Cartouche and Trials synergy

ElfNeedsFood
ElfNeedsFood Posts: 944 Critical Contributor
Kudos to the development team for learning that the "Lightening Grieves" set approach to synergy between supports is all wrong.  While we'll have to see how this plays out, the Cartouche / Trials cards allow for a ton of combinations that work "better together" without designing 1/3 of someone's deck around trying to pull off one thing...
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Comments

  • toastie
    toastie Posts: 119 Tile Toppler
    I don't think this is them learning their lesson so much as just doing pretty much exactly what the paper versions of the Cartouches and Trials do.
  • toastie
    toastie Posts: 119 Tile Toppler
    To piggyback on shteev's comment:

    The number of bad cards in each set is incredibly high, much more so than paper due to lack of draft, and this set is no exception, and 90% of that is because the costs are so inflated on a lot of cards. Things that aren't very impactful, but could be useful for objectives or synergies are costed so high they are worthless, and that's where the trials and cartouches unfortunately fit into. The cartouches could cost 1-3 less each, and would start to fit into the reasonable to powerful range. The trials could be 3-7 less to get into the same range.


    Breaking them all down:

    The white trial is an interesting effect that interacts very well with the white cartouche, but is just far too expensive for what it does. Falls into the category of just being worse than doing pretty much anything else with that much mana.

    The blue trial is pretty terrible, and just looks dumb as compared to New Perspectives. If it (and cartouches) cost less it could be a powerful, interesting card draw engine, but as is it costs too much and requires jumping through too many hoops to be worthwhile.

    The black trial is the most playable card of the lot, but unfortunately without cartouches to pick it back up, it is worse than every other decent removal since it is so bad in multiples.

    The red trial is a super powerful effect, and could make for some great sort of control finisher, but, you guessed it, costs about double what would really be playable. Keep in mind we still have 6 mana for 6 damage at rare in origins, and that does't require another card to play a second copy.

    The green trial is again just totally outclassed by other cards. Aethersphere Harvester, Multiform Wonder, Arborback Stomper, Bomat Courier, Servant of the Conduit and Smuggler's Copter are just better than it in every way. Needs to cost less or do more.

    The white cartouche is actually pretty good, Vigilance + first Strike is a potent combo. Still a bit overcosted (especially to have any synergy with the trials), but not terrible for a common. This would be my go to if I try to make these work.

    The blue cartouche is basically a bad Aerial Modification, and that was already a terrible card. Drawing a card plus a minimal effect isn't worth that cost ever.

    The black cartouche is again decent but overcosted by about 50%. The ETB effect is horrible, but lifelink is always good.

    The red cartouche is just unexciting in every way.

    The green cartoche is even less exciting than the red cartouche. Costs more, with and even less relevant ability.
  • Matthew
    Matthew Posts: 605 Critical Contributor
    edited May 2017
    To start off, I'm going to reserve my full and final judgment on these cards until they actually hit the store. However, at first glance, they appear to be marginally useful at best. Though I will admit that it took me a while (and a lucky early pull of Dynavolt Tower) to really buy into the usefulness of Energize as a mechanic, so perhaps that might be the case here.

    Regardless, I think that the problem we appear to have with these cards is that they don't have quite the degree of synergy that we would like to see from a specific predetermined combo pair, wherein two specific cards are required for the combo. What would really make these cards more functional is if there was an incentive loop to including both of them in my decks (which, let's face it, will not happen in their current state). One of the key aspects of game design is making the fun parts of the game rewarding both intrinsically and extrinsically. The relationships between each of these pairs of cards do not really do either of those things.

    I think they really need to be retooled, and here are my suggestions.

    White: I actually really like the synergy between these two. Unfortunately, the cost for them is way too high, particularly in White where mana ramp is difficult to come by. I think if I were going to include these in my decks, I would want drop the cost of the Trial to somewhere between 10 and 12 mana, and drop the Cartouche to 7 with a simultaneous bump up to Uncommon rarity.

    Blue: From the standpoint of color thematics, the abilities of these cards certainly make sense, but I definitely wouldn't play them unless they were both quite a bit cheaper. If the Cartouche were 6 mana and the Trial were at 7, it might be worth it. However, because Tezzeret's Ambition will net me three cards for a mere 6 mana, and Glimmer of Genius will get me two cards for 5 mana, Trial of Knowledge is particularly superfluous, especially for a rare. Another factor that lowers the desirability of this pair is hand size. After a certain point, card draw itself becomes superfluous. There are other ways to get cards into my hand right now that do the job more efficiently, so unless both of these cards are significantly cheaper in cost, I won't be playing with them.

    Black: As others have said, the black Trial is easily the best one. Unfortunately, I don't think the Cartouche does enough to make it worth including both. Drop the cost of the Cartouche to 7 with a bump to Uncommon, and I would consider using the pair together.

    Red: I don't like to use supports in red, so I may be a bit biased here. In light of that, the Cartouche just doesn't do much for me because I'd rather give a creature Berserker than make it unblockable. It's almost always much better for me to damage or destroy the opponent's creatures than it is to take a guaranteed swing at them. That's what direct damage spells are for. Which leads me to the Trial: at 17 mana and unstackable, this card is just unplayable. Exquisite Firecraft is a third of the cost for only two damage points less. Unlicensed Disintegration is half the cost but guarantees the destruction of a creature. Oath of Chandra is 11 mana, and deals 7 damage to the opponent on entry if I don't want to target a creature for 5. Oath is, I think, a much better card because it allows for a continuation of that damage flow as long as I can continue to put permanents into play. In short, I think these cards don't fit the aggro theme of red at all. Red creatures smash into things, so the Cartouche should enable that. And red spells burn things efficiently; the Trial is anything but efficient.

