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CardShark Content - Craig Brooks (10/3/2002)

I've already read two people's thoughts on the new Onslaught
Onslaught
OnslaughtSet: Exodus
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
92
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Whenever you successfully cast a creature spell, tap target creature.
set from people who went to the pre-release and, while it was fun to play in 3 flights of the pre-release, I came away from the event with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

Don't get me wrong, I think the set has a number of good cards. However, I honestly think that in the limited environment, Onslaught
Onslaught
OnslaughtSet: Exodus
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
92
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Whenever you successfully cast a creature spell, tap target creature.
is a poor set. I found that my flights were all being dominated purely by those with the most ´´bombs,´´ almost entirely in the form of big creatures. The few I saw who didn't have lots of bombs and were holding their ground managed to do so only because they managed to somehow get a lot of removal. This may sound like a bit of a common sense statement, but let me explain further.

Overall, this set just lacks removal. It does have a few spells in both black and red, but for a set of this size, I really expected a bit more. To make matters worse, blue lost a lot of the bounce it had in prior sets and the little ´´control´´ it does have is mostly linked to little creatures. To make matters worse, the set is severely lacking in countering ability, making blue even harder to use for it's usual control purposes. White has one or two ways to remove creatures, but tends to fall back more on it's standard ´´prevention´´ tactics. Green is mostly standard fair, preferring the might of fatties to removal, which is fine.

I think the creatures of the set are ok, though ground stalls were more prevalent than I tend to like, especially if one or both players were playing green (which tended to happen often). As I mentioned briefly before, if someone managed to get one or two amazing rares, they were almost assured a win. For example, I was playing a GB splash W deck that had a few biggies, but mostly worked with two Wellwisher
Wellwisher
WellwisherSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf
Rarity:
C
Number:
300
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: You gain 1 life for each Elf in play.
s allowing me to gain copious amounts of life early and two Shepards of Rot allowing me to smack down the life totals by a few each turn. However, in two straight games, my opponents pulling of a Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
Kamahl, Fist of KrosaSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Druid Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
268
Artist:
Matthew D. Wilson
Power:
4
Toughness:
3
Text:
G: Target land becomes a 1/1 creature until end of turn. It's still a land.. 2GGG: Creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
just spelled loss for me, despite me having more creatures and a 30+ life point advantage. In another match, I lost to an opponent who would beat me using either a Grinning Demon
Grinning Demon
Grinning DemonSet: Onslaught
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Demon
Rarity:
R
Number:
153
Artist:
Mark Zug
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
At he beginning of your upkeep, you lose 2 life. Morph 2BB (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
or Rorix, two 6 power creatures I just had no way of stopping, barring a mass block with a number of my critters, opening me up on another front. I understand that this is a part of limited play, but this set takes the pulling of power rares to an almost disgusting level.

The majority of creatures in what were previously reliable colors were pretty disappointing. White's lack of creatures bigger than 2/2 make justifying it as more than a splash difficult (in 3 flights, the biggest white critter I pulled was a 2/4 for 6cc). Red tended to be even worse on the whole, with a ton of little puny goblins, only a few having abilities and costs making them worth playing. Blue, to me, was the most disappointing, though, having just come from playing in a block were 2/2 and 3/3 fliers were common. This set had a number of fliers, yes, but many seemed weak for their cost and the few stronger ones I saw that day seemed to be overcostted (Quicksilver Dragon
Quicksilver Dragon
Quicksilver DragonSet: Onslaught
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Number:
103
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying. U: If target spell has only one target and that target is Quicksilver Dragon, change that spell's target to another creature.. Morph 4U (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
being the one exception). Black's creatures seemed a little on the small side as well, though the ones possessing fear seemed to mostly dominate games, due to the lack of removal. Green had it's usual array of fatties, though many of the upper end ones really felt expensive to me as well, with the exception of a few amazing rares.

The new mechanics of the set were ok on the whole, though I don't think morphing adds as much strategy as people have stated. True, it does make people wonder what's going face down, but as the majority of the morphing creatures in the set are at least 2/2 or better, odds are that unless your opponent is playing red, that morphing critter he just put down is something bad for you that he can't quite afford to play using it's normal casting cost. Cycling is a nice mechanic, especially the cards that allow you to cycle and have some effect happen. As someone stated in a prior article, the Tribal cards mostly seem on the weak side on the whole, though I think they do allow some decent effects in limited, especially in this limited environment where things like removal is lacking.

On the whole, I didn't see any of the artifacts really being used, though I think there are some ok possibilities for one or two of them. The cycle lands proved useful, though the majority of the uncommon lands seemed mostly useless. The ´´search´´ lands proved quite useful, however, in this set that was very short in it's mana correction sources.

Overall, I was a little let down by the set in limited, though it could be just the few sets of cards I got and the few decks I saw of friends and competitors. I didn't manage to see any of the draft tournies, but having playing in many past pre-releases and seeing how the cards worked in drafts after, I think it's safe to say that the majority of the observations I've made hold true. I do think this set, while hit-or-miss in limited, is nothing short of gold for constructed. I counted no less than 2 dozen cards in this set that I can already see as the foundation of new and existing deck archetypes. I almost can't wait to think up and see some of the new decks that are going to be created.

Mahalo.


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