Mass Mutation Review: Dis
Welcome to my house-by-house review of the cards in Mass Mutation! I want to thank The Nick of Slots’ Worlds Collide previews for being the inspiration for these, and thank Aurore and Timeshapers for hosting them. In an effort to not fix what isn’t broken, I am mostly going to keep Nick of Slots’ format, and his rating scale. Here is the scale:
5 – All-Star. This card gets it game on and go plays. It’s great in any deck it’s in.
4 – Great. Just like Philip Hamilton, this card is pretty great. It works in most decks.
3 – Average. This card’s favorite color is grey. It’s squarely in the middle, meaning that it provides either low value or inconsistent high value.
2 – Situational. This card is waiting tables, waiting for its big break. It will shine if the stars line up perfectly, but most of the time it isn’t very good.
1 – Trash card. This card is roommates with a certain Muppet grouch. You almost never want it in your decks.
We’re going to begin our review with House Dis. After being the purge house in the last set, they’re all about the Destroyed effects in this set. But do they stand up? Let’s find out!
The Fiend Creatures – 4
I am just going to lump all these together, although clearly some are better than others. Ultimately, the Dis fiends are probably the best of the cross-house mutant cards, as the ability to Steal 1 is always valuable. It really makes you wonder how Shadows got stuck with Elusive while Dis got the steal ability. How the mighty have fallen.
Bonesaw – 2
This card is actually a little better than I expected it to be. Dis has a lot of cards that you want to destroy, and a lot of ways to destroy your own cards, so Bonesaw comes in ready more often than you would expect. I wouldn’t argue with someone who claimed that it should be a 3.
Brabble – 3
I never complain about Æmber control, and Brabble has the advantage of creating a difficult board state for your opponent. Do they use that board wipe and lose three Æmber? One thing to be careful about with Brabble is that if your opponent has zero Æmber, either because they just forged or because their Æmber is all captured somewhere, Brabble might lose it’s value.
Dark Minion – 2
Its value is almost entirely in taking out wards, especially after a Forge Compiler goes off. If you can get it enhanced with a damage pip, that’s fantastic value, as it can kill itself, destroying your opponent’s wards and small creatures, and potentially setting up your Bonesaw.
Drecker – 3
Thus far I have found Drecker to be one of the more skill intensive cards in the set. You really have to watch where you put it. One popular strategy I have seen is to put it next to a Taunt such as Sinder, but I am not crazy about that idea. Sinder will be fighting most of the time, and when it does, the damage will be going straight to Drecker. I generally like sitting Drecker next to an elusive creature, or a low value target, or preferably both. Something like an Umbra-Fiend is perfect. If this card goes off even once, it gives you great value, which is why it rates a 3.
Imp-losion – 4
This card gives you a ton of benefits. It destroys a problematic enemy creature that you might not be able to destroy any other way, (which is especially useful against Gigantics), It gives you an Æmber pip, and it lets you destroy one of your own creatures, which is super helpful in Dis with all of its Destroyed effects. It might even give you the benefit of destroying your out of house creature like Rad Penny. A favorite trick of mine is to put Soulkeeper on a small Dis creature like Impspector, and then use Imp-losion to get a two for one.
Mark of Dis – 5
It’s not Control the Weak, but it’s still fantastic. It also happens to combo well with a lot of the other tools Dis has in this set. Wait until your opponent drops down a bunch of creatures, then Mark of Dis one of them and Gateway. Or if they only dropped down one creature, use Mark of Dis and then Imp-losion. The fact that it’s common and relatively easy to get two or three in a deck makes it that much better.
Mindfire – 2
This card is very inconsistent. Sometimes it hits a pip, and on rare occasions it hits two or three, but most of the time it’s just hand disruption.
Sinder – 3
Having a very big, hard to remove Taunter has value in and of itself. It’ll cover your Snarettes and Snudges, and it also works well as a removal tool against enemy creatures. The reap ability isn’t as bad as it would be in other houses, given Dis’s plethora of targets for it.
Snarette – 4
Snarette is Æmber control that you don’t have to do anything to use. Just plop it down next to a Taunter and it’ll accumulate Æmber every turn. It’s also a mutant, so it benefits from a lot of the mutant synergies in the set. I find that if I am playing against Snarette and can’t immediately destroy it, getting it stunned becomes a priority so that I can get all my Æmber back later.
Stirring Grave – 4
The obvious comparison for this card is Exhume. Clearly, it’s not nearly as good as Exhume, given how much slower it is, but it’s still a great card. Dis has fantastic targets for it such as Infurnace, and it can also support other houses by archiving cards such as Subject Kirby or Bo Nithing. One sneaky target for it is The Archivist, if you happen to get them in deck together, It’s a great way to slide The Archivist right into your archives and let the shenanigans begin.