    Green: In their current iterations, I think the Green cards are the most viable for immediate inclusion in a deck. However, because there are already creatures and Planeswalker abilities that permabuff my creatures, I will probably not be using them because they will take up valuable slots for mana ramp. Plus, if I was lucky enough to have Architect of the Untamed, I would have access to all the beast tokens I could ever want or need. For a new player, these cards together might be useful, but for me, not so much. The token would need to be larger, and the supports both should be cheaper.

    Another way that I might consider playing any of these pairs together is if you switched their roles. If, say, the Trials had effects that occurred with every turn, rather than just one-off abilities, while the Cartouches were the cards with one-off effects. If the abilities of the Trials cards were lessened ever so slightly, with a counterbalance of making them recurring every time it's my turn, or perhaps triggering whenever a certain action or ability occurs, that might make them more useful. It also might justify their current rarity. This would also require more thought from me during a match, because I would have to decide whether or not it's worth it to bounce one of my supports for a temporary, one-off boost from playing another one.

    As I said, I think that if you want to encourage players to play specific combos, those combos need to be rewarding both in how they affect the board and in how intrinsically 'cool' the player perceives them to be. As things stand with these cards, they meet neither of those criteria. These are just some initial thoughts of mine on how to possibly achieve both of those goals that I jotted down in about 10 minutes or so. I'd love to hear what other people have to say.
  • ElfNeedsFood
    ElfNeedsFood Posts: 944 Critical Contributor
    Yes, I did not look closely at the cost in this...  Cost and card rarity could still make this problematic.  The "not stacking" quality of the trials means you could get 2 or 3 down, then drop a cartouche and get all three cards back in hand (at least if I'm reading it right)...
  • blacklotus
    blacklotus Posts: 589 Critical Contributor
    I suspect this is going to be like the Meld function all over again. Does anyone plays Meld, anyone? :wink:
  • shteev
    shteev Posts: 2,031 Chairperson of the Boards
    I suspect this is going to be like the Meld function all over again. Does anyone plays Meld, anyone? :wink:
    About as often as I play Converge or Process.
  • ElfNeedsFood
    ElfNeedsFood Posts: 944 Critical Contributor
    If it's the new Meld it will stil get more play time than Lightning Grieves' set....
  • ElfNeedsFood
    ElfNeedsFood Posts: 944 Critical Contributor
    So after seeing and playing the cards, the only Trials card worth its salt is Trial of Ambition...  The others are clearly too expensive for their effect, even if you have an option to get it back...  Ambition was costed like other kill cards that are still in standard so the loop back is instead of a potential for life gain (Unholy Hunger) or damage to an opponent (Unlicensed Deregulation), or a zombie back (Cruel Revival) or no bonus (final reward) other kill card perks...
  • James13
    James13 Posts: 665 Critical Contributor
    edited May 2017
    I think Trials of Solidarity could have some potential.  Playing multiple copies in Dovin via Whir or such.
  • Laeuftbeidir
    Laeuftbeidir Posts: 1,840 Chairperson of the Boards
    If they'd get cheaper when replaying them.. They might be interesting
  • ElfNeedsFood
    ElfNeedsFood Posts: 944 Critical Contributor
    They should be costed incrementally from comparable cards though. Tezzeret's Ambition is 6, Trial of Knowledge is 11. 7 or 8 feels more reasonable for ToK.  
  • ElfNeedsFood
    ElfNeedsFood Posts: 944 Critical Contributor
    ...although New Perspectives makes Tezz's ambition look expensive....
  • Eglyntine
    Eglyntine Posts: 72 Match Maker
    We already eeeeeeek out mana because the game barely gives you enough to cast a card. I am definitely not going to waste a match for a "common" feature at insane mana prices when other cards out class these for a lot less cost.
  • hawkyh1
    hawkyh1 Posts: 780 Critical Contributor
    I find the black kill trial useful. if you can also pair
    it with a cartouche then you have a good chance
    of constantly holding a kill card in your hand. at
    reasonable mana cost too for its rarity.

    HH
  • Phase
    Phase Posts: 157 Tile Toppler
    If the trials were costed fairly they would be fine. They are WAY too much mana for the effect though and have no business being rare. Except for the black one, of course, which probably should be a rare? 

    It's obvious to me these were bumped up to rare to fill the "garbage cards in rare slot" quota for the set, which is a shame because they could have actually been cool to play with.
  • Laeuftbeidir
    Laeuftbeidir Posts: 1,840 Chairperson of the Boards
    Actually, they even added them to the proposed decks of the planeswalkers!
    I nearly cried when I looked at new Gideons expert deck
  • hawkyh1
    hawkyh1 Posts: 780 Critical Contributor
    been using cartouche of ambition and cartouche of
    solidarity in a sorin deck. it's quite a good way to get
    a 5/5 vigilance, firststrike, lifelink creature that will
    buff future creatures that take the first creature slot.
    (I'm thinking of adding murder investigation)

    HH
  • Dsagent
    Dsagent Posts: 73 Match Maker
    The black one that destroys creatures is annoying. The ai seems to use that and pick it up easily.