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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Apr 05 2017 12:00pm
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I love this game. I love writing about it. Compiling lists about it. Evaluating it. Sometimes, I even play it. I'm an Accidental Player.

> summary <

 As it's now usual, last November a new set of Commander decks was released, called, following tradition, Commander 2016. Earlier in the year, and precisely in August, a new Conspiracy set was also released, Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Sadly, as it's also becoming tradition, MTGO didn't get an online release for any of these sets, while some new cards from both have later arrived online through the Treasure Chests, the prize packets you can win through Constructed leagues or Vintage Dailies. It's the same treatment Commander 2015 got with last year's Legendary Cube Prize Packs; even the MTGO code shows continuity, using the "PZ2" abbreviation, whereas the previous ersatz set went under the code "PZ1".

 This time there's a different formula, though: where the Commander decks from the 2015 edition had been entirely translated into the PZ1 prize set, not even all the new cards from the 2016 supplemental products made into PZ2. In fact, only 48 of the 56 new cards from Commander 2016 are part of it, and the selection of Conspiracy: Take the Crown is even smaller: initially there were just 12 out of the 68 CN2 new cards, later amended to 22 out of 68 (the former Conspiracy set was never fully inducted as well, mostly because a lot of those cards have little to no use outside of Conspiracy drafts; some of the most useful ones were included within Vintage Masters, and one of the missing ones has been actually included here, possibly because C16 reprinted it.) The rest of the Treasure Chests are composed of random Modern-legal rares and mythics, random Standard-legal commons and uncommons, and the so-called Curated Cards, a group of cards selected by Magic R&D that contains highlights from the whole history of Magic, including the Power 9 (the full list is here, then amended here.) For each of the three slots that compose each Chest, there's a 4% chance a C16/CN2 card will show up.

 As for the 8 Commander 2016 cards that aren't there, five of those form the Undaunted cycle, which honestly could have been a fun addition to online multiplayer. The remaining three are these:

  

 Cruel Entertainment is strictly multiplayer and Manifold Insights is not as strong in 1v1 as it is in multiplayer, but so what? MTGO already includes these kinds of cards. The exclusion of Conqueror's Flail is even more baffling, since that looks like great equipment for Legacy! And it's not like they had limited slots, since the Treasure Chest pool has essentially no limits.

 On the other hand, by its own nature, the new Conspiracy set clearly had a larger amount of auto-exclude cards, just like its predecessor. Of the 56 CN2 cards that initially didn't make the cut, 15 directly dealt with the shenanigans of the Conspiracy draft and 17 with the Monarch rules that only apply to Conspiracy games (as the name of the set suggests, they're the centerpiece mechanic of Conspiracy: Take the Crown). However, 10 of them (8 of which are creatures) have later been added the PZ2 list during the Treasure Chest update for Modern Masters 2017. As explained in the announcement, this decision came to be mostly because one of the Monarch card started to show up in paper Legacy decks, namely this one:

 

 Another 4 of the missing CN2 cards feature the goad mechanic, which forces a creature to attack, and possibly to attack a player who is not you. Of course in 1v1, the second part of the ability would never apply, but again, multiplayer does exist online. Besides, one of the goad cards, namely Grenzo, Havoc Raiser, was even included after all. Similarly, they excluded 6 out of the 7 cards with the melee keyword, which seems harmless enough a mechanic to warrant a safe MTGO porting, since it's just about creatures getting temporarily bigger when they attack.

 Two other excluded cards, Ballot Broker and Illusion of Choice, influence the voting mechanic, which we already have online from the Conspiracy cards that were added to Vintage Masters (e.g. Council's Judgment, Coercive Portal, Magister of Worth), but I can see how they're too few and far between to justify the presence of two voting manipulators. However, they've also excluded 6 new cards with a new take on the voting mechanic itself (the Council's dilemma group), and that feels a lot less justified, especially considering some of these were just good Timmy-esque fun, and none of them appear that hard to implement, if that was the rationale for the exclusion.

 This leaves us with 6 missing cards that have no reason whatsoever for not being there:

  

  

 (I might not have fully understood what Spy Kit is for, though. The equipped creature gets all names, not types. So, it's, uh, hosed by any Pithing Needle it crosses paths with?) (UPDATE: As Cheater Hater mentioned in the comments, the first Conspiracy block had a mechanic where the name of a creature mattered. Plus, things like Biovisionary and Echoing Courage).

