Storm the Vault // Vault of Cataclan
– Rivals of Ixalan
January 30, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 3.50
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Before I get into why this is an interesting card, I wanted to point out that I’m not sure it’s exactly named correctly. Your creatures break into the vault and get treasure each time they deal damage, but you don’t get the bigger effects until they steal a certain amount? Is that what they were going for? It seems just as likely that once a certain number of creatures dealt damage, there would just be a flood of treasure tokens. I guess there’s so much treasure that they can only carry a limited amount each attack? I don’t know.
Actually, I think the real issue is that the designers needed to make sure the player puts some time into getting the flip effect, because the flip effect is Tolarian Academy. It’s not Combo Winter any more, and it can’t be basically by definition because you’ve already invested four mana to play the enchantment, plus however long it took to get five successful attacks. But there’s no excuse for not doing something absolutely spectacular and game-changing that turn it flips. Among other things, note that it will count any Contraptions your Riggers have assembled . . .
The legendary enchantments from Ixalan were some of the most popular cards in the set, so how are the new ones in Rivals? Storm the Vault is a fun card that plays well with both the “Ral” and “Saheeli” Izzet decks. Although the the mana cost and activation mean you won’t be flipping this card early, it can be accelerated by all the artifact creatures found in Kaladesh.
So what do you gain for all your effort? An improved Tolarian Academy isn’t too bad. In a vacuum this card seems a bit redundant. Instead of using your artifacts for mana instead you use your artifacts to create mana. There’s definitely a niche place for this card in a treasure based commander deck. So what is one to do with so much mana? Assuming you are running artifacts Walking Ballista can get pretty big. Spell focused decks can maintain a tempo while building into a giant (X) spell. Or you could “Storm” the vault I suppose. Overall I like this card but its hard to overlook the hurdles you have to jump over.
Let’s start with the flip side, Vault of Cataclan, as it has rules text that may look familiar to some people. The second ability is the same as the notorious Tolarian Academy, the mega-busted land from Urza’s Saga that helped enable the Combo Winter period of the game. This is even better than Tolarian Academy, as you get the ability to make any color of mana if you need to! So, we at least have a strong payoff if you can flip.
Storm the Vault, on the other hand, is a bit dodgier. The best-case scenario is that you amass a lot of Treasure on your first three turns, slam this turn four, maybe swing to get the last Treasure you need, and auto-flip Storm the Vault at the end of your turn. But if you have no other artifacts or ways to generate Treasure, this takes five turns to flip into Vault of Cataclan, which is extremely slow. Particularly irksome is that the flip trigger is mandatory, and there also is no real upshot to Storm the Vault unless you have creatures on board or a way to flip it immediately.
The power of a stronger Tolarian Academy is definitely alluring, but I feel like Storm the Vault is unlikely to make much of a splash beyond being a tempting curiosity. It does potentially filthy things in Commander, as you might hope, but I’m not bullish on it paying off in any other format.
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