Arguel’s Blood Fast / Temple of Aclazotz – Ixalan
Date Reviewed: November 2, 2017
Constructed: 3.1 Casual: 3.7 Limited: 3.0 Multiplayer: 3.6 Commander [EDH]: 4.0
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Diamond Valley! They reprinted Diamond Valley! Sort of, anyway. It takes a rather long time in game terms to transform the Blood Fast into the Temple, and it leaves you wide open to the opponent banging the table like Randy Orton before hitting you with Breath of Malfegor OUTTA NOWHERE. This means it doesn’t have quite as high a ceiling for combos and interactions compared to its famous predecessor (or, arguably, even something like Animal Boneyard), but I think the journey is a big part of the appeal here. Drawing extra cards is never a bad thing, and you can build your deck in such a way that it’s full of things to make the interactions at the end worthwhile.
I have mixed feelings about Arguel’s Blood Fast. The Legendary Enchantment cycle in Ixalan has produced some of the best cards in the set, but I feel like this isn’t one of them. The flavor on both sides is solid and together they tell a good story.
Dark Confidant and Phyrexian Arena prove that paying life for cards is terrific. Fortunately vampires can get you a lot of extra life. Due to vampires being mostly midrange, this enchant becomes a great late game card to sink excess mana and life into. In some circumstances, I think I would prefer the enchantment not to transform. In commander you’ll only be using the first side due to the higher starting life. This card just might be good enough to find its way into a Death’s Shadow deck.
The second side is a buffed Diamond Valley. While exciting, due to the harsh restrictions it can’t be a reliable combo piece. While both sides do classic Black things, they feel disjointed together.
Arguel’s Blood Fast is, on its own, the draw effect from Erebos, God of the Dead. It’s a way to get cards into your hand faster, and it’s a cheap enchantment you can splash easily. Of course, it’s not just a Greed variant, flipping into an…interesting land, albeit a good one.
Temple of Aclazotz is a slightly rejiggered version of Diamond Valley, an Arabian Nights land that functioned as a sacrifice outlet. This time, it also taps for black mana. Black is the color of sacrifice, offering a lot of death triggers and beneficial sacrifice effects, and so this fits the color perfectly.
The downside is that Arguel’s Blood Fast has a very fiddly flip trigger: you have to be at or below 5 life at the start of your turn. This isn’t a huge issue; life is a resource to be paid like any other, and the upside is suitable. But it does make it slightly harder to play in Commander, its most likely home. All the same, it offers card draw and a potential sacrifice outlet all in one card, which is a nice bit of role compression anyone can be proud of.
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