It’s time for Time!
This is my rating scale. It is highly similar to other set reviews from other card games, with considerations for Eternal. Note that cards intended mostly for market usage see a rating comparable to normal cards due to how frequently Markets are accessed in normal games. For the constructed review, I won’t talk about cards that are obviously bad for constructed, meaning no draft cards. Lastly, number ratings don’t give the full picture. Be sure to read the full explanation for the rating.
Card Rating Scale
5.0: Format warping card. The most powerful cards in the game. (Valkyrie Enforcer. Torch. Merchants.)
4.0: Powerful cards used in multiple decks that often enable or define archetypes. (Haunting Scream. Cauldron Cookbook. )
3.0: Good cards that will show up in many decks or be very powerful in a few. (Sherriff Marley. Dusk Raider. Shakedown.)
2.5: Roleplayers that help certain decks but aren’t quite mainstays. (Quarry. Nocturnal Observer.)
2.0: Niche or fringe playable card, especially in the Market, or generally just a “maybe”. (Cloud of Ash. Back-Alley Delinquent. Unstable Form.)
1.0: Extremely narrow usage. (Back in Set 2, I played a Magma Javelin in my Skycrag sideboard specifically to hit a Silverwing Familiar as I otherwise had no reasonable way to kill it if I was on the draw and it got a weapon played on it, and Charchain Flail had just gotten nerfed. I still stand by my decision.)
Unearth the Past
I think Disjunction will be the better card more often than not, but free is a very good price that you might prefer in some decks. As with Melt Down, you may also just want to double up on relic recursions, and this does the job.
As our game continues to gain more cards with powerful effects and abilities, raw stats matter less and units with utility matter more. That puts Bazaar Trickster in a place where it’s likely to require an answer versus many decks unless they want to risk getting their board silenced. I think our Bazaar friend will work best in a fairly big midrange deck with a lot of power to use in order to get the most usage out of the silences without stopping their own plan of developing the board. That means there won’t be many times where it’s good, but when it is, it should be pretty devastating.
Your deck has to be pretty tempo-oriented to really want this card or just really need to negate a spell in Time. For both of those reasons I don’t think it will see play, but there is a chance it could be featured as a very specific Market choice.
I can actually see this unassuming camel making a splash at more than just their local oasis. The ability to drop down extra power is a lot nicer than bonus power on cards like Trailmaker when the environment is more hostile to small units. It also combos particularly well with Find the Way to play slow sigils and Waystone Infuser to really churn through your deck. Just be sure to play a lot of power in your deck to get full use out of it, as otherwise you’re better off playing other things without consistently playing an extra power.
I think this is probably at its best in Markets to hit specific targets and also give reach versus a field of chump blockers. Silencing units in hand is quite strong but has been printed on very few cards, and even fewer playable ones, giving the Mask a shot at being relevant.
Resolute Monk does a pretty decent Champion of Fury impression, and although charge is an important part of that formula, hitting as hard as it is something very few 2-drops can do. The monk is at it’s best when it’s played in decks that can play more than one power per turn—Combrei in particular being the best at this job. Otherwise it’s probably just a decent card in decks playing one power per turn.
If you need constant empower for several turns, this is your card. Otherwise, this is a heavy investment to just play some power. I heard something about some other Relic’s in this set that might have some nice Empower abilities, so perhaps if our Vapor Hut is to see the light of constructed play, it’s alongside those cards.
Cykalis, the Burning Sand
Time got a couple of interesting changes in design direction this set and Cykalis is probably the face of it all. We haven’t seen many playable time Charge units, and we definitely haven’t seen any this powerful and pushed so low on the curve, which makes it difficult to tell where Cykalis should actually go. As a 5/2, they aren’t exactly meant for any sort of blocking nor surviving for long periods of time, which makes me think you need to be on a very dedicated beatdown plan. My inclination is to start in Praxis, Elysian, or Jennev (the combination of all three) and go from there. It’s both weird and exciting to see a card with this kind of power and not know where to put it.
One Power Stone? Fringe playable, not impactful enough for most decks. Double Power Stone? Sign me up! Eternity Core lets you jump straight through the mid game and into the late game. I suspect this will be at its best in control decks. Normally, this card wouldn’t be all that great as there haven’t been many big expensive threats that midrange decks couldn’t just play themselves, but Dire Wolf knew this and got us covered, as we’ll see later in this review (and other faction reviews.)
The Praxis Arcanum
Our first Site! Anyone familiar with Planeswalkers from MtG will see that Sites are quite similar in design and will likely play out in a lot of the same ways. The most important aspect of them is that they are slow, incremental card advantage machines that dodge non-damage unit removal but are vulnerable to unit combat. With the payoff resulting in a unit that is often fairly strong, the opponent is often to make sure they have some sort of board presence in order to take it out and not get too far behind, as the advantages on many Sites will often take over the game if left unchecked. The best Sites will likely be the ones with the best removal spells in their Agenda and/or the best static ability.
Praxis Arcanum has a handful of nice options, but is limited in it’s need for units to really do anything. The good news is that Time decks are usually in the business of playing lots of units, and the arcanum even helps you play more. I think this will be at its best in a Time midrange deck looking to cast 6-7 cost units. Every piece of Praxis Arcanum is decent, but requiring units to get almost any value stops me from rating this higher than a 2.5.
Thrashing Dune Wurm
For 4 you get a Horned Vorlunk, for 6 you get a worse version of pre-nerf Predatory Carnosaur (with the only upside being that you can grant it to a different unit), and for 8 you get into the point where you’re probably better off just casting Striking Snake Formation. The only time this looks worth playing is with Dune Painter to reduce the Amplify cost to 1, in which case it becomes pretty solid, but think you’re just jumping through too many hoops at that point.
There are enough hate cards that granting everything charge could only get out of hand for so long, but it’s certainly a powerful effect. The lifegain is also pretty huge, but I think getting to 10 power is going to be very difficult vs. the types of decks that you really want lifegain for.
The big robot uncle of Reliquary Raider (who herself started as a 5-drop, but not this good.) A 5/5 Endurance is fine, and both the attack and block functions guarantee you’ll gain a lot of leverage on all but the scariest boards upon playing it. There are a lot of great 5-drops in Time, but Moonstone Vanguard will be a nice option when you need trade in a little brute force for extra value and lifegain.
Ravid, Insect Master
Since there are now some very expensive cards worth playing, the summon effect on Ravid matters. He’s definitely pretty weak overall, but getting to make multiple units, ramp, and activate Empower on your other cards is a lot for one card to be able to do.
Pit of Lenekta
This is one of the best forms of inevitability in the game, giving you a lot of units to attack and block with while also putting you out of reach with lifegain. Getting to 9-10 power for a control really isn’t all that much when you remember that midrange decks regularly cast 7-8 cost cards. The best part of Pit of Lenekta is that it does everything with just card, asking you only to play more power in order to have a complete plan to win the game. That makes for a control card worth playing.
Time walks away with several interesting cards that might pop up in certain circumstances and a handful of powerhouses. Between Cykalis, The Praxis Arcanum, Moonstone Vanguard, and Pit of Lenekta, it got some powerful options for aggro, midrange, and control respectively.