Todd Tentatively Swipes Right: Blood Sun is one of those cards that you think might be good on paper, but you won't actually know just how good it is until you try it. My guess is that Blood Sun will be a fine replacement for Blood Moon once it gets banned in Modern, and will see very little play in Standard. With that said, I think the design is cool, drawing a card is sweet, and locking down weirdo lands is definitely a plus. Since Wizards of the Coast refuses to reprint Stone Rain, we don't have a lot of options to interact with lands, and a card that can do that is worth having around.
Ross Swipes Left: After reading Blood Sun's profile I did some investigating (read: Facebook stalking) and I found out that it's close friends with the Urza Tron triplets. I can't swipe right on anyone who is friends with those jerks. Tron is the enemy and I will give them no quarter. Except Ghost Quarter. I'll give them as many of those as I'm legally allowed.
Blood Sun looks to me like a worse version of Blood Moon except in Modern Tron decks, so I don't look forward to seeing it on the battlefield because it probably means I'm about to get Ugin-ed into the stone age.
Todd Swipes Right: We've seen this song and dance before. We get it. Play a creature of the same type, get a bonus. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of tribal synergy. I like it when all the cards in a deck work together to accomplish the overall goal of mangling your opponent. Tribal decks do a very good job of that by flooding the battlefield with creatures, and Deeproot Elite is a fine payoff card to have in that scenario.
Ross Swipes Left: When I saw Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca and Merfolk Mistbinder, I was optimistic at the possibility of a viable Merfolk deck in Standard, which would be the only viable Merfolk deck in Magic's history. As uninspired as the tribe is, no one should be kept down forever, and this deck would certainly be more interesting than Silvergill Adept, Spreading Seas, and a pile of Pack Rats.
Deeproot Elite is essentially another Pack Rat-style Merfolk, but not as powerful as an actual lord since it's timing sensitive. It's a fine card, but I wanted Merfolk to get away from that style, so I'm not in for this one.
Todd Swipes Left: This card does not belong in a Mono-Red deck in Standard. This card does not belong in any sort of red deck, ever. This card should not have seen print because it is bad, but also really weird and confusing. It's Snapcaster Mage, but only for your opponent's stuff. I mean, the appeal is there. Like, OMG what if I get to copy my opponent's Ancestral Recall in Vintage! Well, that means they've already cast Ancestral Recall and you've probably already lost by that point.
This card is all talk and no walk.
Ross Swipes Right: This isn't Snapcaster Mage, but there's a lot of space between Snapcaster Mage and solid Constructed card so don't get caught up in the comparison and appreciate the Pirate for what it is.
Not having much control over which cards you'll be able to target since it's dependent on my opponent's deck prevents me from going all-in on it and adding four copies to my decks, but when it works it's a very powerful card. I like that the threat of it may give my opponent pause about how they sequence their spells. In the worst case scenario, it's a 2/1 with first strike against a creature-centric deck, which isn't a bad place to be.
This card should be fun, but I don't think for a second that I'm bringing it home to meet my parents. Things aren't going to get that serious.
Todd Swipes Left: No. Just no. Look, your stats are cool, your abilities are flashy, and you talk a pretty big game, but what are you actually doing? I mean seriously, what are you doing here? You should be out auditioning for the cast of the next terrible Pirates of the Caribbean movie. And can you please stop trying to hand me a drink?
Ross Super Likes: I may live to regret this, in which case I'll awkwardly play off the super like as a misclick, but this card has been on my mind for the last few days after I'd initially overlooked it. I mean, what's not to like? She's a snappy dresser with a unique flair. (Opening message: "Awesome hat! Where did you get it?") That means she's self-confident. She has a badass job that you know has led to a lot of sweet stories so the conversation will be interesting. And she helps out her comrades so you know she's compassionate.
Pirates are definitely looking to be aggressive, and part of being aggressive is being able to get through blockers efficiently. Aggro decks can't play too many removal spells because they need to have a certain threat density, so stapling a pseudo-removal spell to a solid body that will remain relevant itself as the game goes on is an excellent way to shoehorn some interaction into your tribal aggro deck.
Todd Swipes Right: Probably not good enough for Standard, but this card definitely checks all my boxes. A large creature? Check. Has a cool name? Check. Its ability does something awesome? Check. I loved Combustible Gearhulk too, and it ended up letting me down, so now I just don't know what to think. My heart says "buy them all so that no one else can have it," but my wallet says "just buy doughnuts instead."
Ross Swipes Right: I know, I know. It's a six mana card without any immediate value and there's a huge age difference, but maybe we can bond over a mutual love of M*A*S*H or The Dick Van Dyke Show.
I'm probably going to regret this one, but I think that's more due to Dinosaurs being the weakest tribe for Constructed than Etali, Primal Storm being a bad card. Dino decks clearly want to be ramping into big creatures, but going big enough to top the midrange decks makes you vulnerable to Approach of the Second Sun (nothing goes over the top of "you win the game"), and playing in the midrange means relying on mana creatures so you maintain threat density. Mana creatures are very weak in Standard right now because there's plenty of good, cheap removal around for them. Servant of the Conduit is the only exception because it leaves behind two energy in the exchange and was supported by a deck that had a curve that didn't rely on it living at all, whereas Dinosaurs won't have three- and four-drops of nearly as high quality.
That said, Etali, Primal Storm is really sweet, and giving it haste with Otepec Huntmaster and Regisaur Alpha can lead to some huge swings. Most Constructed decks are around 40 percent lands so you're drawing a little over a card on average, but casting it immediately is a huge tempo gain, so any time you hit two spells should put you way ahead on both tempo and card advantage.
