Looking at a Random Card: AEthersnipe

(What am I doing here? Read here!)

AEthersnipe: Okay, I didn’t really get the impression that this feature was missed by you when I put it on hold (mainly for RL reasons), but I’ll still continue it. With yet another creature, of course. Well, I guess randomness is truly random…

I really like the evoke mechanic. In its basic implementation, it essentially gives you the choice of a spell-like effect for a little mana or a creature in addition to that effect for more mana. Usually, when you pay the higher cost, you get a pretty good deal, while the evoke effect alone tends to be less exciting (Shriekmaw, which I consider too powerful, is an exception here). Still, if you always hold the card back until you can pay for the creature, your greed will end up costing you games. That is exactly the kind of skill-rewarding card I appreciate!

From a next level cube designer’s point of view, creatures with evoke are extra useful for a number of reasons: They present you with variations of basic effects which feel and play noticeably different from the standard cards. They allow you to get extra spell-like effects into a very creature-heavy environment. They offer a large number of possible interactions with certain mechanical themes involving dying creatures and cards in the graveyard, but also high-costed cards or creatures.

AEthersnipe is an excellent representative for this mechanic. It is simple and elegant, providing a basic and useful effect, and it is satisfying without being overpowered when paid for fully. Like all evoke creatures, it has the creature type elemental, which sadly doesn’t get tribal support in its color (that is all in Red), but since Blue and Red are the colors of the elements, it makes sense to expand that tribe into Blue in a cube, so I’ll count its creature type as useful. It isn’t strong enough for constructed, but that’s fine with me, since it is hard to balance out being useful in constructed and not being overpowered in limited (Briarhorn was just barely good enough as a fringe card for constructed, and Mulldrifter is really pushing it in limited). Also, AEthersnipe is not THAT far away from constructed viability – a real good blue elemental tribal card, or maybe a blue deck based on an effect unearthing creatures from its graveyard for a turn, may be all it takes that it finds its way even into competitive standard decks (well, obviously it also must be reprinted to be legal). There’s just one little thing I don’t like about this card, and it’s mostly aesthetical: I don’t understand why its mana cost only includes one blue mana, while its evoke cost includes two (probably the right call here). Then again, the card has really cool, beautiful artwork!

Just falling short of being a constructed-level card prevents it from getting an A, but I gladly hand out a B+ here!

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8 Comments on “Looking at a Random Card: AEthersnipe”

  1. Blamayer Says:

    You are mistaken – I dearly missed it! I love this series!
    Thanks for the new entry.

  2. jashinc Says:

    I missed your analyses, too. I always look at magicblogs.de if you wrote another one.
    On topic: Do you leave Shriekmaw out of your Cubes, because you say its overpowered? Then how do you feel about Flametongue Kavu?

    • I draw the line exactly between Maw and Kavu, although I reserve the Kavu for my most powerful cubes – I really wouldn’t just put it in an environment as a super high pick.

      Important differences:

      1. Maw is way more flexible, helping you out as 2-mana removal under pressure, but also being a way to gain initiative on an empty board – two things Kavu can’t do.

      2. While Kavu gives the better power-to-mana deal in a vacuum, Shriekmaw is actually more powerful in most limited situations, more likely to be able kill your opponent’s best creature (especially in a high power environment), and giving you a creature likely to have more impact on the board (3/2 evasion trumps 4/2).

      3. FTK is more reliable, while Shriekmaw is more swingy, depending on your opponent’s deck. I dislike swingyness in strong cards (well, actually at all).

      That said, FTK is certainly at the very top of powerful cards in my limited pool!

    • If you still read this: I’m just in the process of completely reworking my limited pool, and FTK is very unlikely to make it this time. I’ll probably draw the new line between Skinrender and FTK, where Skinrender will only make it because it isn’t splashable.

  3. dodalegal Says:

    Really missed that sweet series. Glad you’re back. By the way: What a wonderful card, that’s how a high-pick in limited should look like.

  4. renappel Says:

    Please keep up the series, it was indeed missed! Btw you commented negativley on the cube environment on modo without playing it, i have played it during the holidays and found it rather entertaining, with lots of synergies to explore an versatile draft choices. Of course it is completely different from the usual new set run o the mill drafts, but for mixing things up every now and then for someone who has been playing since german revised came out, and only gets to play occassionally now due to work, it is rather entertaining.

    • While it’s correct that I wrote negatively about the MTGO cube, note that I also wrote: “In the end, its novelty value and its nature as a phantom event make it attractive enough to try it out a few times, even if you don’t usually prefer typical cube drafting.”

  5. bezalet Says:

    I missed your entries, but I saw no point in begging for new articles. I hope you will write more regulary again.

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