 Anyway, both C16 and CN2 are multiplayer affairs, so the emphasis on legendary creatures and multicolored cards is somewhat expected. Lore-wise, Conspiracy: Take the Crown is still set on the Italian Renaissance-like plane of Fiora, while C16 doesn't have a single storyline and is used as a chance to visit a number of different planes (and times), such as Mirrodin/New Phyrexia, Alara, Zendikar, Innistrad, Theros, Tarkir, and even good old Dominaria. A few noteworthy characters from these planes that had never gotten their own card now did. The backstory for all of them is here.

 All right, time to have a look at the new creatures and their tribes that we've been allowed to get online. As always, the focus is on all the Constructed applications, the tribes are listed alphabetically, but you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 Infodump

  • New cards: 71 (C16: 48, CNS: 1, CN2: 22)
  • New creatures: 50 (C16: 33, CN2: 17)
  • Reprinted cards (Curated list): 663
  • Reprinted creatures (Curated list): 192
  • Missing cards: 54 (C16: 8, CN2: 46)
  • Creature types affected: 37
  • Tribes with more than 5 additions: Human (+24), Soldier (+9), Wizard (+6)
  • Updated with Monarch cards: Advisor, Assassin, Cleric, Giant, Human, Soldier, Zombie

Advisor: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 48, online: 36

 Related Tribes: Elf, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Here's a great Advisor right here at the start. Leovold is from Conspiracy: Take the Crown, so he is neither one of the mandated 4-color commanders from C16, nor one of the 2-color "partners", but he's still a legendary creature that can command lists, or just be around and do his thing. Which happens to be a formidable, take-no-prisoners anti-storm/anti-control hose that also involves the reasonable expectation to draw at least one card (or else, to essentially hose targeting too). It's worth noting that, unlike any other storm hoser (like Spirit of the Labyrinth or Rule of Law, for instance), Leovold doesn't prevent his player from actually playing storm, which is almost preposterous. Just think what happens when you play something like Howling Mine with Leovold on the board. Yeah, that's why he's currently the most expensive card in the set, clocking at almost 40 tix (for comparison, the second most expensive is a little more than 4 tix).

 On the other hand, Orzhov Advokist is a nice political tool in multiplayer, but in 1v1 (or when multiplayer gets down to a race between you and another player), the opponent is just going to grab those free +1/+1 counters until their threatening dude has become threatening enough, so they'll just go ahead and swing at you with the critter you helped make large. I'm not sure there's a role for the Advokist anywhere outside casual Commander, although a 4-toughness blocker for 3 mana is kinda above the curve.

 UPDATE! So now Advisor gets a third new member thanks to the Monarch cards. It doesn't do much since it doesn't make you the Monarch, though, so I'll file this under "mostly irrelevant" (unless someone will try and build a Monarch-centered deck in Legacy, but I don't really see that happening).


Ally: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 95

 Related Tribes: Human, Kor, Soldier

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Both the new Allies have Partner, a mechanic that I like more in theory than I do in execution, since it just seems to me like a way to circumvent Commander's limitations, which is making the format lose its flavor. Anyway, Partner only matters when playing Commander, and only if you want to build your deck that way. Taken on their own, these two have a few other things in common: they're both Boros-colored, and they're both characters that were previously mentioned in the flavor text of a bunch of Zendikar cards (so, they're actually partners to each other? Like, life partners, even? That would make for some hilariously odd couple, an acrobatic Kor girl and a mustached ox-breeding strongman). This said, they don't even feature Ally-relevant mechanics, Akiri is cheap but does little if you haven't a lot of artifacts around (or at least a few), and Bruse Tarl is your typical Boros double striking lifelinker, but less effective than, say, Brion Stoutarm. Not such a power couple, after all.


