Gatecrash: Bad Habits and Urban Evolution

Earlier this week my old Apprentice Will Price aka WillPop aka SloppyStack lobbed this tweet at YT:

This is the Gatecrash card to which beloved WillPop was referring:

Urban Evolution

I must admit my snap judgment on the card is favorable. Is it really “bad” of me though? I thought I’d compare Urban Evolution to some other cards and think about how it stacks up.

Jace’s Ingenuity
When Jace’s Ingenuity first came out, I called it overrated. My system doesn’t really care if you are an instant or a sorcery in terms of CMC, and Jace’s Ingenuity was therefore just one more than Concentrate. Of course the first time I played Jace’s Ingenuity I ended up spiking a $5K. Jace’s Ingenuity was great!

Now had Jace’s Ingenuity been Concentrate, it probably wouldn’t have single-handedly crushed my combo-Exarch Twin opponent, so perhaps I was wrong on my orignal assessment of that card. From a pure effect standpoint, Urban Evolution is more effective than Jace’s Ingenuity. You get to draw the same three cards, but seeing as you will often draw an incremental land, you get a solid option tacked on. Of course, if you don’t draw another land (but you already had one), Urban Evolution is still fine with that.

Three cards against four. Four is bigger than three… But putting a permanent mana source into play is worth something. Lay of the Land and Rampant Growth have both been playable cards, and there is a reason that the extra mana is justifiable on a Rampant Growth.

One mana is about the value of a card… The two cards are therefore relatively equal in power.

Cosmetically, the first difference we see is 3UU versus 3GU; 3GU = 1G + 2U. Urban Evolution is actually exactly Explore + Counsel of the Soratami. Explore and Counsel of the Soratami (or Divination) are both / all playable cards. Putting them together like this, compacting multiple reasonable effects into a single card, actually increases its economy.


My guess is that the Explore-ness of Urban Evolution will be an incidental source of additional utility, rather than being particularly strategic to a deck’s focus. I do think it is a potentially strong basket of effects, so the real question is where Urban Evolution might see play.

Urban Evolution just seems like a better card than Amass the Components to me. The sole known Amass the Components deck already plays Farseek… The existing Bant shell can certainly accomodate Urban Evolution already.

It is probably also the kind of card we might see in a potential Enter the Infinite deck. Such a deck would have a strong interest in not just digging to Omniscience but to have lands in play to cast it. Again, I can see some hand-in-hand there.

Bad habits? I don’t know.

But sure, I’ll buy that R&D is doing all kinds of stuff to tug at ye olde heartstrings.


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