DTK: Evaluations

This is an initial set of evaluations of the cards in Dragons of Tarkir. 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., cheap unconditional removal 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 2/2.
  • Sideboard (S): Useful to have in your sideboard, but not usually playable maindeck, e.g., artifact/enchantment removal or color hosers.
  • Unplayable (x): Should not be played except in the right deck or under exceptional circumstances, e.g., a vanilla 1/1. 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 +1/+1 counters 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.

  • Dromoka Captain (/): strong on the play and esp. good with either of the white rebound spells
  • Scale Blessing (/): even with no +1/+1 counters, this is a little like Dragonscale Boon, but with less choice of target and no untap
  • Sight Beyond Sight (~): weaker version of Bitter Revelation
  • Skywise Teachings (~): 6 mana + 2 noncreature spells = 1 2/2 flyer; 8 mana + 3 noncreature spells = 2 2/2 flyers
  • Butcher’s Glee (/): improved Necrobite
  • Dragon Tempest (?): anti-synergy with the uncommon Dragons in this format, since you usually want to play them face down
  • Ainok Artillerist (~), Conifer Strider (~): formidable enablers
  • Atarka’s Command (~), Dromoka’s Command (+), Kolaghan’s Command (/), Ojutai’s Command (~), Silumgar’s Command (+): the Commands are not as good as they initially seem because usually only 2 of the 4 choices are relevant in Limited formats, so you don’t have as much flexibility as it may seem

Here are the cards that need additional analysis to fully evaluate, and what the evaluation will depend on. Some of these cards have an initial assessment based on a standalone evaluation, but that may change after further analysis.

  • Arashin Foremost (B), Herald of Dromoka (/), Blood-Chin Fanatic (+), Blood-Chin Rager (+): #/quality of Warriors
  • Lightwalker (/), Scale Blessing (/), Avatar of the Resolute (+), Inspiring Call (+), Enduring Scalelord (/): #/quality of +1/+1 counters
  • Salt Road Quartermasters (+), Servant of the Scale: #/quality of effects that care about +1/+1 counters
  • Ambuscade Shaman (/), Warbringer (+): #/quality of dash creatures (and haste creatures, for Ambuscade Shaman)
  • Magmatic Chasm, Roast (+), Seismic Rupture (/), Pinion Feast (S): #/quality of flyers
  • Impact Tremors, Virulent Plague (S): #/quality of tokens
  • Obscuring Aether: #/quality of megamorphs
  • Dragon Tempest, Dragonlord’s Servant: #/quality of Dragons
  • Risen Executioner (+): #/quality of Zombies
  • Glaring Aegis: speed of format & #/quality of cards that benefit from enchantment/Aura
  • Graceblade Artisan: #/quality of Auras
  • Deadly Wanderings: how often exploit decks have only 1 creature in play
  • Dutiful Attendant: #/quality of exploit cards
  • Ancestral Statue: #/quality of ETB effects
  • Sight of the Scalelords, Gate Smasher: #/quality of creatures with toughness >= 4
  • Assault Formation: #/quality of creatures with toughness >= power and #/quality of defenders

There are also a couple of cards whose evaluation depends on how fast the format turns out to be.

  • Glaring Aegis
  • Foul-Tongue Shriek
  • Lose Calm
  • Magmatic Chasm
  • Volcanic Rush (+)

2 Responses to DTK: Evaluations

  1. senseirobb says:

    Sight Beyond Sight is definitely better in a Ojutai deck (assuming youre on MTGO or never forget to Rebound) than Bitter Revelation is in a Mardu deck. BR is definitely better in a Sultai deck than SBS is in a Dromoka deck. I’m not sure about other cases:

    SBS: Extra Prowess trigger, no loss of life.
    BR: No delay on card #2, gas for delve.

    I would have rated BR / in KTK rather than ~.

  2. sameer says:

    I did rate Bitter Revelation / (good) in KTK and not ~ (filler). I agree with you that it was better in Sultai than in Mardu. I also liked it in Abzan; even though I’d often preferred to spend my mana outlasting creatures, there were many times when I needed to find responses my opponent’s flyers.

    I don’t like Sight Beyond Sight because:
    – I don’t like spending 4 mana to draw 2 cards
    – I especially don’t like waiting an extra turn for the second card
    – I don’t usually care about losing 2 life
    – I’m not impressed by the common prowess creatures in FRF
    – Prowess decks tend to be aggressive and W/U, and I’d rather run Artful Maneuver, Great Teacher’s Decree, Ojutai’s Breath, or Taigam’s Strike over Sight Beyond Sight

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