Waking Nightmare – 2
This card doesn’t do much. It’s the spiritual successor to The Evil Eye, which itself wasn’t a very good card. If your opponent is playing Dis, this card can have some value, and there will be the occasional situation where you manage to get your opponent to pay a bunch for a key. Most of the time, it’s a pip of Æmber. The enhanced capture pip is nice, though.
Break-Key – 2
I don’t think I have had this card work for me yet. The idea of using this with Waking Nightmare is nice. It kind of reminds me of the old CotA dream of hitting a Key Hammer and then using Lash of Broken Dreams, but it’s so situational that it rarely goes off. At least they fixed the text so that you don’t give your opponent six free Æmber for playing this card at the wrong time.
Double Doom – 3
This card really feels like it wants a pip of Æmber. That said, it’s decent as is. With all the capture running around in this set, bounce is still good, and this card is obviously a huge improvement on Fear thanks to the discard effect.
Essence Scale – 5
This is one of the signature cards of the set for Dis. Destroy your own creature that you wanted to destroy anyway, and then get a second use out of a better creature. This combos well with all those cards with Destroyed effects, as well as cards that recur like Relentless Creeper. Be careful, though! If your opponent has Borrow and can claim this as a Shadows artifact, it also happens to combo really well with Rad Penny.
Grim Reminder – 5
Just like Stirring Grave was the retooled Exhume, Grim Reminder is the retooled Arise!. However, while Stirring Grave is pretty clearly weaker than Exhume, Grim Reminder isn’t necessarily worse than Arise!, just different. If you’re reclaiming Dis, then it’s not as good as Arise!, because you lose the ability to play the creatures immediately. However, if you are grabbing back another house, then it’s better than Arise!, because it doesn’t clog your hand up and it lets you play the archived cards back down later when it’s convenient.
Hystricog – 2
Most of the time, Hystricog’s a slightly bigger Mutant Cutpurse. I suppose it could be valuable if you really have no other way to remove a Deusillus or something like that, but that’s quite a desperation play. The general lack of value of damage pips certainly hurts this card.
Picaroon – 2
It’s a creature. It fights things, and it’s easy to remove by killing all its neighbors. It’s not very impressive. At least it’s a mutant, so that’s something. Its best value is sitting next to something like a Galeatops so that it can take full advantage of Galeatops’ power even though Galeatops can’t.
Relentless Creeper – 3
There are probably three creatures in this set that you desperately want good enhancements on: Q-Mechs, Rad Penny, and Relentless Creeper. This is probably the weakest of the three, given that it doesn’t give you a Play effect, but it has the advantage of the fact that it synergizes well in Dis. Need a target for your Imp-losion? Kill the imp. Need to reap with Sinder? Kill the imp. Creeper’s an obvious Infurnace target for your opponent if it’s enhanced, but I’m definitely on the fence as to whether it brings enough value that it would be worth purging the Creeper if it wasn’t enhanced.
Wail of the Damned – 3
This is a solid card. It can remove most creatures in MM, and pretty much any creature from another set. Its ability to generally one-shot a Deusillus or an Ultra-Gravitron is really good. The enhanced capture pip is just a nice bonus.
Etan’s Jar – 5
Arguably the best card in the entire set. This shuts down pretty much any combo deck, and a lot of non-combo decks. It will always deprive you of your best card, at least in Archon. Obviously, it’s significantly less valuable in Sealed. When I was at VT Albany, most of the top decks didn’t run artifact removal. I don’t think that’s viable anymore. MM has so many powerful artifacts with the Jar, such as Auto-Encoder, and Dark Æmber Vault, that you need to run an answer. Quixxle Stone is still a thing, too.
Maleficorn – 3
Maleficorn’s better than Hystricog above for three reasons. First, it’s slightly bigger. Second, it gives more damage pips. Third, and most importantly, its ability is relevant a lot more often. The ability to throw around damage one at a time is a nuisance. The ability to throw around damage two at a time is dangerous, and can one-shot a lot of important creatures. If Maleficorn is paired with another creature that gives a lot of damage pips, such as Hystricog or Splinter, then it becomes a threat your opponent has to immediately answer.
Painmail – 4
I am assuming that this is an attempt to rework Wretched Doll into a playable card. It’s at the high end of the power spectrum. If it has an enhancement or two on it, I think it immediately becomes a 5. The ability to gain an Æmber and kill a creature every Dis turn is very strong. If you’re playing against this card, your best bet is to kill the creature it is on before your opponent can call Dis and use it again. If it makes its way to the discard pile, it’s obviously a priority Infurnace target.