That upside is enough for me to go out on a low-key coffee date with no expectations.
Todd Swipes Left: Unlike Form of the Dragon before it, Form of the Dinosaur doesn't reset your life total every turn, doesn't prevent opposing creatures from attacking you, and can't actually kill the opponent. I expected more from a card that only costs one less mana. But don't get me wrong. I love the feel of this card, but I just think it missed the mark. With a little tweaking, I think it could have been great, but instead we got an over-worked dud.
Designing cards can be insanely difficult. Coming up with new ideas, or rehashing old ones, is not that simple. You need to hit the flavor mark, be balanced for tournament play, and have an appeal to the casual crowd. Unfortunately, Form of the Dinosaur only hits one of those three marks for me.
Ross Swipes Left: I was pretty close to swiping right on this for similar reasons as Etali, Primal Storm, but ultimately I think Form of the Dinosaur falls short. Not restricting your opponent's ability and forcing you to fight a creature if able leaves you incredibly vulnerable unless you pair it with a lot of life gain, and I don't see a deck like that coming together. The ugly truth is that this is a six mana permanent with little tangible impact on the game until you untap with it.
Todd Swipes Right: I'm not really an "outdoor" kind of guy. I don't like "the sun." I don't like "to walk." In fact, you could say that I really like to sit indoors and play video games, in the comfortable house that I've worked hard to acquire. I like air conditioning, food that I cooked or bought from a store near my house, and again, playing video games.
But Jadelight Ranger could change all that. Exploring, twice, is tough work, but it's something I'd be happy to do with Jadelight Ranger by my side. And if you think that's cool, did you know she has a pet snake ?
Ross Super Likes: Another woman with unique style. You're definitely going to go hiking on the first date, but that's not a bad thing. I could use the fresh air and exercise, unlike a movie or a concert, hiking offers ample opportunity to converse and get to know each other, and you get to enjoy some sweet views at the end. If things go well, you can grab a bite to eat or a drink afterward and keep the date going.
Todd Swipes Left: "But Todd, this card is great with Sakura-Tribe Elder and other nonsense in Modern!" Well, random person online that I made up in my head, I would like to introduce you to my good friend removal and killing you on the third turn.
Could this card be sweet? Yeah, but that doesn't make it good enough to be tournament playable. Auras that only target your own creatures better be damn good on their own, because you're taking a huge risk in trying to suit one of your creatures up with this gaudy pair of black jeans. And yes, the jeans are from Hot Topic and have all sorts of chains and hooks on them.
Ross Swipes Left: This card is powerful when it works, but it's extremely high maintenance. I'm not looking for a card that needs an entire deck built around it in order to get it to reciprocate. There needs to be something there to let me know it will still be there for me when I'm not at my best and that's just not here.
Also, it sounds like a description of marriage from a jaded middle-aged man at his friend's bachelor party on a bad sitcom. I may have an unhealthy love of bad sitcoms, but that can't be a good sign.
Todd Super Likes: Yeah this card floods my basement.
Ross Swipes Right: Even though I'm not high on Merfolk overall, this one gets a right swipe because it pushes Merfolk in a different, more interesting direction. There's some tension between attacking and gaining value against more controlling decks, leading to interesting decisions as opposed to curving out and turning sideways. Also, if you're playing another creature deck where the battlefield builds, Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca is going to take over the game and lead its tribe to victory. Gavony Township is a powerful effect in combat-centric matchups.
There is a glaring red flag here though, and that's Kumena's job. I'm not comfortable with him being a tyrant, but maybe my gentle influence can lead to a more egalitarian society in Orazca.
Todd Swipes Right: The design behind all these "lords" for each tribe seems a little generic (and a little lazy, tbh). But Merfolk needs more cards like this if it's going to be competitive in Standard, so here we are. But don't pass up a year or two with Merfolk Mistbinder just because it looks and acts just like a few other cards in the same set. You'll have a good time, but you won't be having a great time.
Ross Swipes Left: Another lord? Really? I've been on that date before. I 0-3 dropped a league and I have no interest in repeating the experience. Maybe this sees play and maybe it doesn't, but I'm not going to be sleeving it up.
Todd Swipes Right: I wrote a little about Nezahal, Primal Tide already, but I just don't think I can do it justice. Will this card be the new finisher for all control strategies moving forward? Doubtful. Approach of the Second Sun does it a little bit better. But, in a control mirror, Nezahal, Primal Tide will be the only thing that matters. And the only real trump to it is running your opponent out of cards (which is difficult, since killing it usually allows them to draw a card), or to play one yourself.
Ross Swipes Left: This was another close one. It has a long profile, and there are parts of it that I like, mostly the drawing cards and resilience to removal. But not having any form of evasion makes actually ending the game with it a tough task, or at least a tougher task than it is for some other options.
Also, as a seven mana sorcery, I want it to be effective when I've fallen behind, and that's when it's going to be hardest to protect it. Generally, if your control deck is answering your opponent's threats at parity and drawing some cards, you're in great shape and you don't need to lean on your win condition to do any heavy lifting. But when you're low on resources and tap out for this, there's a strong chance you won't be able to keep this around against a removal spell or two, especially Ravenous Chupacabra. Also, it can be trumped by any manner of deathtouch or evasion creatures, so there's no guarantee it stabilizes the battlefield.
I see this as a sideboard card for control mirrors and not much more, and control decks aren't my thing.
Translation: If things get serious with Nezahal, I'm going to have to move to the beach, and I don't like the beach. Seagulls poop on you; the wind whips sand in your face, which is the only place it hasn't already invaded, and I'm constantly afraid of people stealing my stuff. And don't even get me started about the cost of flood insurance.