Angel: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 135, online: 134

 Related Tribes: Horror

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: The Phyrexians keep going with their little compleation project on the Plane Formerly Known as Mirrodin. Meet the one Angel they've turned into the Herald of the Praetors, or something like that. At first, Atraxa appears to be a super-fighter along the lines of old favorites like the Akromas or Sphinx of the Steel Wind. She's more defensive than offensive, though, thanks to vigilance and lifelink, while deathtouch doesn't usually do much on a larger body (I guess it's flavorful, though). The really over-the-top ability is that free, recurring proliferate, which could spiral out of control pretty fast in the right deck. It's also great that the proliferation starts right away (well, bar instant removal), because that means she impacts the board the turn she drops, which is always a sign of a superior creature.


Artificer: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 99, online: 95

 Related Tribes: Faerie

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Is it me or these clever Faeries are super-powerful, and especially fun to play? For 4 mana, you get to always have a copy of the last thing the opponent dropped. And sure, an equally clever opponent will play around that somehow (plus, creature-less decks exist everywhere, and those will make this ability entirely moot). Still, if they try and play their big guy, they'll have to face your big guy clone first, since your copy will be ready and willing to attack as soon as they pass the turn (unless the big guy they played was the biggest).


Assassin: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 46, online: 43

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: UPDATE! So Assassin shows up entirely within the Monarch additions. And it gets one of the prime cuts in Queen Marchesa. Before evaluating such a major Monarch card, it's worth reminding what becoming the Monarch entails. Essentially, you get this emblem-like status card:

 This means that, in the case of Queen Marchesa, you're paying 4 to get a 3/3 with deathtouch and haste, but also a card-drawing engine that starts getting you cards from the same turn. In addition, the Monarch is now in play, so if the opponent will try and steal the crown from you by swinging at you, they have to know Marchesa will start pumping out her deadly little assassins at that point. (Please note there's a third way to become the Monarch in multiplayer, which is by being the active player when the current Monarch leaves play, or the player next in line to become active if the active player is the current Monarch). So this new iteration of the character makes for a pretty good card. In the meantime, her name is made even sillier by the addition of the queen title, since "marchesa" means "marchioness" in Italian, so that's a very confusing juxtaposition of nobility ranks.

 Thorn of the Black Rose is a bit overcosted for what she offers, but it's not terrible in control decks.


Avatar: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 62, online: 59

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: So, let's see, you may cast this for cheap when one or more of your opponents have a lot of creatures on the battlefield, in which case you're not going to do much with some 10/10 vanilla, unless you also had a bunch of creatures to pump with its other ability. But if you have a bunch of creatures to begin with, aren't there better ways to pump them? Yes, there are, especially if you're not facing opponents with overpopulated boards, and you just want to swing for the win.


Berserker: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 64, online: 61

 Related Tribes: Goblin

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Well, the "opponent chosen at random" clause ceases to be a hindrance in 1v1, doesn't it? So this little guy is actually able to deal a ton of damage each turn. It seems like something a Berserker burn deck is going to love. It even works in the opponent's turn! So it's like, 6 damage to their dome with this Boros Charm, say go, and now Lightning Bolt for 4 in their upkeep. Luckily it can't be played in Modern, but it still happens to be legal in Tribal Wars.


Bird: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 209, online: 198

 Related Tribes: Monk

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Our Tarkir-dweller Ishai (personal attendant of Dragonlord Ojutai, no less) starts with subpar stats for its cost, but it's going to grow, Taurean Mauler style, which is sort of unusual for an Azorius-colored creature. That doesn't make it particularly exciting, though.


Centaur: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 51

 Related Tribes: Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Whoa, that's a big Centaur! And powerful, to boot, if a bit on the expensive side. But what an alpha strike he sets! The Timmy in me is utterly delighted. Centaur reanimator, anyone? And by the way, this marks the 51st Centaur ever, so the tribe is not Endangered anymore. A good way to celebrate.


Cleric: +5

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 316, online: 292

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: CN2's Sanctum Prelate is not going to be as popular as fellow hatebear Containment Priest from C14 (and PZ1), but it's another first-rate maindeck disruptor or sideboard bullet. Admittedly, you have to figure out just which of the opponent's noncreature CMCs is best to stop, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that "1" is probably a good number to choose.

 The Clerics from C16 are good, too. Tymna is no Dark Confidant but she can draw you a card per turn in 1v1, provided some combat damage is getting through. Then there's the other Theros partner, Ravos, Soultender, Oracle of Athreos, and Magic's take on the myth of Orpheus. His starts are below the curve, even with that random Crusade effect, but then you realize he's free card advantage every turn, and that takes him into amazing territory. However, my favorite here might just be Custodi Soulbinders (that curiously come from the Conspiracy's plane of Fiora). First you get counters based on the strength of your board position, and then you turn those counters into flying tokens that further strengthen your board. It's all a bit mana intensive, but it's cool.

