Thursday, March 19, 2015

Exploit in Dragons of Tarkir

Of all the mechanics in Dragons of Tarkir, Exploit is probably my favorite. This mechanic  essentially ask you to make a choice between getting either get a vanilla creature or a Sorcery speed spell effect. The flexibility of this choice is quite valuable. And even better, if you have a creature with an ability that triggers on dying, or just one that has been rendered irrelevant, you can sacrifice it instead and get both halves of the Exploit card.

Allow me to illustrate the design simplicity with one of the new Commons:

 Sidisi's Faithful is the perfect example of the flexibility of Exploit. Against an aggressive archetype, the ability to drop an 0/4 on the first turn provides some great early defense. Or, later in the game, it instead can be used as a Sorcery speed Unsummon, perhaps getting your opponent's best creature out of play. While you can't use it to dodge most forms of removal, it does allow you to get rid of pesky Auras or get a blocker out of the way. While neither the creature nor the ability are amazing, at worst this is a great Sideboard option against aggressive decks. In that spot, it might even be better than Voyage's End against hyper-aggressive decks.

With Sidisi's Faithful, most of the time you're quite happy getting either effect without needing to sacrifice another creature. But sometimes, you really want the ability to get both the creature and the spell. Let's take a look at my favorite of these Exploit creatures:

Both halves of Vulturous Aven are quite good, giving you either a 2/3 Flyer in Black or a Sign in Blood effect, although you're paying a considerable premium on the spell-effect. Black rarely sees high Toughness in Flying creatures, so even without the Exploit ability, this card is already borderline playable. As such, you will almost never want to Exploit itself to trigger the Sign in Blood ability. But in combination with cheap creatures like Typhoid Rats or enters the graveyard effects like Black Cat (or the newly released Dutiful Attendant), you have the potential to get some phenomenal value out of this card. If you're playing Black, you should probably be playing this card.

I am definitely excited to get my hands on these cards in the near future. What do you think of Exploit?

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