Buried Goods – Into NekroZach’s Crypt Part 2
July 9, 2020 by Zachary McDermott
The Grave Robber’s Work is Never Done.
Hello, and welcome to Buried Goods, a biweekly article series focused on taking cards that you might not be familiar with and bringing them to your attention!
With so many different websites to use when building decks, it is often easy to go with the cards these websites suggest. The reason why this is easy, is because websites like EDHrec.com use a large sampling of data to gather information on what cards are being used and what builds they are being used in. This means that if you are wanting to build a deck you have the advantage of using the largest groupthink possible to help brew said deck. This is a perfectly fine way to brew and build your commander decks, but sometimes in doing this we lose out on cards that could be great for a build and not be on there. In these articles it is my goal to take the random card database I have in my head from years of playing and maybe help you to add to your lists.
The first card I want to talk about this week is:
Goblin War Drums is a card that has been around since Fallen Empires and has seen three other printings. It was not until sometime later in its’ existence that it got changed to giving all your creatures the keyword “menace” making Goblin War Drums much better. If you are unfamiliar with what the keyword menace does, it reads as follows: “creatures with menace can not be blocked except by two or more creatures.” Menace is a great ability to have on your creatures when running a more aggressive style deck. Being in red you are more than likely playing a deck that has creatures that want to attack every turn, menace makes it easier for them to connect for damage. Goblin War Drums having the keyword menace on it means that other cards that care about menace will now trigger off it. Cards like Sonorous Howlbonder will make it so that all our creatures with menace must be blocked by an additional creature. Often making an opponent block with two creatures is a problem, but now must block with three creatures causes even more issues for our opponents. If Sonorous Howlbonder was not enough menace shenanigans try adding Labyrinth Raptor to the Goblin War Drums pile. Now whenever a creature with menace is blocked the defending player must sacrifice a creature blocking it. Not only can this deal with indestructible creatures, but this is done BEFORE damage. Goblin War Drums just extending plays out here in aggro decks.
Next card in the spotlight is
Faces of the Past is a very interesting enchantment. It can go in your tribal decks that have blue in them to untap all your creatures or can be put in an anti tribal deck to lock your opponents out of the game. How Faces of the Past works is upon resolution you decide whether to tap or untap all creatures that share a type. If you are running a strategy where you want to lock down your opponents, while capitalizing off untapping your own creature cards like Standardize will work wonders here. Standardize is a rare instant out of Onslaught that reads “Choose a creature type other than Legend or Wall. Each creature’s type becomes that type until end of turn.” Imagine your opponent has lethal on board and you can win next turn, you let your opponent announce they are about to move to combat, in response you sacrifice a creature to trigger Faces of the Past, you then hold priority and cast Standardize naming a creature type. Standardize resolves then the trigger to Faces of the Past resolves and you tap down their board, living to fight another turn. You can also use this card in the opposite way to untap all your creatures to block. Faces of the Past is a great card.
Third card for this article is
Dual Nature is another enchantment that is very odd, but also very powerful. As a predominantly Black mage I do not like giving my opponents anything, but being able to create copies of creatures for just playing them seems way too good to pass up. There are plenty of ways where you can make the downside of giving your opponents a creature work for you. You can build your deck around creating tokens of creatures that create tokens…. that felt real confusing to type. What I mean is play creatures like Hornet Queen, when she enters the battlefield, she creates she creates four 1/1 flying deathtouching insect tokens. This means if Dual Nature is on the battlefield when Hornet Queen enters no matter what we are getting eight 1/1 insects. You can take this a step further and add in cards like Doubling Season and Parallel Lives to really double down on the token fun…… Get it DOUBLE down……. Moving on.
Card number four
Gravestom is not only a unique way for black to draw cards but has one of the coolest names and art for a Magic card. Gravestorm allows us to draw a card if an opponent we target does not exile a card from their graveyard. I find this card very interesting in black because typically we do not want to be removing cards from graveyards, however this also helps us against other black decks wanting to reanimate cards from their graveyards. Gravestorm acts like a form of graveyard hate and card draw, you can target an opponent who is using their graveyard heavily. More times than not these players will give us a card rather than loosing anything in their graveyard. There are games where players will gladly exile a card from their graveyard so that you do not get the card draw you are hoping to get. In these types of situations, you want to look to capitalize off cards like Bojuka Bog and Nihil Spellbomb to make sure you have an empty graveyard to target as much as possible. Not to mention these cards fit the color you would be playing being in black and more graveyard hate is always a good thing.
The final card for this week is another favorite of mine
Fanatical Devotion is a very powerful Magic card that often seems slept on. I think this is because it is an effect that is in a color you normally would not see. White having a sacrifice outlet that regenerates a creature is very unusual, which is why I like it so much. It is a powerful effect that feels outside of white’s color pie. Sacrifice outlets in commander is always a good thing to have. It will protect your creatures from exile. In some situations, it can deny your opponents additional resources by sacrificing the creature then letting them remove it. Sacrificing creatures is good, as I am sure I have made clear by now but what does sacrificing creature to Fanatical Devotion really give us? Regenerate is a keyword that Wizards has moved away from using because how inherently strong regenerate it. Regenerate reads “The next time this permanent would be destroyed this turn, it is not. Instead tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.” This effect is also a replacement effect allowing it to function in a way that makes it more powerful against most types of removal effects. For example, if a creature has a bunch of +1/+1 counters on it if the creature would die it would go to the graveyard and the counters would be removed. With Regeneration the creature with counters would stay on the battlefield with the counters. It allows for great trades when blocking as well, allowing you to sacrifice a creature while blocking with a different creature. You target the creature that would die, it deals its' damage to the creature that is blocking it, once it would die it is instead tapped and removed from combat. As far as I understand it the damage is dealt, but the creature is brought back because it died after damage was dealt. Fanatical Devotion is a wild card.
It’s Up all Night and Sleep all Day This ends our first dive into the crypts of NekroZach, I hope you enjoyed your goods! If you did leave me a comment below and let me know. If there was a card you want to see or think I do not know about, tweet at me @NekroZach. As always thank you for your time, I’ll see you next time!