FRF: Evaluations

This is an initial set of evaluations of the cards in Fate Reforged. The main purpose is not to share deep insights into the new cards, but to figure out which cards need further analysis and to help determine how many relevant cards there are when trying to evaluate the cards that I don’t have a good sense of yet. For instance, artifact removal spells were very good in Mirrodin block, but are almost useless in Khans block.

Here’re what my various evaluations mean:

  • Bomb (B): Will usually win the game if not dealt with and also difficult to deal with or play around, e.g., large flyers or mass removal.
  • Exceptional (+): A superior card that will turn the tide in your favor, e.g., most unconditional removal that isn’t overcosted or a 3/3 flyer for 4 mana.
  • Good (/): The bread and butter of most decks, e.g., a 2/2 flyer or a vanilla 3/3 for 3 mana.
  • Situational/Filler (~): Good in the right deck, filler in most others, e.g., a vanilla 2/1 in a deck that is not particularly aggressive.
  • Sideboard (S): Useful to have in your sideboard, but not usually playable maindeck, e.g., artifact/enchantment destruction or color hosers that aren’t good if you’re not playing against those colors.
  • Unplayable (x): Should not be played except in the right deck or under exceptional circumstances, e.g., a vanilla 1/1 for 1 mana. Some unplayable creatures can be sided in against the right deck, e.g., a vanilla 1/3 for 3 mana might still be sided in against an aggressive deck.
  • TBD (?): Requires more analysis or more experience with the format to evaluate, e.g., a card that depends on how many playable enchantments there are in the format.

The spreadsheet also has explanations for many of my evaluations in the Notes column. Here are some evaluations that might not be obvious at first glance:

  • Aven Skirmisher (/): is a Warrior, helps raid effects, and good with Rush of Battle/Trumpet Blast/War Flare
  • Channel Harm (~): expensive, wastes a turn if your opponent decides not to attack, and damage is not prevented if the target is removed in response
  • Grave Strength (/): helps with delve early (if you have a target), and can be gamebreaking late if you haven’t been delving much; remember to delve non-creatures first if you have this in your deck
  • Orc Sureshot (+): especially good with tokens and dash
  • Qarsi High Priest (+): good against removal; especially good with Sultai Emissary and Act of Treason
  • Dragonrage (~): usually worse than Trumpet Blast
  • Flamerush Rider (+): especially good with enters-the-battlefield effects
  • Humble Defector (/): comboes well with Refocus and Collateral Damage, but good even on its own in an aggressive deck since it can help you find your finishers, and since your opponent may have to hold it back as a blocker anyway
  • Lightning Shrieker (~): a blockable Lava Axe
  • Ainok Guide (/): if you use the second mode, you’re usually okay with the card disadvantage
  • Harsh Sustenance (/): I don’t usually like cards that require you to have multiple creatures in play in order to be good, but this card provides aggressive B/W or Mardu decks the ability to kill their opponent from nowhere, especially if they have multiple tokens

Here are the cards that need additional analysis to fully evaluate, and what the evaluation will depend on:

  • Jeskai Barricade, Ambush Krotiq: #/quality of ETB effects (could also affect my evaluation of Temur Sabertooth and Flamerush Rider)
  • Lotus-Eye Mystics, Abzan Advantage: #/quality of enchantments
  • Ancestral Vengeance: #/quality of 1-toughness creatures
  • Bloodfire Enforcers: #/quality of instants and sorceries
  • Temur Battle Rage: #/quality of creatures with high power
  • Return to the Earth: #/quality of flyers
  • Hewed Stone Retainers: #/quality of cheap spells

There are also a couple of cards whose evaluation depends on more experience with the format:

  • Frontier Siege: experience with the card
  • Map the Wastes: whether decks now tend to be 2-color
  • Honor’s Reward: whether people play around bolster
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