out, with a few decks doing pretty well. Thanks to Satyr Wayfinder, it wasn't hard to just toss a Chromanticore and some other dumb stuff into the yard and have a 4/4 fuckloadofabilities on turn three. That was usually game. One issue was that he just wasn't very consistent, and if you couldn't get him with the right keywords, he kind of got shot or blocked. Not to mention, after Theros rotated (RIP in peace Satyr Wayfinder) the deck couldn't play him way ahead of curve as easily, and he became bulk.

Super, super bulk, actually. For the price of two gumballs, you too could have your own Soulflayer, and build some terrible casual deck that makes a 4/4 with as many keywords as possible. I should do that, since I opened a shiny once once. I'll let you know how it goes.

The champ of bein' shitty:

Just you wait, Warrior Tribal will be tier 1.
Just looking at KTK and FRF, you would think Wizards decided to make Warriors a real thing. there are an insane amount of warriors in the Mardu colors, and a lot of them are actually very good. Bloadsoaked Champion and Mardu Woe-Reaper were amazing one drops, Chief of the Edge and Seeker of the Way filled out twosies, and then Alesha and Arashin Foremost for three, then Brutsie and Sorin at 4. Sounds like a deck to me.

Despite it's best effort, something always got in the way. The perfect counter to this type of agro deck that had decent late game staying power was some sort of low cost creature that could gain you life, and was an amazing blocker.

I wonder what creature meets all of those criteria.

Oh well. Tribal decks are fun to play casual, so the bulk-mythic price tag of $1.50 on Brutal Hordechief makes him a great pickup at rotation. Slap him and some Mardu colored shit into a pile, and crunch your friends' faces!

Honorabru mentions:

Most interesting text-box alive.

Soulfire Grand Master:

I just had to mention her. She saw a good amount of standard play in Jeskai lists, so she wasn't junior varsity, but she is one of the coolest cards ever. Instants and sorceries have lifelink?! Finally Treasure Cruise is useful! Hah, but really, that is awesome for casual play and a ton of fun. I could see her dropping to $5 or so at rotation, and I would definitely pick up a playset if you can. Barring reprints, her price will go way up, since she just has such an awesome and unique ability.

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death:

Despite the weird fucking name, Alesha is awesome. She makes a great Mardu commander, or just slots into any R/W or B/R deck with low-cost creatures. She's at bulk prices, and it's worth having a couple copies of her lying around.

So that sums up rotation. I guess. Keep playing your $6000 standard decks for now, and let's hope SoI is a bit kinder to our wallets. I look forward to seeing what terrible cards I'll get to lose with as we roll into spoiler season, and I can't wait to talk about them as if I have any idea what the hell I'm saying when it comes to Magic.

- Dan

Like the JV cards? Think I'm just wrong and should kill myself? Let me know! My fragile ego can probably handle it! Leave a comment, or send us a message with the form on the right.


  1. God I hate you and everything you stand for.

  2. I found this article entertaining and educational. Did you do that by accident?

    1. Yeh, my bad, it was never my intention to provide any sort of educational value in our articles.

  3. I was expecting Temporal Trespass at the top spot, but Warchief was very disappointing too! I was also hoping Tasigur would do more, but he's pretty sweet in Modern at least.

    1. Yeah, Temporal Trespass is baller, but didn't make the list because not too many expected it to be competitive, so there wasn't much hype. As opposed to Brutal Hordechief, who was supposed to usher in our Warrior Overlords.

      And yeah man, Tasigur is a baller. Only rare that really kept a price tag out of the whole set.

  4. I enjoyed the content but I feel the Swastika was unnecessary and in poor taste. Makes me less inclined to read again in the future.

    1. I'm sorry you felt that way. Not really, but you know, I figure I should at least say it.

      This probably is not the place to be if you do not like jokes that are in poor taste lol

  5. Sure, I get it, I figured that this would be your response and I can sympathize. As a content creator, I'm sure you know that sometimes the creative choices you make can have negative impacts on your viewership. It's a balance. I'm all for crude jokes when the payoff is there, but like, I just have a feeling that this choice left more a bad taste in people's mouths that it was worth. Its a shame because the content's not bad, and I would have been happy to return, but now with the unfortunate Nazi reference I'm not sure. PS: I also hate siege rhino

    1. Nah man, I got a decent chuckle out of nazi armband.