Ritual of Tognath – 4
The necessity to kill two of your own creatures to use this seems like a steep price, but as we established earlier, Dis has a lot of creatures that want to die. Also, it’s a fantastic play into an empty board. A particularly great trick with this card is to play it, gain the three Æmber, and then bring down an Infurnace to purge it and remove three Æmber from your opponent.
Skixuno – 4
Board wipes are good. The problem with Unlocked Gateway was that it gave your opponent the opportunity to be the first person to play into an empty board after a board wipe went off. Skixuno gets around that by giving you one (usually large) creature on the board after the board has been cleared. It’s still not an All-Star card, but board wipes are so important in this set that you’ll be happy to see it in almost any deck you open.
The Pale Star – 4
One of the most interestingly designed cards in the set. I rate it as a 4 because it usually functions like a board wipe, and not only that, but a board wipe where controlling the timing usually makes it somewhat one-sided. Obviously, the card you want to see with this is Dark Minion. Losing one little creature to wipe your opponent’s side of the board and keep yours is pretty amazing. Be careful, though. Pre-existing damage will still be there when The Pale Star is activated, and will immediately kill off any damaged creatures.
Turnkey – 2
After being gone for several sets, the Unforge mechanic returned in force for this set. Obviously Turnkey is a creature you want to tuck behind a Sinder to try to keep it alive. Note the carefully worded text with the phrase “If you do,” meaning that you won’t give your opponent a free key if you play it when they have zero keys. I am also pretty sure that this card is algorithmically banned from showing up in a deck together with Exile, which is probably good.
Desire – 4
Obviously, all the Sins are good, and Desire is no exception. The problem with Desire is that you usually won’t have more than one or two sins out at a time, meaning that if you forge with Desire’s ability, you won’t be getting much of a discount from the base 10 cost. That said, Desire is great Æmber control, and particularly good to throw down when your opponent has just burst up to 15 Æmber and you need an answer.
Envy – 3
I think Envy is one of the weaker Sins. It’s somewhat situational. It needs a second Sin in play for its ability to function, which is tough if you’re running a three or four Sin deck. It also needs to be paired with Gluttony to truly shine. Without Gluttony, it’s basically a slow Drumble. However, even though it is situational, it still rates a 3 because if you can ever start a turn with Envy and Gluttony both ready, that will usually be the game.
Gluttony – 3
Like its partner Envy above, Gluttony has advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, your opponent is going to want to kill it the turn it comes into play with its exalted Æmber. However, 6 power makes it somewhat survivable. The key is having it survive one turn. If it starts a turn ready, and especially if it is paired with Envy, it can be very powerful.
Greed – 5
The best of the Sins. By itself, it’s a Daughter. Give it a second Sin, and it’s a Zenzi. Any more Sins, and it spirals off into absurd hand sizes. The best part is that it doesn’t even have to survive a turn to give you a benefit. Its benefit occurs immediately. Like most of the Sins, this is a must-kill target for your opponent.
Pride – 3
I find Pride somewhat underwhelming compared to the other Sins. Its ability is nice, but not amazing. It doesn’t have the kind of win the game potential that Envy, Gluttony, and Greed have. Like Wrath below, Pride’s primary function is to protect the other Sins. However, Wrath does that immediately, while Pride takes a turn to come online. It’s not a bad card, just not as exciting as the others.
Sloth – 3
Sloth tends to be a one-turn effect. It can give you a couple Æmber on the turn it comes into play, but after that you’re usually going to want to use your creatures. One underrated aspect of Sloth, though, is that it can function on non-Dis turns. Thus, you can lay down Sloth and a couple other Sins, and in the unlikely event that they survive, you can then call another House, lay down a bunch of cards for that house, and still get the Sloth Æmber. I also find that Sloth tends to survive better than the other Sins because its effect isn’t as dramatic and opponents tend to underrate it. That can sometimes be worth a couple Æmber over the course of the game.
Wrath – 4
Wrath’s job is to protect the other Sins. It takes a turn for Envy, Gluttony, and Pride to come online, and of course everyone is going to want to kill Greed quickly. That means that your opponent is going to have to go through Wrath, and that may well cost them a couple Dinos or Knights as they try to get Wrath out of the way to get to the other Sins. If Wrath gets to swing in, kill something, and use its Enrage ability, that’s just icing on the cake.
Final Rating – 5
I think that Dis is one of the two most powerful houses in the set, along with Logos. It doesn’t have any trash cards, and it has many splashy and powerful effects. Its disruption is as strong as ever with cards like Mark of Dis and Etan’s Jar, and of course Infurnace is still around. In a set where board sweeps are like gold, Dis has two of them with Gateway and Skixuno. Dis has been one of the most powerful houses in every Keyforge set, and that trend continues here.
If you have any comments, feel free to reach out to me on most Keyforge Discords (such as Sanctumonius) as jfkziegler or on TCO as SecondAct.