Monday, April 9, 2018

Brassclaw Orcs: Ironclaw's less famous cousin.

 Recently, I looked into a weird flavor text disparity involving Brassclaw Orcs, and while that might get discussed now (or I might save it for another article), it did create an interesting question. What happens when I reach a card with multiple art. It hadn't occurred before now, and since I am excluding basic lands, it was never an issue I had before.

I like the flavor text, implying they are still there.

However, given that Antiquities, Fallen Empires, Homelands and Alliances all have cards with multiple different printings, it was only a matter of time before one caught my eye. So I've decided I will review the Orcs here, to give an example on how this will work.

Playability: Brassclaw Orcs, are a 3/2 for 3 with the 'coward' drawback, of being unable to block a creature with a power greater then 1. However, given this is a red creature, and reds primary tactic is to move forward, that's a largely irrelevant draw back, but man sometimes I wish they'd chump block. For stats, a 3/2 for 3 isn't the best creature in the format, but is above the typical curve of a 2/2 for the same cost. Also, while Orc isn't as prolific as Goblin or Kolbold, there is some tribal interactions in the format (and more recently Magic in large).

In this regard I give the Orcs a 3/5. Sure they aren't the best head turners, but they get the role done, and fit well in their respective tribe, as well as sligh (both were present in the original sligh deck). The perfect thing to look for in your booster in 94 for sure.

Despite being the least feared, they are stronger then their cousins.

Flavor: See, usually with Flavor, I include Flavor Text. Since this card has four different texts, I'll just have to go around it. Basically, the mechanic makes them cowards, as with most orcs (it's a recurring theme in the early days of the tribe), they are quick to jeer at their power and prowess, but quick to take off at the sign of trouble. In this regard, it explains why they aren't willing to block that Juzam for you (which also makes the unusually smart as well).

The flavor is a 4/5, it is simple, but works well, and is the type of simple card design that keeps us playing this game 25 years later.

Art: Now this is the tricky part, since each piece of art is different. I'm going to evaluate each piece, and give a conclusion of the ranking for each one. Now I understand art is subjective, and your opinion will differ from mine, but please, too each it's own.

Dan Frazier Art:

"Look, it's the Thrull Rebellion"

I often call this piece 'Mongolian Orcs', this piece is actually pretty good. While the orcs themselves are wee detailed as any for this time period, it's the background that is best. It's simple, but amazing, particularly the red/yellow skyline. The desert is nice too, showing how desolate the area the Orcs are around. The Orcs certainly look mongolian though, or at least Asian. The details are simple, but effective, and certainly, due to the lack of oriental influences in early MtG are memorable. They also lost, or seeing something in the distance.

The Question remains what are they pointing at? Isn't it obvious? It's the enemy planeswalkers. Time to turn sideways.

Total: 4/5
Heather Hudson Art:

Time to party!
I love Miss Hudsons art, this piece is sloppy. Although it does show the 'least feared weapons ever known' in great detail, there is just to much going on in this piece.  Maybe it's to show the chaos of Orc based warfare, but it comes off messy. However, the dirty feet are a nice touch.

Total: 2/5. Sorry Heather.

Rob Alexander (1)

Also the reason for the Mandela like effect that I'm writing these, coming in a future article.

Yes Rob Alexander did two pieces for Brassclaw Orcs in FE, I call them the Sentry, and the Wolverine. This one is the sentry, because that is what it looks like. Why is a Orc in a sentry position, I'm not sure, perhaps he is simply preparing for battle, but it doesn't look like that. His orcs, well look satrange compared to most orcs, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, as with most Alexander art, it's the details that are note worthy. The simple wears in the stone next to him, the details in the clouds, the universal light cource. It's all amazing, and given it's easily visible on the small card window just adds to that. I still don't understand why he looks like a sentry though, so given that, the art gets a 4/5, because it's a creature you'd hardly ever block with (for the record, it'd be a 5/5 if on a different piece).

Rob Alexander (2):

"I'm the best at what I do bub"

 The 'wolverine art' shows a similar looking Orc to the top one, but more grotesque, and in what I always imagined to be overalls. This orc looks less like a fierce some warrior, and more like a farmhand with some interesting tools. This being said, it's certainly the most memorable piece, with him almost coming out of the card to say 'a whole skin is worth a thousand victories'. The claw, is also a bit strange, considering the other one looked like an actual claw, but not to say this one isn't bad. Most intriguing is both have similar tattoo's on their arms.

Art gets a solid 4/5.

Note: I'm going to be a bit slow the next few months with articles due to some personal issues. I hope you don't mind


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