 UPDATE! Custodi Lich is a solid Monarch creature, in that it's an enhanced, one-sided Slum Reaper for 1 mana more. Plus, I have the feeling that anything that's even just vaguely useful and brings the Monarch emblem into the game would be worth considering, because free card advantage is a big deal, especially if your strategy is about preventing attacks, and considering how many creature-light decks you can meet in the Legacy meta (well, not in the Legacy Tribal Wars meta, of course).


Construct: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 114, online: 113

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Construct is a hot tribe right now, due to Kaladesh block, and it gets two more solid entries in its roster. Armory Automaton is excellent, mainly because it's a cheap, colorless way to combo with expensive equip costs like Argentum Armor's. It can also steal the occasional enemy equipment, at least temporarily (unless they don't have creatures to move it onto, which would be just delightful). Crystalline Crawler uses the converge mechanic, that I don't like too much (but it's still better than counting basic land types like domain does). But then it can just add counters to itself, which makes it a mana accumulator on legs (which also becomes an increasingly large threat). Granted, it's not the fastest way to ramp, but it's not as bad a design as I initially thought.


Dragon: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 164, online: 163

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: So Runehorn Hellkite is a barely-on-the-curve Dragon specimen, but once it dies, it turns into an instant-speed Wheel of Fortune. Well, not for Wheel of Fortune cost, clearly, but it sure is a nice thing to directly dump into your graveyard in a Dragon reanimator deck.


Druid: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 147, online: 143

 Related Tribes: Elf

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Tana is a feral Elf from an unknown plane who was abandoned in the woods at birth and instead of "raised by wolves" has been "raised by saprolings", which is such a ridiculous concept that it instantly becomes adorable. Anyway, when she gets herself in a fight, her Saproling family comes to her help, resulting in massive token generation, in the same manner of Living Hive or Rapacious One. The crucial difference is that those were high-powered dudes to begin with, while Tana starts small, but that's up to you to amend that. Or just leave her alone. She doesn't look very sociable.


Elemental: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 370, online: 363

 Related Tribes: Ox

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: That's a strange fella, and not just because it's a fiery ox (I wonder how Bruse would handle it. Appropriately enough, he can block it without taking damage). You're compelled not to attack with your 4-powered haste guy, in order to allow it to slowly do damage over time. It's intriguing, but I wouldn't exactly call it good.


Elf: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 326, online: 311

 Related Tribes: Advisor, Druid, Scout

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Other than hoser extraordinaire Leovold and Saproling Princess Tana, Elf gets a second iteration of Selvala, after Selvala, Explorer Returned from the first Conspiracy set (and Vintage Masters online). It looks like our pointy-eared traveler is back into the wilderness, and she's still dealing with mana production and universal card drawing, although in a more massive way this time. The gamble of the increasingly higher creature power can be reasonably predicted, but ultimately could go either way (it's bound to be casual fun in "group hug" multiplayer, though). The mana-producing ability is more clearly one-sided, if not as strong as classic Elf ramping, because it mostly depends on one big target. Plus, I get that the activation cost is required to avoid Selvala to just be a double mana dork right away, but being forced to pay mana in order to generate mana is just not a very elegant design.


Faerie: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 73, online: 70

 Related Tribes: Artificer

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: I'm still liking these crazy copycats a lot!


Fish: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 28, online: 24

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: That's a juicy Fish! Delayed Doubling Season, I like that. Of course it's one-time, and it costs just as much as Doubling Season, and the body it leaves behind is unremarkable, but hey, it's just a Fish. Can't be too demanding there.


Giant: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 134, online: 128

 Related Tribes: Soldier

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: UPDATE! The Monarch guy that belongs to Giant is a Veteran Bodyguard with less embarrassing art and the Monarch emblem free of charge (well, not actually free of charge, you pay one mana more for that). Considering you'll mostly lose that emblem once the opponent deals you combat damage, the "bodyguard" ability becomes more relevant than ever. Still, 6 mana may be a few too many.


