My Dark Ascension Review for Next Level Cubes, Part 4: Green
Briarpack Alpha: Yes, this is just an inferior Briarhorn. Yes, this is still strong enough. Still, I will keep Briarhorn, which isn’t too strong, and more interesting.
Clinging Mists: Fateful Hour, and just used to create a mostly inferior Tangle. I’ll keep Tangle.
Crushing Vines: Interesting Modal utility spell, admittedly hard to concept, but actually making a lot of sense from a broader viewpoint, hating on those two things Green hates most. Good cube-building tool, fulfilling two functions in one card slot.
Dawntreader Elk: Completely serviceable mix of small creature and mana acceleration/fixing. But I prefer to use cards fulfilling each of those roles better, especially since there is no damage on the stack anymore (otherwise, the Elk would have been quite a strong card), like Sakura-Tribe Elder or Darkthicket Wolf.
Deranged Hermit: That is a rare? Strange. Power level seems fine to me, but it’s a human tribal card.
Favor of the Woods: A reminiscence to Gift of the Woods? Really? I was unable to forget that crappy card in 16 years, and now they make a homage to it which is arguably worse? I have no idea how that card fits into modern design concepts – maybe a problematic card had to be cut and replaced on short notice, and they decided to play it safe.
Feed the Pack: A rare from that breed which is really clumsy, but once it gets going, very strong. I avoid these. They’re usually a mistake to include in a deck, but sometimes you play against them and get stomped. I believe that higher-costed cards should have reliable effects – being expensive already makes them somehow unreliable.
Ghoultree: Nice concept, but this creature is either a little too big, or a little too cheap, and in any case too splashable for my taste.
Gravetiller Wurm: That is a bad implementation of the morbid mechanic. The difference between “on” and “off” is just too big, and the mana cost too high for an unreliable card. Festerhide Boar was a better implementation.
Grim Flowering: Hm. Nature’s Resurgence, but only for yourself, costing considerably more (which is a good thing then), but splashable now (which isn’t). I think I’ll use it, but I don’t think I’d put it in an environment with that much self-mill.
Hollowhenge Beast: This might not be the right environment for it, but that is actually a really nice vanilla creature. I remember Spined Wurm to have been pretty good. But Green can and should do even better at this mana cost – I have Kavu Titan in my pool.
Hunger of the Howlpack: Not the most exciting use of morbid, especially since you will usually not be able to get the bonus until after combat, but then again, I found Battlegrowth already useful, and since morbid doesn’t really need an environment tailored towards it, I’ll take this upgrade.
Increasing Savagery: Without flashback, that card is already stronger than I’m comfortable with (and they put it in an environment with Invisible Stalker!) With that not really unreachable flashback for 7 mana, it is clearly over the edge.
Kessig Recluse: A simple, quite strong design – which I just NOW realize costs a mana more than I initially thought… not quite as strong then! Actually, that makes all the difference in the world, because not being on curve for an aggressive deck means it is mainly a defensive creature. I use defensive creatures for 4 mana rather sparingly, and this is not gonna make the cut. See Cloudcrown Oak for a creature strong both on offense and defense.
Lambholt Elder: DFC, and one where the difference between day and night side is way too big.
Lost in the Woods: Yes, the flavor is thick here, but a really good design would have been able to produce a useful card with it. Note that this plays even horribly when it works…
Predator Ooze: Indestructible always has my inner alarm going off, since this is just another ability created for those players who hate interaction. But, actually, removal has become so varied in limited that it isn’t THAT hard to handle indestructibility – the creature can be neutralized by an aura, exiled, have its toughness reduced, or bounced, and its controller can be forced to sacrifice it. It can be tapped, and since it doesn’t trample, endlessly blocked by a regenerating creature… and so on. Also, this creature is designed in a way which encourages attacking with it instead of keeping it on defense, so I can live with it. Considering all that, I see a creature rewarding extreme color commitment strongly, but not too strongly. I think I’ll find a use for it.
Scorned Villager: A DFC (probably one which will be underestimated at first).
Somberwald Dryad: Didn’t I just replace Rushwood Dryad with Lynx, because cat is still a cooler creature type than dryad? Well, back to the dryad then, because I really agree that these stats are more on par for Green.
Strangleroot Geist: Oh dear, is that card strong! But a few really strong cards for dedicated aggro decks in a certain color are valuable tools – usually, really strong cards taking up rare slots tend to fall on the controllish side. This is a high-end card, make no mistake, but it is still reasonable.
Tracker’s Instincts: Finally, a good Simic flashback card! Commune with Nature certainly didn’t need an extra mana, but the cheap flashback makes up for it. Oh, and of course it fills your graveyard, which Commune didn’t.
Ulvenwald Bear: Another simple, yet very playable morbid design.
Village Survivors: Fateful hour, and what a strange ability in Green: Having Vigilance itself is fine, but granting it to others? I probably would have used it if it just had vigilance.
Vorapede: There is one ability too much on this card – it is hard to kill, hard to block and hard to race or generally attack into it. All this with already nice stats for 5 mana. Generally, when a larger creature gets pushed for constructed, it is just too good in limited. This is no exception.
Wild Hunger: And here comes the much-needed Gruul flashback card for my pool! Quite strong, though, but okay.
Wolfbitten Captive: Really strong DFC.
Young Wolf: Flavor aside, I expected that card in White. Elegant basic undying card. Should play wonderfully!
Green is still the least flexible color in limited overall, with its higher average card quality making up for it. That is why I mainly find upgraded cards in Green when a new set comes out – it is the color which has to push the power level on basic creatures.