By: Jason Waddell
There’s a saying that “it takes a big man to admit when they’re wrong”. In reality, the prerequisites are much less specific. For one, the gender requirement is rather antiquated. Moreover, admitting you’re wrong doesn’t necessarily constitute an apology. Maybe you’re a scandalized politician forced to make a public statement, thereby laying the groundwork for your eventual mayoral campaign. Further, you don’t even have to be wrong. Perhaps your spouse won’t cook dinner until you two finish this argument, and you had an early lunch.
As you may have surmised, I’ve been wrong. Not “Evan Erwin hyping Time Reversal” wrong, or even “UnSkewed Polls” wrong, but wrong nonetheless.
Before I get to my actual apology, I’d like to issue a theoretical apology. In another universe, had middle school Jason had the opportunity to play with this card, he would have childishly referred to it as “effen A”. I know that’s not a risk in this reality, but if you believe in the multiverse theory, somewhere there’s a Jason Waddell obnoxiously using this terminology at an eastern Michigan FNM. If I could correct him, I’d tell him to pronounce it as it’s written in the Oracle ruling: “far slash slash away”
On to the actual apology. In my ChannelFireball Dragon’s Maze Cube Review, I panned Far // Away for not being sufficiently powerful relative to my 360 card environment. Of course, that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to try it. Even before the article was published, I had pre-ordered a copy for testing. Now, I’m not one to universally say “don’t knock it until you try it”, but when the opportunity cost is less than the cost of most Taco Bell menu items, I tend to give cards their fair shake.
When the card arrived in the mail, I slotted it in for Repeal for testing. It turns out that the card has everything I’m looking for in a cube inclusion. It’s fun, flexible, skill-testing, and produces some splashy plays. I was concerned that an expensive Edict would rarely hit the most profitable target, but often with some set-up you can arrange a blowout. I really love the dynamic of Fuse cards, as you weigh early plays against late-game advantages. Far // Away can be cast for 2, 3 or 5 mana, and the most effective mode will change from game to game.
As a note, the last time I saw this in action, was off of a Duskmantle Seer flip. I argued that the CMC was 3, but both my opponent and his teammate said the converted mana cost was 5. Our local judge was missing in action, so I deferred to their “wisdom” and let my opponent take 5. Apparently they were wrong, but who can argue against democracy? (EDIT: Nope, apparently I was wrong all along. Does that make me a big man?)
I was rather enthusiastic about Blood Scrivener, but it’s been a few drafts now and he’s yet to draw a card. Maybe we’ve been unlucky? I’m going to keep testing, out of hopeful optimism, but he might just be worse than his flavor text. Zombie Piker is really not what I’m looking for in that slot. Has anybody else had better experience with Blood Scrivener?
No actual apology here, Ral Zarek has performed pretty much as I expected him to. I will say though, I’ve been a little surprised at how often the +1 ability is just a complete blank. I’ve activated it in many board states where it simply provides no value. There was a lot of talk before this card came out about how flexible and interesting the tap/untap ability is, but I’ve yet to have it not be either obvious or useless. Wizards has a long history of printing Izzet cards that are meant to be creative but somehow miss the mark. Hopefully someday they’ll capture the flavor a little better.
All said though, Ral Zarek feels very appropriately powered, and I stand by my decision to put him in and take out Ajani Vengeant.
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