Goblin: +3

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 299, online: 286

 Related Tribes: Berserker, Rogue

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Of course, Vial Smasher the Fierce (so, his name is just made up of two different nicknames?) is just the master of the brutal beatdown in aggressive red decks, which Goblins usually are a feature of. And Goblin Spymaster is a truly brilliant design, even if forcing all the opponent's creatures to attack is not always something you wanna do. And then there's the new Grenzo from Conspiracy: Take the Crown (I guess he's not a Dungeon Warden anymore). And that's just, wow. He's a 2-drop that can just sit there while your assault team brings the pain and you get to steal cards from the top of your opponent's library, just like that. Or you can goad something, which, again, forces it to attack, but that's going to pale in comparison to the other option. Grenzo 2.0 is a mean pillager indeed.


Horror: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 180, online: 179

 Related Tribes: Angel, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Did you notice that Atraxa is not actually representing ALL the Praetors? Apparently, Urabrask didn't like the idea very much and didn't want any part in it. Which is pretty convenient since they had to create a 4-color creature, right? But you know Urabrask, he's so grumpy and antisocial. Anyway, the Horror type also goes on Kraum, one of Ludevic's most treasured creations (more on him later). Kraum's a flying two-headed Zombie that gives you a very conditional card-drawing opportunity. Or he just discourages the opponent to cast too much, I guess. But he's also a 4-powered evasive haste attacker for 5 mana, so there's that. And he's a partner. Not sure who's going to want to partner with him, though.


Human: +24

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 1909, online: 1728

 Related Tribes: AdvisorAlly, AssassinCleric, Knight, Soldier, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Irrelevant

 Highlights: So, among the two C16 Humans that aren't any other type (it happens), there's one of the five 4-color commanders. Breya is from Esper, Alara, so she also gets the artifact type, because etherium augmentations are still all the rage up there. She provides two little Thopters for her cost, which is good, especially since when used as a commander, she'll recur. And her sacrifice ability is strong, ranging from direct damage and creature removal to lifegaining. Of course, whatever the format, she really, really wants to be surrounded by a load of artifacts, which is less "build around me" than most.

 Silas Renn is also an Esperite, not to mention Breya's perfect partner (except he can't literally be, don't even think about it, Silas), since he brings back artifacts from the graveyard. He needs to connect first, though, and that's probably not going to happen a lot, even with deathtouch as a threat: trading with a 2/2 is not that hard. No wonder Breya doesn't want to share commander duties with such a wuss.

 UPDATE! So Human also gets 6 Monarch creatures, among which the superstar Palace Jailer. But that's Human for you: it always gets everything it wants, and also stuff it didn't even ask for.


Hydra: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 34

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Nice to see monstrosity appears outside of Theros (on Fiora, in this case, as this is a CN2 card), but unfortunately Domesticated Hydra is just not a very effective representative of its kind, what with those Hill Giant basic stats and unexciting monstrosity cost and effect.


Knight: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 198, online: 185

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: So Adriana is the poster girl for CN2's melee mechanic, which she gives to all your team. Melee is stronger is multiplayer, but pretty decent in 1v1 as well. I mean, it's strictly worse than just a Crusade effect, but oh well. And look at that, Sidar Kondo! When was the last time you've heard the name Jamuraa? We're back in Dominaria, guys, at the time of the Mirage War! (Which I can't even tell how long ago is compared to the current timeline, but I gather it's long ago). This guy is Gerrard Capashen's adoptive father, how cool is that? What's that? Who the hell is Gerrard Capashen? Ah kids, get off my lawn. Anyway, to reinforce the fact that this dude is ancient, he even comes complete with flanking (!) and some sort of minor horsemanship. That makes him suitable to work as a commander or centerpiece in a deck entirely populated by bears. (I mean 2/2s, not actual Bears).


Kor: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 53

 Related Tribes: Ally, Soldier

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: It just occurred to me that Akiri's artifacts are meant to represent Kor's equipments. They just wanted for her to do a bit more, considering it's not that common to have more than two or three equipments on the battlefield. And she doesn't do that much in any case. Well, maybe in a deck with all the artifact lands, right? She'd be a fast, heavy-hitter in that build.


