Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shadow Era Spoilers #10 - Rolling Boulders

This one might be a bit controversial, so sit tight. I'm not pulling any punches today.
Dark Prophecies 51 - Rolling Boulders
Spoiled by Kyle on 12/20/2012

The initial reaction for this card from a large audience has been positive. Fans of hunters such as Banebow have historically struggled with large allies, and they seem to think this is the magical end-all to their problems. Well, it's not.

My question, to all who support this card, is - how is this better than Death Trap?

First of all, there's the cost limitation. Yes, this prevents the trap being baited by smaller allies... but if they're running out a Tainted Oracle instead of their fatty to bait the trap, the two hunter cards perform the same role. The fatty is just being played a turn late either way (and with Death Trap, it might not even be played at all).

The cost limit might look like a good thing, but it's actually a bad thing. The fact is that where Death Trap is only a dead draw against allyless decks, Rolling Boulders is absolutely useless against a large portion of the field that don't even use high-cost allies such human mage rush, Gwenneth, and Zaladar/Ripper decks.

Then there's the actual effect of the trap, bounce not kill. Whereas Death Trap actually deals with threats, Rolling Boulders just delays the inevitable. This works with Retreat, but only because Retreat is cheaper, targets allies regardless of cost, and you're using the extra turn to buy enough board control to kill the threat for good. If Banebow scoops to a turn six Aeon now, they do the same for a turn seven Aeon, especially if they lost one of their own turns playing this sub-par trap.

The draw aspect is nice, sure, but not enough to make up for anything. Again, compare to Death Trap. DT makes your opponent lose one card, and you lost one as well, the trap. A 1-1 trade. Boulders make your opponent lose 0 cards, you lose one from the trap, then draw 1 card. So a 0-0 trade overall. Even though you draw a card, there's no actual card advantage involved.

To sum all this up, 95% of the time, Death Trap is going to be just better. The two cards can perform the same job, but DT does that job better and also does other jobs Boulder can't do.

The only time, and I mean ONLY time, that you will play this card is when you already have four Death Traps in your deck. Because it's not better, and contrary to popular belief, it's not the end-all answer to fatties that Banebow needed.

Is it still playable? Sure. It has a job to do and it does that job. If you want a trap-themed deck, the more power to you. However, know that when making your sac choices, the Boulder will go over Death Trap nine times out of ten.

Rating: 4/10. Worse than a card that already exists, and a lot of hunters don't even play the better counterpart. It has use, but only if you're already playing four Death Traps.

1 comment:

  1. Agree. It doesn't even do the one possibly interesting thing that some people on the forums think that it might, ie create a dilemma as to which ally to play when there's a trap out. It's always best to drop a small ally (or one with an ETB effect) against a death trap and it's exactly the same here. There's no choice involved.

    It'd be cooler if it said "play face down. When an opposing ally with a cost 5 or greater enters the battlefield, put this in the graveyard. If this card is on the table at the start of your turn, sacrifice it and draw 3 cards". That actually creates a choice - do I run my fatty into an opposing death trap or do I risk letting them draw 3 cards?