– Throne of Eldraine
NOvember 1, 2019
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This is an interesting card for its game text, and also for its take on the fairy tale that inspired it – the Billy Goats Gruff actually get away from the troll in the story. Perhaps the designers thought it’d be too much of a feel-bad moment for the goats to take down your rare troll card in a more serious manner? It’s hard to feel too bad when you have an 8/8 with trample for five mana, and the delaying action your opponent can use actually has a significant upside for you. The things you have to be careful about are when your opponent has cards that want things to go to the graveyard (Blood Artist is still a casual staple); when your opponent is a deck that wants more tokens (Elspeth is a constructed and casual staple, and is alive in the Isles of the Blessed); and when your opponent is a deck that will seize all of the aforementioned upsides for themselves (Control Magic is a big thing in Commander). That’s enough things to be careful about that it might scare off some of the tournament decks, but the troll still packs a pretty decent punch for his cost.
A bit of a retooled Desecration Demon, albeit with a twist. Your opponents can sacrifice creatures to appease Clackbridge Troll, but doing so gives you a pretty substantial reward (3 life and a card). If they don’t, you’re hitting them with an 8/8 with trample and haste. Which is usually motivation enough to give up the goat, so to speak, to feed the troll (as an opponent gets three Goats when it comes into play).
It’s one more mana than Desecration Demon was, but it does have haste and a better base statline; haste is definitely needed on this card, given the prevalence of strong removal in the format and pseudo-removal (like Oko). And there are definitely ways to make the Troll work by removing the goats; Illness in the Ranks is a cute solution to make the goats go away. I think the efficient statline it brings to the table is enough to get people to want to make it work, and I can see a universe where it works…the problem is that the current Standard is not a hospitable place for a Troll, and that hurts an otherwise good card.
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