Merfolk: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 158, online: 155

 Related Tribes: Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Well, scry 1 then do a Coiling Oracle trigger? That's one strong ability, and it's even repeatable at will in the same turn. Sure, a 4-mana activation is not cheap, but it's generic mana, which makes Thrasios fitting to be exploited in any ramp build


Monk: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 82, online: 79

 Related Tribes: Bird

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: The Monk tribe gets Ishai, same as the Bird tribe, with the same uninspired result. It should have been either less expensive mana-wise, or larger in body, because, yes, it grows, but it doesn't do anything else.


Naga: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 14

 Related Tribes: Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Well, a new Naga is already an event, but Ikra Shidiqi is also a solid midrange option, at least if you care about massive amounts of lifegaining. Starting with a whopping 7 life every time she herself connects, and menace is going to help her do just that.


Ogre: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 78 online

 Related Tribes: Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Connection triggers are a theme in Commander 2016, and Yidris (who's by the way one of the designated commanders of the C16 decks) features a truly over the top example of such mechanic. A 5-powered trampler is probably not having a hard time to deal at least some damage, and at that point, getting cascade attached to everything you cast in post combat? That's generally outstanding, borderline insane in Commander's late game.


Ooze: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 23, online: 22

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Monstrosity made a minor comeback in Conspiracy: Take the Crown, but with underwhelming results. Just like Domesticated Hydra, this Ooze doesn't add much to the mechanic; what's worse, it's overcosted, both in its basic CMC as well as the activation cost required to create another vanilla 3/3 that may later turn into a vanilla 6/6.


Ox: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 12, online: 10

 Related Tribes: Elemental

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: I still can't decide if this guy has actually some value to it, but as one of just 12 Oxen, it's definitely a tribe's highlight. Heck, it's the first one to be classified as a rare (despite rarity being merely symbolic in preconstructed products). Why do we have oxen in this fantasy game again?


Rogue: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 218, online: 204

 Related Tribes: Goblin

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Red is not the Rogue tribe's main color, and indeed both these guys feel more at home in Goblin, but the new Grenzo's trigger is strong enough to be very notable here, too.


Scout: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 116 (online: 109)

 Related Tribes: Elf

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The second iteration of Selvala is a Scout, too, much like the first one. It feels like she doesn't fit very well within a Scout Tribal build, though, considering most Scouts have very small power (they never added the Scout type to Primeval Titan, unfortunately).


Shapeshifter: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 77, online: 75

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: We've come to this: a Clone with flash. All the ways that poor card has been made obsolete never cease to amaze.


Soldier: +9

  

  

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 578, online: 519

 Related Tribes: Ally, GiantHuman, Kor

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Other than Akiri the artifact enthusiast, the Soldier tribe gets four Human members, of which the most important has to be CN2's Recruiter of the Guard, because tutoring on legs is always relevant. The other monowhite Soldier, Selfless Squire, is also good, in that it's a Fog that leaves a possibly huge body behind.

 Then we get the remaining two of the C16 deck commanders, and both are expressly designed for multiplayer. Saskia the Unyielding is a nasty one, relentlessly targeting one player via all the combat damage you deal. She works in 1v1 too, as you are able to choose the one opponent and then trigger the extra damage while connecting against him, essentially giving all your team a form of limited double strike. Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis are kinder guys. They give you an extra card and an extra land drop opportunity per turn, and your opponents either of those options. The advantage is yours, but it's group hug all around, or at least a form of universal acceleration a la Howling Mine. Plus you get an impressive blocker, of course. By the way, since they're from Theros, and given their pose in the art, I want to think they're MTG's take on Achilles and Patroclus.

 UPDATE! Turns out Soldier is the most Monarch-friendly tribe (I guess they make the kingsguard/queensguard and such). They've got the Giant bodyguard, plus a white weenie dude that grows if you're the Monarch, and the cheapest way to become the Monarch in Palace Sentinels (there are other similarly-costed ways, as nothing makes you the Monarch for less than 4 mana). Let's not kid ourselves, though, since Soldier (and Human) is the card that single-handedly caused the Monarch cards to be ported online: Palace Jailer. What happened is that Legacy players in the paper world started using the Jailer in legit competitive decks. And why is that? Well, for 4 mana you get to exile something AND draw a card each turn (starting NOW!), even after the Jailer leaves the battlefield (the emblem remains there, the presence of the Jailer on the battlefield doesn't affect the Monarch status, which is what decides the destiny of the exiled creatures). And both conditions, the exile and the card-drawing trigger, have a very good chance to persist way longer in 1v1 than they do in multiplayer. So see now how 4 mana is actually a bargain here? Plus it's white, so it's a perfect fit for creature-based decks like Death & Taxes, Maverick and such. The Jailer is here to stay.


