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Alara Reborn Review Part 1 April 24, 2009

Posted by James in : all, reviews, previews , trackback

Now that the Alara Reborn spoiler is finished and I have spent some time thinking about all of the cards. I still agree with my first impressions. However, I decided that the Borderposts are better than I thought (at the time I wrote the first impressions article). They are pretty much just comes-into-play-tapped-duals. That’s not a great thing, but it will help a lot with mana fixing. In some ways I like the mana fixing in this set better than in Conflux.

I have also come to two realizations:

  1. Hybrid mana is a drawback.
  2. The 5 color theme/devour theme have been discarded.

Let’s consider each of these in turn:

Hybrid mana is a drawback

Hybrid mana in this set is a drawback, so creatures that require hybrid mana to be played are much more powerful than usual. Wait a minute! Isn’t hybrid mana easier to use than usual?!

Exactly. This makes no sense. Compare Marisi’s Twinclaws and Rhox Brute.

marisi's twinclaws
Ok, so they have the same converted mana cost, and the one using hybrid mana is only a 2/4. Sounds fair. Wait a minute, Mirisi’s Twinclaws has double strike… That means it deals just as much damage as Rhox Brute. Not only that but two of the damage is first strike damage. Mirisi’s twinclaws is just better.

This isn’t just true for Mirisi’s Twinclaws. It’s true for all the hybrid creatures of Alara Reborn. Most of them during draft will be quasi-Watchwolves that can get even better than Watchwolf.

The 5 color theme/devour theme have been discarded.

Shards of Alara had a lot of fairly good cards to use with a 5 power theme, or a devour theme. Conflux had nothing. Now Alara Reborn has nothing. (Yes, there are cards that perport to be for these themes, but they are horrible.)
The exalted theme, the unearth theme, and Esper’s artifact theme, however, have some decent cards. Actually, there isn’t much for exalted or unearth either, but at least there are some.

I’m a bit disappointed that they didn’t do much with the 5 power or devour themes. These themes were never that great. They sounded terrible from the start and Wizards decided to keep them about as terrible as they could. This is my summary of each of these themes:

Comments»

1. Jonathan - April 25, 2009

James,

I agree with your updated evaluation of the borderposts. The borderposts are best appreciated as CIPT dual lands (which do, however, have the requirement of you playing with at least some basics) which synergize with artifact requirements or the mutlicolored dependent blade creatures.

2. James - April 28, 2009

I finally figured out why borderposts require basic lands: To make it clear that they should never be played in standard. They wouldn’t be good in standard either way, but someone might have been confused about that fact.

At the same time Wizards can pretend to make basic lands useful. “Look! Basic lands are good again because of borderposts!” (Wow, thank you for making sure basic lands will be worth playing.)