Warrior: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 544, online: 527

 Related Tribes: Centaur, Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Along with the massive Timmy-esque glory of Stonehoof Chieftain, Warriors get Reyhan, Last of Abzan, who deals in residual +1/+1 counters, in a way giving modular to all your creatures, including commanders retreating to the safety of their Command Zone. It's a sweet ability.


Wizard: +6

  

  

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 New Tribal Total: 586, online: 573

 Related Tribes: Human, Merfolk, Naga, Ogre

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: We've already seen the Merfolk, Naga, and Ogre members of the C16 Wizard lot, that ranked from intriguing to terrific. Unfortunately, the three Human ones are less so. While a new Magus (aka the "spell on legs" personified) is always welcome, and Yawgmoth's Will is certainly a tremendous effect to mimic, the fact that you have to wait for the summoning sickness to wear off makes him a lot less appealing. This said, I guess he will be used for redundancy's sake in Commander. The remaining two partners are even more disappointing. Kydele is the oracle of Kruphix, but she just provides some colorless mana. She generates more of it based on the number of cards you drew in the turn, which seems the opposite of what she should be doing: like, enable massive card-drawing via ramping, not reward you once you found another way to achieve it. I mean, do you remember the very powerful Prophet of Kruphix? Shouldn't this gal be the ultimate version of that?

 Finally, we have the renowned Ludevic, of Test Subject's fame. He's another group hug kind of guy, and he's truly terrible in 1v1, because the opponent gets to draw by just, like, cracking a fetch, while you need to actually deal damage. And that's it? That's all that the great Ludevic does? Granted, it's not like his Test Subject were groundbreaking or anything, and even his alleged best creation, Kraum, is sort of stupid. Ah, these celebrities, it's always better never to meet them in person.


Zombie: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 361, online: 355

 Related Tribes: Horror

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Does Zombie even care for an Izzet-colored new member? The short answer is: nope.

 UPDATE! But wait, now the Monarch update happened, and Custodi Lich is great! Not as great as Palace Jailer, of course, mostly because he costs 1 mana more (although, he also swings for 2 damage more), but it's something a Zombie deck can work with.


SUMMARY

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 Check the Complete Creature Types Reference Table here.


BEST IN SHOW
(click on them to go to their main tribe)

  

  

  

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4-COLOR LEGENDS
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MYTHIC PARTNERS
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RARE PARTNERS
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MONARCH CREATURES
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NEW NONCREATURES: 16 (C16) + 5 (CN2)

   

   

   

   

  

 

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KUMA'S TRIBAL EVALUATIONS

 

3 Comments

Here are some notes for cards by Cheater Hater at Mon, 03/06/2017 - 18:11
Cheater Hater's picture

Here are some notes for cards left out:
Undaunted: I'm assuming "# of players remaining in the game" isn't something MTGO keeps track of, and these cards aren't particularly great when the number of players maxes out at four anyway.
Manifold Insights: This would certainly require a new interface, and for something that won't be played in competitive, it isn't worth it.
Voting cards: I'm assuming each vote card is hard-coded, and implementing voting is much harder than it looks.
Spy Kit: This combos with all the Conspiracies that have you name a card, then give that card a bonus (aka it's almost entirely for limited, outside of edge cases like Biovisionary).

(also, the (online: ##) notes broke when ## is less than 100).

There's several cards that by AJ_Impy at Tue, 03/07/2017 - 10:16
AJ_Impy's picture

There's several cards that count the number of players, or the number of players matching a characteristic: Oreskos Explorer, Surveyor's Scope, Benediction of Moons, Anya, Merciless Angel, Adriana, Captain of the Guard.

the (online: ##) notes broke by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 04/07/2017 - 08:22
Kumagoro42's picture

the (online: ##) notes broke when ## is less than 100)

Fixed during the update.